Games to Play with Your Dog in an Apartment
Dog lovers know that very few things are as heartwarming (and hilarious) as watching a dog play. Their sheer, unadulterated joy is enough to make even the grouchiest person smile.
And, of course, playtime isn't just fun for you; it's essential for your dog's physical and mental health. It's also integral to strengthening your bond with your furry bestie.
But what if it's too cold to go outside or too wet to play ball? Even if you live in a rental apartment, there are plenty of fun games you can play together inside your place that don’t require that much space and that they'll love!
Hide and Seek
This game is excellent for dogs who already know how to sit and stay. Bring them to a room and ask them to stay. Then, leave the room and hide somewhere else. When you find a good place to hide, call their name to get them to come find you. Once they find you, celebrate with treats!
This game can also be played with more than one person. Someone can stay in the room with your seeker until you or everyone else hides. The person seeking with your dog can then say, "Let's go find ___!" Again, once they find the "hiders," don't forget the treats!
Playing fetch in your apartment is possible even if you’re renting with pets. Just make sure that:
- You use a plushie toy or lightweight ball that won't break your stuff.
- You can clear out a space to throw their toy far enough to get some exercise.
- You can play on a surface where they won't slip or slide around.
If your dog is good at playing catch, you can also throw the ball up high above you and give lots of praise when she jumps to snatch it out of the air.
Tug of War
Most dogs love to play tug and it's an excellent outlet for their natural instinct to pull. It also helps strengthen jaws and muscles. This game is good for teaching your dog boundaries when they play too rough and how to be patient when it's time to take a break. Just be sure to choose a sturdy rope or tug toy appropriate for their size.
Games With Toys
Chewing and shredding aren't the only fun things your dog can do with their toys. If you invest in a treat-dispensing toy, your doggie will have to work for their treats, providing mental stimulation (and keeping them busy when you can't be there to play). "Snuffle mats" are also great for ` keeping them entertained and encouraging them to use their nose to find the treat.
You can also try teaching them the names of their toys to play hide and seek with later. While you have your dog's attention, pick up their favorite toy and say its name. When they play with it, keep reminding them of its name until they learn to associate it with the toy. Eventually, you'll be able to play hide and seek, giving your dog the command to find it by name!
Learn Some New Tricks
Use the apartment space to practice obedience training with your dog. Teach them basic commands like sit, stay, lie down, shake, play dead, etc. This not only provides mental stimulation but also helps reinforce good behavior.
This game is designed to exercise your dog's super sense of smell. You can simply hide treats in different areas of the apartment and encourage your dog to find them using their nose, or you can get complicated by arranging boxes or containers upside down with a treat underneath one of them. When your dog sniffs it out, be sure to give lots of praise! (And the treat, of course.)
Use interactive toys like flirt poles or laser pointers to engage your dog in active play. These toys allow you to keep your dog moving while also stimulating their hunting and chasing instincts. If you have stairs, you can challenge your pup to a race to see who can get to the top or bottom first. Hint: It'll probably be the dog, but it's still a lot of fun!
If you have enough room, setting up an obstacle course in the apartment is a fun, DIY way to keep your dog entertained and active when you're stuck inside. You can use sofa cushions to make a maze, break down moving boxes for them to crawl through, stack smaller empty boxes to jump over (or make a dog jump toy with household items), or scatter chairs around the room to weave around.
Once you've set up the room, teach them to heel at your side, then show them how to navigate the obstacles in the room. With enough practice, they may be able to complete the course without you!
A Playing Pup is a Happy Pup!
Dogs are typically easy to please. No matter what you do or where you go, as long as you're having a good time together, all's right with the world. That's why bad weather doesn't have to ruin your good time!
Just remember to always prioritize your dog's safety and well-being during playtime. There are plenty of ways to ensure they get regular exercise, mental stimulation, and playtime in an apartment setting to keep them healthy and happy!