Helpful Tips

How to Exercise Your Dog Inside Your Home

Fox terrier pulling

If you have a large breed dog, nothing is worse than their being stuck inside all day when it’s too hot, it’s pouring down rain, or the temperature has dropped. Fortunately, there are many ways you can keep your furry friend active and entertained.

All dogs must be exercised daily so even things such as weather that’s too hot or cold can’t get in the way. Exercising your dog inside can help to keep them at the right weight, can provide mental stimulation, helps them to burn off extra energy, and can result in a happy dog. There will be times when the weather will not permit you to let your dog outside and this includes extreme heat or extreme cold. Keep in mind that dogs can get over-excited when playing in the house so you’ll need to practice control and limit the amount of time they can be high energy in the home. This can involve controlled activities that will allow you to take the reins and teach your dog the appropriate way to play inside the house.

Creating an Indoor Workout

During the winter months, a dog can easily become bored, which can be a challenge for the dog owner especially if your pet is high energy. If you live in an area where the winter temperatures become extremely low then taking your dog out for a walk can be potentially dangerous and can lead to frostbite. On colder days or even in extreme temperatures it’s best to leave your dog indoors. Since dogs need playtime and exercise you need to come up with a few solutions that can keep them both mentally and physically engaged. I have compiled a list of some safe and fun activities you can try with your dog inside, the next time the temperature drops or when you’re dealing with a real scorcher.


Dogs running down

If you have stairs in the home using them can be a great way to tire your dog out, especially if they’re high energy. These steps will add a big challenge to your dog’s workout and allows them to engage a variety of different muscle groups compared to those that are used on a regular walk. For this activity, you will begin by standing at the top of the stairs and throw a ball down to your dog. Your dog will then run up the stairs to give you back the ball. You can do this several times and your dog will quickly become exhausted.

Working Out for Treats

When you’re stuck inside, your dog can quickly become bored. If you want to keep your dog engaged, one of the best ways is to hide a variety of their favorite treats around the home. Hide treats under the bed, under a rug, under the table, or behind the door. This will help to keep your dog busy and active. You can also purchase a toy designed to dispense treats which is another great way to keep them mentally stimulated and physically engaged.


Fetch indoors can sound potentially dangerous but if you’re careful with how far and how hard you throw the ball it should be perfectly safe. This will help to burn up some of your dog’s energy in a controlled environment.

Ride in the Car

One way to break up the day for you and your dog is to take a trip in the car. It can simply be a short drive to take in the sights, or a quick stop at a drive-thru. Most pets love riding in the car, however, some dogs will need further training in order to prevent them from jumping around. The best no pull dog harness such as the TIANYAO dog harness, can prevent your dog from freely moving around in the car, in addition to giving you more control over their pace when you’re out for a walk.

Design an Obstacle Course

If you have a large living room you can create your own obstacle course for your dog that can quickly help to burn up some built-up energy. Running around chairs, circling around obstacles, or running under tables can be a fun way to challenge your dog and get all of that energy out. However, rewarding them with treats makes the whole game even more exciting.

Pet Centers or Pet Stores

If you’re lucky enough to live close to an indoor pet center it can be a great place to socialize your dog and will allow them to burn off built-up energy while also providing mental stimulation. Additionally, if you live by a pet store that allows you to bring your pets, taking them along for the errand can be a fun way to provide mental stimulation, socialization, and just get both of you out of the house.


A dachshund dog

Treadmills can be the perfect way to give your dog some much-needed exercise indoors. However, you’ll need to gradually introduce it and allow them to become comfortable with both the sound and sight of the treadmill especially when it’s running. Once they’re comfortable you can place your dog on it and immediately reward them with a treat. Next, place a treadmill on the lowest setting.

Continue to reward your dog with treats in order to keep them on the treadmill. Never tie your dog to the treadmill to prevent them from walking or running off. However, you can use the dog’s leash to encourage them to stay on it. It’s best to stand in front of a treadmill bend down and reward your dog with treats. This will make your dog feel more comfortable as opposed to standing behind them. Once your pet has adjusted to the treadmill you can increase the speed gradually, to provide a tougher workout.

Teach Your Dog Commands

If you have nothing to do for the day and both you and your dog are stuck inside, teaching your dog some basic commands can be fun and rewarding for both of you. Of course, it can be very challenging depending on the breed and your dog’s personality. If you’re not sure how to go about teaching your dog some basic commands, click here to read my article on how to teach your dog commands. The techniques included are very beginner-friendly so they’re perfect for the first time dog owner.

Mental Stimulation

There are plenty of ways to mentally stimulate your dog. A dog typically becomes active once they’re faced with a challenge even a mental one. Something as simple as a toy food dispenser is a great way to exercise your pet’s mind. However, there are also other ways you can engage your dog mentally, especially when it comes to teaching them fun tricks. Just remember to keep dog treats on hand and be very patient.


While no dog loves a bath, it can be a great opportunity to give them a quick one, clean their ears, and cut their nails. While this won’t really help in terms of burning off energy, it will keep both of you preoccupied and will allow you to cross some chores off your list. To learn more, click here to read my article on can you use regular shampoo for dogs?


Something as simple as a dog toy can be very mentally stimulating for your pet. Some dogs will go crazy for bones or chew toys, especially if they’re puppies and they’re cutting teeth. Getting your dog a variety of new toys can be a fun way to keep them engaged. You can also throw their toys and add some physical activity to the mix.

Play Date

Organizing a playdate can be a fun way to keep your dog engaged for a few hours. You can visit a friend’s house or have them come over with their pup and they can play around for the afternoon. However if your dog has shown signs of dog aggression in the past, then this is probably not the best idea. When you introduce a dog to another animal that has shown dog aggression in the past this can be potentially dangerous. Your dog is not well socialized, then this can also be a problem. If you’re determined to socialize your pet and introduce them to other animals, then I recommend that you do so gradually.

Rotating Your Dog’s Toys

If you keep the same dog toys around your home for several months it’s time to make a change. Like a child, your dog can easily become bored with their toys. This is maybe one of the reasons why they seem very disinterested in some of the toys they once loved. Because of this, I recommend rotating their toys. You don’t need to continue to spend a lot of money on new toys all the time. All you have to do is simply hide their favorite toys for two to four weeks and reintroduce it again when they become tired with their other choices. If your dog is very enthusiastic about playing with toys than this can go a long way towards tiring him out, however, it’s your job to ensure that the toys you’ve purchased for them are ones they actually love playing with. To get your dog more active you can also try hiding their favorite toys in areas that are somewhat accessible. This will help to burn off some energy and keep them mentally stimulated.

Cup Game

Grab some of your dog’s favorite treats and two cups. Allow your dog to watch as you place the treat under a cup. Next, switch the cups two to three times and ask your dog to find it. Most of the time your dog will knock over the cup that’s hiding the treat. Once your pet gets used to this game you can make it more difficult by adding a third or fourth cup. However, this time around make sure you use a treat that doesn’t have such a strong smell.


If you have a dog that has a strong prey drive then the chances are they will love chasing some bubbles around. This is a fun indoor activity that will make an otherwise bored dog instantly active. Break out the bubbles and start blowing them around and watch as your dog flies through the air trying to pop them. However, make sure that you’re using tear-free bubbles or bubbles that are specifically designed for dogs.


A little rough-housing can definitely get some energy out, but it may not be a good idea if you live in a smaller home. However, if you have the floor space and there’s nothing breakable in the immediate area, then wrestling around with your dog can be a fun way to get you both active on a rainy day. You can also use the standard tug of war toys that will allow your dog to test its strength. However, if your dog is considered somewhat aggressive than this type of game may be a bad choice.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to exercise your dog indoors, you should have no problem keeping them entertained during the next rainy afternoon. Keep in mind, the type of activity you choose should be a good fit for your dog. During play time indoors make sure you always supervise your dog and never leave them alone with a toy that you’re not sure is absolutely safe. You should also be well aware of your dog’s limits. A dog was joint issues should not be running up and down the stairs. Additionally, high-energy dogs that are hard to control should not play fetch in the house or wrestle. Now that you know how to keep your dog entertained and physically active and mentally stimulated, both of you will have a blast the next time the temperature drops and the rain starts to fall.