How to make an exciting dog play area at home for your pooch

how to make a dog play area at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Creating a dog play area in or outside your home might just be easier than you think. With many pet owners now choosing to dedicate whole sections of their home to their dogs, it's never been more exciting to create your own dog playroom or outdoor playground in your yard.

You can make the concept as simple or as complex as you like. If you've ever taken your pooch to an indoor dog park, boarding kennel or dog hotel, you may already have a few exciting ideas up your sleeve, but creating a stimulating environment can also be as easy as providing the best dog toys for the job. 

This guide will look to show you how you can create a secure environment in which to set up your dog play area, as well as providing a few enrichment ideas to keep your pooch busy. 

How to make a dog play area at home 

A Keeshond puppy pulls on a tug of war toy outside

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Secure the area

Whether inside the home or out, you'll want to think about how you can secure the area. If you're looking to set up in the yard, installing a fence is an ideal option. If that feels too expensive, consider a DIY dog fencing kit, which is often easy to install and strong enough for all size dogs. 

A dog playpen is a great option too if you wish to fence off a smaller area that'll stop them from getting into too much mischief. You can buy both indoor and outdoor dog playpens, with the idea being particularly useful for energetic puppies. A baby gate or x-pen can also create a contained space on a budget for your pup. 

Some pet owners even opt to utilize unwanted space around the home, transforming it into a dog room fit for canine kings, or you could makeover a spare room. 

2. Flooring

Dogs love to dig, so you'll want to think about protecting your carpet if indoors, or your grass if outdoors.

For an indoors dog play area, mats are a good option. Opt for play area mats for kids, anti-fatigue mats or rubber mats. 

If outdoors, artificial grass is  a popular choice for DIY dog playgrounds as it doesn't damage like real grass does with tufts and holes. Plus, no more muddy paws: artificial grass does not become muddy within minutes of your pet being outside. 

It can also be a good choice for indoor dog play areas. Choose a rug made from synthetic grass or carpet a room with fake grass. Just be sure to train your dog not to treat the space like it's their new bathroom. 

dog on artificial grass

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Dog sensory area

With dog enrichment officially hot topic amongst pet owners and animal behaviorists alike, a dog play area offers plenty of opportunities to tantalize their senses. 

A great addition to an indoors room is a snuffle mat and you can even make your own DIY snuffle mat from spare fabrics around the home.  The simplest of all these ideas is bundle all your dog's favorite toys together and place them in the corner, then sprinkle your kibble or treats to encourage your dog to sniff them out. If you want more of a challenge, you can even turn it into a treasure hunt by placing treats around the yard in different locations.

The sensory yard has become a popular concept. It's a specific area set up to stimulate your dog's senses through materials and textures; scents and heights. Many pet owners plant calming plants such as rosemary or lavender and plan out different textures in their yard to make the environment much more stimulating for their pooches. 

4. Provide dog enrichment toys 

Dog toys are key to any good play area. Look to provide a variety of interactive toys, such as balls and rope toys, and consider rotating them so there's always something  new and exciting for your pooch to discover.  

If you're looking to leave your dog alone for a period of time, treat-dispensing toys, automatic or for your pooch to discover for themselves, are a great idea. The most well-known of these is the Kong Classic, which can also be frozen on hot days. Once you have purchased the main product, filling it can be fairly inexpensive, with common Kong recipes using products from your kitchen such as Greek yogurt, some fruit and vegetables, and of course your dog's favorite kibble. On the automatic side, an interactive pet camera lets you both talk to your dog and tosses them a few treats. 

To keep your dog's intellect sharp, the best puzzle toys is great for mental stimulation. 


(Image credit: Kong)

5. Create a dog park in your backyard

Before you set up plans to create your own backyard outdoor dog park, you'll want to examine the space and remove anything that could pose a danger to your pup. This can include toxic plants for dogs and sharp surfaces. Also ensure that you don't use any pesticides and that any fence is completely secure. 

Once you've established safety, the yard is your oyster to create a stimulating environment for your pooch. Popular additions include a hardwearing dog pool, which can be turned into a ball, dirt or sand pit when not filled with water.

Obstacle courses are ideal for playful dog breeds with plenty of energy to spare. Great objects include old tires or hoops held at height for your pooch to jump through, while some common household items can do the trick too – if you happen to have some PVC pipes leftover from a DIY project, that's ideal.

Kids often have play tunnels or a plastic slide they've outgrown that can work for dogs, while even a cardboard box can provide a DIY tunnel. 

You should also look to provide a range of amenities for your canine companion, especially in warmer temperatures. Make sure you supply a outdoor dog house for shelter and some food and water supplies. You can even get a bit fancy and provide a water feature or clean-up station to give your pup optimum comfort. 

Ashleigh Gibbs
Digital Editor

Ashleigh is Digital Editor on PetsRadar. With over 8 years of experience in print and digital media, she has acted as an editorial lead on a variety of projects, with animal themes a keen interest. As an avid animal lover, you can often find Ashleigh checking out the newest trends in animal care or looking at cute cat videos on TikTok.