Three fun ways to keep your dog entertained when it’s too cold to go outside

Woman playing with her Beagle indoors
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether it's snow, rain or it's just plain freezing outside, winter time often poses a challenge when it comes to exercising our dogs. Getting your dog out during the colder months can be difficult or, in some cases, even dangerous — so when the great outdoors isn't available, what do you do?

Well, the good news is, mental and physical exercise can definitely still be on the table — it all comes down to having some fun indoor games for dogs up your sleeve.

In a recent Instagram post, expert trainer Amelia Steele shared three of her favorite indoor activities that will keep your pup entertained when getting outside just isn't possible. So, grab a bag of the best dog treats (you'll need them for these games) and let's dive in...

1. Hide-and-seek: Steele says that one of her favorite things to do with her dogs when the weather makes it impossible to go outside is to play a game of hide-and-seek. 

"This can look like a couple of different things," she says. "Either you can hide some treats around the room and then let your dog in to find them or if your dog finds that way too easy, you can even teach them to seek and retrieve a toy. 

I particularly like this one because it takes my dogs a good while and it also encourages seeking and sniffing, which are really, really healthy behaviors for dogs."

2. Teach your dog a new trick: "The process of learning something new can be quite tiring for dogs, so if you're looking for an activity to do with your dog that's engaging and fun and tires them out, then this will be perfect for you," Steele explains.  

3. Offer your dog different kinds of enrichment: One of Steele's favorite ways to do this is through the towel game — a simple game where you roll up treats in a towel and let your dog use their nose to seek them out. "I particularly like this game because it's cheap and easy, so anyone can do it," she says.

Steele points out that one of these games on its own might not be enough to tire out your dog (depending on what breed they are) so feel free to mix and match or play all of them in one day.

And if you're looking for more inspiration when it comes to giving your pup a good mental workout, check out these great brain games for dogs

Frisco Bento Interactive Puzzle Dog Toy
$18.65 at Chewy

Frisco Bento Interactive Puzzle Dog Toy
$18.65 at Chewy
Offering a moderate level of difficulty, this problem-solving game features sliding pieces and nooks where you can hide small treats or kibble. Suitable for all breeds, it's a great way to provide your pup with some mental stimulation. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.