flip board

When your pup gets bored, it can cause serious issues and destructive behavior. Especially in the summer and winter months, where the weather is unfavorable for months at a time, it’s important to find ways to keep Fido occupied indoors. We know how antsy dogs can get when they’re not able to run around in the yard all the time. The last thing you want is your pup to start tearing up your house or start gaining weight because it’s hard for them to get the exercise they need. We’re here to help you find engaging toys, and fun games to play with your dog when it’s hard to send them outdoors to burn off all of their energy.

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From puzzles to treat balls to flip games, even agility courses, the amount of interactive dog toys and activities for your pup  can be overwhelming.  As is tradition, however, Kai the Chihuahua and her paw-some puppy testers are here to help!  Outward Hound, Ethical Pet, Hyper Pet, even Starmark, Kai has seen them all and she’s here to give you her honest opinions, disclose her findings, and make her recommendations.  All this, so that you can ensure you find the best interactive toys for your dog(s), ensuring your hard earned dollar goes that much farther, and your dog enjoys their day that much more!

treat hiding game

One way to have fun with your dog indoors is by hiding treats around your house. Because dogs’ noses are so sensitive, this game can be a great way to keep your dog occupied. Simply take their favorite treats and hide them in places your pup can easily access. Tell them to find the treats, and let the games begin! Your pup will always be excited for treat time, and this will make all of your treats last longer. You may want to start with something simple, let your pup watch you hide the treat. As they get used to the game you can start hiding it in more discrete places. 

indoor/outdoor agility course

Agility courses are a great way to help keep your pup active no matter what the weather. You can purchase agility gear online, or simply use what you have around the house. We’ve found agility courses to be particularly useful in the winter. Oftentimes, dogs gain weight in the winter because they have a hard time going outside and playing during the day. The shorter days in the wintertime also make it easy for your pup to be sluggish all day long. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep your dog occupied indoors! An agility course will get them off of the couch and up running around (without damaging your furniture). 

You can make agility courses out of chairs, couches, blankets – almost anything that you have in your house. You can get your pup to jump over chairs, army crawl under things, and reward them at the end with their favorite treats! This will get you and your dog both off of the couch, and allow you to spend some quality time with each other. 

Pawhut agility Kit

agility course

The PawHut Agility Course Kit is an easy way to bond with your pup and keep them active all year long. This kit is great for both indoor and outdoor use; it’s made with soft, safe materials that won’t hurt your pup, or damage your house. This kit includes a tunnel, a high jump, weave poles, and a square pause box. We love this agility kit because it’s lightweight, easy to set up, and can be used for dogs of all sizes. The pieces are made with durable polyester which will prevent ripping, and allow your dog to play for hours on end. 

treat puzzles

One of the best ways to entertain your pup, without having to constantly give them attention, is buying purchasing an interactive treat dispenser for them. These are especially great for dogs that are motivated by food. They’ll get your pup excited for mealtime, and you won’t have to worry about your pup eating their treats too fast. They also keep your dog’s brain engaged which helps keep their mind sharp, even in old age. Treat puzzles will help your dog learn healthy eating habits, and they’ll stay occupied much longer! Check out one of our favorite treat puzzles below, and read our in depth review here. 

outward hound treat puzzle

treat ball

Now, this is a quality ball!  At a $15 MSRP, this ball comes in at a higher price-point. It is also significantly more friendly towards dogs of any size.  At 5 inches in height, it comes up to about chest level to smaller toy breeds; and while this puzzle treat ball could fit in the jaws of larger breeds, the construction is significantly more sturdy than it’s predecessor featured above.  The two halves slide independently of the green center strip, allowing the ball to do some interesting turns and swivels.  Add to that the green center of the ball is weighted off-center, and you have a ball that swivels, wobbles, and rolls every-which-way to create a level of unpredictability that your dog will appreciate to keep them involved.

Inside the toy, there are various flaps and poles. They keep treats jostling and making noise when the ball is pushed around by your pup.  This is a wonderfully innovative design for its cost and simplicity;  while ultimately it is still a level 1 toy, it’s a great first purchase in the interactive toy department.

One thing we noticed that seemed odd was that the openings for treats are directly opposite of each other.  This means if you’re loading the treat with a hole at the top, they’re falling right back out at the bottom.  You have to either cup your hand over the bottom hole while you load treats in, or you need to feed them in one at a time with the ball tiled.  Certainly not a deal breaker, but it does seem odd when you experience it firsthand, so it’s notable for you

trixie puzzle boards

The Trixie Puzzle Boards are a best seller, and now we know why! They’re available in a variety of levels, so once one puzzle gets too easy for your dog, simply advance them to the next level with another board! The “training” level is easy enough for any pup, and you can advance them as often as you’d like. With these boards your pup will exercise their brain and bodies to find the various treats hidden throughout. In our opinion, this is a must for food motivated dogs. There are three levels of boards you can try out for your pup, and you can slowly promote them up to harder boards when they get bored! Check out our in depth review here. 

indoor dog toys

Many dog owners find that their dogs become very inactive during the winter months because it’s too cold to send Fido out in the snow for long periods of time. This can lead to destructive behavior, weight fain, and sluggish behavior. It’s important to have indoor dog toys on hand that you can safely use in the house without the risk of breaking furniture. Your pup will always have something to play with, and you can find interactive options that will engage them during playtime.

chuckit indoor launcher

indoor launcher

The ChuckIt Indoor Launcher is the perfect addition to the ChuckIt Indoor toy line. Like the Classic Launcher, this toy allows for hands-free fetching, which can sometimes be messy. Instead of picking up a slobbery toy every time your pup brings it back to you, the Indoor Launcher allows for mess-free play. The Indoor Roller comes with this toy, which may not be the most compatible. You have to insert the Indoor Roller into the launcher on it’s end, which doesn’t naturally occur often while playing with your dog. The Indoor Ball is much easier to pick up using the Indoor Launcher, which is half of the purpose of the toy.

The Indoor Launcher is also much shorter than the Classic Launcher, which doesn’t allow for long throws. It is only 4.8 ounces and 3 inches x 4 inches x 18 inches. This isn’t much of a problem for indoor play unless you have a large space to play in. Indoor play will be much less messy if you pair the Indoor Launcher with the Indoor Ball.

This toy is perfect for rainy days, or dogs and owners who prefer to play inside without scuffing up walls and furniture. It is great for shoulder pain issues and makes repeated throwing much easier.

interactive toys

Interactive toys keep your dog engaged and prevent destructive behavior. Unlike traditional toys, they exercise both their bodies, and their minds. We love interactive toys because they keep our dogs occupied, and we know we’re getting the most out of our toys. They can teach puppies discipline, and even help senior dogs stay sharp in their old age. Check out our favorite interactive toys below, or check out an in depth review of all of our favorites here. 

ifetch launcher

dog launcher

The iFetch Launcher is one of the most popular automatic launchers for dogs. The balls are small and soft, making them great for both indoor and outdoor use. The iFetch launcher comes with 3 small balls, each 1.6″ in diameter. They’re great for dogs of all sizes, and you won’t have to worry about broken lamps! Your pup can play with it all day; without you having to wear out your arm trying to keep them entertained all day. This launcher can throw the balls 10, 20, or even 30 feet, depending on your needs. Simply help your dog learn to drop the ball into the opening, and the machine will do the rest!