5 Indoor Exercises to Keep Your Dog Active: Even in Small Spaces

Exercising Your dog Indoors

Not every day is a perfect sunny day. Sometimes you just can’t get out for a walk or go to the dog park.

And you know your dog is happiest and healthiest when he gets a good workout!

Fear not!

There are simple exercises you can do with your dog in your own home … even a tiny home, and you don’t need any special equipment!

What You’ll Need

You’ll just need a few common household items to get started exercising you dog indoors. Let’s make sure your best friend gets all his steps in!

  • Hallways
  • Doorways
  • Furniture
  • Pillows
  • Plastic storage bins
  • Your dog’s favorite treat or toy

Now you have your “exercise equipment” ready, let’s get started with some fun indoor dog exercises.

5 Indoor Exercises For Your Dog

Run And Jump

Just 10 minutes back and forth of this one will get your dogs panting!

You’ll need: A hallway, a doorway, and 2 plastic storage bins.

  • Place one plastic bin in the doorway
  • Place the other at the end of the hallway
  • Stand at one end of the hallway
  • Toss your dog’s toy or treat down the hall and through the open doorway

Now those storage bins are hurdles for jumping!

Run and Jump

Bend, Twist And Reach

Bowing and stretching is a natural way for your dog to release tension … so it’s a great choice when he’s not getting enough physical activity. 

You’ll need: A table with a low base, and a treat or toy.

  • Safety first! Make sure the table’s secure. Remove items that could be knocked over.
  • Place the treat or toy in the center underneath the table
  • Let your dog try to get hold of the treat or toy
Bend, Twist, Reach


Crawling is a natural behavior bred into some herding and hunting dogs. The Crawl is an indoor exercise you can do with your dog.

You’ll need: A dresser and 2 storage bins.

  • Open the middle drawers of the dresser
  • Place the bins in front of the open drawers to make a tunnel
  • Place your dog at one end
  • Stand at the other end yourself
  • Coax him through the tunnel

Up! Up!

Lifting himself up onto his hind legs and balancing is great for your dog’s core strength.

You’ll need: A high backed armchair or sofa, and some delicious treats.

  • Place the treat on the corner of the chair back (or on the armrest for smaller dogs) 
  • Let your dog reach up and grab the treat
Up! Up!

RELATED: A cure for dog depression …


Digging is a really instinctive activity for dogs. It’s also a very tiring exercise! Using his front paws to pull the pillows toward him creates a similar motion to actual digging. 

You’ll need: A narrow space (between the side of the sofa and the wall works well); some old pillows or heavy blankets, treats or a toy. Place the treat or toy in the space and then stuff the space with the pillows or blankets.

Note: You’ll want to use older pillows or blankets as they can get a bit shredded by the digging!

There are two levels to the digging exercise.

Starter Level

  • Let your dog see the treat or toy
  • Make sure he watches you place it under the pile of pillows or blankets
  • Encourage him to dig for the treat or toy

This teaches him how the game works … and he still gets the physical exercise from digging.

Dig For Treat

Level Up

Once your dog gets the hang of the game, move on to the next level.

  • Have your dog wait in the next room
  • Hide the treats or toy under the pillows
  • Let your dog search and sniff out his hidden reward

This game has several benefits:

  • Searching gives your dog something to focus his mind on, so it’s a great mental workout.
  • It gives him a job to do.
  • He gains confidence (and a reward!) when he succeeds. You can celebrate his victory with him!

With a little creativity, exercising your dog indoors can be fun for both dogs and humans! 

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