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Five Must-Try Winter Group Games for Dogs

“Can we get these supplies for an indoor craft project, Mom?”

Brrrrr. If you live anywhere in the northeastern part of the country, you echo that sentiment with us. The snow is falling and the mercury is dropping, but Rover’s roaming for play. With a little ingenuity and a bit of resourcefulness, you can heighten your pet’s sense of winter fun and frivolity with the following tried-and-true indoor festive games for dogs. When our mascot, Dexter gets cabin fever, here are some of the fun games we play in mixed company.

Dog Limbo
Using a standard agility hurdle, dogs get their Caribbean groove on with this variation of “How low can you go?” fun. Let the music play while dogs walk under the limbo stick, lowering the bar a notch each round. The last dog to successfully go under the limbo stick without knocking it off wins. As an aside, I’ve actually judged a doggy limbo contest and it is incredibly fun, especially for the dogs who get oh so low.


Magical Mutt
Have each dog line up for some slight of hand and treat. Place a treat into one closed fist, keeping the other fist empty. Ask each dog, “Which hand?” When your dog touches its nose to the fist that contains the treat, reveal the treat and reward your dog. For a competitive spin, time each dog. The quickest canine is dubbed the winner. If you don’t engage with other dogs for group play, this is still a fun game to play with your dog one on one. On Thursday, my pal Katie from Slim Doggy and I revealing results of the Dognition test (on our respective dogs), which is also a fun indoor way to assess your dog’s ability to problem solve and much more, so stay tuned.


Musical Mats
Set up a few mats on the floor, just as you would when playing the human counterpart version. Dogs must go to their mats and sit when the music stops. Before the music starts again, remove one mat. Owners may encourage their dogs, but no pushing or pulling is allowed. The last dog with a mat wins.


Scooby Says
Remember the childhood game “Simon Says”? Dogs form a line in front of the “barker.” As commands are given, each dog reacts. Use fun, basic commands like “Sit,” “Down” and “Stay.” The last dog remaining is named the champ.

Paint Like “Paw-casso”

Dogs channel their inner Rembrandt with this activity. Mix together cornstarch, flour, water and food coloring to a thickened consistency. Or alternatively, use nontoxic acrylic paint. Put paint on art paper, place plastic wrap on top of it and let Bowser walk all over it. Remove the plastic wrap, allow to air-dry, then proudly display.


Winter skies need not deter the fun that can be had indoors. Keep the cameras ready, as these magical party memories are the kind that can be shared time and again.

What do you do to pass time with your dog when the weather is less than cooperative outside?


    1. We love indoor games! Hide and seek is a favorite one here. It was soooo cold out this AM at -4 in our neck of the woods. Stay warm, Sugar!

  1. What great ideas…and how much fun for you and your dog! I’m not sure they’d work so well with cats, although the ‘Magical Mutt’ could be a goer – my cats have a nose for food treats!

    1. Hmmm cats and musical matts or the limbo… not so sure MOL — but I like the idea of hide and seek where one person hides and the cat has to find you. Keep a treat in your hand when you hide. That would be a fun post, Pawesome Cats!

  2. For a minute there, I thought that Dex was advocating glue sniffing!
    Fun games for sure. We do a version of one of them and call it the Labby Limbo and use it as a rear leg and core strength exercise.

    1. ROFL – I was hoping someone would say something, and thanks for noticing that. I was fortunate to snap that photo at just the right moment. Ah, the life of a dog parent.

      That Labby Limbo sounds like a lot of fun!

    1. Dex won musical mats at an event in NYC. It is a lot of fun. The dog has to actually do a sit stay on the mat for it to count. What a riot.

    1. You have got to see it in person. I am going to see if I can muster up the video when I used to judge it. So much fun. A Dachshund won every time. He just walked right under that oh-so low bar BOL

  3. Excellent ideas. Our winters are generally mild, but our summer can be brutal. So I’ll be saving these for the dog days of summer. 😉 And I think Scooby Says is a must for our next obedience class!

  4. What great ideas! Now I think our boy Booth could get some enjoyment out of these! Little Miss Bailey on the other hand would rather snuggle up in her hoodie and stay warm!

  5. We go out and race like crazy for 5-10 mins at a time, we play in the 18ft agility tunnel Mom bought for us , we are all helping Bailie learn her obedience commands, and since Bailie and I started nose work, we have an indoor nose work course in the basement we practice our homework in (post coming on Friday). We still walk 2-3 times a day, but sometimes really short when it is more than -10F.

    1. Oooooh an agility tunnel is lots of fun – we set those up at the dog get togethers and they have a blast. Sometimes the dogs hide IN them with the ball BOL

  6. I like paint like Paw-casso MOL!! That sounds so much fun!! I know that friend Quint Cole of Holehaus Cats is an artist of some renown too. You could have a paw-tastic art gallery!

  7. Fun! Pierson is better at the limbo. Both Maya and Pierson can do the which hand trick except they paw at my hand rather than put their noses to it. Maya got second place in a similar musical mat contest when we were at a local pet festival. And Pierson would so win the Scooby Says game.

    1. That is such a fun trick, Dawn – the treat in hand one. Would love to see a video of your dogs doing the pawing thing – would be a fun blog post 😉

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