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Bernese Mountain Dog puppy

As many pet owners know, a bored dog with energy to burn can be a handful. One secret to a well-behaved pup is making sure they have enough appropriate mental and physical stimulation every day. Otherwise, they may find their own forms of entertainment, such as figuring out how the cupboard door works or shredding your favorite shoes.

A great solution is to have a dedicated indoor doggie playroom. This way, even when you’re stuck inside, your dog can get the stimulation they need without destroying your home. And, the great thing about an indoor space is that you can make sure your canine companion is staying occupied even when you are not there. It can also come in handy when you’re around but unable to give your dog your full attention, such as when you’re working from home. Here are some things to consider when creating a dog play area.

With-or-Without-You Dog Toys

Of course, your dog would much rather play with you, but you can’t be around them 24/7. So, design their playroom with items that allow your pup to play with you, but also without you.

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Choose a variety of interactive toys, such as tugs and balls, that you and your dog can enjoy together. Remember that dogs do get bored of toys, so it’s a good idea to have several different types and rotate them, leaving only a couple out at a time. Put the spare ones in a box. You can even teach your dog to put away toys. It’s a great trick that provides excellent mental stimulation.

For when you are gone or busy, consider treat-releasing balls and puzzle toys stuffed with treats. You could also leave your dog with a snuffle mat stuffed with a meal.

Create An Engaging Environment

If you have a dog that gets anxious when you leave, having a TV or radio on in their play area may be a good idea. You can even buy shows and music specifically designed for dogs that will occupy their brains while you are away or busy. Another option is an interactive pet camera that lets you talk to your dog and even give them a treat when you’re not there.

Dog Gates & Indoor Dog Pens

While dedicating a whole room to a dog play area would be ideal, most of us don’t have that kind of space. Instead, use baby gates or x-pens to create a contained area for your dog.

Dog-Friendly Flooring

Since your dog is going to be playing, that probably means there will be some running involved. If you have hardwood floors, it’s a good idea to put down mats that won’t slip, so your dog won’t injure themselves by skidding. Play area mats for kids are a good choice. If you want something a bit more durable, anti-fatigue mats work great, as well.

Additional Dog Supplies

After all that play, chances are your dog will need to take a snooze. Be sure to have at least one bed for them to nap on. Cuddly beds that are semi-enclosed or couch-style are favorites among many dogs. Finally, don’t forget a water bowl. It’s important to keep your dog hydrated.

With just a bit of time and a little imagination, you can create your very own dog Disneyland. Whether you’re leaving your dog at home, or leaving your dog alone while you work from home, they’ll surely be silently thanking you for easing their isolation woes.

The AKC is here to help owners with questions and concerns about COVID-19 and dogs. Find answers to your questions, plus at-home activity ideas, training tips, educational resources, and more on our Coping With COVID-19 hub.
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