Indoor Games For Border Collies

Indoor Games For Border Collies

Originally bred as sheep-herding dogs, Border Collies are bundles of joy and energy. Today, they’re no longer working dogs, instead retiring to a peaceful life as our companions.

But that doesn’t mean that they’ve left behind their drive for activity and fun!

When you can’t go outdoors, here are some good indoor games for Border Collies.

Indoor Games for Border Collies 

Border Collies are incredibly energetic dogs, so they need a lot of stimulation and exercise to stay happy. This can make it a challenge to find activities you can do inside that will meet their needs.

The right indoor games for this breed will entertain, excite, and engage them to play.

Why Are Indoor Games Needed Sometimes?

1.   Bad Weather

Even if it’s too hot, cold, or rainy where you live, your dog still needs exercise – especially a Border Collie!

Indoor games allow you to meet their daily exercise and activity needs without bringing them out in bad or dangerous weather.

It can also be a great distraction for weather that your dog finds uncomfortable or frightening. 

2.   Owner Tiredness

Dog owners are human beings and have their fair share of days where they’re just too tired for a full outdoor excursion. But if you don’t give your Border Collie the exercise they need, they might get antsy and act out!

Having a cache of indoor games to use can ensure that you get to take care of yourself and your dog at the same time. 

3.   Burning Off Extra Energy

Sometimes, a Border Collie just has a little too much energy for a certain time of day, even after they use up a lot of it outdoors.

When you need a quick way to help your dog burn off a little extra energy so they can wind down, an indoor game is a convenient option to reach for.

4.   Keeping A Dog Busy

If you have something important you need to focus on at home, an indoor game can help to keep a boisterous Border Collie busy.

They’ll be distracted by their game, leaving you with the space necessary to complete your chores, meetings, or handle whatever needs to be done.

5.   Enrichment 

When outdoors, dogs can get easily distracted and may have trouble focusing on more mentally demanding games or tasks. A Border Collie will likely prefer to run and prance when outside, and that’s totally fine!

Border Collie Playing Inside With Owner

But indoor games add some extra enrichment to their brains and problem-solving skills. They’re a great option for mental stimulation!

7 Indoor Games You Can Play With Your Border Collie

1.   Treasure Hunt

To play this game, put your Border Collie in another room. Choose a favorite toy or some kibble or treats and hide them in accessible areas in a chosen, safe space.

Once you’re done hiding the items, let your dog out and tell them to go look for their toy or treats! 

You might have to help your dog the first few times, but they’ll pick up, eventually.

Once they get very good at the game, you can up the ante by hiding treats inside other items and encouraging them to really go looking!

Indoor games like this encourage Border Collies to use their sharp noses and keeps their brains stimulated.

It activates their natural desire to explore, lets them sniff around, and there’s a fun reward at the end!

2.   Flirt Poles

Flirt poles look like those dangling cat toys on a stick, but they’re larger and perfect for a Border Collie. All you need is to either make or purchase one, then introduce it to your dog and start wiggling it around.

This is a great activity to do when you’re a little tired. You’ll be able to sit down and simply wave the pole.

Meanwhile, your dog will get tired and burn off energy while you rest! It can also help to mentally stimulate a bored pup.

It’s worth noting that not all dogs may engage well with Flirt Poles. However, a Border Collie’s prey drive and natural inquisitiveness should encourage them to play along!

3.   Food Puzzles

Making your dog work for their food is a surprisingly great indoor game to play.

There are lots of food puzzles (also called “treat dispensers”) readily available in pet stores and online. You can also make your own following a tutorial or your own creativity. 

Simply put a few pieces of kibble or a couple of treats into a food puzzle and leave it for your dog to find. A Border Collie’s sharp nose will quickly inform them that something yummy awaits inside.

Food puzzles give you the chance to keep your dog busy while mentally challenging them and engaging their brains.

Border Collies are smart and will appreciate those challenges, especially with food motivating them.

4.   Which Cup? 

To play this, you just need three cups.

Let your Border Collie watch you put a treat or piece of kibble underneath one of those cups. Then, slowly shuffle the cups around a few times while your dog watches.

When you’re done, encourage them to try and locate the treat. Lift the cup that they indicate and reward them for getting the answer right.

Which Cup? is a great game to challenge your dog’s memory and intelligence, building their thinking skills with food as motivation.

It’s also pretty low-effort on your part, which makes for a win for you, too!

5.   Hide-and-Seek

This is like Treasure Hunt, but with humans instead of toys or treats!

Place your dog in a certain room and tell them the commands “sit” and “stay”. Walk away slowly until you’re out of their line of sight, then call them to come and find you. Be ready with treats or praise! 

This is a great game because it reinforces training commands and still engages the same benefits as Treasure Hunt on top of that.

When you first play this game, make it easy for your dog by standing right outside the room. Over time, hide in harder and harder places! 

6.   Tug

Tug is an awesome game for a Border Collie, and most of them aren’t picky about the specific tug toy you use. You can use special tug rope toys or just make one yourself with an old towel or a sock tied in a knot.

Engage your dog to grab the toy and tug at it, and tug back at the right strength for your unique dog’s abilities. 

Tug helps to engage a dog’s muscles and natural prey drive while also giving them something exciting to sink their teeth into.

It’s a great way to burn a lot of energy at once. Plus, if you have two dogs, they’ll probably enjoy playing tug together!

7.   Doggy Soccer

Doggy Soccer is a great bonding game to play with your Border Collie. Start by using a light soccer ball and presenting it to your dog.

They will realize, soon, that it’s too difficult for them to pick up and put in their mouth, which will prompt them to push the ball around with their paws or snout.

When your dog starts pushing the ball, praise them and tell them to keep doing it. Eventually, you can encourage your dog to push the ball to you. Soon, you’ll be playing “soccer” by passing the ball back and forth. 

This will burn off a lot of energy from your dog, especially if you have a large room to play in. It combines the naturally enticing nature of fetch with something a little more mentally stimulating!


Border Collies need lots of exercise and activity to be happy and avoid negative behavior. When outdoor play isn’t an option, try any of these 7 great indoor games to keep them occupied, engaged, and stimulated!