How to Design a Wag-Worthy Playroom for Your Dog (and Why You Should)

If you’re like most dog owners, your pup has the run of the house (and your life). But that doesn’t mean they’re always perfect residents. If you ever have to keep your pet confined while you’re away—or if you have to exercise them indoors—a doggie playroom might be the perfect solution.

Wait, a doggie playroom? Really?

Really! Yes, this might sound a tad far-fetched. But there are several perks to creating a safe, dog-centric space in your home that’s tailored to your individual needs.

For instance, dogs who can’t be trusted in the house by themselves could benefit from a canine-safe zone with barriers instead of a crate. Your dog will be able to expend more energy and ultimately be more comfortable when left alone.

And owners who let their dogs have free rein in the house still could find uses for a doggie playroom. Set it up as your go-to spot for playing with your dog indoors, and outfit it with your best energy-draining toys. That way, you’ll always have a method to exercise your dog when the weather isn’t cooperating or you just don’t feel like a walk. Or use it as a place to occupy your dog while you have guests, workers or any other scenario where you might need your pet safely out of the way for a bit.

Convinced yet? Then, follow these five steps to set up a “paw-some” doggie playroom.

1. Sniff out the right spot

A closeup of a dog's nose

The “right” space for your doggie playroom depends on how you—and your dog—will use it. Will you play with your pup in the space, or is this strictly a spot for her to safely and comfortably hang out while you’re away from home? Does your dog feel safer in a quiet area, or does she need to keep an eye on the central hub of the house? Does she live for watching activity out a window, or is that overstimulating?

“Almost any spare space in your home can double as a dog room: a laundry room, spare bedroom, or even a large walk-in closet,” according to Rover. “If you live in a small apartment, a baby gate or playpen provides a secure boundary, but can be folded up and stashed out of sight when you’re home.”

2. Be a watchdog

Whichever part of your home you choose for your doggie playroom, you must be able to completely dog-proof it. Even if your dog is already trustworthy in the house, give this play space some extra scrutiny. You want to be confident nothing will go awry when you leave your dog in the play area.

Rover suggests putting away items you don’t want in your dog’s mouth, removing any trash cans and taping down or hiding electrical cords. Use pet-proof gates if you need to set up a barrier. And if you have wood, tile or otherwise slippery floors, consider putting down some mats to prevent injuries. “Play area mats for kids are a good choice,” according to the American Kennel Club. “If you want something a bit more durable, anti-fatigue mats work great, as well.”

Plus, if you want to be the ultimate watchdog, invest in a camera to monitor your dog while you’re away. For bonus points from your pup, try the interactive type of camera that allows you to communicate with your pet and even remotely dispense a treat.

3. Go fetch some toys

Is it even a playroom without toys? Choose a variety to challenge your pup both mentally and physically, and consistently rotate what’s in the space. The AKC recommends treat-releasing balls and puzzle toys to keep your dog busy while he’s on his own.

You also can try setting up some simplified agility equipment, such as “a Hula-Hoop attached to a PVC stand,” that your dog can safely use with or without you present. Plus, “nothing beats a kiddie pool full of dog-safe balls,” according to the AKC. You know best how your dog plays, but don’t hesitate to throw something new into the mix.

4. Cater to the dog tired

French bulldog puppy sleeping with a teddy bear

Of course, there’s always the chance your pup will skip all the carefully chosen (and expensive) toys and head straight for a nap. So a comfortable sleeping spot is essential.

If there’s already furniture in the space that you allow your dog to nap on, you probably don’t need to add anything else. But especially when they’re left alone, some dogs might prefer a more enclosed spot to relax, such as a cuddly dog bed or crate. Some background noise from a TV or radio might help calm any anxiety. And make sure your dog always has access to clean water.

5. Have a ball

Setting up a doggie playroom shouldn’t be ruff work. It’s an opportunity for you to get creative and have some fun while you think like a dog. “You can install a dog den under the stairs, turn a closet into a puppy palace, or create a luxury crate with affordable DIY materials,” Rover suggests.

Skip anything overly elaborate or expensive, as your pup probably won’t appreciate it as much as you hope. All you have to do is provide your dog with a safe, enriching environment, and you’ll have a fur friend for life.

Main image credit: Photology1971/Thinkstock

36 comments

michela c
michela c15 hours ago

Thanks

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Ruth S
Ruth S7 days ago

Thanks.

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Chad A
Chad Anderson8 days ago

Thank you.

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heather g
heather g11 days ago

I approve of a safe playroom..... you can't have a watch-dog in a crate.....

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danii p
danii p11 days ago

Thanks

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danii p
danii p11 days ago

Thanks

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danii p
danii p11 days ago

Thanks

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Edo R
Edo R13 days ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Kay B
Kay B13 days ago

A play room is bigger than a crate but just as safe. Your dog will be much happier in a doggy-proofed play room. I don't know that I would trust taped down wires. Some dogs would be tempted to scratch and chew at it. A room with no wires would be safer. And watch out for things the dog can get wrapped up in or choked on or get a collar hung on or windows that can break easily.

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Carole R
Carole R13 days ago

Nice ideas. Lucky dogs. :0)

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