6 ways to have a dandy dog time

7 Nov

Every morning at about 8 a.m., my shih tzu wags his tail and barks to wake me up. His leash is on my bed and he has the most persuading face while he waits for me to get up. Like most shih tzus, he’s ready to play a game where he can run and exercise.

Many owners forget that playing with your shih tzu is just as important as feeding him and brushing his fur. Like all humans, dogs do not enjoy spending the day at home just eating and going to the washroom; dogs need a way to burn off their energy and excitement that comes every morning. According to behavioural scientists, they say the purpose of play helps to develop motor and cognitive skills, not to mention strengthen social bonds. Though my shih tzu is only five, we have slowly bonded because of the different activities we play outside and inside.


Play ball

A shih tzu’s best friend is a toy ball that he/she can just run around chasing all day. This activity is a wonderful way to keep your dog active and happy outside of the house. It’s important when choosing to play this game that you buy the right kind of ball. Tennis balls are often the easiest and most convenient choice for pet owners, but the material on top can easily rip apart, and allow your dog to accidentally ingest it. According to Tony Woodward, a board-certified veterinarian, the fuzz on tennis balls do wear down your shih tzu’s teeth and may not be the best choice for a ball. The best choice of ball is a rubber ball so that dogs not only have a toy that is durable, but also safe.




Play Frisbee

According to a canine researcher, Dr. Dennis Shaffer, dogs who catch a Frisbee are applying their instinctive arithmetic. Frisbee throwing is not only fun, but also helps improve your dog’s coordination and navigation. For shih tzus, it may be tougher to teach since they are such a small breed, however, finding the right Frisbee and continuously letting your shih tzu play with the Frisbee will persuade him/her to play the game. You want to find a Frisbee that is light, and small, preventing injuries to your pet. When I taught my shih tzu to catch a Frisbee, I started by staying low to the ground and throwing it short distances and afterwards rewarding him. It worked since he’s able to catch Frisbees now.




Go Jogging

Just because your shih tzu is small, does not mean they can’t run with you in the mornings. At the end of the day, shih tzus are dogs who need cardio training and aerobic exercise to prevent obesity. When it comes to how long you should jog with your shih tzu, it depends entirely on age, body density, coat thickness and temperament. It is important to remember that you bring water for your dog since shih tzus need rehydrating with their thick fur. The first time I jogged with my dog, he got tired very fast and needed water. You can tell they want water when they’re breathing harder and their tongue is sticking out for a long time. Jogging does help my shih tzu’s endurance and keeps him in shape.






Obedience training

While at home on a rainy day, another great activity to do with your dog is to teach him tricks and commands. By taking the time to teach him tricks, you are strengthening a close and healthy relationship between you and your dog. You are creating boundaries and a line of communication with your dog that can help to prevent improper behaviour. At home, I try to teach my shih tzu one trick each week like bow, dance, and kiss. I like to do teach him these tricks not only because it’s fun to interact with him, but also I get to show it off later to my friends. I think the great thing about this activity is that you add something more to your relationship with your dog. Your dog is not only your companion, but a friend that you play with.




Tracking is my shih tzu’s favourite pastime, and he adores playing it with different people. Tracking involves letting your shih tzu use his snout to find the object that you have hidden in your house. You can also alter this activity to have the dog look for you in the house. According to Alexandra Horowitz, a dog-cognition researcher at Columbia University, a dog’s snout is the primary way dog’s gather information in the world. Human gather most of their information from vision, but for dog’s vision is a back-up. It sort of explains why dogs enjoy sniffing other dog’s butts and enjoy sniffing strangers before playing with them. My shih tzu uses his nose to smell everything in the house from food to toys, which is why this activity is a great way to stimulate a shih tzu’s sense of smell.


Tug of war

Many trainers and policeman use this activity to improve dogs’ self-control. It helps to tire dogs out as well as reward them for high-driven behaviour. There is a debate on whether this activity may encourage aggressive behaviour or not, however, according to a study done in 2002, it has no negative effects on the relationship between the dog and you. In addition, my shih tzu doesn’t really become overwhelmingly aggressive when I play this game and he can easily be controlled since he is such a small dog. However, it’s crucial to play this game the right way. You must always start the game with your dog sitting and displaying still behaviour. When you are playing the game with your shih tzu, you must not let his teeth touch your skin and if he does, you must discipline him. The game should always end with a command for him to drop it right away so you retain the control throughout the whole game. This game is a fun way to play with your dog’s strength and challenge him, but it’s also important to know the rules.







One Response to “6 ways to have a dandy dog time”

  1. Lindsay November 8, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    Your dog sounds cute. I wish more people would run with their small dogs!

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