Activities For Japanese Chins

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Introduction

How do you find appropriate activities for a royal dog whose main purpose in life is to sit on your lap and provide companionship? These toy dogs are not necessarily as hardy as other toys but they do have a big heart and with encouragement will try new things. Before beginning any activity, assess your dog’s overall health and attitude. A Japanese Chin that has an extremely flat face will have difficulty breathing if they are in the heat too long or after strenuous activities. You will want to modify activities to fit your Chin’s ability. Do not become frustrated if they cannot do what other dogs do, they are unique and the main goal of any activity is to have fun and form a close bond.

Therapy Work

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Any Day
Moderate
Easy
1 Hour
Items needed
Therapy Vest (Optional)
Certification/Visit Log
Leash
Collar or Harness
Activity description

Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Therapy dogs accompany their owners into  hospitals, nursing homes, schools or even libraries to assist with giving comfort to those in need. A therapy dog must be well behaved and obedient to be able to visit with anyone from a young toddler to the elderly. Since Japanese Chins are lap dogs, they make excellent therapy dogs. They are able to comfort the elderly in nursing home setting, bring joy to a sick child in a hospital or even help a child learn to read by simply sitting with them as they read aloud. With a little dedication, your Japanese Chin can earn an American Kennel Club Therapy Dog title and spread some love and cheer to those who need it most. 

Step
1
Join a group
In order to become certified as a therapy dog, your dog must be a part of a certified and registered therapy dog organization. To find an organization closest to you, you can search the internet, contact the local kennel club or visit the AKC’s website. Check out the club before you join to make sure you are comfortable with the people and their mission.
Step
2
Perform required visits
To become certified as a therapy dog, your dog must perform a specific number of visits to an approved venue such as a hospital, nursing home or school. There are different levels and titles that your dog can achieve while doing their therapy work. Be sure to log your visits so you can earn titles as you and your dog provide a service to your community.
Step
3
Keep going
The top title that a therapy dog can earn is the THDD or Therapy Dog Distinguished title. A dog must have performed over 400 therapy visits before earning this title. It will take a long time before your dog reaches this status but once they do, do not stop! The joy that your Japanese Chin is bringing to those they comfort is worth so much more than any title earned. As long as you and your dog enjoy the company, keep visiting and making a difference to those in need.
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Trick Training

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
30 Minutes
Items needed
Collar & Leash (optional)
Treats
Activity description
Teaching your Japanese Chin a new trick can be very rewarding for both of you. All it takes is a lot of patience and a few treats to get them motivated. Chins are naturally curious and tend to use their feet a lot to bat at things or communicate with you. This natural propensity is a great place to start. Be sure to stay consistent with your training and commands given; too many words or commands can confuse them and make them unsure as to what you are asking them to do. Take your time and spend only short amounts of time working on a new trick. Once they have mastered a trick, move on to another trick but also make sure they do not forget about the tricks they know. Give them pop quizzes every now and then and plenty of praise and treats when they do them correctly.
Step
1
Start slow
Take your time and do not become frustrated if they do not understand right away what is expected. Since Japanese Chins love to use their feet, start by teaching them to “shake hands”. Give them a small treat every time they do it right. Always use the same command and the same motion. Lift their front paw and shake it while saying “shake” and then give them a treat. Repeat this action several times and then hold out your hand while saying “shake”; give them a treat if they hand you their paw.
Step
2
Add new tricks
After your Japanese Chin has mastered their first trick, build on their knowledge and abilities. For instance, after learning to shake hands it is relatively easy to teach them to give you a high five. You simply change the motion and the command word. Stay consistent and give plenty of praise. They will quickly learn to tap your hand rather than give you their paw for a shake. Once they have mastered a new trick, build on that new skill and see how much they can learn.
Step
3
Keep them guessing
After your Japanese Chin has learned a few tricks, do not let them get rusty and forget all they have learned. You should keep them guessing as to when their new skills will be put to the test. When you come home from work ask them for a high five or shake. If you have been successful in teaching them to put away their toys, ask them to do so throughout the day. This keeps them in tune with you and their minds sharp.
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Obstacle Course

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
45 Minutes
Items needed
Jumps
Rings
Tunnel
Weave poles
Treats
Activity description

 While agility is not usually something that Japanese Chins excel at, they can enjoy an obstacle course that you have set up at home or visit a public agility course. It is pretty easy to set up a small obstacle course for your dog but it can be somewhat pricey when you purchase agility equipment. You can use some children’s toys such as hula hoops or a kid’s tunnel rather than purchase the tunnel or hoop that is specifically for agility. You can even use small pillows as jumps instead of purchasing agility jumps. Since you are not going to be doing competitive agility it is okay to improvise! The main thing is that you and your dog have fun and get moving. This keeps them physically fit and gives them a chance to spend more time with you. Plan to spend about 45 minutes to an hour on this obstacle course activity but be sure to monitor your dog closely and do not let them get overtired or too hot since they are a snub nosed breed. 

Step
1
Set up the course
This may take a while if you do not have a course that is permanently set up. You may also check around your neighborhood and see if there is an agility course at a nearby dog park or if there is open play at the local kennel club before erecting your own obstacle course. Be sure to improvise where you can to save money; agility equipment is expensive and there are other items that can be substituted and you will still have fun.
Step
2
Run the course
Sounds simple enough, however, you will have to walk your Japanese Chin through the course a few times giving them praise and treats as they do each obstacle correctly. This takes patience and rewards to convince them to go through the entire course. Chins are not natural jumpers, so if you notice your Chin does not want to do the jumps, take those out and try something else.
Step
3
Reward and praise
After they have learned the course and have successfully navigated the obstacles, give them lots of praise and a reward such as a favorite treat or toy. Do not overdo it on the treats so they do not become chubby. This is about getting them moving and staying lean. Let them run the course a few times before you call it quits for the day and give them plenty of time to enjoy their time with you.
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More Fun Ideas...

Doggy Massage

Japanese Chins love to be on their owner’s lap. Therefore an excellent activity for both of you is a doggy massage. They simply lay on your lap and you gently massage their body to relax them and deepen the bonds between you, and best of all it is free! Gently massage their neck, back, legs and even their ears to ease any muscle aches or to simply give them a chance to enjoy your company. When massaging a Japanese Chin do not push or pull too hard, they have small bones and you can hurt them if you are rough.

Flirt Pole

The flirt pole allows your dog to play and chase an object without you having to do much work. This is basically a stick with a toy attached to the end of it that you either hold or plant in the ground. It provides plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation for your Japanese Chin and gives them the chance to chase something without having to leave the backyard. Flirt poles can be handmade or can be purchased pre-made; price of pre-made flirt poles will vary depending on construction and size.

Conclusion

Even though the Japanese Chin has royal roots, they still need to get outside to romp and play. While they cannot be treated like a big dog, there are plenty of activities that are suitable for a flat faced toy breed. Almost any activity can be modified for your dog’s needs. Research your options and determine the best fit for your dog’s personality and activity level. Chins can be a bit stubborn  and reserved when you first try something new, but stick with a while to see if they will warm up to the activity. If they absolutely hate an activity, move on to something else until you find something they really enjoy. The main goal is to keep them moving and in good shape.