Activities For Kai Kens

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Introduction

The Kai Ken is one of just a handful of native breeds from Japan and is considered to be one of their National Treasures. They were developed as hunting dogs in the mountain province of Kai and they excel at trailing deer and boar through mountainous terrain. These are fairly active and intelligent dogs who need not only physical exercise on a daily basis but also require a great deal of mental exercise to keep them occupied and entertained.

Agility Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Tunnels
Weave Poles
Jumps
Teeter-totter
A-frame
Activity description

The first widely publicized agility event was exhibited at the Crufts dog show in 1978 and was based on a demonstration of agility at a county fair some four years prior to that. This dog sport involves several elements, such as tunnels, jumps, and weave poles that are set up as an obstacle course you to direct your dog through. Dogs are judged both on accuracy when navigating the obstacles as well as on speed. This moderately expensive, enjoyable activity not only engages your dog mentally but also gives them a physical workout. Kai Ken breed dogs are both quick and agile, and while they can be strong-willed, they are also very intelligent making them excellent candidates for this activity.

Step
1
Introducing the obstacles
Agility courses typically include between fifteen and twenty-two different obstacles and your canine companion will need to know how to navigate each one. Some of the standard obstacles that are used to construct agility courses can include contact obstacles like the dog walk, the A-frame, the crossover, and the teeter-totter, sometimes referred to as the see-saw. The most commonly used types of tunnel are the traditional tunnel and the collapsed, but the UKC also allows the hoop and crawl tunnels in their competitions. Hurdles can include the panel jump, the long jump, the tire jump, and the double and triple jump, and miscellaneous obstacles can include weave poles, the pause box, and the pause table. Each obstacle should be introduced individually before stringing them together.
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Putting it together
Once your canine companion has mastered each of these obstacles individually, you can begin stringing the items together. In order to set your dog up for success, it is often recommended that you start by just stringing together two or three of the agility tasks at a time, slowly adding more obstacles until your dog is confident with groups large enough for competitions, somewhere between fifteen and twenty-two tasks in total.
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3
Compete
While many pet parents choose to utilize this activity simply as a way to give their dog physical and mental exercise, many others choose to exhibit their dog’s abilities at competitions. Kai Ken dogs tend to have a friendly but determined nature, and they get along well with other dogs, and they enjoy and excel at competitive agility trials. Competing with your canine companion can help to strengthen the bond and improve communication between the two of you. Local dog sport training facilities and agility groups should be able to lead you to competitions that are appropriate for you and your dog.
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Hiking

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Hard
30 - 120 min
Items needed
Water
Harness/collar and leash
Dog shoes with traction
First aid kit
Activity description

Kai Ken dogs were developed in the area that they were named for, the old Kai province of Japan, the mountainous region where you can also find Mt. Fuji. They are right at home hunting or hiking in the mountains and are very sure-footed, allowing them to sometimes even climb trees after their quarry. These athletic dogs have a great deal of stamina and make excellent hiking companions, but due to their high prey drive and determination, they should be kept on-leash in order to avoid unexpected departures. The activity of hiking itself does not cost a great deal, but ensuring that both you and your pet have the appropriate safety gear can increase these costs. 

Step
1
Preparation
It is important to ensure that your dog is in good enough physical health to attempt this activity by getting a checkup with your veterinarian. Hiking is a strenuous activity and can stress the dog’s heart and muscles if your canine companion is not prepared and healthy. If your dog has never been on a long hike, it may be a good idea to start with short hikes to get them properly conditioned.
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The gear
If you are taking your dog along on a foray into the woods, supplies will be needed to ensure their safety. A canine first aid kit should include disinfectant, bandages, extra white socks in case they injure the bottom of their paws, tweezers or pliers, saline water to wash their eyes or wash out wounds, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory medications approved by your vet, a mylar emergency blanket, a towel, and something to safely remove ticks. Many hikers also outfit their canine companion with a dog pack in which to carry the dog’s supplies. The pack should fit tightly to avoid shifting and rubbing, which can cause damage to your dog’s skin, but not so tightly that it cuts into the skin or interferes with breathing or circulation. It is also wise to outfit your dog with protective dog shoes which both protect from sharp rocks and give them better traction.
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Hazards
Some of the most common hazards to hiking for your dog include exhaustion, dehydration, toxic plants, and wildlife. Be certain you have control of your dog to avoid the hazards presented by toxic plants and wildlife, and bring plenty of water and offer it frequently to avoid dehydration. It is also important to keep an eye on your dog for signs of exhaustion or distress and start your hikes slow and short to build up their stamina and strength as well as to toughen up the pads of their paws.
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Disc Dog

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
60 min
Items needed
Flying disc
Activity description

Disc dog is a team sport for dogs and their handlers that first began to get attention when a college student by the name of Alex Stein jumped the fence at a baseball game with his dog, Ashley Whippet. He and Ashley put on an impromptu performance that was nationally televised, and the spectators were awed by Ashley’s astounding jumps and incredible speed. The sport has evolved quite a bit since that day and has become a popular past time form many pet parents and their pups. It helps to encourage and cement the bonds between human and canine. Depending on your particular dog’s temperament, this sport can be simply an enjoyable way to improve your bond and provide both entertainment and exercise for you and your pooch, or it can be a competitive venture which can occur on local, nationwide, and even worldwide platforms.

Step
1
Preparation
This is a high-impact dog sport, and while most Kai Ken breed dogs will be up to the task, it should not be undertaken by dogs that are not in good physical health. A veterinary professional should perform an examination to ensure that your dog’s heart, respiratory system, and teeth are in good condition. Dogs that are under the age of eighteen months should not participate in any jumping or high-flying maneuvers unless it has been proven by x-ray imaging that the growth plates in their bones have fully matured in order to prevent permanent damage to their still-forming bones and joints.
Step
2
Discs
Choosing a disc for your dog to catch is an important decision. Although the game is sometimes mistakenly called Frisbee Dog, the plastic disc it refers to is typically a poor choice for this sport. The plastic that is used by the Wham-O toy company to make their Frisbees is not designed for a dog’s mouth and may splinter when they bite down on it, and the sharp edges could cause cuts and lacerations to the dog’s mouth. The soft fabric discs that are offered in most pet stores are a safer choice for general play, but they aren’t aerodynamic enough to compete with. Stores that specialize in dog sports may offer discs that are sanctioned for competitive play. There are two varieties of disc available on the market today, a fairly inexpensive light plastic disc that is easy to toss, but lasts a week or two at the most, or a more bite resistant disc that is more difficult to toss, but may withstand several weeks of use.
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3
Training
Essential obedience commands, particularly a consistent drop command and a rock-solid recall, should be mastered before your Kai Ken begins training for disc dog activities. You can train your dog to compete in any of three different varieties of disc dog; a long distance toss known as the QUADRUPED, in which throws range from around fifty yards to more than ninety yards, a short distance toss that is generally shorter than fifty yards, and an artistic freestyle competition, a performance that incorporates tricks and typically lasts between thirty seconds and two minutes.
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More Fun Ideas...

Scent Hurdles

In the canine sport of scent hurdles, teams of four dogs race relay-style down a straight track jumping over hurdles as they go. Once they have reached the end of the track they are presented with four dumbells, one of which has their owner's scent on it, to return to the start of the track. Kai Ken dogs are both quick and quite good at tracking, making them excellent candidates for this dog sport

Swimming

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for canines, providing both muscle development and cardiovascular stamina without stressing the joints. Kai Ken breed dogs are known to be good swimmers and will often follow their prey up trees and through rivers.

Conclusion

While the Kai Ken is an active enough breed that a large yard is definitely appreciated, they are also quiet and well-behaved enough to comfortably live in an apartment setting if given enough physical exercise. They have a stronger than average prey drive and will pursue their quarry with a great deal of tenacity, often climbing trees or fording rivers to reach their goal.