Activities For Shar-Poos

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Introduction

If your dog is the fun-loving Shar-Poo breed, you will already know that this is one dog who loves to have fun. A combination of the Poodle (renowned for their intelligence) and the Chinese Shar-Pei (a devoted pooch), the Shar-Poo is a winning combination. They are a great companion who is moderately active but not hyper, with perhaps a touch of wilfulness which patience and training can be overcome. A bored Shar-Poo will start looking for things to do, which is never a good situation. From weeding the flowers from the garden, to chewing your expensive handbag - they will try anything. This is where you have to be one step ahead of your dog and provide plenty of variety, puzzles and challenges to keep them mentally stimulated and happy. Try varying your walking route, take your dog out with you when you shop (a great training practice) or just take them along with you when you visit friends. Remember to brush up on their manners as no one likes a naughty dog. Good manners and obedience are vital to enable you to take your beloved Shar-Poo wherever you go.

Nose Work

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Boxes
Treats
A six foot leash (minimum)
Activity description
Any dog can play this game as all dogs have a keen sense of smell. This activity mimics the detection dog work such as security at the airport or police work. In it's simplest form, you simply hide some yummy treats in every second or third box, and get your dog to find the treats. Start with an open box, then make it more difficult by hiding the boxes in a defined area with closed lids. Nose work is ideal to train your dog to focus, and how to solve a problem - find the treats! In advanced nose work, specific odors or scents are used and your dog has to find the article to get a treat. Items can be a part of an old sweater or a worn out shoe. Rest your dog between sets of nose work. Just work them for a couple of minutes, then break. They don't have to find all the treats before the rest. And don't distract your dog by patting them when they are 'working', you want them to focus fully on what they are doing.
Step
1
Set the game up
Start with six boxes with their lids open. Place your dog away from the work area as you don't want them to see where you hide the treats. When you are done, bring in your dog and let them investigate the boxes (use a command such as 'go find') and watch what they do. They are allowed to eat the treats they find which will motivate them to keep playing.
Step
2
Rest between find sets
Each find set should be only two to five minutes. Then, remove your dog from the work area and rebait it with treats. Bring your dog back in and repeat. Allow a drink of water between sets as it can be hard work for your pup. Do at least six or eight sessions before moving onto a hard version.
Step
3
Increase the difficulty
Time to take the game to a new level. Close the boxes loosely to make finding the treats harder. Or you could put the boxes up higher than the floor such as on the stairs, or even put a box inside another box. Test your dog's skills. Don't give them treats directly, let them be motivated to find them. It is a lot of fun, and is great mental stimulation for your pup.
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Beachcombing

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Sunny Day
Free
Normal
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Basket
Doggy Waste Bags
Leash
Activity description
Rocky, or some sandy, beaches are great for lovers of those delicate, artistic shells that wash up. Why not take your dog with you and they can help you to find the shells? You can teach them to gently pick them up and put them in the basket. Your Shar-Poo will feel so important to be helping you with this task. It is a great way to train your dog without it seeming to be training. In fact it will be fun! Be prepared for your dog to be distracted once in a while by a crab or maybe just a rock. Giving them the occasional reward for their finds will sharpen their focus. The fresh salty air, the sunny beaming down, and the wind in their ears, what dog wouldn't enjoy a working day like this? Before you go, do your research and make sure that you are allowed to remove the shells from the beach - in some areas their are laws regarding this activity.
Step
1
Set forth early in the day
Get out and get busy before the heat of the midday sun. Early in the morning is a lovely time of the day. It is cooler which is good for your dog plus there are fewer people about which can be distracting for your dog. Take a basket or a bag to drop the shells into. Spend some time showing your dog what to do, such as turning over smaller rocks to find the shells hiding underneath.
Step
2
Take a break
Remember this activity is supposed to be fun, so have a few breaks where your dog can go for a swim or chase a ball. Sit down for a long cool drink of water, then relax in the sun for a while. Finding shells is a lot of mental and physical work for your dog, but they will love the outing and being your helper.
Step
3
Take some photos for memories
Remember to take some photos of your dog searching for shells, placing shells in the basket, and even sitting still with a shell on their head! These are the times memories are made. Make this day one to be remembered. It will tire your dog out and they will have had valuable time with you - their special human.
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Music Magic

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Any Day
Free
Easy
10 - 60 min
Items needed
playlist of songs
Activity description
Wet days can be a challenge to manage - what can you do that is a little different from other activities you have planned for your dog? Well, you could have an old-fashioned music session. Don't have the music too loud - remember your pup's sensitive ears! But singing is a great way to make the time pass, it gives a happy feeling, and tends to make the day seem brighter. If you are singing away, your dog may just want to join it. Talk about the yodelling twosome! Some tunes just call for a dance so feel free to hip hop around the house. Your dog will follow suit and you can teach them a few dance moves. Make sure your clear any delicate items out of the way, just in case one of you bumps into them. It will wear some of that pent-up energy off your dog, and teaching them some dance moves is like learning a new trick. But above all, it will be fun, and that is how it should be.
Step
1
Make a playlist of songs
Start a playlist of all your favorite songs so that they are handy for wet times like this. Clear an area in case you feel like dancing. With some tunes, your feet and your dog's paws will just start tapping - you won't be able to help yourselves.
Step
2
Get rocking and rolling
Let that energy out - start to dance and invite your dog to join in. At first, they will just race around and bark at you. But once they get over that, teach them how to stand on their hind feet with you holding their paws and teach a few dance steps. Dogs are so eager to please they can learn a lot of good moves!
Step
3
Time to relax
Use the slow gentle songs as a time to sit with your dog and relax. Croon along to the tune and get your dog to join in. You can bark or yip yourself to give them the idea. This can be a lot of fun and who knows, you may end up as a famous duo! Stranger things have happened!
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More Fun Ideas...

Pet Pamper Session

Some days are just meant to be a relaxing day. Take a cold wet day, what can you do to make this type of day interesting for your dog? Give your dog an intensive grooming session. Rather than a bath, just give your Shar-Poo a good rub down with a soft damp cloth. Make sure you wipe any skin folds or wrinkles out and dry them carefully to prevent infection or fungus growths. Check their ears and clean them gently. Do the same with their teeth; rather than the two minute scrub you normally do, why not give their teeth a real scrubbing - but keep it gentle and praise them as you do it. Then its time for a nail trim and file, talk about a pamper session!

Garden center

Check before you go that the garden center will allow your well behaved Shar-Poo to come into the outdoor garden center with you. These large stores are a wonder to wander around and are a pleasant way of filling in time. So many plants to see (for you) while your dog will love all the smells. It will be something different for your dog to experience, just keep them on a leash and practice their training such as sitting on command or lying down and staying put while you investigate a new plant.

Get Social

Start your training (aka fun activities) when your Shar-Poo is young. Once they can walk around home on a leash without fighting it or trying to lead themselves, venture out into the wide world. All dogs benefit from mixing in society, it is how they learn. The more people and other dogs your pup meets, the more adaptable and social they will become. Going to markets, walks along the beach, or even joining puppy school are all great meet and greet activities. Visit friends and family (they will adore your puppy) or take them to a pet-friendly café and watch as they win the hearts of patrons and staff alike.

Conclusion

Hopefully we have given you some great ideas for entertaining your Shar-Poo. Most of your normal activities can be modified to include them. Take them along to your exercise class and you may find that they try to copy your moves. If you are going for a run, include them. If your dog isn't quite fit enough, teach them to ride a skateboard and you can pull them along which provides a more intense exercise for you. Work your dog up to a level of fitness, don't just expect them to go from porch pooch to marathon leader in a day. Your dog is willing to try anything just to please you, so be patient, be consistent and you will be amazed at what your dog can learn to do. And it is all under the guise of having fun - and what dog wouldn't want that!