Activities For Xoloitzcuintli Dogs

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Introduction

More commonly known as the Mexican Hairless dog or the Xolo, Xoloitzcuintli breed dogs are an ancient breed that was frequently kept by the Aztec people as a companion and were revered as a gift from Xolotl, the underworld god of lightning. Statues of Xoloitzcuintli dogs were placed in graves during burial as guides to the afterlife and they were believed to have healing properties. They are smart, sensitive companions who do best when given plenty of time and affection. It is also crucial that you socialize these little dogs as often as possible as they can otherwise become timid and anxious in new situations.

Teeth Brushing

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
5 - 10 min
Items needed
Canine Toothbrush
Canine Toothpaste
Activity description

 Xoloitzcuintli dogs, due to the same genetics that give them their hairlessness, often have incomplete dentition. While they don’t typically have trouble eating, the gaps in their teeth can occasionally make them more prone to developing cavities and gum disease. Untreated, these types of disorders can create chronic pain, cause additional teeth to be lost, or even result in bone loss in the jaw. These diseases can be expensive and difficult to treat, but taking a few minutes to brush their teeth on a regular basis is a simple and inexpensive way to help prevent the problems from occurring in the first place. 

Step
1
Toothbrush and toothpaste
A dog’s mouth is built very differently from human mouths, and canine toothbrushes reflect these differences. They are softer than the average toothbrush designed for human teeth, with long handles at angles that are better designed for the shape of a canine mouth. There are also canine toothbrushes that are designed to fit over your finger which some pet parents find easier and more convenient to use but don’t fully protect that finger from being bitten. While a toothbrush developed specifically for dogs is useful, a toothbrush designed for infants will do in a pinch. However, toothpaste developed for humans typically contains ingredients that are toxic for dogs such as fluoride and possibly xylitol, and the foaming action is typically unpleasant for canines, so a toothpaste developed for dogs is crucial.
Step
2
Getting started
Brushing the teeth is not a natural action for dogs, and many canines are initially resistant to the idea. In order to slowly acclimate them to this activity start by petting their muzzle while slowly lifting their lips, starting with just a few seconds at a time and working up to around half a minute, rewarding them in order to create a positive association with the sensation. Once they have become comfortable with you handling their lips, start rubbing their gums with a finger for up to 20-30 seconds, then reward them for their patience. At this point you can introduce the toothpaste and toothbrush, starting by putting a pea-sized dollop of canine toothpaste on the brush and allowing them to lick it off. Once they start looking excited when you pull out the toothbrush, you can continue to the next step.
Step
3
Brush
Once you have introduced all the components of brushing their teeth, you can start actually brushing. Gentle circular motions should be used to clean the teeth, and the focus should be on the canines, the outer surfaces that lie close to the lips, and the back molars. Most sources indicate that brushing the inside surfaces of the teeth is less critical and dogs tend to be more resistant to it. If dog resists, don’t force the issue as it can lead to an overall fear of toothbrushing. If bleeding gums or broken or chipped teeth are noticed, contact your veterinarian for further advice.
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Grooming and Skin Care

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Unscented Lotion or Oil
Canine Shampoo
Activity description

While not all dogs of this breed are hairless, the majority have little to no fur, leaving their skin exposed to the elements. The skin of the Xoloitzcuintle dog is thicker than the average dog, giving the dog a little extra protection, but they are still more prone to acne and dry skin, which can sometimes lead to skin infections. They don’t always need as much skincare as other hairless breeds, but some precautions should be taken in order to be certain that their skin remains healthy, helping to ensure that they live out their entire fifteen to twenty-year lifespan in good health. 

Step
1
Bathing
While Xolo dogs have a tendency to need more bathing than average, it is important not to overdo it. Too much bathing can dry out the skin and strip essential oils from it, leaving it more exposed to the elements. Bathing should occur on a regular basis, generally between once a month and once a week, depending on the condition of the skin, and a gentle shampoo developed for dogs should be used. The furred variety should also be bathed on the same schedule, then brushed with a stiff bristle brush or grooming glove.
Step
2
Skin care
The skin of hairless dogs is typically more susceptible to environmental damage, but while the skin of the Xoloitzcuintli is extremely soft and supple, it is thicker than average and somewhat resistant to damage. They are more predisposed to food allergies than other dogs, particularly peas and poultry and require high-quality food to maintain their skin health. Canine safe lotion or oil should be used on their skin on a regular basis, but applying it too often can lead to the development of more severe acne as it can clog the pores.
Step
3
Protection from the elements
Mexican Hairless dogs may be more affected by the cold than their coated counterparts, so they should be offered clothing such as a coat or sweater to protect them on colder days. Clothing should be removed when indoors, however, as leaving the clothing on too long can lead to clogged pores and more acne. Sunscreen developed for canines should be used when out in direct sunlight, particularly for those dogs with lighter colored skin.
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Canine Parkour

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Any Day
Free
Hard
20 - 60 min
Items needed
Sturdy Harness
Four to Six foot lead
Activity description

Parkour is a training discipline that can be a healthy way to exercise for both you and your canine companion. Originally developed in France in the 1980s, this method of training turns objects in the everyday environment into obstacles in a constantly shifting obstacle course. It is an exercise technique that can be employed just about anywhere, requires both you and your dog to use both your mind and your muscles, and requires very little equipment. The Xoloitzcuintli is an athletic and agile dog, skilled at balancing and climbing and has lightning fast reflexes. They tend to enjoy any adventure in which they can remain close to their human companions and in general, should make excellent parkour partners. 

Step
1
Gear up
While not much is needed in the way of gear, a sturdy, well-made harness attached to an equally sturdy four to six-foot leash is essential to keep your dog safe during this activity. This particular piece of equipment will help to ensure that you have the means to get your pooch out of trouble if they overestimate their abilities or make a misstep. The harness should be checked for defects, damage, or fraying each time, both before and after each training adventure.
Step
2
Training the basics
In order to safely navigate the terrain, your dog will need to be able to perform a few specific actions on command. Canine parkour sessions often include activities like backing up slowly, crawling under things, balancing on objects like logs, slender posts, and window sills, as well as jumping over gaps and navigating narrow passageways. Treats are a useful training technique; they should never be used to lure your canine companion into a situation in which they are uncomfortable or afraid.
Step
3
Go!
One of the great things about parkour is that you don’t have to wait for a specific time or get a lot of gear together. When you and your dog feel ready to go out for an exercise session, you can just walk out the door and go. It is wise to take the environment and climate conditions into account as well; wet and icy objects can lead to slipping and falling, and stone and metal objects tend to hold heat which can lead to burns on your dog’s paw pads.
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More Fun Ideas...

Flirt Pole Play

These dogs are very agile with a strong desire to chase things that move quickly. A flirt pole is built much like a large cat toy, with a lure attached to the end of a rope that is moved around enticingly with a long pole. Xolos have a great deal of agility and stamina, making flirt pole play particularly good as an exercise technique that can be done in a fairly small space.

Lure Coursing

These dogs are often driven by instinct and they typically have a strong prey drive. They are also very fast dogs that are known for their agility and ability to quickly change directions, making them excellent candidates for the fast-paced dog sport of lure coursing, although they are not eligible to earn titles with any of the major kennel clubs at this time.

Conclusion

Xoloitzcuintli dogs require a great deal of physical affection, attention to hygiene, and exercise on a daily basis in order to be healthy and confident dogs. They tend to be particularly attentive to their family and they respond well to structure and consistency but can become anxious and depressed when left alone for too long.