A Dozen Easy Ways for Your Shihpoo to Get Plenty of Exercise


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Our two Shihpoos have very different personalities. The older one is laid back while the younger one is always on the go. Regardless of their personality, all Shihpoos need sufficient exercising during the day to lead a healthy life.

So, how do you exercise your Shihpoo?

You can exercise your Shihpoo in many more fun and enjoyable ways than just walking or jogging. A Shihpoo can also get plenty of daily exercise in 25 to 30 total minutes through playing games like fetch, hide-and-seek, tag, and chase the laser light, whether indoors or outside, in the summer heat or in light winter snow.

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Shihpoos love to run and can enjoy a leisurely mile or two jog with their owner

Indoor or Outdoor, Winter or Summer, Shihpoos Love Play

Exercising your Shihpoo can be a fun and rewarding time for owner and dog alike, whether indoors or outdoors, winter or summer. Take advantage of your Shihpoo’s natural curiosity for novelty coupled with the athleticism inherited from his or her Poodle parent.

Like most dog breeds, Shihpoos love play time. If it involves sprinting and chasing, their evolutionary instincts, all the way back to their wolf ancestors, push even the tiny teddy bear puppy of a Shihpoo to run after moving objects.

Exercising your Shihpoo can take just 25 to 30 minutes a day, whether all at once or in bursts. Let’s start with the easiest and most convenient opportunities to give your Shihpoo some intensive activity to get its heart racing, stretch its muscles, and, more importantly for you as the owner, burn any excess energy your puppy is saving up.

Exercising Shihpoos Indoors Can Be Enough for Your Puppy

Let’s face it. Shihpoo families are not generally looking for a canine companion who will join them on jogs about town. They want small companions who will enjoy cuddling with them, be the center of attention during visits with friends and family, and be easy enough to carry and hug both at home and on errands.

Regardless of the reason you have a Shihpoo, your Shihpoo needs exercise. Fortunately, it may not require hours of foot trails or walks along the beech (as fun as these may sound). Shihpoos can get sufficient exercise in one 25- to 30-minute playtime or in 5- or 10-minute long games and activities through the day.

  1. Fetch: Your Shihpoo will seemingly be willing to play this game endlessly. All you need is a ball or a chew toy you can throw. We prefer a ball because it can roll further than we can throw. Avoid foam and fabric toys. If your Shihpoo is like our, he or she will destroy foam and fabric toys within an hour. Shihpoos love to tear and pull at stuffed animals until there is nothing left. Consider a strong, chewy rubber or plastic chew toy like a rubber ring or a squeaking ball from Chewy. Even a puppy will have no trouble chasing after the toy. If he or she does not bring it back, though, you may have to incorporate some treat incentives. I placed on in my palm on the floor (palm up) for when my first puppy would bring back the toy. It didn’t take long for him to catch on. You will want to teach your puppy the “drop” command so this game does not turn into a one-sided Tug-of-war. If you have stairs in your home, consider incorporating them into your game of fetch. Puppies may not be able to climb or descend stairs, but 10+ lb full-grown Shihpoos should have no trouble. 
  2. Tug of War: This is another game that your Shihpoo will want to play endlessly. A ring (like the one linked above) or rubber bone, a rope or any object your Shihpoo can grab in its mouth can serve as the primary object of this game. As the name indicates, you try to pull the object out of your dog’s grasp. Be careful not to pull to hard or to jerk it away. You can damage your dog’s teeth otherwise. Since the tugging does not require any excessive type of energy on your dog’s part, you will want to incorporate fetch into your war. After getting the item free, throw it for your puppy to retrieve. As mentioned above, teach the dog the “drop” command. Otherwise, you may never get this ball or ring free.
  3. Tag or Chase: Your Shihpoo will naturally chase you if you start to run away (at whatever speed you feel appropriate). Teens and children will be particularly suited for this game. Once your puppy has chased you from one room to another, turn around, raise your arms and pretend to chase it. This game can often end when you simply collapse on the floor and let your Shihpoo jump on you and lick you till you need a shower.
  4. Hide and Seek: Like tag, hide and seek takes advantage of your Shihpoo’s instincts to chase and explore. Start by hiding a toy behind a pillow or under a cushion. If your puppy loses interest, include a treat with the toy. Teach your puppy the “Stay” command and hide the toy around a corner (or, even better, at the top of the stairs). Finally, start hiding it in another room. Your Shihpoo will get his or her exercise by sprinting from one place to another in search of the toy. Be sure to praise your puppy once the toy is found.
  5. Ice Cubes Scoot: Honestly, I have read of this one but have not had success with it for our Shihpoos. The idea is you place an ice cube on the smooth kitchen floor (carpet will not work). Shihpoos love ice cubes (this much I can attest to) and will try to grab it between their teeth. The right size ice cube will resist being picked up, and the puppy will continuously scoot it back and forth across the floor. Our ice cube maker produces half-moon-shaped “cubes” that our puppies easily pick up, but you may have more success.
  6. The Treadmill: If you have a treadmill and want to use it for something more than just a place to hang your clothing (hey, no judgments here… I’ve been there and done that), give your Shihpoo a chance to enjoy a walk on it. Turn it on low, and set puppy in the middle. I would recommend not leaving your puppy alone and that you set a timer. Your puppy may not know how to get off the treadmill so be ready to remove him or her after 20 or 30 minutes (or sooner if he or she needs some water).
  7. An Agility Set: You can create your own obstacle course at home or find one online or at a local pet store. The idea is to get your Shihpoo to jump and run and swerve while playing with you. It may involve a form of tag or chase, but it can also be fun for your puppy to learn his or her own capabilities. You will likely need to incorporate a treat into the completion of the course, at least early on.
  8. Laser Pointer Light: Cats are not the only creatures who enjoy chasing a laser light. Shihpoos are generally curious enough to find the small red light dot on the carpet and the wall fascinating enough to stay occupied for quite a while. If you move it back and forth across the floor, you can exercise your puppy from the comfort of your armchair or couch.

Shihpoos Love Outdoor Activities Too

  1. Walks and Jogs: Shihpoos will love walks and jogs with you just about as often as you are up to it yourself. They are dogs, after all. Keep in mind, though, that if your Shihpoo inherited a short snout from its Shih Tzu parent, you will probably need to limit the amoung of outdoor activities you involved your puppy in when the summer heat soars. Dogs with short snouts are prone to overheat more quickly than other dogs.
  2. Play Time in Shallow Snow: If you live in a snowy climate, you may worry that your Shihpoo will not see the light of day or experience fresh air for months at a time. Shihpoos, especially when their coat is full, will quite enjoy romping through snow, at least for short periods of time. However, I would recommend that for snow deeper than 3” or 4”, you stay with and even keep your puppy on a leash while you play. You don’t want him or her disappearing into a hole they can’t get out of.
    If you take your puppy for a walk in winder, consider using a paw wax for protection.
    You might also consider some sturdy nonslip booties to help your Shihpoo keep its footing on slick sidewalks. Additionally, such booties will keep your puppy’s paws from potential harm cause by ice melt products on drive ways and walk ways. You might find some for less than $10, but expect to pay in the $30 range for quality.
  3. Water Play in Shallow Pools and Ponds: Some breeds were developed for water activities, such as Labradors and and Retrievers. While your Shihpoo might inherit a love and skill for swimming from its Poodle parent, he or she might also inherit a from the Shih Tzu parent its minimal love for water and its lack of swimming dexterity.
    That said, your Shihpoo may or may not enjoy playing in water. For that reason, if you want to find out, use a shallow pond or pool and stay close. If you think you might take your dog into a deep body of water hold on to him or her just in case, consider all those nasty gashes you might get from your Shihpoo’s nails in case he or she tries desperately to escape the water.
  4. Dog Parks: Shihpoos can be very social dogs. Thirty minutes or so at a local dog park can be a bit of heaven for your puppy. Be aware of your own Shihpoo’s social tendencies. While some will love interacting with other, and usually larger, dogs, your Shihpoo may be wary of them. To find out, try going to the park at a time when there are just one or two other dogs. If your puppy enjoys the park, you may not need to do much else in the way of exercising for the rest of the day.

Why Is Exercising Your Shihpoo so Important?

Exercise will benefit your Shihpoo in the same way it will benefit your own health. Daily exercise, along with a healthy diet, will promote not only a longer life but one of better quality. That means fewer veterinarian bills for you as well. An even more immediate result that most owners will greatly appreciate how daily exercises of 30 minutes or so will reduce your Shihpoo’s tendency to bark excessively.

Shihpoos enjoy cuddling up with their owners and getting some one-on-one time. Many Shihpoo families choose the breed for this very purpose. As relaxing as it is to have a sweet, little fur ball resting on your legs, keep in mind that your Shihpoo also needs exercise every day. This does not mean you need to take him or her on a two-hour play date with other dogs at the dog park.

Shihpoos Young and Old Love Cuddling on a Comfortable Lap but Need Exercise

Related Questions

How long does it take to potty train a Shih-poo?
Most Shihpoos can be potty trained within a matter of a two weeks with your concerted and coordinated effort. If you do not expect perfection thereafter, you can train a four- or five-month old to do all his or her business outside if you are consistent in your training.

Can Shih-poos be left alone?
While Shihpoos can be completely contented to lay on your lap for hours, do not leave them by themselves for extended periods. If you must leave them at home for the day, an apartment or kennel will provide them with the comfort and security they need. Someone should offer them mid-day potty and food breaks, though.

Todd Christensen

Founder and lead blogger at ShihpooCentral.com, Todd loves his family's two Shih-poo puppies, Titus Rex and Stark Antonio (aka Sir Titus Whitus and Baron von Wigglebutt). He and his wife have four wonderful human children as well, and he doubles by day as a financial educator facilitating budgeting, credit building and debt elimination workshops.

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