This hybrid, though lively, doesn't need a lot of exercise simply because of its small size. As companion dogs, Shichons will usually adopt the same activity levels as their owners, and will fulfill a lot of their daily exercise needs just running around being their curious, playful little selves.
The typical adult Shichon, depending on its age and overall activity level, will only require about 30 minutes of proper exercise per day, which you can accomplish with a couple of short walks and a brief period of play. You can start exercising your Shichon puppy at 10-11 weeks old by taking it on very short (5-minute) walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows.
A few precautions to consider when exercising your Shichon: first, puppies younger than seven months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running, or navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. And regardless of age, all Shichons will need to be leashed when in public. These dogs are curious and social, and will run off in search of new playmates or environments if given the chance; they will also actually be considered prey by large dogs and other predators. A leash will help you control and protect your Shichon in these situations. And finally: Shichons form close bonds with their owners and will quickly suffer separation anxiety if left alone, so they'll respond much better to activities in which one or more of their human family members also participates. (Putting your Shichon out in the yard to exercise alone, in other words, won't do any good; the dog will probably spend the entire time barking and scratching at the door to be let back in!) Exercises you perform together are much better.
Safeguards aside, it's important to give your Shichon a little exercise every single day. Though sweet-tempered and affectionate, these dogs are lively and energetic, and if bored or restless they'll become disobedient, fussy, and ill-mannered. Consistent Shichon exercise will be great for the dog's peace of mind--and for your own sanity as well. A few exercise ideas:
- Walking: Two 10-minute walks per day is a good target
- Fetch: Can be played indoors or out; use the dog's favorite toy
- Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor, rainy-day activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
- Dog Park: If properly socialized, a Shichon will enjoy the company of other dogs
- Blowing Bubbles: Your Shichon will love "attacking" the bubbles you blow
When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Shichon access to one or more balls or toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you have a regular exercise routine for the dog, such as walks after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.