There is no denying that Xoloitzcuintli puppies seem to run on automatic pilot. But this is not typical of Xolo adults. The Xolo is definitely not a hyperactive dog breed, but they do require daily exercise. This is the best way to ensure that your dog’s mental and physical energy is appropriately channeled. There are many ways to accomplish this, and Xoloitzcuintlis of every size can live happily in small city apartments. For toy Xolos, running around the house, along with a couple of daily walks, is usually sufficient. Larger Xoloitzcuintlis require a vigorous run once or twice a day. However, space to run should never be viewed as a substitute for your time.
Interactive play is the exercise regimen preferred by most Xoloitzcuintlis. These dogs love a daily walk and make excellent jogging companions. Xolos will happily play in a fenced yard, as long as you are there to share in their games. Tug-o-war is a favorite Xolo game, and a very good way to teach bite control and curb aggression. Xoloitzcuintlis also love hide and seek-type games of searching for well-hidden toys and treats. This provides an acceptable outlet for their predatory urges. Even a simple game of fetch will send most Xolos into a state of ecstasy. These activities are equally beneficial for you. Why deprive yourself of one of the best reasons for owning a Xolo?
Left to their own devices, Xoloitzcuintlis become prime candidates for bad habits such as chronic barking, digging or fence running. This behavior is sometimes mistaken for neurosis or separation anxiety. Very often, it is simply the product of a high-drive dog breed deprived of a proper outlet for natural behavior.
Varying your Xolo’s exercise routine will also help to curb territorial aggression. Most Xoloitzcuintlis spend a good part of their time patrolling their property. This is a very effective deterrent to trespassers, but don’t expect your dog to differentiate between delivery men and burglars. Territorial dogs can become almost obsessive about this desire to “maintain order” if their daily exercise is limited to the same predictable area. Regularly scheduled activities away from home will encourage socialization and balance out this tendency.
Owners are often tempted to coddle Xolos, especially toys, expecting them to be delicate, susceptible to injuries and unable to acclimate to varying weather conditions. This is a mistake. The Xoloitzcuintli evolved to survive in blistering desert climates and has a naturally high tolerance for heat. They also do not hesitate to go out in cold weather, as long as they are provided with a coat or sweater. If you live in a region where winter coats are a necessity, acclimate your Xolo puppy to wearing one from a young age. Otherwise, your dog may refuse to budge when you take him out for a walk dressed in his lovely new winter parka.
Dog parks and off-lead runs have become popular for suburban as well as city-dwelling dogs. They are a great opportunity for both types to socialize. However, Xolo owners should remain watchful in these situations. If an aggressive dog confronts a Xolo, it will respond to the challenge.
Excerpt from Xoloitzcuintli, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Xoloitzcuintli here.