Shih Tzu Training - Taming Unwanted Behavior in a Shih Tzu

>> 8/13/09

If there is one thing that drives any dog owner to the brink of insanity, it is excessive barking and Shih Tzu owners are no different. When something gets them riled up, these tiny dogs can really get working up into a frenzy of barking. If the owner is not there to deter it, the noise could go on for long periods of time. By gently training and using positive reinforcement with your Shih Tzu, you should be able to yield great results.

While it is worth your while to have an alert Shih Tzu to warn you when something is not right, until they learn what ordinary means by your direction, there will be a bit of confusion and much noise. When there is something you do not want them to bark at, use a very calm voice and tell them no. When it is appropriate to give praise and let them know not to bark anymore, now that you know what the situation is.

Using reward training is generally preferable over punishment, though sometimes you might need to get your Shih Tzus attention when they are worked up into a barking frenzy, this can best be accomplished by using a clicker or squirting with a water bottle. You make make your own simple noise maker by putting unpopped popcorn or pennies into a tin or aluminum can and sealing it up.

In addition to bark, a Shih Tzu may have the horrible habit of whining when left along for any period of time. Exercising the dog is a good way to curb this behavior, however this amounts to quite a bit of walking throughout the day. Playing fetch with a stick or a ball provides good exercise and some dogs truly love it. Sometimes its hard to make sure your Shih Tzu gets enough exercise daily to curb the bad behavior. Walking about a half-mile should suffice. Having two dogs at once can also solve this dilemma, as long as you make it known to the dogs you are the alpha human, you should have no trouble being the boss.

When considering things from a dogs perspective, the actions of humans are not easily understood much of the time. When it comes to behavioral training, you should be a gentle, firm, instructional, loving teacher and leader. You should teach all the members of your family to not startle a dog that is easily driven by fear and adrenaline. This could be something as simple as yelling or people who wear hats, but until a dog understands something is okay, they are going to get themselves all worked up.

Perhaps one of the most concerning tendency in a Shih Tzu is to engage in biting out of fear. This is a common occurrence in smaller dogs than in larger ones, but this type of behavior is most often associated with dogs that have either been poorly socialized as pups or a victim of physical or verbal abuse.

Having your Shih Tzu puppy meet a wide variety of people, other dogs and situations when they are younger encourages them to be unafraid, especially if you are overly cautious about situations where to dog may be injured. This does not mean you should snatch up your dog on the street when you see a larger dog approaching. It means to ask permission from the person who owns the dog, whether the dog is friendly or not and simply walking on the opposite side, if this is not the case.

If you show your own fear, your dog will respond and pick up on that fear, because they learn by what they see and experience. Shih Tzus are also very aware and sensitive of their own size. Biting out of fear is also witnessed with fear-induced urinating. Make sure you mind your temper, no matter what the dog has just urinated on, this is instrumental in not making an overly sensitive dog any more frightened.

Thankfully, this also means a Shih Tzu is small enough to simply be physically picked up and put into a crate for a time out to calm down, because this form of behavior is unacceptable. If the dog is very traumatized, it may never be able to overcome it and will always hunger for the attention he or she desires but is to scared to accept. Using soothing words to calm the dog and placing it in a safe place, will be necessary for dogs of this temperament.

Taming Unwanted Behavior in a Shih Tzu by John P Jackson

Author Resource:

This article was written by John P Jackson for GreatDogSite, home of hundreds of articles on Shih Tzus and other dogs!

Related Training Help:

The Essential Shih Tzu Guide

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