How to Get Shih Tzus to Calm Down? Let us explain. Shih Tzus are an open, affectionate, and playful breed. Primarily bred for companionship and their stellar and impressive appearance, Shih Tzus are not the most intelligent or independent of dog breeds. However, they can be trained and raised to be well-mannered and well-adjusted. As with everything, it takes discipline from pet owners in order to bring out the full potential of this breed.
Does a Shih Tzu need training?
Before we talk about situational nervousness, excitability or perhaps even aggression, we must first start with training. Shih Tzus, like all dogs, will have individual personalities but the breed is known to be friendly and trusting. If your dog is acting up, it may be due to situational factors or lack of or improper training. Let’s begin.
Before you even get a pup, you must have some things ready. First among these is a crate. Get a crate that is just the right size. Your dog would only need enough space to sit, stand and freely turn around. Keep a water dish and toys within it. You can also feed your Shih Tzu within its crate to associate with it happy and positive emotions.
A crate should not be a prison or cage. Contrary to what others might think, a crate is not a punishment for dogs, nor is it restrictive. With proper crate training, your Shih Tzu will have a place where it will feel most safe and secure.
During this time, you must also keep a strict walking schedule. With a secure and comfortable leash, take your Shih Tzu outside when you wake up, before bed and after your dog eats and drinks. For puppies, you may need to take them out (or bring them to the designated spot inside the house, if that’s your preference) every 20-30 minutes.
Housebreaking Shih Tzus can be difficult. But be patient. With persistence and strict training, they will recognize your rules and schedule and will understand and obey.
Hand in hand with housebreaking and crate training is positive reinforcement to teach desired appropriate behaviors. As a loyal and sometimes even possessive breed, Shih Tzus can have a tendency to be clingy and thus develop separation anxiety. Therefore, you must teach your dog how to be alone. This is important since you’re likely to be going to school, working or going out with friends or family.
To do this, reinforce the crate as a happy environment. Your Shih Tzu is less likely to be anxious when left alone if it knows it has its own place of retreat. Fill the crate with toys and comfortable bedding. Keep it open even when you are at home so that your Shih Tzu will have the option of choosing to go inside it freely. You may also gate off an area of the room so that your dog is less confined. Make sure to provide places for food, no-spill water and newspapers for elimination.
Some dogs are overwhelmed with excitement upon their owner’s return that they have excitement urination or otherwise get too hyped up. The trick is not to make it seem that your leaving and returning is a big deal. No less than 20-30 minutes before you leave, tale your Shih Tzu out for a walk and then play when you get back. Do not give it special attention as you dress up and go about your routine. When leaving, do not announce it with a goodbye. Rather, distract your dog by giving it a toy. Act casually and leave while it’s distracted.
Upon arrival, make sure to also not create much fanfare. Do not run up to your dog or give immediate cuddles. Put way your shoes and bag, change into comfortable clothes and then give your dog as much attention after. That way, your Shih Tzu will not associate your absence or return as something to panic about.
Similarly, while your pup is still young, expose them to sounds and outside experiences. It will not do for your dog to panic when it hears loud noises while you are out of the house. When going for a walk, pass by construction sites, busy cafes or parks where there may be other dogs. While doing so, remain calm. Your dog will pick up that you are not frightened and will mimic your behavior.
Do Shih Tzus have a small dog Syndrom?
Small breeds like Shih Tzus can develop “small dog syndrome” where they are left to display aggressive behaviors because they are perceived as less of a nuisance or treated overprotectively by owners. This can cause dogs to yap, nip at the ankles, jump on their owner’s lap, excessively lick, bite or bark. To avoid this, establish yourself as the pack leader early on. Do not pick your dog up even when there are bigger dogs around.
Do Shih Tzu´s bark a lot?
Shih Tzus may also develop a habit of constantly barking. There are 4 main reasons for this: to get attention, if in distress, as an alert or a warning. If barking is triggered as a warning, simply move away until it stops. But as hard as it seems, when your dog is asking for attention by barking, the best action is not to react. When your dog understands that barking produces no results, they will cease.
Getting your Shih Tzu to calm down when nervous, anxious or agitated is your responsibility. As an owner, prioritize training early on. Proper socialization and strict and constant reinforcement will break or prevent bad habits from forming.
Want to learn more about the Shih Tzu? Read our Shih Tzu articles:
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