How Often Do Shih Tzus Bark? You finally had it. After days of walking your new Shih Tzu, you just can’t take it anymore. You feel your Shih Tzu is acting strange, barking at just about everyone on the street. You even asked yourself how often do Shih Tzus bark? Because you know yours bark too much, and you want answers.

Despite their size, Shih Tzus are a natural yapper. Compared to larger breed dogs, toy or small breed dogs bark more. And this could be because of several things.

Why Do Shih Tzus Bark?

Excessive barking is considered a behavior problem among dogs. But before you start correcting this behavior, you have to know what triggers your canine friend to bark in the first place. Here are the top reasons why Shih Tzus bark:

To get your attention. Some dogs just want attention. They also bark to show their playfulness or excitement.
To warn or alert. They may be sensing danger ahead and wants you to keep away.
To express distress. This can be minor or severe, indicating they are bored, lonely, or in physical or emotional trouble.
It is also common for Shih Tzus to bark at other dogs or any other moving objects in close proximity. This is especially true if they see larger dogs. This is because of what pet owners call as small dog syndrome (SDS), wherein your Shih Tzu thinks he is the boss.

People tend to treat small dogs differently than larger dogs. They believe small dogs are more needing, that’s why they tolerate bad behaviors most of the time. Pet owners see these bad behaviors as rather cute, so small dogs can get away with it every time. This leads to SDS, which makes Shih Tzus think they can take the lead role at home. They will bark constantly, disobey commands, jump at guests, and do other bad behaviors.

Solving Barking Issues in Your Shih Tzus

How do you solve excessive barking in your dog? Once you determined that your Shih Tzu barks more than usual, there are three methods you can try to quiet him down.

The Speak Method
The Ignore Method
The Muzzle Method
For the methods above, you will need some tasty treats and something that will trigger them to bark. Schedule your training sessions when your dog is relatively calm. Also, set some break sessions when your dog is losing interest. Don’t force your Shih Tzu to do the training when he’s not up for it.

The Speak Method

Step #1: Have your friend ring the doorbell or knock on the door.

Step #2: When your dog starts to bark, say “speak.” Repeat this until he associates the speak command with the action of barking.

Step #3: Hold the treat in front of your dog. Then, give the speak command. This should get your dog barking without the doorbell or knock trigger. If not, do the doorbell/knock training a few more times.

Step #4: Once he barks using the speak command, reward him with a treat.

Step #5: Now, start training with the “quiet” command. Order your dog to speak. Then, say “quiet.”

Step #5: Reward him with a treat once he stops barking.

Step #6: Once he learned the quiet command, have someone ring the doorbell or knock on the door again.

Step #7: Say the quiet command. If he stops barking, give him a special treat. If not, practice further.

The Ignore Method

Step #1: Prepare yourself to ignore your dog. Your dog barks because he wants some reaction from you. Don’t give that reaction. Be ready to ignore him until he stops barking.

Step #2: Use the trigger to prompt your Shih Tzu to bark. It can be the sound of a doorbell or a knock.

Step #3: Turn your back when your dog starts barking. Do not turn around while your dog is still barking.

Step #4: Once your dog stops barking, turn around and praise him. Reward him with a treat.

Step #5: Repeat the steps above until your dog learns how to not bark for attention.

The Muzzle Method

Step #1: Prepare to be consistent. You have to react the same way every time your pup barks.

Step #2: Have a friend ring the doorbell or knock to trigger barking.

Step #3: When your dog starts to bark, hold his muzzle closed. Do this gently and not for more than a few seconds.

Step #4: Say “quiet” or any similar command.

Step #5: Release your dog’s muzzle. If he barks again, repeat steps 3 and 4. If he stays quiet, reward him with a treat.

Step #6: Do this training daily until he fully understands the quiet command. Also, try saying the command without holding his muzzle. If he obeys, reward him with a special treat.

To Hush or Not to Hush

Barking issues in Shih Tzus are disruptive. This is not only annoying to you, but it can also pose a problem for your neighbors. Train your dog to quiet down to solve his excessive barking. Follow the methods above and let your dog know who is the true boss.

However, keep in mind that Shih Tzus are alert and lively little pups. And they bark for some reason. Before hushing them out, try to understand what your dog is trying to convey. He may be in serious trouble that needs immediate medical attention.

Want to learn more about the Shih Tzu? Read our Shih Tzu articles:

What you should know about the dog breed Shih Tzu

What are Shih Tzus Bred for?

Do Shih Tzus Get Along With Cats?

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How Often Do Shih Tzus Bark