shih tzu behavior problems

Overcoming Shih Tzu Behavior Problems: 2023 Expert Tips

Is your shih tzu acting out? Decode shih tzu behavior problems and strategies to encourage better manners.


Shih Tzus are delightful little dogs with a charming personality. They are affectionate, loyal, and playful.

However, like all dogs, they can develop behavior problems that can be frustrating and challenging for their owners. These issues can range from separation anxiety to aggression to excessive barking and housebreaking problems.

As a Shih Tzu owner, it is important to understand the common behavior problems that these dogs face and how to address them effectively. In this article, we will provide an overview of Shih Tzu dogs and discuss the importance of understanding and addressing behavior problems in these lovable pets.

Brief Overview of Shih Tzu Dogs

Shih Tzus are small dogs with a distinctive appearance. They have long hair that requires regular grooming and come in a variety of colors such as white, black, gray, brown, or gold.

They weigh between 9-16 pounds and stand about 8-11 inches tall at the shoulder. Shih Tzus were originally bred as companion animals for Chinese royalty in the Ming Dynasty.

They are known for their independent nature but also enjoy spending time with their owners. They thrive on human companionship but can be prone to anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.

These little dogs have a unique personality that sets them apart from other breeds. Shih Tzus are affectionate towards their owners but may be reserved around strangers until they get to know them better.

The Importance of Understanding And Addressing Behavior Problems in Shih Tzus

Behavior problems in Shih Tzus can lead to frustration for both you and your pet. It is essential to address these issues early on before they become habitual or escalate into more severe problems.

If left untreated, Shih Tzu behavior problems can lead to a breakdown in the relationship between you and your pet. It can also cause stress and anxiety for both you and your dog.

Addressing behavior issues in Shih Tzus is essential not only for their well-being but also for the safety of those around them. Aggression, excessive barking, and other negative behaviors can result in injury or legal trouble if not addressed.

In addition, understanding behavior problems in Shih Tzus can help you better meet their needs. By addressing these issues, you can provide a happier home environment for both you and your furry friend.

By dealing with these issues proactively, you can help prevent them from becoming more severe or chronic problems down the line. Addressing behavior problems early on is key to establishing a healthy and happy relationship with your Shih Tzu.

Common Behavior Problems in Shih Tzus

Shih Tzu dogs are known for their affectionate and friendly nature, but like any other breed, they can exhibit behavior problems. The most common behavior problems in Shih Tzus include separation anxiety, aggression, excessive barking, and housebreaking issues. In this section, we will discuss these problems in detail and provide information on how to address them.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common issue in Shih Tzus. This occurs when dogs become anxious or stressed when left alone for extended periods of time. Symptoms of separation anxiety include destructive behavior, excessive barking or howling, drooling excessively or urination/defecation inside the house.

Causes of separation anxiety can be related to several factors such as lack of socialization at an early age or change of environment after adoption from a shelter. Some triggers may be being left alone for too long while owners are away from home or even going through minor changes such as rearranging furniture at home.

Treatment options include counterconditioning and desensitization techniques which involve rewarding positive behaviors and gradually increasing time spent apart to train the dog’s brain that it is safe to be alone. Sticking to a daily routine with your pet will also help them become less anxious about being away from you over time.


Shih Tzu dogs rarely show signs of aggression unless provoked by something specific such as fear or discomfort caused by another animal or human being. However, some types of aggression that occur more commonly are territorial aggression towards other pets living in the same household and stranger-directed aggression towards unfamiliar humans outside the household. Causes and triggers for aggression vary widely based on individual dog personalities but may be related to lack of socialization during puppyhood, past traumatic experiences with other animals/humans, or even physical pain that may be causing discomfort.

Management techniques include positive reinforcement training techniques that encourage your pet to behave in a calm and non-aggressive manner. It is important to understand that hitting or yelling at your dog when they show signs of aggression will only make the situation worse.

Excessive Barking

Shih Tzus are known for their tendency to bark excessively and without warning, which can be problematic if living in an apartment building with close neighbors or even simply annoying for homeowners. Reasons for excessive barking include attention-seeking behavior, boredom, fear/anxiety, and territorial behavior.

Management options include properly training your pet through positive reinforcement to understand that barking excessively is not acceptable behavior. There are also various methods professionals suggest such as ‘quiet’ commands followed by positive reinforcement after stopping barking before it becomes excessive.

Housebreaking Issues

Housebreaking issues are common among Shih Tzus and can cause stress for pet owners as well as damage to property. Causes of housebreaking issues can range from poor potty training during puppyhood to physical illness or discomfort. Training methods involve staying close with your Shih Tzu during potty breaks and rewarding them immediately after they ‘go’ outside while ignoring any accidents inside the house.

Over time pets will learn how to associate going potty outside with rewards rather than going inside leading to better results over time if maintained properly. It is important for pet owners to be aware of common behavior problems in their Shih Tzu dogs such as separation anxiety, aggression, excessive barking, and housebreaking issues.

Understanding causes and triggers behind these problems allows us as owners to address them effectively with training techniques benefiting both pets and families alike. By showing patience through proper training we can maintain happy healthy relationships with our furry friends!

Understanding Your Shih Tzu’s Behavior

Personality traits of Shih Tzus that can affect their behavior.

Shih Tzus are popular pets due to their charming personalities and affectionate nature. They are known for being loyal, friendly, and playful. However, their personalities can also make them prone to certain behavior issues.

For instance, some Shih Tzus may become clingy or develop separation anxiety due to their attachment to their owners. Others may become aggressive towards other dogs or strangers due to their strong protective instincts.

It is essential for Shih Tzu owners to understand the breed’s unique personality traits and how they can affect the dog’s behavior. By knowing your dog’s tendencies, you can take proactive measures to prevent or address any potential behavior problems.

How to read your dog’s body language.

Reading your Shih Tzu’s body language is an important part of understanding its behavior. Dogs communicate through body language, and a thorough understanding of this communication system is critical in understanding your pet’s emotions and needs. For example, when a Shih Tzu is feeling happy or playful, it may wag its tail vigorously, jump up excitedly or do “zoomies” around the room.

Conversely, when a Shih Tzu feels anxious or scared it may tuck its tail between its legs and lower its head while avoiding eye contact. Other body language cues that indicate stress or anxiety in dogs include excessive panting, growling or barking excessively without visible cause.

Some common indicators of aggression include raised hackles on the back of the neck as well as stiff-legged stances with direct eye contact in tense situations – To improve communication with your pet and understand what they want from you at any given time it is important that you learn how to interpret its unique form of nonverbal communication.

Preventing Behavior Problems in Shih Tzus

Socialization and Training Tips for Puppies

Socialization is the process of introducing your Shih Tzu puppy to different types of people, animals, objects, and environments. Socializing your puppy from an early age can help prevent behavior problems such as fear, anxiety, and aggression. It’s important to expose your puppy to a variety of experiences in a positive and controlled manner.

You can achieve this by taking them on walks, introducing them to new people in a safe environment (e.g., the park), playing with them at home with different toys, etc. Training is also essential for preventing behavior problems in Shih Tzus.

Basic obedience training such as sit, stay, come when called can help keep your dog safe and well-behaved. Crate training is another important aspect of training that can help prevent destructive behavior when you are not around.

It’s recommended that you start socialization and training as early as possible during your puppy’s life. Puppy socialization classes are a great way to have supervised playtime with other puppies while learning valuable skills.


Shih Tzus are small dogs but they still need exercise just like any other breed. Regular exercise not only helps keep them physically healthy but also mentally stimulated which can prevent behavior problems such as barking or destructive chewing due to boredom. A daily walk around the block or playtime in the backyard will provide enough exercise for most Shih Tzus.

However, it’s important to remember that every dog is unique and may have differing needs for exercise depending on age or health conditions. Incorporating interactive toys into their playtime routine can also provide mental stimulation for your pup which helps keep their minds sharp and prevents unwanted behaviors.


Just like exercise, a well-balanced diet is crucial for the overall health of your Shih Tzu. Feeding them high-quality dog food will keep them in good physical shape and can help prevent behavior problems that arise from malnutrition or improper feeding.

It’s important to note that Shih Tzus can be prone to weight gain, so monitoring their food intake and keeping them at a healthy weight is essential. Consult with your veterinarian on the best feeding plan for your dog based on their specific needs.

Mental Stimulation

In addition to exercise and diet, mental stimulation is another crucial aspect of preventing behavior problems in Shih Tzus. Mental stimulation can be achieved through activities such as puzzle toys, obedience training sessions, or interactive playtime with their owner.

These activities not only provide a mental workout for your pup but also help prevent boredom which can lead to destructive behaviors. Providing mental stimulation in conjunction with physical exercise and proper nutrition can help create a well-rounded lifestyle for your Shih Tzu which ultimately leads to a happy and well-behaved pet.


Summary of Key Points

Shih Tzus are beloved, charming dogs that can make wonderful companions. However, they are also prone to behavior problems that can be frustrating and difficult to manage.

In this article, we have covered some of the most common behavior problems in Shih Tzus, including separation anxiety, aggression, excessive barking, and housebreaking issues. We have discussed the causes of these behaviors and provided training and management techniques to address them.

We also explored the importance of understanding your Shih Tzu’s personality traits and body language to better communicate with them. We discussed prevention strategies such as socialization and training for puppies, exercise, diet, and mental stimulation.

Importance of Seeking Professional Help if Necessary

While many behavior problems in Shih Tzus can be addressed through basic training techniques and management strategies such as exercise or dietary changes, it is important to seek professional help if necessary. Some behavior issues may require a more complex approach that only a qualified trainer or veterinary behavioral specialist can provide.

Ignoring or mishandling a serious problem could result in long-term negative impacts on your dog’s well-being and could even lead to dangerous situations for other people or animals. If you’re struggling with a particularly challenging issue with your Shih Tzu or simply need extra guidance for addressing their behavior problems, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Encouragement for a Happy Healthy Relationship with Your Shih Tzu

Ultimately, our goal is not just to address problem behaviors but also to build happy relationships with our furry friends. Remember that every dog is unique and may have different personality traits or preferences when it comes to training methods or activities they enjoy. By using positive reinforcement techniques based on your individual dog’s temperament while maintaining consistent rules in daily life will contribute significantly towards having a happy, healthy relationship with your Shih Tzu.

With patience, effort, and commitment, you can establish a strong bond with your Shih Tzu that will bring joy to both of your lives for years to come. While behavior problems in Shih Tzus can be challenging to manage and address.

However, it is important to understand the root causes of these behaviors and use appropriate training techniques and management strategies to help our beloved pets overcome them. By seeking professional help if necessary and maintaining positive relationships built on love, patience, and consistency – we can create an environment where our Shih Tzus thrive mentally as well as physically.

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