February 28, 2024
Shah tzu Care

Shih Tzu behavior problems

Introduction of Shih Tzu behavior problems

Shih Tzu dogs are known for their adorable looks and friendly nature. However, like any other breed, they can also experience behavior problems. Understanding these problems is essential for owners to provide proper training and care. In this blog post, we will explore common behavior problems in Shih Tzus, their possible causes, and how to address them effectively.

Understanding Shih Tzu Behavior Problems

Shih Tzu behavior problems can range from mild to severe and affect young and adult puppies. Some typical behavior issues that owners may encounter include aggression, excessive barking, separation anxiety, and house soiling.

Aggression can manifest as growling, biting, or snapping. It can be triggered by fear, resource guarding, or lack of proper socialization. Excessive barking is often a result of boredom, attention-seeking, or territorial behavior. Separation anxiety occurs when a Shih Tzu becomes anxious or distressed when left alone, leading to destructive behavior. House soiling can occur due to insufficient house training or underlying medical conditions.

To address these behavior problems, it is important to start with basic obedience training and socialization from an early age. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards and praise, work best for Shih Tzus. Mental stimulation, regular exercise, and a structured daily routine can help prevent and manage behavior issues. Consulting a professional dog trainer or a veterinarian specializing in behavior may be necessary to address specific problems effectively.

Shih Tzu owners must approach behavior problems with patience, consistency, and understanding. By understanding the underlying causes and implementing appropriate training methods, owners can help their Shih Tzus overcome these behavior challenges and create a harmonious bond with their furry friends.


Signs of aggression in Shih Tzu

Aggression in Shih Tzus can manifest in a variety of ways. Owners need to recognize the signs of aggression to address the problem promptly. Some common signs include growling, snarling, snapping, lunging, or biting. Aggressive behaviors can occur in response to fear, frustration, territoriality, resource guarding, or lack of proper socialization. Observing your Shih Tzus body language and recognizing any warning signs, such as raised hackles, stiff body posture, or a fixed stare, is crucial.

Managing and addressing aggression in Shih Tzu

When dealing with aggression in Shih Tzus, it is important to approach the issue with patience and a consistent training approach. Here are some strategies to help manage and address attacks in Shih Tzus:

  1. Consult a professional: If your Shih Tzu displays aggressive behavior, it is wise to seek guidance from a professional dog trainer or a veterinarian specializing in behavior. They can assess the situation and provide customized strategies to address the aggression effectively.
  2. Socialization: Proper socialization from an early age is crucial to prevent fear-based aggression. Expose your Shih Tzu to various environments, people, and other animals in a controlled and positive manner to help them feel more comfortable and confident.
  3. Positive reinforcement training: Utilize positive reinforcement techniques to reinforce desirable behavior and redirect or discourage aggression. Reward your Shih Tzu with treats and praise when they exhibit calm and friendly behavior.
  4. Provide structure and routine: Establish a structured daily routine for your Shih Tzu, including regular exercise, mental stimulation, and consistent training sessions. A well-balanced and fulfilled dog is less likely to exhibit aggressive behavior.
  5. Manage triggers: Identify the triggers that elicit aggression in your Shih Tzu and try to manage or avoid them whenever possible. This may involve creating a safe and calm environment or using distraction techniques to redirect their attention.

Remember, addressing aggression requires time, patience, and understanding. Taking proactive steps and seeking professional guidance can help your Shih Tzu overcome attack and foster a happy and harmonious relationship.

Separation Anxiety

Recognizing separation anxiety in Shih Tzu

Separation anxiety is a common behavior problem that can affect Shih Tzus and cause distress for both the dog and the owner. It occurs when the dog becomes anxious and stressed when separated from their owner or left alone. Recognizing the signs of separation anxiety is important in addressing this issue effectively. Some common signs of separation anxiety in Shih Tzus include excessive barking or howling, destructive behavior such as chewing or scratching, urinating or defecating inappropriately, pacing or restlessness, or an extreme attachment to their owner.

It is essential to differentiate separation anxiety from other behavioral problems to provide the appropriate help for your Shih Tzu. If you suspect separation anxiety, consult a professional dog trainer or veterinarian specializing in behavior for an accurate diagnosis.

Tips for reducing separation anxiety in Shih Tzu

While addressing separation anxiety may take time and effort, several strategies can help reduce the symptoms and alleviate the distress experienced by your Shih Tzu:

  1. Gradual desensitization: Gradually expose your Shih Tzu to being alone for short periods and gradually increase the duration over time. This helps them become accustomed to your absence and reduces anxiety.
  2. Create a safe and comfortable environment: Provide a designated space for your Shih Tzu with their bed, toys, and familiar scents. This can help create a sense of security and minimize anxiety when left alone.
  3. Establish a predictable routine: Stick to a consistent daily feeding, exercise, and playtime routine. Predictability helps your Shih Tzu feel more secure and reduces anxiety.
  4. Use positive reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu for calm and relaxed behavior when alone. Offering treats or engaging in interactive toys can create positive associations with being separated from you.
  5. Seek professional help: If your Shih Tzu’s separation anxiety is severe or persists despite your efforts, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide tailored strategies and guidance to help address the issue effectively.

Remember, addressing separation anxiety requires patience, consistency, and understanding. By implementing these tips and seeking professional help, you can help your Shih Tzu overcome separation anxiety and lead a happier, more balanced life.

Excessive Barking

Causes of Excessive Barking in Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are known to be a vocal breed, but excessive barking can become a behavior problem if not adequately addressed. Understanding the underlying causes can help in effectively curbing this behavior.

  1. Separation Anxiety: Shih Tzus are prone to separation anxiety, which can trigger excessive barking when they feel anxious or stressed due to being separated from their owner. This can often occur when they are left alone for extended periods.
  2. Attention-Seeking: Shih Tzus may also resort to excessive barking to gain attention from their owners. If they have learned that barking leads to their owner’s response or interaction, they may continue this behavior persistently.
  3. Environmental Triggers: External stimuli, such as loud noises, other animals, or unfamiliar people passing by, can provoke excessive barking in Shih Tzus. They may perceive these stimuli as a potential threat and respond by barking excessively.

Training Techniques to Curb Excessive Barking

To address excessive barking in Shih Tzus, here are some training techniques that can be helpful:

  1. Positive Reinforcement: Use rewards and praise to reinforce calm behavior. When your Shih Tzu remains quiet in situations that typically trigger barking, reward them with treats or verbal praise.
  2. Noise Distraction: Distract your Shih Tzu from barking by redirecting their attention to a toy or engaging them in an alternative activity. This can help shift their focus and discourage excessive barking.
  3. Desensitization: Gradually expose your Shih Tzu to the triggers that generally cause excessive barking. Start with low-intensity exposure and reward them for remaining calm. Over time, increase the intensity while ensuring your dog remains calm and non-reactive.
  4. Consistency and Routine: Establish a structured routine for your Shih Tzu’s daily activities to provide security and predictability. Consistency in feeding, exercise, and playtime can alleviate anxiety and reduce excessive barking.
  5. Professional Help: If excessive barking persists despite your efforts, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can assess the situation and provide personalized advice or training techniques to address it effectively.

By understanding the causes of excessive barking in Shih Tzus and employing these training techniques, you can help your furry companion overcome this behavior and ensure a peaceful environment for you and your pet. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are vital in modifying this behavior.

Shih Tzu behavior problems
Source: iheartdogs.com(Shih Tzu behavior problems)

House Training Issues

Common House Training Problems in Shih Tzu

House training or potty training is essential to owning a Shih Tzu. However, Shih Tzus may encounter some common house training problems like any other breed. Here are a few issues you might come across:

  1. Accidents Inside the House: Shih Tzus may have accidents indoors if they haven’t been adequately trained or if there is inconsistency in their training routine. Establishing a regular schedule and being patient during the training process is important.
  2. Marking Territory: Male Shih Tzus, in particular, may exhibit marking behavior indoors to establish their territory. This can be a challenging behavior to address and requires consistent training and positive reinforcement.
  3. Overexcitement: Some Shih Tzus may become overly excited, leading them to eliminate indoors. This can occur when they get overly stimulated or during playtime. Teaching them to calm down and redirect their energy appropriately is important.

Strategies for Successful House Training

To overcome these house training problems, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Establish a Consistent Routine: Develop a regular feeding, exercise, and bathroom schedule for your Shih Tzu. Consistency in routine helps them understand when and where they should relieve themselves.
  2. Positive Reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu with treats and praise when they are eliminated in the designated spot outside. This positive reinforcement encourages them to continue this behavior.
  3. Supervision and Crating: Keep an eye on your Shih Tzu, especially during the early stages of training. Use a crate or a confined area to prevent accidents when you cannot supervise them.
  4. Predictable Potty Spots: Designate specific areas outside where you want your Shih Tzu to eliminate. Take them to these spots consistently. The familiar scent will signal them that it is the appropriate spot for bathroom breaks.
  5. Patience and Persistence: House training takes time and patience. Be consistent with your training efforts, and understand that accidents may happen occasionally. Stay committed to the training process.

Remember, each Shih Tzu is unique, and it may take some time to find the most effective approach for your pet. By addressing common house training problems and implementing these strategies, you can successfully house-train your Shih Tzu and create a harmonious living environment for you and your furry companion.

Fear and Anxiety

Identifying fear and anxiety in Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus, like any other breed, can experience fear and anxiety. Owners need to identify the signs of these emotions in their furry companions. Some common indicators of fear and anxiety in Shih Tzus include trembling or shaking, excessive barking or whining, hiding or seeking comfort, panting, pacing, loss of appetite, and destructive behaviors. Pay attention to these behaviors and address them promptly to ensure your pet’s well-being.

Coping mechanisms for fear and anxiety in Shih Tzu

If your Shih Tzu is experiencing fear or anxiety, there are several strategies you can implement to help them cope and alleviate their distress:

  1. Provide a safe and comforting environment: Create a calm and secure space for your Shih Tzu to retreat when anxious. This area can be designated with their bed, blankets, and toys.
  2. Counter-conditioning: Gradually expose your Shih Tzu to the things that trigger their fear or anxiety in a controlled and positive manner. Pair these stimuli with treats, praise, and affection to create positive associations.
  3. Desensitization: Gradually introduce your Shih Tzu to the situations or stimuli that cause fear or anxiety. Start with low-intensity exposure and gradually increase the intensity over time, always rewarding them for calm behavior.
  4. Calming aids: Consider using calming aids such as pheromone diffusers, calming sprays, or anxiety wraps to help your Shih Tzu relax.
  5. Training and mental stimulation: Engage your Shih Tzu in training activities and provide mental stimulation to redirect their focus and alleviate anxiety. This can include puzzle toys, obedience training, or interactive games.
  6. Consult a professional: If your Shih Tzu’s fear or anxiety persists or worsens despite your efforts, consider seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who can provide specialized assistance.

Remember, each Shih Tzu is unique, and it may take time to find your pet’s most effective coping mechanisms. With patience, understanding, and proper support, you can help your Shih Tzu manage their fear and anxiety, promoting a happier and healthier life.

Resource Guarding

Understanding Resource Guarding Behavior in Shih Tzu

Resource guarding is an expected behavior problem observed in Shih Tzus. It occurs when a dog perceives a particular item or space as valuable and needs to protect it from others. Signs of resource guarding in Shih Tzus may include growling, snapping, or biting when someone approaches their possessions, such as food, toys, or their favorite resting spot.

To address it effectively, owners must recognize and understand resource-guarding behavior in Shih Tzus. Resource guarding can stem from various factors, including fear, insecurity, previous experiences, or genetics. Understanding the root cause can help develop a suitable approach to overcome the issue.

Techniques to Address Resource Guarding Issues

Addressing resource-guarding behavior requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Here are some techniques that can help Shih Tzu owners address resource-guarding issues:

  1. Prevention: Avoid situations that may trigger resource-guarding behavior. Keep valuable or highly desirable items out of reach when not supervised, and provide each dog with their resources.
  2. Gentle Approach: Teach your Shih Tzu that your presence near their resources is not a threat. Start by sitting near them while they eat or play with toys. Gradually increase your involvement and reward them for their relaxed behavior.
  3. Trade-Up: Teach your Shih Tzu to associate giving up their possessions with receiving something even better. Offer a high-value treat or toy in exchange for the item they guard.
  4. Desensitization: Gradually expose your Shih Tzu to situations that trigger resource guarding, starting with lower-value items in a controlled environment. Reward them for remaining calm and gradually increase the value of the items.
  5. Professional Guidance: If the resource-guarding behavior persists or escalates, it is advisable to seek help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide expert guidance tailored to your Shih Tzu’s specific needs.

Remember, addressing resource-guarding behavior is a process that requires time, consistency, and understanding. By implementing these techniques and providing a safe and positive environment, you can help your Shih Tzu overcome resource-guarding issues and ensure a harmonious and happy household.

Destructive Behavior

Reasons behind destructive behavior in Shih Tzu

Destructive behavior is a common problem observed in Shih Tzus that can be attributed to various factors. Understanding the underlying reasons can help in effectively addressing and preventing this behavior. Some common reasons for destructive behavior in Shih Tzus include:

  1. Boredom: Shih Tzus are intelligent dogs that require mental stimulation and regular exercise. They may resort to destructive behaviors to alleviate boredom when they lack adequate physical and mental activity.
  2. Anxiety or stress: Shih Tzus can become anxious or stressed due to separation anxiety, changes in routine, or unfamiliar situations. This anxiety can manifest in destructive behaviors, such as chewing on furniture or excessive digging.
  3. Lack of training: Shih Tzus, like any other dog, requires proper training and guidance. Without clear boundaries and consistent training, they may engage in destructive behaviors out of confusion or seeking attention.

Preventing and redirecting destructive behavior

Preventing and redirecting destructive behavior in Shih Tzus requires a combination of proactive measures and positive reinforcement techniques. Here are some strategies to help address this issue:

  1. Provide mental and physical stimulation: Engage your Shih Tzu in regular play sessions, provide interactive toys, and take them for daily walks to ensure they are mentally and physically stimulated.
  2. Establish a routine: Shih Tzus thrives with a structured routine. Stick to a consistent schedule for feeding, exercise, and playtime to provide them with a sense of stability and reduce anxiety.
  3. Provide appropriate outlets: Ensure your Shih Tzu can access appropriate chew toys and activities to satisfy their natural need to chew and explore.
  4. Keep them engaged: Use puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys to keep your Shih Tzu mentally engaged and occupied when you are away.
  5. Positive reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu for good behavior and redirect any destructive behavior. Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats or praise, to encourage desirable actions.

Remember, it is important to be patient, consistent, and understanding when addressing destructive behavior. If the problem persists or escalates, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who can provide personalized guidance to address your Shih Tzu’s specific needs.


Addressing and preventing destructive behavior in Shih Tzus requires a thorough understanding of the underlying reasons and the implementation of proactive measures. You can effectively redirect destructive behaviors by providing mental and physical stimulation, establishing a routine, and offering appropriate outlets for their instincts. Positive reinforcement techniques and seeking professional help are also crucial for successful behavior management.

Seeking Professional Help for Shih Tzu Behavior Problems

In some cases, destructive behavior in Shih Tzus may persist or escalate despite your best efforts. This is where seeking professional help becomes essential. A professional dog trainer or behaviorist can provide personalized guidance tailored to your Shih Tzu’s specific needs. They will assess the behavior, identify any underlying issues, and develop a comprehensive plan to address and modify the destructive behavior. Their expertise and experience can help you achieve the desired results and create a harmonious environment for your Shih Tzu.

Implementing Healthy Training and Socialization Techniques

Along with professional help, healthy training and socialization techniques are pivotal in managing destructive behavior. Shih Tzus, like all dogs, requires clear boundaries and consistent training. By establishing rules and expectations early on, you can prevent confusion and ensure your Shih Tzu understands what is acceptable behavior. Socializing your Shih Tzu from a young age is also crucial for their overall well-being, as it helps them become comfortable and confident in various situations.

Remember, addressing destructive behavior in Shih Tzus requires patience, consistency, and understanding. With the right approach and a commitment to their well-being, you can help your Shih Tzu overcome destructive behaviors and create a loving and balanced relationship with your furry companion.

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