Are you thinking about getting a Shih Tzu puppy, or perhaps you just bought one? There are many things that first-time owners should know to keep a Shih Tzu puppy in the best shape and health. Luckily, I’ve learned a lot about Shih Tzu puppy care and would love to share it with you.
How to take care of Shih Tzu puppies? To raise a perfectly happy, healthy, and well-obeyed puppy, following certain steps is important. These are the necessary steps:
- Prepare your house for a puppy homecoming
- Create a safe and secure place for a puppy
- Find the best veterinarian
- Make sure all the puppy vaccinations are up to date
- Start to house train your puppy as soon as it arrives
- Start socialization as soon as your puppy had vaccinations
- Teach your puppy at least basic commands
- Exercise your puppy daily
- Groom your Shih Tzu puppy regularly
- Do regular health check-ups
- Provide the best quality puppy food and snacks
Raising Shih Tzu puppies is not easy, especially if you want to have a well-behaved adult dog. By following all the steps mentioned above, your Shih Tzu puppy will become a perfect companion.
There are more critical steps in caring for your Shih Tzu puppy than what is already mentioned. In this article, I will explain in detail all that you need to know about raising the best Shih Tzu puppy possible.
Did you know? Shih Tzu puppies are considered to be puppies until they turn 5 months. After five months, puppies are starting to be young adults.
But your pup won’t just turn into an adult dog just because it turned one year. There is a process to it, and you can find out more in the text below.
- What Are Shih Tzu Puppies Development Stages?
- What Will You Need For Your New Puppy?
- How To Prepare Your House For a Puppy Arrival?
- Your Shih Tzu’s First Night In a New Home
- Feeding Shih Tzu Puppies
- Find a Veterinarian
- Shih Tzu Puppy Vaccinations
- Your Shih Tzu Puppy’s General Health
- When do I need to get my Shih Tzu Spayed or Neutered?
- Grooming Your Shih Tzu Puppies
- Important House Rules For Your Puppy Shih Tzu
- Garden and Yard Safety
- Shih Tzu Puppy House Training (Potty-Training)
- Socialization Is Important
What Are Shih Tzu Puppies Development Stages?
Puppies are predictable, and here is what you can expect in each puppy stage.
|Age in Weeks or Months||Development|
|1-3 weeks||Your future puppy is a newborn, spending time with its mom and siblings. The puppy is sleeping most of the time and the rest of the time eating. Its brain is developing daily.|
|3-5 weeks||The puppy’s eyes and ears are open, and the puppy is learning how to eat by itself. The puppy is still with its mom and siblings, slowly starting to play with them.|
|5-8 weeks||This stage is crucial for a puppy, and the puppy should never be removed from its mom and littermates. This is the time your future puppy is rapidly socializing and learning how to be a dog.|
|9-12 weeks||Your puppy most likely arrived and is very active. It’s probably chewing on everything it finds attractive. Supervise your puppy at all times. This is the time your new puppy is learning a lot of new things, and it’s an excellent opportunity to start teaching how to behave appropriately.|
|3-5 Months||Your puppy is still active, playing, and being a puppy. This is also a time when your puppy is starting to be independent but is still not confident enough. The puppy’s physical coordination is fastly developing. In this stage, your puppy can show some fear and sensitivity. The best practice is not to expose your puppy to loud crowds, busy places, and similar environments.|
|5-7 months||Shih Tzu’s energy is high at this stage. Your puppy is not a puppy anymore but rather a young dog. At this stage, your dog will jump, bite, pull the leash, and it’s time to correct such behavior.|
|7-12 months||Your young dog is becoming calmer, and all your training and behavior corrections are showing results. But it’s is also an adolescent stage where your dog can occasionally exhibit a “bad” behavior such as disobeying your commands and aggression towards other pets. If it gets out of control, seek professional help. Your dog is still growing at this point.|
What Will You Need For Your New Puppy?
Before your puppy’s arrival, it’s good to have:
- Water dish
- Food dish
- Puppy bed
- Puppy pads
Other supplies that are not necessary to have when your puppy arrives, but you will certainly need:
- ID tag
- Harness and collar
- Grooming supplies
- Puppy toothbrush
- Puppy toothpaste
- Puppy shampoo
- Wet wipes
- First aid kit
Water and Food Dish
As with any other dog, you will need water and a food dish. I recommend a double bowl for small dogs made of stainless steel. Preferably get one that is no-spill and no-slip, and the bowls are easy to take out. Puppies are messy, and this will help with the water and food spill, but it’s also easy to clean.
Food and Treats
There are a variety of foods and treats available on the market, and your dog will show preference over time. Consult with a veterinarian on which food would be the best quality for your puppy. Owners usually switch from one food to another until they find the best one for their puppy.
The choice of dog accessories is endless these days. You can find beds in different shapes, sizes, and colors, from round bed to square, and from regular to a cave bed.
When choosing a bed, you want to buy a soft one that is machine washable and maybe even water-resistant. Don’t spend too much money on a bed until you see if your dog likes to sleep in it.
The crate is something you want to invest in, and it will last you years to come. Most dog trainers and dog behaviorists recommend crate training. Even if your dog doesn’t sleep in a crate, it’s still good to own one for traveling, vet visits, and if you have to leave your dog alone for a couple of hours. Your dog will be safe in the crate.
Shih Tzu is a small and light dog, so you don’t need to invest in an expensive, heavy-duty crate. You still want something durable and practical. If your dog ends up sleeping in its crate, crate covers are available for purchase to make your dog’s sleeping area more comfortable and attractive.
Puppy pads are disposable plastic sheets topped with absorbent materials. This will help you with potty training, and it will replace your puppy’s toilette until it’s ready to go outside and until your puppy is entirely potty trained. Place a pad in an area where the dog sleeps at night. You can also place the pad in a crate if the puppy spends nights in it. Puppy pads are also handy for traveling, and pads are cheap to purchase.
Puppy toys are an absolute necessity. You don’t have to overwhelm your puppy with the toys, though. Just a few will do the job. Some soft toys and chew toys will be enough for the beginning. Make sure the soft toy is safe and it’s not made of material your puppy can choke on.
Chew toys are essential, and I also recommend buying a puppy stuffable kong toy. This toy is excellent for keeping your puppy busy and for crate training. Every toy has a purpose and can help you in training your puppy.
Attaching the ID tag on your dog’s collar is required even if your puppy is with you most of the time. It’s still smart to have your inscribed info with the puppy’s name and your phone number.
What kind of leash you choose is a personal choice. Shih Tzu is small, and it won’t matter that much what kind of leash you will buy. Especially if your dog is well trained and won’t pull the lead, it’s still good to buy a good quality leash. A lot of Shih Tzu owners like stylish leashes and therefore are purchasing a style that works for them. One thing to keep in mind is safety.
Collar and Harness
The collar is a must. It’s smart to buy an adjustable one so you can use it as your puppy is growing. The choice of materials, colors, and patterns is endless. You can indeed find a style you want your puppy to wear.
Some owners prefer a harness over just having a collar. Opinions about using a collar or a harness are divided among owners. In the end, it comes as a personal preference. If you use a harness, it’s essential to choose one that fits your dog perfectly. Every manufacturer has instructions on choosing the right harness size, depending on the dog’s weight and size.
Grooming supplies are something you won’t be able to live without. Shih Tzus require regular grooming, and therefore you will need a good brush, comb, safety scissors, puppy nail clipper, shampoo, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. All these supplies are affordable and can last a long time.
A playpen is not a requirement, but it comes in handy. Your puppy is like a small child, and it requires 24h supervision. A playpen will make your life so much easier.
The variety of playpens on the market today is overwhelming, but it’s affordable and can last you years to come. The great thing about a playpen is that it can be used indoors and outdoors. Most playpens are foldable, and it’s good to have them if you’re traveling with your puppy Shih Tzu or if you are going somewhere for a visit and bringing your pup along.
How To Prepare Your House For a Puppy Arrival?
Other than having all the essential supplies already mentioned, there are other important things to take care of. One of them is to create a safe and secure place for your puppy to live.
What does creating a safe and secure place for your puppy Shih Tzu mean?
The Shih Tzu is a curious dog and will try to explore everything it can around the house. Puppies explore with their mouth, and it’s crucial to have a home without anything in the reach of the dog that your Shih Tzu can ingest or harm itself with.
- house plants
- electrical cords
- small decorations
- furniture that is easy to chew on or to scratch
- household products
- food poisonous to dogs (such as chocolate)
- easy to open cabinets
Decide which area of the house or apartment will be a Shih Tzu puppy area only. Somewhere where a puppy can freely roam around and be safe while you are not home or around. It can be a whole room, a part of the room divided with gates, or a big playpen. Some owners choose a laundry room as a dog’s area because it usually has the least objects and furniture. Until the puppy is house trained, this step is advisable.
Your Shih Tzu puppy area should contain:
- dog bed
- puppy toilet (litter pan, potty tray, or a training pad)
- food and water
- toys (chew and a plush toy)
A Pet camera is a smart accessory to own, especially if you work full time away from home. The Pet camera is inexpensive, and it’s easy to access it from your phone. This will give you peace of mind when you leave your puppy home alone. A pet camera allows you to check on your dog as frequently as you want.
It’s not always possible to move everything out of your Shih Tzu puppy’s reach, especially furniture pieces. If there is something your puppy has access to, but it’s not possible to move, use pet deterrent spray to discourage your puppy from chewing or scratching. This spray has a bitter taste, and the puppy will stay away from the sprayed area.
If possible, have a puppy cabinet. This makes it easier to find everything related to a puppy since it will all be at the same place. In this place, you can keep anything from the leash, collar, food, extra toys, extra dog bedding, towels, and grooming products (such as brushes and shampoo).
Your Shih Tzu’s First Night In a New Home
Your puppy’s first night in a new home might be hard. This might be the very first time your little Shih Tzu is alone and away from its mom and siblings.
You can expect from your Shih Tzu
puppy to cry all night, and you need to be there to comfort him.
Understandably, you want your Shih Tzu puppy to sleep with you, but you should probably leave him to sleep in its crate or some designated area. You can place a crate in your bedroom so your new puppy is close to you, and you can comfort him when he starts crying at night.
Make sure you introduce a crate to your puppy before you lock him in it for the whole night. Feed your Shih Tzu puppy in the crate or give him treats a few times the very first day. It’s very important that your dog has a positive association with the crate. Don’t forget to put a puppy pad in the crate because your puppy will for sure have accidents.
It’s okay if you don’t own a crate yet, but having a puppy-proof, designated sleeping area is a must. You want to make sure your Shih Tzu puppy is safe at night. Never leave your puppy to sleep in an open room because nothing is secure with the puppy wandering around the house. Safety should always come first!
Feeding Shih Tzu Puppies
Your puppy will grow fast until it’s about 20 weeks old and, therefore, will need a lot of food. A responsible breeder will provide you with a feeding schedule and food preference.
A Shih Tzu puppy should eat 4 meals a day (morning, lunch, afternoon, and evening time) until the age of 16 weeks.
After 4 months until 6 months of age, your puppy should be eating 3 meals a day. After six months until about 1-year-old provide your Shih Tzu with 2 meals a day.
Find a Veterinarian
Finding a competent and knowledgeable veterinarian is essential. Preferably find the one that has good reviews; it has experience in treating Shih Tzu and is available in case of emergency. You also want to know your vet’s office operating hours.
It’s good to have the same veterinarian while your pup grows up and someone your puppy feels comfortable around.
Keep the vet’s info and what to do in case of emergency somewhere visible, and let everyone know where it is. Hopefully, you will never need it, but it’s good to be prepared.
Shih Tzu Puppy Vaccinations
Recommended puppy vaccinations will prevent your dog from getting infectious diseases, and that is why it is important to keep them on schedule.
Puppies should typically be vaccinated at 6–8 weeks, 10- 12 weeks, 16-18 weeks, and after 1 year of age.
Some sources suggest different times for each of the vaccinations, but your Shih Tzu veterinarian will guide you in this matter.
Your Shih Tzu puppy should have received most of these vaccinations for the first time while still at the breeder. Ask the breeder to provide you with a copy of the puppy’s health record. Boosters of most vaccines will be necessary after your dog arrives.
Find more information in the table below.
|Type of vaccination||Puppy’s Age||Description|
|Distemper||6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, 16-18 weeks, and 12-16 months||Viral disease. It spreads by urine and feces. It’s highly contagious.|
|Parvovirus||6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, 16-18 weeks, and 12-16 months||Viral disease. Highly contagious and potentially deadly. Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal system.|
|Hepatitis (Adenovirus)||10-12 weeks, 16-18 weeks, and 12-16 months||Viral infection. Inflammation of the liver. The virus can be spread by urine, infected nose, and eye discharges.|
|Parainfluenza||10-12 weeks, 16-18 weeks, and 12-16 months||One of the several viruses that can lead to kennel cough.|
|Rabies||16-18 weeks and 12-18 months||Viral disease. Attack central nervous system.|
Vaccinations are not effective immediately, and it takes time (usually about two weeks) for your Shih Tzu’s immune system to develop antibodies.
DHPP refers to a 4-in-one shot protecting your Shih Tzu puppy from distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.
Your Shih Tzu Puppy’s General Health
Overall your Shih Tzu will be healthy, but there are specific health issues you may run into.
A dry eye issue is something to be aware of. Cloudy eyes and corneal ulcers are conditions that may happen to your dog.
Ear infections may occur because Shih Tzu has a long external ear canal. Keep your puppy’s ears clean and hair out of the ear. If your puppy is shaking its head, this might be a sign of the infection.
Gastritis (an upset stomach) can occur when you’re switching puppy food and generally changing the puppy’s diet.
From time to time, some puppies inherit disorders from their parents, but very few of them have been confirmed.
Hereditary conditions include:
- cataracts (opacification of the lenses)
- entropion (an inrolling of the eyelids)
- keratoconjunctivitis sicca (inadequate tear production)
- progressive retinal atrophy (degeneration of retina)
- renal dysplasia (abnormal kidney development)
- urolithiasis (presence of stones or crystals in the urinary tract)
When do I need to get my Shih Tzu Spayed or Neutered?
Most owners decide to spay or neuter their Shih Tzu’s. One thing is for sure; once you do it, there is no way of your dog having offspring.
There are some advantages to spaying and neutering. Your spayed female Shih Tzu won’t be in heat; there will be no attracting male dogs in your yard, and there will be no risk of mammary cancer and uterus diseases.
Your neutered male Shih Tzu will have fewer incidents of fighting with other male dogs, it won’t search for females in season, and there will be no risk of many urogenital problems.
Female Shih Tzus are usually spayed around three months after having their first season (this approximately happens around six months of age), so about 9 months of age would be the time for spaying.
Your dog’s veterinarian will advise you what the best time for spaying your particular Shih Tzu is. Some breeders may require you to sign a contract about spaying age.
Male Shih Tzus can mature around five months of age and can show some dominant and assertive behavior. At this time, some owners can experience behavior problems with their male Shih Tzu and may decide to neuter their dog at this age.
Again, your veterinarian will give you the best advice on the right neutering age for your particular Shih Tzu. If you signed the contract with the breeder, the dog’s neutering age is determined in the agreement.
Grooming Your Shih Tzu Puppies
Shih Tzus are higher maintenance dogs because of their long coat. Even though your puppy doesn’t have a long coat yet, it’s essential to start getting your puppy familiar with the grooming process and the equipment.
A lot of Shih Tzu puppies grow up to be aggressive during grooming sessions. This usually happens because they weren’t used to being groomed from the puppyhood.
By the age of 5 months, your puppy Shih Tzu will have a puppy coat. After five months, the coat starts to change and will become denser.
What will you need for grooming your Shih Tzu puppy?
- pin brush
- wide teeth metal comb
- narrow teeth metal comb
- nail clipper
- safety scissors
- dog shampoo
- dog conditioner
Daily coat brushing will be necessary. Start by taking your puppy on the lap and by stroking its coat with your hands for a couple of minutes.
Continue with brushing, and finish it with the comb. After your Shih Tzu puppy relaxes, you can turn it to its back to repeat the process on the puppy’s legs, chest, and neck. Finish by brushing the puppy’s ears.
While being groomed, some puppies like to sit, stand or lie down. Whatever your puppy prefers is okay, as long as it works.
Clean your puppy’s face daily. Wipe around the eyes and the whiskers.
While brushing your Shih Tzu puppy, make a routine of checking its ears, teeth, and nails.
Puppy’s ears need to be clean, so clean them if you notice any dirt or dry wax. To clean the ears, you will need an ear cleaner and a cotton ball.
If you notice inflammation or a funny smell, this might be an infection, and a visit to a veterinarian might be necessary.
Be careful when cutting puppy’s nails, especially if you have Shih Tzu with a darker color coat or darker nails. The hair is growing between pads, and you can easily cut the quick of the puppy’s nail. Hair between the pads also needs to be trimmed. For safety reasons, before you start cutting the nails of your Shih Tzu, wet your puppy’s paws with the water. This will keep the hair away from the nails.
Brushing the puppy’s teeth is vital for its overall health. Your puppy might not like it, but you’ll have to do it anyways. The earlier you start, the easier it will be. A wide range of puppy toothbrushes and toothpaste are available. You might need to try a few different ones until your puppy approves the taste. Brush your Shih Tzu puppy’s teeth three times a week.
Start bathing your Shih Tzu puppy from an early age and make it a routine, but not earlier than 12 weeks of age. Bath your puppy once a month, and do the ear cleaning and nail clipping after the bath.
Gently brush your Shih Tzu puppy’s coat before bathing. Make sure the water temperature is not cold or hot but lukewarm.
Use a bath loofah to clean the puppy. Be careful around ears, nose, and eyes; no water should get into these areas. Leave a conditioner for 3-5 minutes. Rinse the shampoo and conditioner thoroughly.
Wrap your Shih Tzu in a towel to soak the excess water and to keep it warm after the bath. Gently comb the puppy’s coat before hair drying it. Finally, hairdryer the coat until completely dry.
Important House Rules For Your Puppy Shih Tzu
As soon as you get a Shih Tzu puppy, you need to establish house rules. Decide whether your dog will be allowed to spend time in every room in the house, children’s room, guestroom, or any other room.
You will also have to decide if your dog will be allowed on the house furniture and if you will allow it to sleep on your bed.
Whatever your house rules will be, it’s essential to start it from the very beginning and to be consistent. Making sure everyone in the house follows the rules is equally important.
Garden and Yard Safety
If you have a garden, you should consider Shih Tzu puppy-proofing it. This is important because your puppy is small, and it can easily heart itself with the sharp plants around the yard. Remember that Shih Tzu’s face (especially eyes) is sensitive, and everything that is in the pup’s eye level is a potential safety hazard. If the puppy hurts its eyes, this can be a significant health issue.
Every plant that has thorns can hurt your Shih Tzu puppy. So if you have roses, and similar plants around the yard, make sure to puppy proof it. It’s also important to have a safe fence without holes so your puppy can’t escape.
It’s equally important to be informed about toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs. Here is the list of the most common ones you want to avoid whenever possible.
- Aloe (Aloe vera)
- Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.)
- American Holly (Ilex opaca)
- Apple (Malus sylvestris)
- Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)
- Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri)
- Azalea (Rhododendron spp)
- Begonia (Begonia spp.)
- Bergamont Orange (Citrus Aurantium)
- Black Calla (Arum palestinum)
- Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
- Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
- Burning Bush (Euonymus atropurpurea)
- Butterfly Iris (Iris spuria)
- Calamondin Orange (Citrus Mitis)
- California Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
- Daffodil (Narcissus spp)
- Daisy (Chrysanthemum species)
- Elephant Ears (Caladium hortulanum)
- English Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
- Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus species)
- Fern Palm (Zamia spp.)
- Garden Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
- Garden Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
- Garden Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
- Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
- Geranium (Pelargonium species)
- Gerber Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
- Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisii)
- Horse Chestnut (Aesculus glabra)
- Iris (Iris species)
- Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia)
- Leek (Allium ampeloprasum)
- Lemon (Citrus limonia)
- Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
- Lemon Verbana (Aloysia triphylla)
- Macadamia Nut (Macadamia integrifolia)
- Maleberry (Lyonia sp.)
- Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
- Milfoil (Achillea millefolium)
- Mint (Mentha sp.)
- Morning Glory ( Convolvulaceae)
- Moss Rose (Portulaca oleracea)
- Mum (Chrysanthemum spp.)
- Narcissus (Narcissus spp)
- Oleander (Nerium oleander)
- Onion (Allium cepa)
- Orange (Citrus sinensis)
- Oregano (Origanum vulgare hirtum)
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
- Peach (Prunus persica)
- Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli)
- Peony (Paeonis Officinalis)
- Periwinkle (Vinca rosea)
- Philodendron Pertusum (Philodendron spp)
- Plum (Prunus domestica)
- Pinks (Dianthus caryophyllus)
- Primrose (Primulaceae)
- Racemose asparagus (Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri)
- Ragwort (Senecio species)
- Ranger’s Button (Sphenosciadium capitellatum)
- Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp)
- Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarium)
- Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
- Showy Daisy (Erigeron speciosus)
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
- Striped Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis)
- Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium)
- Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)
- Tomato Plant (Solanaceae)
- Trumpet Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
- Tulip (Tulipa spp.)
- Yucca (Yucca spp.)
For plant photos, toxic plant parts for each plant mentioned above, as well as clinical signs of poisoning, see ASPCA detailed list.
Shih Tzu Puppy House Training (Potty-Training)
Before your new puppy arrives, you’ll have to decide where you will put a litter tray and where the potty area will be (backyard or outside if you live in an apartment). Your Shih Tzu will learn to go potty only in that particular area. Dogs are clean by nature and don’t like to soil the area they live in.
It can take a few months to potty train your Shih Tzu puppy but don’t be discouraged.
When do puppies relieve themselves? Your puppy will most likely relieve itself after
- waking up in the morning
- eating meals
- drinking water
For Shih Tzu puppies three months of age and younger, observation is necessary. Puppies at this age don’t have the physical ability to hold. Your Shih Tzu puppy’s body language will tell you when it’s time to go by sniffing the ground, whining, and circling, for example.
How should you react when you recognize the signs of a Shih Tzu puppy’s need to relieve itself or if the puppy is already doing it?
- never yell at the puppy
- never punish the puppy
- say “no” firmly
- immediately take the puppy and put it to the litter tray or take it outside
- praise and reward a puppy with a treat after pooping or peeing
Try to put your Shih Tzu puppy on the litter tray or take the puppy out every hour even if it doesn’t show any signs of potty needs. Leave the puppy in the potty area for a few minutes. It’s okay if the puppy doesn’t go every time.
Over time, your Shih Tzu puppy will get better at holding it, and it will let you know when it’s time to go. Having patience is a key to successful potty training.
Socialization Is Important
Socialization is an important step you don’t want to skip. A social dog behaves appropriately in every given situation. Socialization should start after your dog has received all the necessary shots.
Shih Tzu puppies who aren’t familiar with their environment can show aggression, fear, and shyness.
What Does a Shih Tzu Puppy Socialization Mean?
Puppy socialization means that you introduce your Shih Tzu puppy to as many different situations as possible. Introducing your puppy to other dogs, other animals, children, and other people and making your puppy spend some time around makes it confident and easy to handle.
By socializing your Shih Tzu puppy, you are shaping its attitude towards the world.
Socialization will require some effort and time, but it will be worth it in the end. Your Shih Tzu will also go through some fear periods, and this might happen between 8-11 weeks and from 6-14 months of age.
Shih Tzu Socialization With Other Pets
If you want your puppy to be friendly with other pets and with other animals in general, you’ll have to introduce your puppy to a variety of them.
Whenever possible, get your Shih Tzu familiar with:
- other puppies (same and different breeds)
- adult dogs (same or other breeds)
- cats and kittens
- other pets (rabbits, birds, rats, hamster, hedgehogs, guinea pigs)
When dogs are playing together, they are socializing. Your puppy, while playing, will also bark, growl, chase, wrestle, play-bite, but this is normal. Try to socialize your Shih Tzu with dogs of other genders, sizes, breeds, and coat types. All of that will help your dog to socialize better.
If you don’t have the opportunity to socialize your puppy with other dogs because you don’t have time or none of your friends owns a dog—doggy daycare or puppy obedience classes will help. This way, your Shih Tzu puppy will spend time around other dogs.
If you have no other pets, socialization with other animals is a good idea. During its lifetime, your Shih Tzu will encounter a variety of animals. Take your dog to a friend’s house, a pet store that allows dogs, and somewhere where your dog will have a chance to see other animals.
Even if it’s just a park where your Shih Tzu will see squirrels, ducks, geese, and birds, it will help. It can be frustrating when your Shih Tzu is not familiar with other animals, and it starts chasing them, barking at them, or is afraid of them.
Socialization With Other People
Most of the time, your Shih Tzu puppy (and later an adult dog) will encounter lots of people during its lifetime. Positive association with people is essential since your Shih Tzu will find itself in a variety of situations where people are involved.
Introduce your Shih Tzu puppy to:
- Children (of all ages and gender)
- Men (of all ages)
- Women (of all ages)
- Loud people
- Quiet people
- People in uniform (police officer, firefighter, mailman, delivery people)
- People that wear hats
Socialization with children is important even if you don’t have your own. It will teach your puppy how to be gentle around them.
It’s nothing new that dogs like to bark at mail carriers and delivery people. Even though your Shih Tzu is just a puppy now, introducing it to a variety of people early will result in not reacting and barking at them later in life.
Environmental exposure is equally important as other forms of socialization. Your Shih Tzu will find itself in different kinds of situations where it will have to behave properly.
Ways to socialize your Shih Tzu puppy environmentally:
- visit a vet
- visit pet store
- visit grooming salon
- walk on the busy street with a lot of traffic
- play your television loud
- visit a crowded park in your area
- take your puppy for a car ride