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What Are Shih Tzu Like as Pets (The Pros and the Cons)?

Shih Tzu are famous for their happy and playful demeanor. They are friendly to strangers and loyal to their owners. Getting along with others comes very easy for them. This breed can interact well with people of all ages, other dogs, breeds, and even other pets.
What Are Shih Tzu Like as Pets?

Table of Contents

What Are Shih Tzu’s Temperament?

A dog’s temperament is defined as its general attitude toward people and other animals. It is influenced by its genes and its environment. As reported by their owners, Shih Tzu demonstrate the following temperaments:

  • Happy
  • Lively
  • Playful
  • Active
  • Friendly
  • Affectionate
  • Outgoing
  • Loyal
  • Intelligent

Which Has Better Temperament – Male or Female Shih Tzu?

Male Shih Tzu are generally more affectionate and attentive than females. They can quickly bond with many family members, rather than attaching themselves to only one. Compared with females, male Shih Tzu are more outgoing and energetic.

Are Shih Tzu Friendly?

Rarely can you find a grumpy Shih Tzu. When you gain their trust, most of them are pleasant and friendly. They love being with people. They are content and happy, whether it’s a walk in the park or idly lying with you on the couch.

Why Is My Shih Tzu Not Friendly?

If your Shih Tzu used to be friendly and has been acting odd of late, there may be reasons behind it. Shih Tzu are generally a happy, social, and playful breed. They can be stubborn and aggressive, but they can be easily trained with a few simple techniques. Check these out:

Possible Health Issues: A behavior change is usually one of the earliest signs of a health issue. Your Shih Tzu might be in discomfort or groggy that is why it is not as playful as usual. Always rule out health concerns before addressing behavioral matters.

Repressed Energy: Shih Tzu are an active breed. They can be aggressive, out of control, and hyperactive. They have a level of energy that needs to be released through play and exercise. If these are missed, your dog will find other means to let it out.

Mishandling: If your Shih Tzu suddenly becomes aloof and refuses to be picked up after it was groomed, it might have been mishandled. This can also happen after playing with young children. Your dog will cope with the situation by avoiding contact in the meantime, but it will go back to normal in a few days.

Hierarchy Concerns: If your Shih Tzu is acting mischievously most of the time, it might be thinking it is the alpha of the pack. Dogs are instinctively pack animals. In every pack, the one who controls food distribution is the alpha. This situation can be easily corrected by controlling its feeding time.

Hormonal Changes: Odd behaviors are to be expected during the heat cycle, especially for females. When hormone levels are surging and dropping, your female Shih Tzu may also be having stomach cramps. These might lead it to be either irritable or clingy.

Aging: At nine years and above, vision and hearing loss are common among Shih Tzu. Your dog may be confused and restless due to these impaired senses.

Canine Frequencies: Because dogs can hear twice as much as humans, your pet may be sensing something you cannot. Your Shih Tzu may just be acting weirdly because of these.

Are Shih Tzu Affectionate?

The Shih Tzu is an affectionate dog breed. They feel happy and content lying with you on the couch or sitting on your lap. At home, they tend to follow their owners from room to room. These wonderful companion pets will surely warm your heart and always bring a smile to your face.

How Do Shih Tzu Show Affection?

Your Shih Tzu shows affection in several ways. When they follow you or press upon you, they want to get as close to you as possible. Every time you leave the house, they try to be calm, but they cannot deny being thrilled on your return. Wagging their tail with gusto is a definite sign they’re happy seeing you.

There are times when this doe-eyed breed would look into your eyes and hold your gaze. When they do this, they try to tell you how much they appreciate you. When they get playful and show their belly for you to rub, it means that they trust and love you.

Do Shih Tzu Like to Cuddle?

The Shih Tzu’s loyal and affectionate nature drives them to love to cuddle. They love taking walks, playing, and just being quiet with you. Laying their head on your lap or on your feet is their favorite place to rest or take a nap. If it’s up to them, spending all day with you is what they will choose.

Do Shih Tzu Puppies Like to Cuddle?

Newborn puppies need to cuddle with their mother for survival. They need milk for nutrition and warmth for protection. This survival instinct goes back to when dogs began to be domesticated.

Once the puppies open their eyes, they start to be curious. They would tend to be rambunctious and may not enjoy the cuddling as much as one-year-old Shih Tzu would. Wait for them to get tired, they would easily give in to your cuddling as they doze off.

How Do You Let Your Shih Tzu Know You Love Them?

Shih Tzu are very intuitive. When you care for them by providing food, shelter, and toys, they know you care for them. Go the extra mile to let them know you care for them. Do it by:

  • Frequently hugging, cuddling, and petting them.
  • Giving them ear rubs.
  • Gazing back at their eyes meaningfully.
  • Allowing them to sit or lie with you, on the couch, or on your bed.
  • Being yourself when you are with them.

Are Shih Tzu Needy?

Shih Tzu are needy. Because of their excellent social skills, this breed is exceptionally prone to clinginess. They would follow you around, lean very close to you, and even use you as their pillow when they take a nap. If you don’t address this, it might turn into problematic behaviors.

How Can I Make My Shih Tzu Less Needy?

Too much neediness in your Shih Tzu might lead to a more significant problem: separation anxiety. You need to differentiate if your pooch is just needy or if it has separation anxiety. Consult your veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist for the best advice.

Needy or clingy dogs want to be with you all the time. Nonetheless, they remain calm when you are not around. On the other hand, a Shih Tzu with separation anxiety will desire to be with you all the time. It will resort to destructive behavior when you leave.

If your Shih Tzu is needy and clingy, address it by following these strategies:

Increase Exercises: In lieu of using the energy by following you, give your Shih Tzu additional exercise. Make sure that its exercise routine is appropriate for its age and health.

Add Activities to Its Routine: If your dog spends its day following you, it might be bored. Remove idle time by stimulating its mind. You can add more playtime if your schedule allows. Otherwise, provide interactive toys so it learns how to play independently.

Normalize Your Actions Towards It: Your pet may have identified your usual habits. An example is when you give it treats when you walk out of the room to the kitchen. Normalize these habits by breaking them, so your Shih Tzu does not look forward to you doing something for it.

Designate a New and Special Place for It: Set up a space where your Shih Tzu can stay and play independently. Put water, bed, and toys to ensure your dog has everything it needs. Give treats as a reward when it does. You can say, “Go to your bedroom (or the name you have given this special place)” when it begins following you.

Are Shih Tzu Loyal?

Once you’ve earned its trust, the Shih Tzu will offer you unwavering loyalty. They will adore you and your family. Spending time with you will be its topmost priority. Made to choose between playing with you or running on the lawn, it will always choose you.

Are Shih Tzu Protective?

Their devoted loyalty gives birth to their protective nature. This trait is quite unusual in toy dogs, but you will find it in most Shih Tzu. Regardless of their size, they will try to protect their home and family with everything they have. Hence, they can be used as effective guard dogs when needed.

Do Shih Tzu Mark Their Territory?

Even after being potty trained, you may notice your Shih Tzu peeing inside your house. It can be a sign of territorial marking. It is usually discharged in only a few drops. With territorial marking, you won’t see puddles of pee. They are common on vertical surfaces such as the floor-length drapes and legs of furniture.

Shih Tzu feel the need to mark their territory when an insecurity issue surfaces. Examples of these issues are the presence of a new baby, a new pet, or even new furniture.

Are Male or Female Shih Tzu More Territorial?

Female Shih Tzu is more territorial than their male counterparts. They are also reported to be more independent and stubborn. Females will exercise their dominance by territorial marking and fighting. Among Shih Tzu, most fights break out between two females.

Are Shih Tzu Aggressive?

Typically, Shih Tzu are not aggressive. However, they do have aggressive tendencies. Watch out for signs of aggression: rigid posture, growling, pinned-back ears, baring teeth, and biting. Never ignore these signs from your Shih Tzu. When left unchecked, your dog may think it’s okay, worsening it over time.

Are Male or Female Shih Tzu More Aggressive?

Shih Tzu are not usually an aggressive breed. But females have a higher inclination to develop aggressive behaviors. Female Shih Tzu are strong-willed and dominating. They love getting away with doing what they want.

Why Is My Shih Tzu Suddenly Aggressive?

Not always does this breed possess aggressive behaviors. The Shih Tzu’s streak of aggression can be blamed on several things:

Small Dog Syndrome: This is a condition wherein a small dog is given all its demands. It caused it to think that it was the alpha of the pack. The pack includes its owners. So when the owners try to handle the dog, it reacts in such a way like it is defending its status.

Excessive Energy: Your Shih Tzu may be feeling bored and frustrated. Perhaps, it’s channeling the pent-up energy through growling and nipping.

Possessiveness: Extreme attachment to objects (toys, bed, food, and territory) may drive your Shih Tzu to display maladaptive behaviors.

Aggressive History: Aggression from a traumatic history usually occurs in rescue dogs. These poor dogs are typically triggered when a similar stimulus from their past surfaces. In their attempt to fight or escape, they resort to hostile means.

Medical Issues: Pain and distress from an underlying health concern may cause Shih Tzu irritability. They may display violent responses.

Why Is My Female Shih Tzu Aggressive?

Female Shih Tzu are affectionate and loyal like their male counterparts. However, they love to exercise their dominance. They are constantly trying to own and outsmart you. To get what they want, they may develop aggressive behaviors along the way.

Why Is My Male Shih Tzu So Aggressive?

It is seldom that a male Shih Tzu acts out and demonstrates violent behaviors. The extreme attachment may result in distress. Usually, these tendencies are led by possessive aggression. Later, these are released through destructive deeds.

Why Is My Shih Tzu Puppy So Aggressive?

During the teething phase, your Shih Tzu puppy engaged in nipping spats with its litter siblings or with you. If this is left uncorrected, your puppy will think of it as typical. Nipping may lead to biting. These seem to be a form of play for your puppy. When you start refusing to be bitten, they may lead to other actions that are hostile.

Are Shih Tzu Aggressive Towards Strangers?

Shih Tzu are generally polite towards strangers. They may have reservations about interacting with them. On the other hand, some Shih Tzu with territorial and protective tendencies may react violently to strangers. Once these unfamiliar people gain their trust, they show their true colors and become friendly.

Are Shih Tzu Aggressive With Other Dogs?

Shih Tzu are usually peaceful with other dogs, or other pets for that matter. However, your Shih Tzu may display aggression towards other dogs under certain circumstances. These can be out of fear, being defensive, or possessive.

If the new dog is unfamiliar or similar to another that your dog has had a bad experience with, your Shih Tzu will be afraid. Its stance will be of defense, such as tail tucked between the legs and ears pointing backward. If it feels that something is to be taken away, it will growl and snap at the other dog when it attempts to get too close.

Why Do Shih Tzu Fight With Each Other?

When Shih Tzu are familiar with one another, such as pets of the same household, the most common cause of fighting is their desire for the same resource. It can range from food, resting place, or even their owner’s attention. Other causes include:

  • When a younger dog challenges an older one
  • Change in family routine or interaction with the dogs
  • Underlying anxieties and sensitivities of your dogs

How Can I Make My Shih Tzu Less Aggressive?

Never punish your dog without thinking it through first. It will depend on where your Shih Tzu’s aggressive tendencies are rooting from. Identify the cause of these behaviors before making any attempts to correct them. Here are some of the most common causes and simple strategies to address them:

Medical Issues: A trip to the veterinarian to identify and rule out any health concerns is on the top of your list. Once these are treated, your dog will be back to its usual self.

Small Dog Syndrome: This condition needs immediate intervention before it gets out of hand. Correct your dog’s illusion by asserting yourself as the pack’s alpha. You can do this by showing who’s boss during feeding time. When your dog recognizes that you are the one in control, it will see you as the alpha.

Excessive Energy: Simply resolve this issue by ensuring that it is getting its daily exercise requirement. A Shih Tzu needs two walks of at least 20 minutes per session each day.

Possessiveness: Similar to the Small Dog Syndrome intervention, rectify your Shih Tzu’s possessive behaviors. Do it by being the one in control while it is using its toys, bed, or while it is eating.

Aggressive History: If you adopted a rescue dog, try to learn as much as you can about its history. This will enable you to understand why it behaves the way it does. A consult with a dog behavioral specialist is your best option to address your dog’s trauma.

Why Does My Shih Tzu Destroy Everything?

Your Shih Tzu’s biting and ripping habits stem from various causes:

Teething: From four months to ten months, your Shih Tzu will try to find comfort from its teething pains. It will engage in chewing and biting different objects in your home.

Stress or Boredom: Long periods of isolation can lead to stress and boredom. Usually, when left unattended, your Shih Tzu will engage in chewing and ripping up everything within its reach.

Out of Habit: Inappropriate chewing during the teething phase must be corrected. Otherwise, it will develop tendencies in your Shih Tzu to continue this habit up to adulthood.

Limited Chew Toys: Your Shih Tzu will look for different textures to mouth. If it has a few toys to choose from, it will resort to other objects it can find in your home.

Why Do Shih Tzu Get Mean?

The Shih Tzu can be mean if it does not like what is happening to its surroundings. It may growl towards different things. These can be a change in routine, a person it just met, or a new activity such as being rubbed or carried differently.

A growl is a warning sign. It does not always mean that a bite is to follow, especially from this friendly breed. However, if the conditions don’t improve after the initial growling, your Shih Tzu may snap and bite at someone close to it.

When your Shih Tzu rips apart your belonging, they don’t do it deliberately. Dogs explore things through their mouth a lot. Teething issues can also be a factor. However, Shih Tzu can get something that doesn’t belong to them and snarl at you for trying to retrieve them. This is if they have possessive aggression.

Are Shih Tzu Crazy?

The Shih Tzu is a lively and active breed. They may appear exuberant in one instance and cross in the next. There is undoubtedly an underlying and valid reason when a Shih Tzu acts strange. Find out what it is and employ strategies to resolve them.

Are Shih Tzu Dangerous?

Shih Tzu are great family dogs. From the start, they were bred as companion animals. Adaptable and friendly, they are less likely to exhibit violent tendencies that can pose a danger to their owners. Their warm and loyal demeanor makes for extraordinary pets. All they need is proper care and training.