Shih Tzu Articles
If there is one thing that drives shih tzu owners crazy everywhere it's excessive barking. When something sets them off, these little dogs can really get themselves worked up into a lather. If you're not there to stop it, the noise could go on for half an hour. Gentle training of your dog, when kept up, should yield good results.
While its worthwhile to have your shih tzu alert, to warn you when something is out of the ordinary, until they learn what ordinary is from you, there'll be confusion on the matter and a lot of noise. When it's something you don't want them to bark at, very calmly tell them no. When , it is ideal to praise them for letting you know, and telling them not to bark any more, now that you know what's going on. [...]
Shih tzus are usually among the easier dogs to housebreak, however, most people find themselves torn between using a crate to train a dog and some of the more creative methods that people have designed. Regardless of the method you choose, always remember that the goal is to stop all elimination in your house and make the process as painless as possible for everyone involved.
For starters, punitive methods of punishment are now seen for what they are: mild forms of animal abuse. There is no reason to shout or beat a dog, certainly not a shih tzu. Simply teaching your dog what to do and letting them know when you're displeased, you can come to an understanding that is mostly based on reward, whether that be treats or your affection. [...]
The history of the shih tzu spans many hundreds of years and began in modern day China. Today these dogs are the trusted companions of millions of young children and families for the very same reasons they were once the canine choice of imperial ladies in waiting.
It is thought that the origins of the shih tzu go back nearly 3,000 years when Tibet sent gifts of these dogs to the Imperial palace. There are reports of small "under table" dogs who picked up scraps and alerted their keepers (usually eunuchs who ran many functions of the imperial household) of anything approaching the castle. [...]
One of the downsides of having a dog with a very short snout is the prevalence of gingivitis and gum disease this tooth formation encourages. In fact, the shih tzu is not unique in this problem, many other dogs with short noses (also called Brachycephalic) are at special risk for gum disease and possible tooth infection or loss.
This problem goes much farther than having a dog with a stinky face or even loosing teeth - tooth infections can actually kill or make your dog very sick, indeed. Even low-level infections from long-term tooth decay can lead to health problems such as decreased immunity and overall vigor. [...]
Just because you can do something to your dog's hair, doesn't mean you should! There are plenty of very involved procedures that go into creating the shih tzu one sees on televised dog shows. Though most owners keep their dogs in something of a "puppy cut" for trouble-free maintenance, real champion dogs have a longer beauty regimine than many women.
Of course, if you have a shih tzu puppy, the adult coat that requires all the maintenance hasn't grown in just yet. In fact, there is a few weeks when your dog transitions between a "puppy coat" and their adult fur that it seems nearly impossible to keep up with all the mats, tangles and loose hair. However, after a few weeks, the adult coat settles down with all the hairs pointing in the right direction. [...]
There are many reasons for a shih tzu to enjoy exercise, and paramount among them is the potential for a vastly increased lifespan with a higher quality of life during those years. There are few things you can do that will have nearly as much positive impact on your dog's health and personality than giving her or him plenty of good exercise.
Of course, this is difficult for some dogs who live in highly urban areas or whose owners are gone for very long hours. Of course, now that you have a dog is not a good time to discuss whether you're in a good position to be a dog owner. Thankfully, shih tzus are very happy and friendly dogs who are very often fond of playing with their human packs as well as other dogs. [...]
Though very small compared to most dogs at the park, your shih tzu would love for you to take her or him out to socialize with other dogs. Indeed, this most critical when they are still small puppies so they grow up without unreasonable fears of other dogs, new people and situations. However, it is important that you manage such new encounters as much as possible when your shih tzu pup is still impressionable, otherwise such adventures could potentially have the opposite effect.
Perhaps the best reason to make sure your shih tzu is well-socialized as a puppy is to prevent developing a fear biting response. Such animals are not trustworthy because they are so terrified, and being dogs, lead with their teeth in situations that are too tense for them to understand. Obviously, you want your shih tzu to be a companion that you can take with you anywhere. [...]
Since a shih tzu rarely tops 7 kg (16 pounds), it is imperative that you do what you can to keep them from being injured by what would merely startle other dogs that are even a bit larger. This is not because they're cowardly, but simply because the action of a falling toddler or a wayward book could cause permenant, perhaps fatal damage to such a small dog.
For starters, they should never, ever be left alone in the company of children. Even young teens who are normally very careful of the dog can turn incomprehensibly stupid when in groups. Smaller children have a tendency to treat these cute, cuddly, little dogs as if they were toys, since they really do resemble living toys. Of course, a living, breathing dog can't (and won't) handle the same sort abuse that a fluff toy can. [...]
Those who own Shih Tzus are lucky enough to have them around for a while. The average life-span of most is between 11 and 15 years. Therefore, it is very likely that your dog will need some extra care as he or she gets older. Over 7 is considered "senior" by many, and it certainly is fair to consider a dog over 10 years to be elderly.
Like any other dog, shih tzus suffer from the same ravages of old age as human beings do. They get tired more quickly, they heal from injuries slower than they may have in the past. The hair becomes more brittle and porous. The muscles and joints may ache in the mornings or in damp weather. [...]
It has been proven that the shih tzu is descended from one of the oldest lines of domesticated dogs in the world. It is believed that their center of domestication is found in Tibet rather than China, having been sent there around 1000 as tribute to the Emperor.
They were, in fact, palace guarding dogs who were trained to be held comfortably by ladies of the court as well as alerting the shape of their face to look more like a lion, or more specifically, what the Chinese interpretation of what a lion looks like. [...]