22 Dec

Five Health Benefits of Owning a Shih Tzu


There are plenty of great reasons to adopt a Shih Tzu, and they aren’t just good for your spirit. Did you know that your furry friend is actually good for your health? Here are five awesome health benefits of owning a Shih Tzu:

Shih Tzus can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Dogs have a calming, comforting effect on people that lowers blood pressure and can be especially beneficial to those who suffer from hypertension. Plus, pet owners (especially men) tend to have significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than their pet-less friends. Shih Tzus: they’re literally good for your heart!

They keep you active. It’s easy to lose the motivation to exercise as you get older, but adopting a pup and walking her regularly can improve bone health, flexibility, muscle tone and lung capacity. Studies have shown that dog owners who take regular walks with their four-legged companions not only get more weekly exercise than non-dog owners, they are also more likely to meet federal health criteria for regular moderate or vigorous exercise. While Shih Tzus require less outdoor playtime than other breeds, that doesn’t mean they won’t keep you on your toes with potty trips!

Shih Tzus can help those suffering from certain forms of dementia. A study at the University of California at Davis found that Alzheimer’s patients exhibit less stress and fewer outbursts if there is a dog in the home. Aggressive behavior in patients can even be reduced with some playful interaction with the pet, creating a soothing effect. And caretakers can benefit from the presence of a Shih Tzu, too! Often, problem behavior displayed by one afflicted with Alzheimer’s is a reaction to the stressed response of the caretaker. The presence of a pet can ease that stress.

They can lower depression and fight off loneliness. Depression is a common battle for seniors, especially for those who have lost a spouse. Shih Tzus can offer a sense of companionship, not to mention unconditional love and support. Dogs can be perhaps the only completely nonjudgmental presence in a person’s life, and whether it’s been three hours or three minutes since they’ve seen you, they’re always excited when you walk through the door.

They can lead you to a better social life. Some seniors tend to become socially withdrawn as time goes on, but dogs are natural conversation starters. Further, the presence of a dog has been shown to lead to more positive topics of conversation. One study found that seniors who took walks without a pet tended to discuss the past and health issues when they crossed paths with a neighbor. Dog walkers, on the other hand, were more likely to discuss their canines with neighbors. Plus, they often shared light banter with the dog during the walk, even when other people weren’t around. That means Shih Tzus can provide seniors with more positive social interactions simply by being there!

You always felt like your Shih Tzu was good for you, but did you have any idea how literal the reality of it is? Whether they’re warming your heart metaphorically or actually improving your cardiovascular health, it’s tough to find a downside to owning one of these precious pooches!

Vee Cecil is a wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor. She is passionate about studying and sharing her findings in wellness through her recently-launched blog.


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17 Dec

Shih Tzu Training – No Wolf Speak Thank You!

How often does your Shih Tzu training incorporate wolf pack dynamics? Read on to learn how and why it is vitally important during Shih Tzu training to leave behind the idea of pack leadership and what a difference it can make to the end result.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????We love our dogs very much don’t we? We would do anything at all for them. Yet we continually misunderstand them and this makes our relationship with them difficult.

The amount of times I hear people give Shih Tzu training advice which involves being the boss, being an alpha or showing that you are the pack leader is shocking. So shocking because it is that far removed from how Shih Tzu think that it creates a massive communication gap between the Shih Tzu and his human.

Every time I hear someone say something that associates dogs with wolves I shudder and my heart sinks. I try to tell them that with this particular Shih Tzu training approach there is absolutely no way that they will ever truly understand their dog. Worse still they take away much of the dog’s individuality and all of his choice, why would we do that?

At best, when we follow this kind of advice, our Shih Tzu can decipher some of what we are looking for from our mistaken attempts at irrelevant communication. This is usually something that sweet natured dogs with few issues teach themselves, so it looks like the methods are working. When really it’s just the dog’s ability to understand our misguided communication during odd Shih Tzu training that’s working.

At worst the Shih Tzu training methods cause serious problems. This is usually the case when the dog is worried, anxious or stressed and we respond to it in a certain way. When we use pack leader Shih Tzu training methods our behavior towards the dog is affected by assuming that the dog is trying to establish dominance or some equally ridiculous idea.

Think of it this way, if you were scared and surrounded by people that you couldn’t understand (maybe because they are speaking a different language) then they respond to you by trying to dominate you how would you feel? I suspect your fear would accelerate and you would try to run away, maybe even get aggressive? This is exactly how pack leadership type Shih Tzu training will affect your beloved dog.

So forget about the smarmy TV trainers, the books, the theories that dogs are fluffy little wolves with big ideas and work towards truly, truly understanding your Shih Tzu. See your best friend for what he is, an individual animal with lots of love to give. A sweet personality that may prefer some things and be scared of others.

Your Shih Tzu is a dog like no other. He evolved away from the wolf well over 20000 years ago and towards being a wonderful human companion. He may be a bit cheeky but is not naughty and certainly doesn’t want to rule your roost. He may act up but he is likely worried about something or has learned that acting up is beneficial to him.

You Shih Tzu is an individual personality that loves you, he will respond to kindness and mutual communication during your Shih Tzu training sessions, so please don’t treat him like a wolf, you are much better of learning how he actually communicates and using your knowledge to become the very best of friends.

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05 Nov

Shih Tzu Grooming – The Ultimate Guide

Shih Tzu GroomingShih Tzu grooming can be a delight or a disaster, depending on the dog and his experience with the hairbrush. Even the most reluctant subject can be taught to relax during a spruce up though so read on and learn how, with our specific guide designed just for you: Shih Tzu grooming 101.

Despite their similar size this little dog varies in nature, based upon his life experience and genes. Shih Tzu were bred as companions and will usually lap up the attention yet some simply don’t like being groomed.

Let’s start though with puppy handling.

Shih Tzu Grooming 101 – From Puppyhood

We will first talk through Shih Tzu Grooming as if we are in an ideal world, with a brand new puppy. Everything that a puppy learns, about being handled, from the moment that he is born will dictate how he acts when he is groomed from a few months old.

If Shih Tzu grooming does not occur early on then the dog, after a few months, will resist the act of being handled forever more. This is workable but it will be difficult and take some time, the brain of the Shih Tzu will literally need ‘rewiring’ by kind and rewarding handling. We will talk more about grooming a Shih Tzu with issues soon, but for now let’s get back to the puppy.

Shih Tzu puppy grooming only needs to be carried out once a day for a few minutes. Yet the more you do it the better your dog will be at accepting such handling when he gets older. This is particularly important for the stubborn Shih Tzu and those that may have learned to be reactive enough to growl or even snap during grooming.

Shih Tzu Grooming 101 – Equipment

Dog grooming equipment is pretty cheap and easy to get hold of, yet you need to cater to the coat of your Shih Tzu and its length. Left to grow long the Shih Tzu coat will become silky soft hair that needs gently combing with a wide toothed comb and soft brush, plus trimming with scissors. Whilst a clipped Shih Tzu will need less grooming yet it is still a good idea to do it regularly, for your relationship.

As an overall Shih Tzu grooming kit the following will suffice;

  • Comb for longer areas of the coat, head and tail.
  • Brush with natural or synthetic bristle.
  • Slicker brush with wire teeth.
  • Ear cleanser (a vet approved one or risk free natural remedy)
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste (canine specific)
  • Nail clippers
  • Scissors
  • Gentle canine shampoo (oatmeal shampoo is one of the gentlest types for dogs)
  • Nail clippers designed for dogs.

If you like the idea of a sweet smelling dog then you can even invest in a deodorant spray such as those used by professional groomers. Be careful though because they are pretty potent and one squirt and rub is usually enough. Any more and your dog will be imitating a mobile air freshener for days.

Shih Tzu Grooming– The Sequence of Events

When you are raising and handling a puppy, over the first few months of his life, the idea is that you get him used everything that he will experience in his entire lifetime. If you do this then visits to the veterinarian will be easier, treatment will be no problem and grooming along with healthcare will be a quick, easy and stress free process for both of you.

So take a look at these basic stages for Shih Tzu grooming and health checking your Shih Tzu from puppyhood and beyond. Start at the tips of the ears and work to the tip of your dog’s tail. Daily checking of the following areas will alert you quickly to any problems.

Shih Tzu Grooming 101- The Ears

Some Shih Tzu grow hair right into the ear canal which can be problematic because it doesn’t allow the wax to leave the ear. Trapped wax can lead to painful infection so it’s very important to keep an eye on your dog’s ears.

Look into your dog’s ears and if necessary squirt in a little cleanser and rub (this is usually only necessary one every one or two weeks). If there is any hair growing within reach in the outer ear, and you are feeling brave, then you can pluck it out which will improve air flow throughout the ear.

Shih Tzu GroomingLook out for redness, swelling, itchiness and a strong smell from your dog’s ear. These symptoms can mean that there is a build-up of wax, the start of an infection or even an infestation of ear mites.

Ear mites are tiny little mites that live within the ear of the dog and have a very distinctive smell. They are itchy and uncomfortable and need to be eradicated by careful veterinary treatment.

Shih Tzu Grooming 101 – Eyes

Eye problems are usually rare in healthy dogs though some Shih Tzu can have genetic problems and need constant observation and care to their eyes. When inspecting the eyes, during the act of health checking and grooming your Shih Tzu, then simply look out for redness and excess discharge. A small amount of sleep is normal and healthy.

Shih Tzu have hair that grows down over their eyes. I try to avoid leaving the eyes covered as this must be annoying for dogs and is a genetic trait that we bred into them. Because long facial hair is our responsibility I believe that it is equally our responsibility to keep the dog’s vision clear. So whether you become a careful trimmer of your dog’s facial hair or tie it back in a delicate band doesn’t matter as long as your dog can see without obstruction.

Shih Tzu Grooming 101 – Healthy Teeth

I cannot overstate the importance of keeping your small dog’s teeth clean. Shih Tzu have teeth that are close together and that trap tartar. When tartar is left on the teeth it becomes a condition called gingivitis, then if this condition is not alleviated the dog develops periodontitis, which is a shockingly serious disease.

So serious in fact that the effects within your dog’s body can actually shorten his life expectancy by as much as 20%.

The reason that tooth care within small dogs is so important now is partly dog food and partly genetic influence. In the wild, dogs ate a variety of foods which naturally cleaned those teeth. Chewing on bones, through hair and on plant materials all had a natural abrasive effect that many pet foods simply cannot match.

Then add this to the increase of genetic problems in Shih Tzu based upon poor breeding and lack of breeder responsibility in regards to genetics and dental problems prevail. It is vital to clean your Shih Tzu’s teeth at least once a day and well worth that two minutes of gentle extra care.

Shih Tzu Grooming 101 – Brush Those Teeth!

Cleaning the teeth of your dog is actually quite easy. You can find a good enzymatic toothpaste, a soft brush or even a finger brush in most pet stores. Dog toothpastes are usually flavored to ensure that the dog likes them.

  1. Do not use human toothpaste or mouthwashes though as they often contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, which is extremely toxic to dogs.
  2. Start by allowing the dog to lick the toothpaste off your finger.
  3. Gently move on to rubbing the paste directly onto your dog’s teeth.
  4. When your pet is happy with this allow him to lick the paste directly from the toothbrush and eventually you will be able to brush his teeth.

Shih Tzu GroomingIt is important to keep the process positive. Whilst cleaning your dog’s teeth you can check for problems too. Look for swollen, red or bleeding gums and open his mouth up wide in order to see those back teeth. This is what a vet will do and it’s much easier for all involved when your dog is used to the process.

If your dog is reluctant do not despair for I will talk about reluctance and how to overcome it soon.

Coat and Skin

So, your dog’s ears are checked and his teeth are brushed, his eyes are clear and he is happily accepting the handling so far. Let’s take a look at his skin and coat next.

When you inspect your dog’s coat and skin look for excess flaking, redness, soreness, itchy areas. Skin problems are often related to diet and allergy, so if your dog is itchy first of all take a good look at what he eats.

Brush Carefully

When you groom your Shih Tzu’s coat it is important to always take the comb or brush along the same direction as the hair lays. If you groom against the flow of hair growth your dog is likely to protest, because it feels unnatural.

Start at your dog’s neck and gently brush or comb right down to the tail. Repeating this just once a day and keeping an eye out for tangles will keep your small dog’s coat in great condition.

With a soft bristled brush, on a short haired dog, you can press quite hard and as it will massage the skin to produce natural oils, yet do not press with a wire or metal brush because this will easily hurt your dog. On a longer haired dog you can comb through and untangle as you go.

Watch for Fleas

Fleas can be picked up anywhere and have some very distinctive symptoms;

  • Black dirt in the dog’s coat that turns red when wet.
  • A very itchy dog.

If your dog shows the signs of fleas it is important that you treat the dog, bedding and carpets with either a safe veterinary approved medication or natural remedies. When fleas are present in the Shih Tzu coat it is a good idea to treat your pet for worms too as the internal and external parasite life cycles are intricately connected.

Shih Tzu Grooming 101 – Pick Up Those Tiny Paws

This is one of the most important things to do regularly when you are grooming any dog. If the act of paw picking and nail clipping is carried out daily, even when the nails are not actually clipped, your dog will be relaxed about having his nails clipped for the rest of his life.

If you are happy to take the tips of your dog’s nails by using the clippers then this is fine. Be very aware though the nail is filled with a quick and if this is cut it will hurt a lot and also bleed a great deal. This is less of a problem when the dog’s nail is white or clear because you can see the inside and avoid the quick. However if the nail is black then it’s important only to take of the very tip, just in case.

Many dogs protest at having their paws fiddled with, the idea is to teach them relaxed behavior during the event, we will discuss keeping your worried pet happy shortly.

Shih Tzu Grooming 101- The Back End

When you are grooming and health checking your Shih Tzu it is important to check the anal glands. Anal glands are two little dots each side of the anus that help your dog leave scent and also toilet easily. They can become impacted or even infected though and leave the do in pain or itchy.

If your dog is scooting along the rug, scratching his bottom or there are any signs of swelling on his anus then it is important to take him along to a professional in order to get his anal glands emptied. Now this is not a nice job and the act of emptying anal glands is a smelly affair. Stand well back!

Often anal glands become impacted because the dog is eating too much soft food. So a change in diet and other preventative measures may be necessary. Or if the glands are infected your dog may need a course of medication.

Professional Shih Tzu Grooming

Shih Tzu GroomingYour dog’s coat type may be a lot to handle and in this case you have the option of a professional groomer. Shih Tzu professional grooming is far more common than larger dogs because the breed will barely shed hair.

The Shih Tzu in full coat would need regular detangling in full coat and the skin of this breed would also miss out on necessary air flow if he wasn’t regularly combed through.

Shih Tzu grooming being done by a professional is quite common, one of my own goes into a mobile grooming van, with a lovely lady, an hour later comes out looking and smelling very sweet indeed.

It’s important that, when looking for a groomer, you find customer references and follow them up carefully.

The groomer will clip your dog’s excess hair away and leave him looking great plus the shorter coat will be a lot easier for you to manage. Remember to continue your daily handling practice though, for it is good for you, your dog and your mutual relationship.

Shih Tzu Grooming 101 – A Summary of Steps

I have thrown plenty of information your way so let’s do a quick summary. Here are the grooming and handling stages to go through every day with your dog. This is as vitally important whether you are bringing up a puppy or teaching a stressed rescue dog to be relaxed when he is touched.

  1. Allow your dog outside to toilet and stretch his legs before you begin.
  2. Decide where to groom and health check your dog and bring your equipment to the area.
  3. Check your dog’s ears and pluck/clean them if necessary.
  4. Check your dog’s eyes and make sure they are not red, sore or producing excessive discharge.
  5. Brush your dog’s teeth and open his mouth wide to check the back ones.
  6. Comb your dog’s hair aside and check that his skin is healthy. Also check for parasites.
  7. Brush or comb your dog
  8. Take our dog’s feet, one by one and check his nails. Cut them if you need to or just pretend that you are cutting them if they are short enough.
  9. Check your dog’s anal glands and reproductive areas for redness or swelling.

It really is that simple, particularly when your dog is willing or very young. What can you do if he is not willing though? Read on to find out.

Grooming a Scared Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu GroomingRemember I said that your Shih Tzu grooming needs to be regular and your Shih Tzu should be handled from early puppyhood or he will not cope later on? Well a lack of this type of social learning will certainly lead to a Shih Tzu who is scared when groomed.

How this fear manifests really depends on the individual dog. Some may become squirmy and fidget whilst other dogs growl and threaten.

Whichever the behavior it usually comes from fear. You can change things though just by starting to reward and reinforce the dog when he stays relaxed whilst being groomed and handled.

  • When your dog is scared or reluctant you can begin to health check him briefly at different times of the day and always reward him with a treat.
  • You can do this by establishing a routine and breaking it down over time always rewarding calm and good-natured behavior that your dog exhibits during the times you are touching him. You may be able to establish a routine pretty quickly by gentle handling and regular reward.
  • It is literally a case of carrying out each check and rewarding throughout – marking calm behavior with a treat. Gradually you can phase-out the rewards because handling will become normal, perhaps just giving one treat at the end of each session.
  • If your dog is very scared or worried it’s up to you to break handling down into tiny sessions that he can cope with. For instance if he growls when you pick up his paw don’t immediately pick up his paw, instead touch it and then give him a treat. Continue to do this and eventually he will be so relaxed when you touch his paw that you can move on to lifting it up.
  • Keep the sessions very short, the scared dog must be relaxed throughout and if you need to begin at ten second sessions then do that, because it will be worth it in the end.
  • Any dog can be scared of being handled and often rescued dogs are worried. The majority however can learn to cope with it by being taught that being touched and checked over is a nice experience with careful and positive training

That’s it for now from us. Thanks for calling in and reading Shih Tzu Grooming 101. See you next time!

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15 Oct

Grooming – Is Shih Tzu Hypoallergenic?

Shih Tzu GroomingAre you wondering whether the Shih Tzu is a dog that you can have regardless of allergies?

Perhaps you think that the Shih Tzu doesn’t shed at all and therefore he would not spread hair around your home and furniture. Read on to learn more about the coat of the Shih Tzu and whether he is indeed hypoallergenic.

The Shih Tzu is a dog with hair as opposed to fur. This means his coat grows long and usually quite thick, not dissimilar to human hair. Shih Tzu grooming is very much like combing the long hair of an adult and the dog does lose hair, just as we do.

So My Shih Tzu Does Shed?

The Shih Tzu does indeed shed hair. The difference between him and other dogs is the amount of hair that he sheds along with where it goes when it falls out.

Any hair that is shed by the Shih Tzu usually gets caught in the rest of his coat. Unlike the homes of short haired, high shedding dogs most Shih Tzu homes are generally hair free because the lost hair usually stays on the dog. Then because the Shih Tzu is either clipped regularly or groomed daily it is taken out of the coat and away on a regular basis.

The fact that the hair stays in the coat is another reason why, without regular Shih Tzu grooming, the dog can become matted and uncomfortable. All of the loose (blown) hair and attached (healthy) hair becomes stuck together and eventually impossible to groom out.

This is why many rescued Shih Tzu dog initially look like big bundles of hair and need everything clipping away in order to refresh the skin and give the coat another chance to grow back in a healthy state.

The Shih Tzu will go through specific shedding times based upon the rhythm of the season, the weather and his living conditions too. Some Shih Tzu notably shed hair once a year, in the very early spring as a response to the warming weather and less notably in the autumn to get ready for the winter coat.

Shih Tzu can also shed hair in one big event as they leave puppyhood behind and also when they are whelping puppies.

It’s Not Hair, It’s Dander

It is virtually impossible to state whether an individual will have an allergic reaction to a Shih Tzu because there are so many factors involved. In many cases the person suffering from the allergy could be struggling with the dander and not the hair at all.

Dander is the dead skin cells that are shed from underneath the hair. Much as we shed skin cells all of the time so do dogs. With his soft coat and long hair the Shih Tzu may leave less dander in the environment but this has never been proven.

Another thing that can cause an allergic reaction in people is canine urine. So if a puppy has had a few accidents in the home this could actually cause problems for the allergic person if not cleaned up properly.

So, if you would like a dog and are not sure whether allergy would be a problem it’s a good idea to spend some time with a Shih Tzu first to see whether you get any signs of allergy for his particular coat. Try grooming a Shih Tzu a few times over a couple of weeks and monitor for health changes that could be caused by allergy.

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08 Oct

Shi Tzu Grooming Life Stages – Puppyhood!

Shih Tzu grooming need not be complicated. That said, the Shih Tzu coat varies greatly throughout this little dog’s life. As a Shih Tzu owner it is a good idea to learn exactly what you can do to best groom your Shih Tzu from puppyhood right through to old age.

Shih Tzu GroomingThis article will introduce you to the grooming needs for your Shih Tzu during his puppyhood, so you know exactly what to do and when to do it.

Grooming your Shih Tzu Puppy

Shih Tzu grooming should begin on day one, even if the puppy coat is barely ready for a soft brush through. This is because early grooming gets you Shih Tzu puppy mind ready for grooming at every stage of his life too.

The Shih Tzu puppy should also have his nails cut (if they are too long) and his teeth brushed. This too will get any baby ready for the later life stages where all of this is a necessary area of Shih Tzu grooming and general care.

The puppy coat can begin to shed as early as three months and as late as nine. The young coat is extremely soft and silky, it’s quite short in comparison to that of an adult Shih Tzu.

The first big shed (which is quite a mass shedding) happens only when the coat is ready to leave the body. You can tell when the transformation, from puppy to adult coat, is happening by how easy it is to get a strand of the hair free with your fingers or a comb. The puppy coat that is ready to shed is known as the blown coat.

Shih Tzu Grooming – Early to the Salon

If you are aiming to take your puppy to the groomers regularly then it’s important to take your young Shih Tzu along early, even just for a visit and the experience the sights, sounds and smells of the groomers.

This is because if you wait and then take an adolescent Shih Tzu to the groomers for the first time could be subjecting the little dog to stress. Introducing your Shih Tzu to anything new should be carried out as early as possible in his life. So puppy social visits to the groomers is a great idea.

Grooming your Shih Tzu Puppy at Home

If you are planning to groom your Shih Tzu puppy at home throughout his life then it’s a good idea to groom him with a soft brush and comb, if only for a few minutes, every day. You may want to cut the hair from above his eyes, or tie it up and check his little body for any lumps, bumps or sore patches.

Never pull hard on your puppy’s hair or press a comb down hard on his coat because if you hurt your puppy at this early stage in his life he will never forget. Puppyhood is a sensitive learning time for the Shih Tzu and it’s easy to start fears and phobias.

With learning in mind always make your Shih Tzu grooming pleasant and positive for your puppy and he will come running every time the kit comes out.

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06 Oct

Shih Tzu Grooming – Naturally

Have you ever wondered how Shih Tzu grooming happens in the wild? If so read on, for Shih Tzu grooming naturally is our topic for the day.

Shih Tzu GroomingThe Shih Tzu coat is long, fine and will never stop growing. His coat is silky and needs combing every day or clipping regularly.

Left untended the Shih Tzu coat would be a terrible mess and the dog would be unhappy and unhealthy. So how on earth does the Shih Tzu keep himself tidy when we don’t do it for him?

The short answer to this is, he doesn’t. The Shih Tzu cannot actually groom himself very much at all. His soft coat barely sheds and will easily knot up if allowed. The reason for this is breeding.

Breeding and Grooming

Shih Tzu dogs, or their close ancestors, would have been short haired or shedding at the very least. This is because via the process of evolution the dog’s body will only have saved the things that benefited him and for survival in the wild long silky hair is of no use at all.

The Shih Tzu coat is created as a part of artificial selection. This is the term that describes breeding in animals when dictated by the hand of man. Within natural selection the dog chooses his own breeding partner and this leads to strong and robust genes becoming prevalent in the breed.

Alongside strength and resilience prevailing for the dog during natural selection the body and behavior also adapts to the environment and loses anything that does not serve the dog. Over a few generations something can change completely without human intervention.

Shih Tzu Grooming – What Now?

Now the little dog’s coat is so established that if for some reason the dog becomes feral and we stop Shih Tzu grooming altogether he will be in a mess. As the coat grows it will knot up, cover his eyes, anus and genitals and eventually we would not be able to tell one end of the Shih Tzu from the other.

Which is exactly why we need to keep the coat of the Shih Tzu well managed. The options that we have for Shih Tzu grooming include:

  1. Allowing the coat to grow long and combing it daily. Inclusive of trimming around the eyes and hygiene areas, or tying the facial hair back to allow the Shih Tzu to see and prevent debris landing on the eyes.
  1. Taking the dog to a professional grooming salon and allowing him to be clipped and styled into an easily manage length to prevent the need for daily grooming.
  1. Styling your Shih Tzu at home with scissors or clippers. There are plenty of tips around the site to help if this is the route that you’re interested in taking. Even quite complex Shih Tzu grooming is easy with the right advice and some practice.

As you can see Shih Tzu do need some grooming of some type or another in order to stay healthy and happy. It’s important that we care for this little dog properly because by giving him the long and wonderful coat that he has we have also provided him with Shih Tzu grooming requirements that cannot be overlooked.

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01 Oct

Shih Tzu Training of the Mind – Interactive Dog Toys

Shih Tzu TrainingInteractive dog toys are a fantastic addition to any dog’s home. They are also a good way to take a break from Shih Tzu training and allow your dog to entertain himself all on his own, whilst still using that Bright Shih Tzu mind.

There are so many brand new toys that have caught on to the interactive side of play that the choices are immense. The first and best used names that we think of on this topic are Nina Ottoson and Kong.

Shih Tzu Training with Nina Ottoson

Nina Ottoson was the first to develop puzzles and toys where the dog really has to think in order to release a toy. Puzzles included spinning discs, pulling levers and removing areas of a toy to release a treat and they are great fun.

The toys come in varying shapes, from a weighted pyramid with a treat hole in the top to a flat puzzle with levers and switches to really train that Shih Tzu mind. The best thing about this type of puzzle is that it uses the problem solving area of the Shih Tzu brain.

Kong and Treat

The Kong is slightly different for it was created for stuffing and is designed to keep your Shih Tzu busy trying to either lick paste from it or releasing treats. It can also be filled with paste or soft food and frozen for the summer months then your Shih Tzu can spend some time on the lawn trying to release his dinner from the Kong.

Other Manufacturers

Because the original interactive toys have been so popular many other manufacturers have joined in with the creation and sale of this toy type. This is wonderful news for us dog owners because we get to choose from a wide range of toys, with many, many different required skills.

If you are interested in providing your Shih Tzu with some puzzles then you will have plenty of choice and certainly some will suit your budget.

Shih Tzu Training – How Interactive Toys Help

These kind of toys benefit the Shih Tzu in many ways. By giving your clever little dog something to do and play with whilst also using his mind in a channeled way you will be helping him more than you think. Take a look:

  1. By providing your Shih Tzu with a way to use up that mental energy you will be inadvertently helping to improve his behavior. A bored Shih Tzu gets into trouble. Yet a Shih Tzu that has just spent twenty minutes trying to “rescue” six treats from a complex puzzle will usually be glad of the rest.
  2. The second way that this type of Shih Tzu play will help is that it will turn you into a team. It has been proven that the domestic dog is a great co-operator and so the two of you playing together to help the Shih Tzu find or release a treat will enhance your relationship perfectly.

Just like any other type of Shih Tzu training it’s important when you introduce interactive toy play, that your dog has the idea of what he is supposed to do, otherwise he will lose confidence in himself and just wander away.

So don’t delay get toy shopping and your Shih Tzu training, along with your dog’s behavior, will be better than it has ever been before.

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29 Sep

Shih Tzu Health – Over Attachment in Focus

Shih Tzu over attachment can be a real sticking point for Shih Tzu health, but what is over attachment, how can you avoid it and what can you do about it?

Shih Tzu HealthI’m dog sitting at the moment. Two little monsters that share their time between two loving retired owners are underneath my feet and have had me up since 3am twittering and whining.

One of the dogs, a little brown blob of cuteness has attachment issues, how do I know?

A dog that suffers with over-attachment gets highly stressed when parted from the person he is bonded with. A Shih Tzu is susceptible to developing this type of problem for two reasons:

  1. He is often in a home with a retired person or someone that can easily take him everywhere they go.
  2. He is bred to be a companion to humans and can easily become stressed by alone time if it is not introduced properly early in his life.

When an over attached dog is parted from his bonded human he will try hard to attach to any other person round because he is feeling insecure. He will try desperately to stick close to them and can only truly relax when he is sure he won’t be left alone.

Sadly there is something else going on in the body of this dog and it’s quite a damaging stress reaction. He is worried about his safety and maybe even his survival so his body is filled with the stress hormone called cortisol. His digestive system is slowed, his immune system is lowered and should this reaction not settle down his Shih Tzu health will begin to suffer.

Avoidance of Shih Tzu Over-Attachment

Over attachment can be avoided from puppyhood by teaching the dog to relax when left alone because alone time is normal.

Leaving a puppy with a nice toy that he can work some food out of will help. Leave some classical music on, go to the bathroom without the Shih Tzu and generally show your dog that he need not be attached to you every step of the way and every minute of the day.

A dog that suffers severely with over attachment may need a careful separation anxiety program designed from a qualified behaviorist. This will take the dog back through the learning process that he has encountered by modifying the negative thought patterns, towards any necessary alone time, that have developed in his life so far.

Back then to this little anxious dog. He is fast asleep, snoring quietly beside me whilst my rhythmic typing assures him that I’m still here.

So, whether you are raising a Shih Tzu puppy or dealing with an insecure rescue dog remember the tendency for some dogs to get over attached and make some small adaptations for prevention. His Shih Tzu health and well-being depends on it.

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24 Sep

Shih Tzu Training – Make up Your Own Rules!

Shih Tzu training, or at last being consistent with your little friend will keep your pet happy every day of his life. That said, Shih Tzu training need not be formal and it can be as simple as you like, as long as your dog knows exactly where he stands.

Shih Tzu TrainingOn ShihTzu.web we share a lot of dog training information. We like to cater to each and every one of you when offering advice on Shih Tzu training, care and well-being.

Whether you are quite a formal Shih Tzu dog trainer and look forward to our precise and professional training advice or you don’t really mind if your dog sits on the sofa, eats scraps from your plate and shares your bed we want to cover all of your needs.

For the above reason I wanted to share some information that might just surprise you.

It really, really doesn’t matter what you allow your Shih Tzu to get away with as long as he knows you allow it.

There are most certainly people out there who would disagree with me wholeheartedly. Some dog trainers will say that there must be a set of careful rules which have to be followed during Shih Tzu training and your lives together or your dog will become out of control.

These rules include:

  • Not sharing your food with a dog.
  • Not allowing the dog to share your bed or other space such as the sofa.
  • Not allowing your dog to pull you through doors.

The idea that dogs need rules is true to an extent, everyone needs guidelines to live by, to know what is good manners and what is a terribly bad mannered act, yet the rules you choose can be pretty fluid as long as your Shih Tzu understands them.

It makes absolutely no difference to your overall relationship if your dog goes to bed with you. If you want to take your Shih Tzu to bed then do it, just make sure that you understand that he will expect to come to bed every night thereafter so don’t chop and change or you may hurt his feelings (also watch out for over attachment-detailed here).

It doesn’t matter if your dog begs from the table assuming you don’t mind those big brown eyes gazing at you whilst you eat. If you do mind then take a look at some of my professional training tips to see what you can do about it.

Shih Tzu training certainly does not need to be some kind of caveman like “I lead -you follow” mentality. The relationship you share with your dog should be fun, relaxed, loving and with mutual understanding. You are cross-species friends not both random imitation wolves.

So, decide on your rules and stick by them. Don’t think you have to follow someone else’s rules. Your relationship with your dog is completely unique to the two of you and so should your Shih Tzu training be.

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22 Sep

5 Shih Tzu Training Steps – With Treats

Shih Tzu TrainingShih Tzu training is a fun game that can easily get you into a tangle. It’s all about timing, treats and careful reinforcement, yet Shih Tzu training like a pro takes time and effort. Read on to find out how the professional trainers do it.

There are very few truly natural dog trainers, we are all awkward in the beginning.

It’s certainly a skill that takes some learning but these 5 Shih Tzu training steps are a good way to get started.

  1. Work out what food motivates your Shih Tzu. Motivation is vital and should be used carefully and skillfully to get the best from Shih Tzu training. Break motivational and tiny treats up into taste sized pieces and use then regularly to keep your dog’s interest.
  1. Shovel those treats in. In the beginning your Shih Tzu needs to learn that he’s getting it right. He can’t learn that on his own but if you keep on rewarding him swiftly he will soon get the idea. Withhold a treat from the dog for just a second too long and he will think that he is getting this new trick wrong and you will lose that perfectly engineered desired behavior.
  1. Make your dog right every time. If you allow your Shih Tzu to be right every time without allowing him to get it wrong then he will learn much more quickly, simply because his confidence is high. Do this by rewarding him regularly and not withholding a treat long enough for your dog to change his action of being right into one of being wrong! Confidence creates great Shih Tzu training sessions.
  1. Slow those treats down. When your Shih Tzu training is going well you can start to slow treat delivery down. This is where skilled timing comes in. If you slow delivery too much the dog can break the behavior (because he is trying to get the treat and will think the original behavior isn’t working). If you keep delivering fast then your Shih Tzu training won’t progress.
  1. Intermittent treat delivery. When your Shih Tzu knows exactly what he is doing you can move to intermittent treat delivery. Dog learn and strengthen any learned behavior by the delivery of intermittent treats. Eventually you can drop the treats away altogether, because the perfect learning process is completed.

Let’s take a quick look at this in action whilst teaching a Shih Tzu to heel off leash.

Theory to Practical

  1. Lure the dog into the heel position and quickly deliver 10 treats one after the other, saying the word “heel” with every treat.
  1. Turn a half circle and repeat.
  1. Start to walk and with every step deliver one or two treats and say the word “heel”. Practice in all directions and at all paces.
  1. When your Shih Tzu gets the idea slow the treats down by starting to deliver ever 2 steps then every three. Always deliver before the dog breaks the position. This is a good place to end the session by giving your dog a last treat and telling him he is free to break the position then giving him lots of love and praise.
  1. Practice this over a few sessions then begin intermittent reward.

It’s that Simple, Shih Tzu training with treats will always work if you carefully take your dog through the steps shown in this article, at the pace he naturally learns.

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