23 Jul

Grooming the Shih Tzu Face – with Added Style

Does your Shih Tzu get groomed by a professional? Perhaps you would like to groom your dog at home but lack confidence to groom the specifically styled and admittedly perfectly rounded Shih Tzu face. If this is you stick around because I’m going to show you that common Shih Tzu grooming style for the face and how you can easily recreate it, right there at home.

For this styling session you will need a good pair of sharp hair cutting scissors, some thinning scissors and a comb. A bristle brush is also a good idea if you are going to leave the hair long because bristle brushing will make the dog’s hair gleam.

The Shih Tzu Head

The Shih Tzu has a round head. The technical name for the head shape of this breed is Brachycephalic. The shape has been accentuated by generations of breeding in order to make this little dog breed look cute with big eyes.

There are health concerns with Shih Tzu eyes because the sockets are shallow therefore it is important, that when you groom your dog’s head you don’t pull or grab the skin on the back of his neck as this can cause severe health problems.

Shih Tzu Head Styling Options

There are a few different styling options for the Shih Tzu head but most of them are Cute Shih Tzucreated in much the same way.

Long hair on the head is usually only long if the Shih Tzu is in full coat otherwise the dog can look wizard like and a bit odd. Take a look at the Shih Tzu dog in full coat here.

When the breed has long hair on his face it must be tied back otherwise the vulnerable eyes will suffer. A comfortable hair clip or soft hair band should be used and never an elastic band as this will break the hair. This style is high maintenance and involves leaving the hair completely natural but combing it until it shines.

The Shih Tzu Style – A Spherical Head

The spherical head shape is the basis for all Shih Tzu facial hairstyles. Whether cut quite Shih Tzu Groomingshort or left longer this is a surprisingly easy style to shape. The idea is that the entire head, from whichever angle you look at it, is round.

Take a look at your dog’s head from the side. The aim is to take the hair from the tip of the nose in an arc, round and back up to the ear.

If you are not completely comfortable doing this then use thinning scissors as they won’t cut in such an obvious line.

The length of cut is up to you. Some people like their Shih Tzu to wear quite a long low beard area whilst others prefer everything to be short and tidy. It might be a good idea to start long because then you have some hair to work with.

Shih Tzu GroomingWhen you have created the arc tidy the hair from right in front of the eyes carefully with scissors then comb the fringe forward over the eyes and cut that away with scissors too in order to create and arc style eyebrow. This will prevent long and stray hair getting into those sensitive Shih Tzu eyes.

Next you can trim the hair under the chin to match ad finally tidy the ears with scissors or leave them long and natural, whichever you prefer for your dog.

It may take practice and time to get your Shih Tzu head hair styled as you would like but it is great fun and your dog won’t mind if you snip a little extra hair away than you meant to. Shih Tzu grooming at home is actually pretty addictive so why not give it a go?

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14 Jul

How to Train a Shih Tzu With A Stubborn Attitude!

Shih Tzu trainingAre you wondering how on earth you are going to train a stubborn Shih Tzu? Perhaps you feel that you have tried everything but you simply cannot even get that Shih Tzu to sit? If you are here to find out how to train a Shih Tzu that seems too stubborn for words read on, you’re in the right place.

First of all allow me to explain why your stubborn Shih Tzu may not be being obstructive at all. He may be worried, unmotivated or you may just not be training him in the way that he understands.

Many dog trainers will tell you that they know how to train a Shih Tzu yet simultaneously hand out all the wrong advice. Some dog trainers say you must “be the boss” whilst others will state that punishment is a valid part of training a stubborn Shih Tzu, when in all honesty Shih Tzu training is far more simple than that.

2 Stubborn Shih Tzu Training Secrets

The Shih Tzu needs certain things in order to become a willing student, if these things are not provided then the Shih Tzu will not be a happy participant in training sessions.

The good news is that when you follow these simple secrets when learning how to train a Shih Tzu, even the most stubborn dog, your training will fall into place. Training success is based upon a happy dog.

Take a look at these simple secrets that will send your stubborn Shih Tzu skipping into each and every training session with glee.

Secret One -Shih Tzu Motivation

First things first, when learning how to train a Shih Tzu, is to think about your dog’s motivation and how you can improve it. Many of this breed are highly motivated by tasty food, some like toys whilst some enjoy a good rub as a reward.

The mistake that many people make is not to motivate their Shih Tzu. Remember this is a companion dog that has genetically no need to work. He has no scholar’s mind. He would like some kind of idea what working will get him and it’s not his fault considering we made him that way.

Secret Two – Training in Easy Steps

This is another Shih Tzu training problem that I see time and again. People see that their dog has done something on command once or twice and expect the dog to know the command.

A similar act to this is the dog owner that expects the dog to take great leaps in learning. It’s an easy mistake to make because we know what we want the dog to do, yet we need to understand that the dog may not find our requests so obvious.

The trick here is to spell out exactly what you want from your Shih Tzu for at least five training sessions on any single command. Spend the next five training sessions gradually taking away your obvious help and by this point your Shih Tzu should know exactly what you are talking about.

When a Shih Tzu is confused the subsequent behavior can appear very much like stubbornness. The dog may scratch himself, sniff the floor around him, he may try to leave the situation or even just stare off into the distance. Take my word for it here, the Shih Tzu displaying these acts is not being stubborn at all, he is confused and probably quite stressed.

Setting him up to succeed by careful steps and high value motivation is exactly how to train a Shih Tzu for success, no matter how stubborn your little friend may seem.

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09 Jul

Shih Tzu Grooming – Understanding For Beginners

Have you just bought a Shih Tzu home and are wondering how to maintain his coat? Maybe you have agreed to adopt and older dog and need the beginners guide to Shih Tzu grooming?Shih Tzu Grooming

Well you are in the right place because we are keen to explain everything you need to know about the coat of your Shih Tzu on a complete beginner’s basis.

Shih Tzu Grooming – Coat Type

The Shih Tzu has a long and flowing coat. It is soft, silky and will not stop growing if left alone. This coat type needs daily grooming as it can easily become knotted up and eventually matted into a big, cotton wool type, mess if not combed regularly.

Another reason for regular grooming of the Shih Tzu is to ensure sufficient air flow to the skin. If a dog’s hair becomes too thick and matted the skin will soon become infected because bacteria can easily build up on the moist skin beneath.

The reason for the long and flowing Shih Tzu coat is his original status as a companion dog to royalty. It is said that the dog was presented as a gift in many palaces and his role was an exquisite lady’s companion.

Shih Tzu Grooming – Allergy Facts

Many people believe that the Shih Tzu coat is hypo allergenic because it doesn’t shed like short haired dogs.

This is true to an extent as the breed sheds much less than many others so there is less hair and dander to prompt an allergic reaction, yet this little dog will lose some hair, just as we do.

Human allergy to dog hair depends on many things inclusive of grease in the coat and the loose skin shed from beneath the coat. It’s certainly true that a Shih Tzu will cause less allergy in humans than a shedding dog but it is important not to assume that allergy to a Shih Tzu is impossible.

Shih Tzu Grooming – Going for the Chop

Many pet Shih Tzu dogs are clipped into an easy to manage style in order to minimize the need for regular grooming.

The style varies between thinning the entire coat out and clipping it close to the skin to keep the dog cool. A well clipped Shih Tzu will usually look like a teddy bear with a longer hair on the head, cut into a spherical shape and the legs to make them look chunky.

A professional groomer calls the Shih Tzu coat a “drop coat” because the hair drops directly towards the ground. Styling the drop coat is usually carried out regularly in the grooming salon.

Shih Tzu grooming that involves clipping is a good idea for the pet dog because it helps to prevent the dog overheating. With his short muzzle the Shih Tzu can overheat quickly particularly if he is wearing a long and full coat.

Shih Tzu grooming is an easy skill to learn, particularly when you have decided how you would like your dog to look. Even a complete beginner can master the art in no time at all.

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07 Jul

Hands-Off Shih Tzu Training Tips for Senior Citizens

Dog training has the reputation of being a very physical job. In reality though, as we are learning more about the canine species it seems that the art of training is more brain and less brawn. Which is exactly why I thought this a good time to share Shih Tzu puppy training tips for senior citizens.Shih Tzu Training Tips

The Shih Tzu is a perfect dog for an older home. His exercise levels are reasonable and he is more than happy to become a much adored lap dog. Similarly he is happy to wander for longer walks with a retired owner but his behavior won’t be affected by a more leisurely lifestyle.

What is Hands-off Shih Tzu Training?

Training a Shih Tzu with a hands-off approach is in line with the most relevant and recent dog training knowledge. It’s also much better for the back and shoulders of the trainer.

When we train small dogs, with the old fashioned approach, where we push them into position we fail in two ways;

  1. We don’t give the dog the chance to learn because we are simply and physically manipulating his actions.
  2. We hurt our own bodies whilst leaning over the dog and adding pressure to our spine and shoulders.

Shih Tzu Training Tips – Strain Free Training

These tips are relevant to everyone that work with dogs yet particularly so for those of us with limited mobility. The idea is that we use our mind in training in order to prompt the Shih Tzu to use his mind too. We can do this with simple motivation and clever thinking.

Here are some perfect hands-off Shih Tzu training tips;

If you show your Shih Tzu a reward that he likes then he will always offer a behavior. Then it is your job just to drop the reward into or near his expectant mouth.

  • For instance most dogs will sit naturally in the hope that it gets them that coveted bit of tasty food. You simply have to wait then say the word “sit” and drop the food at the exact point he sits.
  • Another example is to drop the dog’s treat on the ground and pop your foot over it. Your Shih Tzu will certainly eventually lie down at which point you can say the word “down” lift your foot giving him access to the treat.
  • Thirdly if you need your Shih Tzu to get off the sofa simply drop a treat somewhere and as he leaves your furniture say the word “off” and your dog will soon learn exactly what the command means.

It is absolutely and entirely possible to train your Shih Tzu without touching him at all. In fact it is the best way to do it because when your dog is taught to think hard, because he is motivated by a reward, then he will learn the lesson much quicker.

It’s a good idea to partner the Shih Tzu puppy training tips of hands-off training and the good practice of training in bite sized chunks, shown in our blog post on the subject here for perfect Shih Tzu training every time.

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02 Jul

Shih Tzu Training Tips – Train Your Shih Tzu in Bite Sized Chunks

Are you looking for Shih Tzu Training tips? Perhaps your training isn’t going as well as you might like and you are looking for some Shih Tzu training help?Shih Tzu Training

If so you’re in the right place here for there is a certain secret that you can use, when teaching your dog something new, that makes all of the difference!

Shih Tzu training works far better in bite sized chunks. When I say bite sized chunks I mean those tiny training sessions that last no more than five minutes and sometimes even half of that duration.

So, why do the shorter training sessions work so well for the Shih Tzu in particular?

Shih Tzu Training Tips – Making a Companion Dog Work

Dog training, in your dog’s eyes, is work. I don’t mean that he sighs before it starts and wishes he was on holiday. Work to dogs is the act of using their mind to learn something new.

The Shih Tzu was bred and finely tuned as a companion dog and he doesn’t have the drive that some others may show for work. Think of the terrier for instance who is always looking to do something busy and interesting. The Shih Tzu is far more interested in looking pretty and being adored than stretching those brain cells beyond their limit for too long.

This is exactly why this little dog loses interest in training very quickly and the same reason that you can truly benefit from introducing bite sized chunks into your training.

Bite Size Training- Plan, Practice and Stop

Because Shih Tzu lose interest very quickly it is a good idea that you decide exactly what to do in a training session before you even begin. This way you will have complete control over your dog’s learning. A typical bite sized chunk will go something like this;

  1. Show your Shih Tzu a reward to achieve motivation
  2. Show him what you want from him by luring him into position or a similar training method (you will find a lot more information on training methods at shihtzuweb.com – on our blog and in our various Shih Tzu kits)
  3. Reward the dog
  4. Repeat the lesson
  5. Reward and end on a good note

All of the above should take no more than five minutes. The most important part of this Shih Tzu training tip is to motivate your dog and end on a good note. If you get those two areas right your Shih Tzu will find learning much easier and more fun.

Using bite sized chunks is one of the least used Shih Tzu training tips and one which can have a great effect on your dog training. Try it and see – I’m certain you will see a great difference.

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30 Jun

5 Things Every Shih Tzu Owner Should Know

Shih TzuDo you live with a Shih Tzu? Perhaps you are thinking that this is a dog breed that you could really get to know and love? Maybe you have said for most of your life that the Shih Tzu is the dog breed for you?
But do you know, I mean really know, the breed? There are some things that a Shih Tzu owner must know, read on to find out what they are;

1. The Shih Tzu is a companion dog and needs companionship. This is one of the main things that the owner of a Shih Tzu must keep in mind. This is a little dog that has lived with people for more generations than we could possibly know about. He was given as a gift to be a special friend to humans. This dog breed needs company or he will be unhappy, so don’t get a Shih Tzu if you are at work all day and can’t make arrangements for someone to keep him company whilst you are gone.

2. The Shih Tzu can be stubborn. This little dog has learned, over the years how important that he is. He loves company but will not be coerced into anything that he believes does not benefit him. This trait is exactly the reason that the little Shih Tzu is perfect for positive dog training.

3. When motivated he is unstoppable. The Shih Tzu may seem lazy and unwilling during training sessions but this is usually due to only one reason, he is not motivated. When you find out exactly what motivates this dog breed he will do anything that you ask from him and much, much more. So if the Shih Tzu in your midst will not do as he is asked take a look at what you are offering in return and therein is the reason for his lethargy.

4. The Shih Tzu does not speak English. This breed of dog will not understand what your words mean unless he has learned them. So many people expect their dog to know what they are asking despite the fact that they are asking in a completely foreign language. The Shih Tzu may be trying his hardest to please you but if he has no clue what you are saying how can he do what you ask of him?

5. The Shih Tzu will offer love and loyalty forever more. Do not be concerned if you get your training wrong, can’t motivate him or forget to show your Shih Tzu how much you appreciate him at times. This little dog will offer you unstoppable love, loyalty and a lot of laughs during your time together. He will be your friend, probably your best friend ever.

Overall the Shih Tzu is a wonderful, smart, friendly, loving and loyal dog that is generally easy to take care of. He is a lot more intelligent than he may let on but it’s impossible to miss his rapid spring to action when motivated. If you are looking for an amusing and unstoppable little friend then the Shih Tzu may be just the dog for you!
These are just a few Shih Tzu facts. Why not explore our Shih Tzu website for many, many more.

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25 Jun

Shih Tzu Crosses – What is a Designer Dog?

Shih Tzu CrossesThey have received a lot of publicity lately haven’t they, the designer dog? But what is the definition of a designer dog and where does the Shih Tzu fit into the mix?

Read on and learn exactly what a designer dog is, what the term “Shih Tzu designer dog” means and whether this is the right choice for you.

Critics will tell you that a designer dog label literally means that this breed of dog is a mongrel.

A cross between two established breeds is in actual fact a cross breed this is very true, however if you are happy with that and simply want a dog to love and take into your family the crossing of established breeds can actually be a good thing.

Genetic Traits and Designer Dogs

The genuine positive about a cross breed that has Shih Tzu in its genetic make-up is that the dog is likely to inherit at least some of the lovely, friendly and sweet Shih Tzu nature. Common Shih Tzu cross breeds that are labelled as designer dogs include;

  • Shih Tzu cross Miniature or Toy Poodle
  • Shih Tzu cross Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • Shih Tzu cross Yorkshire terrier
  • Shih Tzu cross Jack Russell terrier

Each of these cross breeds will inherit some traits from either side of their genetic history. For instance the Shih Tzu crossed with a Yorkshire terrier may be particularly stubborn and a little more reactive than the pure bred Shih Tzu or the Shih Tzu cross Cavalier may be more laid back.

Designer Dog Health

Health can be improved by taking the dog away from a purebred bloodline and adding the more robust genes of another dog. For instance the Jack Russell terrier is strong and hardy therefore his genes are usually a good addition to any cross breed.

Sadly though the opposite can also be caused by a demand for designer dog breeds. Genetic problems of two badly bred dogs can cause severe health problems in any cross breed that is not carefully created. For instance the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is well known for genetic heart problems which can easily be passed not puppies regardless of whether they are Shih Tzu crosses or not.

Genes are not usually foreseeable therefore we can never really tell what genetic improvements can be made or problems created when we breed dogs, with or without careful testing, beforehand.

Designer Dogs – The Real Danger

The real danger with designer dogs is that unscrupulous breeders see them as money machines. This is exactly where the label “designer dog” comes from.

They are not going to call their cross breeds by their real names if it doesn’t encourage people to hand over hundreds of dollars. So they create the names “Shih Poo” or similar none-existent words to make people believe that they are buying a really special dog. Which of course they are because all dogs are special.

This in itself is not a problem for the dog, for it is only money, the real problem lays with the shoddy breeding techniques that lead to people being able to sell “designer dogs”. Therefore it is vitally important that, if you are looking for a specific cross breed, you do exactly the same breeder checks as you would when looking for a purebred Shih Tzu dog.

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23 Jun

Bath Time – Shampoo That Shih Tzu

Are you looking for the best shampoo for Shih Tzu? Perhaps you can’t decide which shampoo is good for an itchy dog or to make that coat shine, read on for we have all of the answers right here.

Shih Tzu ShampooThe first thing to remember is that the dog has a slightly different skin type to us humans.

Our PH levels are different so it is not a great idea to use complicated human shampoo on the coat of your Shih Tzu no matter how many times it promises long and luscious locks.

Secondly it is vital that you steer clear of any shampoo that contains tea tree oil. Although this is a wonderful addition to any shampoo for humans and even bigger dogs can cope well with it, added Tea Tree oil has, in a small number of cases, had toxic effects on smaller dogs. It is a good idea to avoid this additive thus avoiding potential risks.

Itchy Shih Tzu

If your Shih Tzu is terribly itchy then it is important to rule out parasites such as fleas or mites. Fleas are the most obvious as they leave little black gritty dirt in the coat that turns red when wet. An infested dog with fleas will usually need veterinary treatment as a one off chemical treatment followed by preventative measures.

Mites are a little different, they cannot usually be seen by the human eye but will cause very itchy patches that the dog excessively licks or chews. Mites are often picked up from fields at around harvest time and can usually be washed away.

Mange mites are more serious and are caught from infected animals, these will need veterinary treatments as the cause hair loss and eventually affect the dog’s immune system.

There is a wonderful and completely natural shampoo that will calm the skin of an itchy Shih Tzu very quickly. Oatmeal shampoo has a soothing and gently calming effect. By combing a mild oatmeal shampoo through a wet Shih Tzu and leaving it for a while before rinsing, you will be giving the gentle oatmeal chance to neutralize the itchy skin.

For a Glossy Coated Shih Tzu

If your dog is not itchy then your Shih Tzu shampoo choice is broader.

Grooming suppliers have a whole range of shampoos and conditioners suitable for Shih Tzu. It is not unusual to see shampoo for black coats, shiny white coats and everything in between. The best shampoo for Shih Tzu has less chemicals that natural ingredients so take a really good look at the bottle before buying.

A Shih Tzu Trade Secret

The best effect on your Shih Tzu coat is actually the simplest. A spoonful of apple cider vinegar mixed with half a pint of warm water used as a final rinse will make your Shih Tzu’s coat gleam.

The same dilution also deters fleas and other cheeky parasites. So why not get natural with cider vinegar today, make your Shih Tzu Shine, and chase those fleas away?

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18 Jun

The Truth About Crate Training Shih Tzu

Crate training is something that still, even now, provides mixed opinions. Some people still see the crate as a cage or even a trap of sorts and prefer to steer clear whilst others ShihTzu in a crateembrace the dog crate as their Shih Tzu’s useful bedroom full of toys and coziness.

In reality the dog crate can be either or both of these things, depending on how it is used, read on for more information.

How Not To Use a Shih Tzu Crate

The crate should never be used for punishment, the dog should never be locked in when he is scared or worried.

I read a book recently that talked about pushing a dog into a crate and leaving him there until he stopped scratching and barking. I believe that this is a terribly unkind thing to do. In that particular scenario the crate has indeed become the dog’s cage, I would even go so far as to say prison.

Using a Shih Tzu crate in this way will cause stress, panic and fear. The approach of pushing the dog in and shutting the crate door may even cause crate phobia for the rest of the poor dog’s life.

That said, the home with a Shih Tzu crate in is actually really good for the dog, read on to see why.

Crate Your Shih Tzu With Kindness

Used carefully the Shih Tzu crate is a place where the dog wants to be, sometimes. He will hop into his cozy bedroom for his goodnight biscuit because he knows that this is where he sleeps.

The crate is somewhere that your Shih Tzu can go if he is worried or just wants to take some time away to nap. It should be the place where he knows he can hide away if he’s not interested in interaction for a while or the place he goes when there is a storm outside.

The dog crate should have a comfortable bed, a cozy blanket, some toys and even a drink inside it. If your Shih Tzu is not fully housetrained then a puppy pad is also a good idea. Make the crate the equivalent of an older child’s bedroom, your Shih Tzu will love it.

Getting Used To The Crate

Teaching your Shih Tzu that the crate is the place where he can truly relax is quite easy.

Crate size is debatable. Some people state that for toilet training the dog should be in a snug space. I have my small dog in a huge crate at night, it’s like his own doggy apartment and he loves it, as long as your Shih Tzu can move around then this is fine, although I like my own dog to have plenty of room.

The most important thing to do in the beginning is to have the crate near you so the dog learns that sitting or lying in it does not mean that he is completely alone. Later on you can move the crate somewhere else, into a more permanent position but the closer it is in the beginning the more likely your dog is to relax in it.

Invest in a treat dispensing toy and pop it into his bed in the crate and throw treats in and allow your dog to hop in and out of his new bedroom. You can even feed your Shih Tzu in the crate if you like and gradually progress to closing the door only when your dog is relaxed in the crate.

Crate training Shih Tzu is all about giving your dog a bedroom that he can relax and feel good in.

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16 Jun

Home Alone – The Shih Tzu in a Working Home

Home alone Shih TzuI have recently been asked the question “How do I train my Shih Tzu if I work a lot?” Which is an interesting question and bought a few things to mind, inclusive of doggy dedication and separation anxiety.

If you have a Shih Tzu dog at home, are worried about his behavior and work long hours then read on.

Let’s first talk about the Shih Tzu that is home alone and how he or she might be feeling.

The Shih Tzu is a companion dog that needs companionship to be really happy. If the little dog is home alone quite a lot he is likely to be sad and maybe even stressed. This will show in a variety of behaviors which might lead the returning human to think the dog needs training. Types of behavior that can occur when a dog is anxious about being left alone are;

  • Toileting issues
  • Destructive behavior
  • Chewing
  • Self-harm
  • Scratching doors
  • Barking
  • Howling
  • Crying

These symptoms are all pointing to the same fact, the Shih Tzu is suffering from separation anxiety and this is a mental state that cannot be traditionally trained out of any dog.

How is your Dog Feeling?

Try and remember a time when you were quite stressed. A time when your palms sweated and you felt completely out of control of a situation then add isolation. Imagine that you are completely alone for all of those hours, feeling stressed.

Now imagine that for 8 hours a day or even longer you are put back into that same situation or state of mind and have no way to escape it. In addition there is no-one to talk to, or interact with, to alleviate that stress. Your behavior is likely to change isn’t it?

Finally picture this, someone comes along and tells you that you must behave in a certain way, but you can’t think straight because of the high stress levels within your body. In addition you start of fear their every movement because they may leave you alone again, so stress becomes and everyday part of your existence.

That’s how a dog feels when suffering with separation anxiety.

What Can You Do?

So now that you are more aware of how your dog may feel whilst you go to work what can you do?

If you work on the reason for any dog behavior rather than the behavior itself you are more likely to achieve long lasting success. There are many small business types that are springing up all over the place that can help, namely doggy day care, dog walking and pet visiting.

It’s a wonderful and compassionate thing to think of your dog whilst you are out at work. Making arrangements for someone to take care of your pet and give him all the love and attention that you can’t for at least some of the hours you are away is a great thing to do.

In addition you may benefit from introducing a separate behavior modification program to alleviate the stress of being home alone. A qualified local expert can help with this.

If you make proper arrangements for your dog to have a good quality of life by not leaving him alone for long hours then he will be a well-rounded and happy Shih Tzu. This will show in his behavior and your Shih Tzu training sessions will be fun rather than desperate attempts to stop stress related behaviors in your little friend.

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