07 May

Dog Behavior Problems – When to Muzzle the Shih Tzu

Are you worried about a growling Shih Tzu dog? Perhaps you have been told that a muzzle for Shih Tzu is a good idea of one particular behavior problem and are looking for some more advice?

If this is the case then you have come to the right place, because very few behavior problems should result in muzzling, for a muzzle will only serve to make the behavior worse. So, when should you muzzle the Shih Tzu?

When is a Muzzle for Shih Tzu Acceptable?

The only time that a muzzle for Shih Tzu is acceptable is when someone is going to be bitten whilst carrying out necessary handling of the dog. Necessary handling includes;

  • Nail cutting.
  • Ear Cleansing.
  • Clipping or grooming away matted fur.
  • Topically treating skin conditions or infected areas that hurt and may cause the dog to snap automatically.

There must always be a suitable muzzle for the Shih Tzu dog and it must never be kept on for longer than absolutely necessary – this dog breed dangerously overheats very quickly.

The above scenarios are examples of handling a dog that many not cope well, therefore to prevent the handler from getting bitten the dog must be muzzled. Even when the dog has to be muzzled on these occasions the dog owner will do well to ease the dog into being relaxed during the times he is handled.

A relaxed dog that will tolerate handling is a much better option than a scared Shih Tzu, at risk of biting, bundled into a muzzle and manhandled.

When is a Muzzle for Shih Tzu Unsuitable?

  1. A muzzle for Shih Tzu is completely unsuitable for the dog that is showing everyday behavior problems such as growling and aggression. In this scenario muzzling a dog will simply make the behavior worse because it will make the dog stressed
  1. Any dog that is showing aggressive behavior, or even those that nip too hard in play, will need to be taught that the behavior is unacceptable by careful and kind behavior modification techniques. Using a muzzle for Shih Tzu in these particular circumstances is unfair and does not address the reason for the behavior.
  1. Similarly a muzzle for Shih Tzu may be a short term solution for Coprophagia (which is eating poop) but it is not a long term solution and no dog should be forced to wear a muzzle for a long time.
  1. A Shih Tzu that is chewing items that are not his own should not be forced to wear a muzzle either. There are many reasons for chewing and they range from separation anxiety to teething problems, the dog owner with a chewing dog should look towards helping to understand the behavior and certainly not just to cover the dog’s mouth over to prevent the chewing.

Using a muzzle for Shih Tzu does have its place but it certainly shouldn’t be used for Shih Tzu behavior problems in general, because to do so will simply make the behavior worse. The dog owner is much better off looking at the individual behavior problem than simply muzzling the dog.

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