Shih Tzu Care – Tips for the New Guardian
Caring for a new dog is always a little daunting. We want to get it right and do the very best for our newest family member. If your new dog is a Shih Tzu read on for lots of handy tips on Shih Tzu care and how to make him the happiest little Shih Tzu dog around.
Whether you are bringing home a puppy or an adult dog you will undoubtedly share one goal. You will want your dog to be happy, healthy and nicely behaved and we, as fellow Shih Tzu lovers, want that for you too. This is exactly why we wrote this article.
A Shih Tzu Puppy or Adult Dog
A new puppy is a grand affair. A baby in the house is always a little unnerving. The Shih Tzu, even as a tiny puppy is pretty laid back. His adolescence too is a more chilled out affair than many breeds.
The only exception to this is if the puppy was not bred responsibly. Because a puppy learns so much during the first few weeks of his life, his mind is like a sponge at this point, his behavior will be shaped early on.
When dogs are purchased via pet stores or classifieds there is a great risk of them being either from a puppy farm or backyard breeder. Either environment consists of no stimulation therefore when puppy is eventually sold he will find his new world pretty terrifying. Puppy farm dogs learn to fear first and even at eight weeks old their social skills are partly developed and this development cannot be undone.
The difference between a puppy and an adult dog is usually just training and behavior needs. Older Shih Tzu dog may need a different type of behavior based care, depending on what they have learned so far in their lives. Either way great Shih Tzu care will cover the following points.
Choosing a good food for your Shih Tzu is a personal decision. Because each manufacturer tells us that their particular brand is the very best we can easily be dazzled by good advertising and nice packaging. There are some secrets that dog food companies choose to keep from us, as owners, when advertising their foods.
So if you are choosing pre prepared food for your Shih Tzu then the one thing we advise is that you take a long look at the ingredients. For they may not be all they seem.
Interestingly the word meat in dog food does not mean pure chicken breast or beef steak. If a food is advertised as 80% a particular meat type, with no further elaboration, it often means just that. Pet food can be made from chicken legs, beaks and ground bones. Beef can mean ground hooves, teeth and tails.
Fillers are another big part of commercial dog food. These can be ground grain, weeds, corn husks and even citrus pulp. Fillers only exist to make your dog feel full and to make the dog food easier to produce. They have no nutritional value.
Even more shocking is the 4D rule. The animals used for pet food can be any of these;
- Dying before slaughter
- Dead of other causes
So this can include ill animals, road kill and even euthanized unwanted dogs and cats. Worrying isn’t it?
Which is why, as part of an ongoing Shih Tzu care routine, we strongly suggest that you check ingredients of your dog’s diet carefully. Or perhaps even prepare your own dog food from ingredients that you know and trust.
Along with good food, sufficient exercise is a must in any Shih Tzu care routine. They are a low energy dog and will not need hours of walking a day. Your little dog still needs to get out, meet other dogs, play and generally stimulate his senses. This is an essential part of his daily needs.
Recall generally does not become too much of a problem with this breed. Being a specifically bred companion dog he will happily stick close to you off the lead after even the most basic training. He should certainly and easily learn to come back for a tasty treat.
Exercise will keep his weight down, his muscles healthy, his mind healthy and allow him to rest properly.
Training and Social Needs
The Shih Tzu needs to be trained using positive and reward based methods. He will not learn from punishment and will just become unhappy. He also needs to be allowed to build fun relationships with other dogs because a Shih Tzu will learn social skills from canine friends which we, as owners, could never teach.
Training a Shih Tzu puppy should also include acceptance of grooming and handling. With his silky, high maintenance coat your Shih Tzu will need to be regularly groomed and handled throughout his life.
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