Are you wondering how to get your Shih Tzu to stop biting other people?
Perhaps you can’t work out why those teeth come out when someone is trying to be friendly to your dog?
Well read on to find out the reason behind the flash of teeth and what you can do about it.
The most interesting thing about this particular topic is that your dog is probably not the one at fault here. Most dogs usually only bite when they feel scared or threatened and a lot of people tend to scare or threaten dogs by accident.
It’s in the Approach
Think of the way that people approach your dog for a moment. Do they try to make friends by making eye contact and bending over to say hello? The Shih Tzu is cute, terribly cute in fact, for some reason this makes his body language less recognizable to people.
When people approach e and try to reassure another human who is worried they make eye contact, approach full on and try to directly make friends. This is the natural way that humans communicate.
Interestingly, this is the worst possible way to approach a dog that is even a little bit timid. To a scared Shih Tzu this approach, even from someone they know can be terrifying. It is seen as confrontational and even threatening behavior.
How often has someone bent over your dog saying hello whilst that nippy Shih Tzu has been growling or trying to back away? Therein is the reason a dog will learn to bite, it’s all he can do to get rid of the huge and terrifying monster that is (in the dog’s eyes) offering a direct threat. Each time this happens the dog is learning that a bite is the only way he will be rid of the scary human.
How do Careful Dogs Approach a Scared Shih Tzu?
When dogs, that have been well-socialized with other dogs, approach a worried Shih Tzu they make a point of absolutely ignoring a fearful dog, why do they do this?
Natural canine body language when another dog is scared is to leave the frightened animal alone. The last thing an understanding dog with careful social skills would do is approach head on and make eye contact with a worried Shih Tzu.
If a dog approaches another head on, maintaining eye contact and shows unshakable confidence the dog is probably looking for some sort of confrontation. It may even be planning to attack. Natural, respectful dog greeting behavior brings an approach that involves calming signals such as looking away and curving the body around. This is a dog’s way of saying that he wants no trouble.
I know full well how difficult it is to keep people away from a small cute dog. So many people leer over scared little dogs completely ignoring their threats and even owner advice.
If your own dog is scared then you may want to consider a jacket that states the dog needs space, this way people should see the message on the jacket and leave your Shih Tzu alone. Then when your little dog is ignored by passers-by and even people that he knows the biting Shih Tzu will be left with no reason to defend himself from unwanted attention, therefore no reason to bite.