Shih Tzu is a small sized toy- dog coming from China and is actually a descendant of a prehistoric wolf that used to live in China – Senji. The breed name translates as the “Lion Dog” and this name reflects the original plan to resemble a lion. This small dogs are kept for their beauty, their long and silky coat needs daily brushing by their owners. Regular grooming is required too – generally speaking – this dog requires more attention than regular dogs, when it comes to the appearance.
In case you are thinking about keeping a Shih Tzu, read the information I have put together for you. I will post simple articles about the basic Shih Tzu information and facts that you need to know. And in case you are already a Shih Tzu owner, please send me a photo of the dog, so I can post it here on the site and show to other visitors. Thank you.
Generally Shih Tzu are well behaved, docile dogs that obey their owners and don’t cause too much ruckus. But every once in a while, you’ll hear someone complaining about how they can’t get their dog to stop barking. If you are one of such owners you might want to try some of the following tips and see if they help.
First of all, it is important to say that excessive barking is often caused by separation anxiety – the restlessness that dog starts to feel when his master has been absent for too long. First the dog will bark in frustration because of your absence, and when you do come he will celebrate by barking. Needles to say, the best way to deal with this is not to leave your dog alone for too long if it can be avoided.
You need to know why your dog is barking, is he alerting you of strangers that he can see walking in the street, is he bored, or does he just need your attention. Once you know the cause you might be able to eliminate it, and with it, the barking. You might try to obscure his view out of the window or play with him more often. Just whatever you do, don’t yell at him. If he was just seeking attention your yelling will show him that barking is indeed an efficient way to get it (not the best kind of attention, but he won’t mind too much), and if he was barking at passersby, he might get the impression that you are “barking” with him, not at him.
If you can’t determine the cause of his barking, or if you can and it does you no good whatsoever, you might try filling a can with pennies or other small metal bits. You will shake this rather irritating rattle every time your dog barks. The sound will irritate him at least as much as you, and once he hears it he will stop barking. Have a treat ready for that moment. If you repeat this often enough your dog will probably, in time, learn to control his barking a bit better.
If the can fails to dissuade him from barking you might need to resort to the dreaded water gun. Just make sure that you are using one that couldn’t hurt him if you accidentally hit him in the eyes with the jet. This will annoy him even more than the can, and he soon start making the connection between the splashes and his barking.
Shih Tzu have a beautiful, long double coat that can require quite a lot of grooming. Even if you don’t plan on entering them in shows, you’ll need to do this every once in a while just for the sake of your dog’s hygiene and general wellbeing. Also, the more you brush them, the less hair you will find all over the apartment as they can shed quite a lot.
You’ll want to start by brushing your Shih Tzu’s fur in gentle, downward motions. While doing this you will come across matted hair that you will need to untangle, taking great care not to pull on it too hard and possibly pull out the hair and hurt your dog. This process might be easier if you spray your dog with a conditioner before you start brushing him. This part of grooming is also a good time to check his skin for parasites such as ticks or flees, and for hotspots or signs of skin irritation. If you find a tick bite, don’t just try to pull the tick out, parts of it might remain in your dog’s blood and cause problems due to their toxicity, instead cover the bite with Vaseline and wait while the tick gets out to breathe and then remove it.
Once you have carefully brushed him and removed all the excess hair it’s time for a bath. First you’ll need to make sure that your dog is properly soaked and that the water has penetrated all the way through his rich coat to his skin. Then you’ll need to pour the shampoo over his back until he is completely covered. If you don’t have special dog shampoo you can use some kind of gentle baby shampoo that will not irritate the dog’s skin. You don’t need to rub it in, just let it sit for a while and then proceed to rinse it out. Make sure that you do this thoroughly, as any leftover shampoo will probably cause irritation, regardless of how mild it is.
You should dry your dog off with a towel first and then with a blow dryer. Just make sure that it is not set on too high a temperature or you’ll cause your dog quite a bit of discomfort. Now that the bathe is done you’ll want to check his ears for parasites, infections or wax buildup. If you detect any odor coming from them that’s a good sign that they need cleaning. There are a lot of antibiotic ear washes available, they are great not just because you know that they can be safely used on your dog’s ears, but also because they prevent infections if applied often enough.
If you intend to trim the dog’s nails you should know that this can be a bit risky, as dogs have a line that is going down the middle of their nails that is called quick. If you catch this line in clippers while trimming your dog’s nails it will start to bleed, so take great care to avoid it. If you are not sure that you can do this, leave that part of the grooming to the professionals.
Shih Tzu are very cheerful and obedient dogs that generally don’t cause their owners a lot of trouble. Still, there are some things that you need to know if you are thinking about getting a puppy of this breed.
This is the same for all breeds, if you are bringing a new puppy into your home you need to prepare the grounds for his coming. Your house mustn’t present any opportunities for a lively and careless puppy to get injured. Limit his access to a safe zone that won’t contain small items that he could swallow or electric cables that he could chew on. Carefully examine the zone that you have set apart for him and think about what might constitute a threat.
As soon as you’ve brought him home and given him a day or two to get somewhat accustomed to its new surroundings and people, have a vet come over and see about administering the vaccinations. This is something that shouldn’t be delayed as puppies are extremely vulnerable in this period.
If you can spare the time, prepare the food for your puppy yourself. That way you can be certain that it only contains the best possible ingredients and that it has the nutrients that a growing puppy needs. Make sure that your puppy gets a lot of protein and calcium, his muscles and bones are forming and they need a lot of building matter.
Shih Tzu are very obedient dogs, and are generally smart enough to be easy to train, but sometimes they can be slightly difficult to house train. You should expect this and approach it with patience and understanding. Use a lot of positive reinforcement when training your dog. When he goes to potty in the place that you have designated for that, offer him a lot of praise and a treat. Never punish him after the fact if you determine that he had had an accident inside the house, only do it if you catch him in the act, and then only do so by criticizing him in a low voice.
If you own one of these beautiful little lion dogs you know how much joy and cheer they can bring to a kind and loving owner. It is quite common that owners are so proud of these little rascals that they can’t wait for the opportunity to enter them into a show and share the grace and beauty of their dog with the audience. If you intend to do this, however, you need to know what conditions your dog needs to comply with in order to be accepted into a show.
First of all, your dog must look dignified as is befitting of a breed that was traditionally in the possession of nobles and royalty. A dog mustn’t be taller than 11 inches, nor shorter than 8, ideal height would be between 9 and 10.5 inches. The distance between the base of his tail and his withers should be slightly greater than his height. They are compactly built dogs and this must be apparent. They usually weigh somewhere between 9 and 16 pounds, but allowances are made for dogs that don’t fit within these limitations.
They have round heads with wide set eyes, if the dogs head is too narrow, if his eyes are set too close one to another, if they are not dark in color or if they are showing too much white, the dog will not be disqualified, but these characteristics will get him penalized. The dog’s expression should convey friendliness and a cheerful spirit. Note that some judges will check if the dog’s heir is concealing imperfections in his expression. The dog’s muzzle should be short, without wrinkles, square-shaped and with a flat front. Liver colored dogs have liver colored lips, eye rims and noses, and blue dogs have those parts in blue, with all other colors lips, eye rims and noses should be black. If they are pink in color the dog will be penalized. They have wide jaws with a slightly undershot bite. Overshot bite, or if the tongue or teeth are showing when the dog’s mouth is closed are causes for penalization.
They have long, dense double coats, if the coat is single or curly the dog might be penalized. Shih Tzu is one of the few breeds for which all of the common colors of the coat are permissible by the rules of shows. Shih Tzu should have broad chest, straight forelegs and lush tails that they carry high over their back. A low set tail is considered a fault. Finally, its gait and demeanor should communicate friendliness, cheerfulness and grace.
If you have a Shih Tzu and you determine that he meets these requirements you might want to learn how to groom and train him properly and start entering him in shows. Not only is that a great way to get more people acquainted with this beautiful breed, but the process of getting him ready for shows, and the shows themselves will be a great bonding experience for the two of you, and an always welcome opportunity to spend some time with your magnificent dog.