Posts Tagged ‘shih tzu rescue’

5 Tips for preventing Small Dog Complex

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

While training can help you in dealing with small dog complex, it is better to prevent it before it ever occurs.   The negative behaviors that a Shih Tzu learns can be corrected but it is a long and involved task and it is much easier for both you and your dog if you prevent the problem.

To do so, simply follow these five tips.

One: Treat your Shih Tzu like a dog

Yes, I know, they are so cute and I have fallen prey to a Shih Tzu many times but the main thing to remember is that a Shih Tzu is a dog and for that reason, they should be treated like a dog.

Don’t feed it dog food or give them a choice over the way things are going to be.  You can dress them up, by all means do so, but don’t dictate your life completely to your dog.

Two: Remember that you are the alpha

Now everyone has their own opinion on alpha training and when I use the term, ‘alpha’ I am merely referring to the fact that you are the owner, the provider and the trainer.  You are not the servant, the hired help or the little dog that needs to tow the line and this should be clear to your Shih Tzu.

What this means in a nut shell is that if you give a command, your Shjh Tzu needs to listen or he will be corrected gently but firmly.

Three: Don’t carry him around everywhere

Even though they may seem to be enjoying it, Shih Tzu enjoy feeling the ground under their feet and running alongside you so don’t carry them everywhere. A dog that is carried sees the world differently and may not learn that they aren’t as large as they think they are.

Four:  Give him his own space

I have already covered this in an earlier section but it is very important to give your dog his own space and keep him in that area, whether it is the kitchen or the laundry room, when you are away from the house.  By giving him his own space, you will be sure that he isn’t taking over the house in your absence.

Five:  Make sure everyone follows the rules

No matter who lives with you or comes to visit needs to follow the rules when it comes to your dog.  This means that they shouldn’t carry him around, baby him or give him the run of the roost.  In addition, they should never be mean to him or teasing since this can cause many problems for your dog as well.  Make sure that all children know how to treat your dog.

By following these tips, you can be well on your way to preventing small dog complex in your Shih Tzu.

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Dealing with the Small Dog Complex

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Every little dog, regardless of breed, has the chance of suffering from the small dog complex. This isn’t actually something that is expected in a breed, and it isn’t a disposition to this problem, but it is a problem that is completely the fault of the owner.
That’s right, the owner. Small dog complex is a term used to describe a dog that suffers from severe separation anxiety, barking, nipping and other bad behaviors caused by the fact that they have been treated like a small child or a small toy.

Usually dog’s with a small dog complex have been held and coddled their entire life and when they become adults, it becomes very difficult to handle them. In addition to many of the negative behaviors, these dogs tend to rule the roost and while this can be cute at times, usually it can cause more problems than even the most dedicated dog owner.
Since the Shih Tzu is a small dog and is designed to be a companion dog, they are at risk of suffering from the small dog complex. Many owners don’t mean to create the problem but it happens.

One of the best ways to deal with small dog complex is through training. By training your dog, you will also learn to train yourself and not do many of the behaviors, such as carrying your dog constantly that can lead to a small dog complex. Training is always key and it should be the same whether you own a Shih Tzu or a Mastiff.

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Exercising the Body and Mind of your Shih Tzu

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Because the Shih Tzu is such an intelligent dog, they do require stimulation not only for their body but also for their mind. While I can’t help you with all of your exercises, since every Shih Tzu prefers a different type, I can offer you a few games to relieve both boredom and energy.

Games to relieve energy
Puppy Pushups:

This is a fairly easy exercise that every trainer will teach you and it really does remove a lot of energy and tires a dog out quickly. Puppy pushups are a series of ‘sit’, ‘down’ and ‘stand’ and can be done with a very young puppy. The youngest dog I did this with was nine weeks old, although it was a very short series.
To do this game, simply have your dog stand in front of you and then bait him or tell him to ‘sit’. Once he is in a sit, have him ‘lie’. Again, you may need to bait but if your dog is trained, you won’t need to. Next, have him ‘sit’ again and then finish off by having him ‘stand’. Repeat several times and make sure you give him lots of rewards and praise as you do.

Ice Cube Chase:

This is a great indoor game to play with your Shih Tzu and can be really good during the heat of the summer when your dog needs to cool off. Simply take out a big ice cube from the freezer and place it on a tiled surface. Encourage your dog to chase it and before you know it, he will be enjoying himself completely and burning off that energy.

Fetch:

Although the Shih Tzu isn’t a retrieving breed, they do enjoy a good game of fetch and it can be done both inside and outside. Don’t hesitate to use something other than a ball and you may receive more interest if you use a favorite stuffed animal or toy.

Games to relieve boredom
Find Your Toy!:

This can be a great way to alleviate boredom in your Shih Tzu and it can be a lot of fun for you as well. Simply take one of his toys, usually a favorite, and hide it in a place he can easily find. The first time you do it, you will need to be very apparent as to where you are hiding it but as your dog learns the game, you can hide it a bit better. It is important, however, that your dog sees you hiding it so he knows what he is doing.
Once you hid the toy, it is time to find it. Help your dog and really praise him when he does find it.

How does it work:

Go to a pet store, any pet store, and you can find a number of toys that need a bit of problem solving to get a treat out of it. The premise behind this is to provide a toy, like a Kong, and fill it with a treat. Place it down with your Shih Tzu and then encourage him to figure it out. When he does, praise and the treat inside will only encourage him
to play with these intellectual, problem-solving toys.

Recover the treat:

This is a simple game that you can change as your dog becomes older and more experienced with the game. The first stage is to simply place a treat under a plastic planter (just the pot). Make sure your dog sees you doing this and then encourage him to find the treat. He will need to flip the pot over, which is why it should be a lightweight plastic, to get the treat. Once he does, praise him.
When he gets skilled at flipping the pot, start mixing it up by using several pots but only one treat, he will need to determine which pot holds the treat and will be completely entertained for the course of the game.

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Feeding Schedule for Adult Shih Tzu

Friday, May 28th, 2010

As anyone who has ever owned a dog knows, a feeding schedule is actually something that can be done easily. It doesn’t have to be a big mystery and it doesn’t have to be something that you stress over.

Basically, a feeding schedule creates a routine for your Shih Tzu and all dogs regardless of the size or shape, love a routine.

When I set up a feeding schedule with my dog, I like to also set up a schedule for myself and also for exercise. Doing it this way ensures that I never break the routine and it ensures that my Shih Tzu is getting the most of both my time and the exercise that we do together.


When you first bring your Shih Tzu home, you will be limited by the same schedule that your breeder used in their home. Don’t be surprised if it is quite rigid but as your puppy grows and moves from three meals a day to two, you will be able to change your dog’s
schedule to better suit your needs.

Step One: Choosing the times

The very first step you will need to take in creating a feeding schedule is to choose the times that your dog will be eating. Usually the best times are in the morning and in the evening but make sure that you feed your dog twice a day.

Step Two: Figure out your schedule

Once you have the time, figure out your own schedule and what you will need to do to meet the needs of your Shih Tzu. Basically, what you want to do is feed your dog and then take him out for a walk or for a little exercise before you leave for work. If this requires that you get up a little earlier, then you will need to change your schedule accordingly.

Step Three: Create a pattern

The last step that you should do is to create a pattern during each feeding. In the am, you should get up, let your dog outside and then do one other thing before you start your dog’s meal. The only reason why I recommend this is that it keeps your dog from waking you up and expecting to be fed at odd hours. They soon begin to realize that, for example, coffee comes first, then food.

After you are finished the one task, feed your dog and then have a quick shower and get ready for work. During those 20 minutes of getting ready, your dog will have time to digest his meal and will be ready for the walk right before you leave for work. Take 15 minutes to play or walk your dog and then head out for the day, leaving your Shih Tzu with some toys and a treat or two for the day.

In the evening, follow the same schedule but always feed your dog after you eat. Make sure that it is a few hours before you go to bed so that you can take him outside for a walk or another 15 minutes of playtime and then again right before bed.

And it is that simple. If you follow the routine every day, you will quickly realize that
your dog has a schedule and it can be one that both of you enjoy.

Shih Tzu Feeding Guide

Friday, May 28th, 2010


Although I have touched on this slightly in the last section, I want to take a few moments to really look at what you need when it comes to dog food. There are a hundred different varieties of dog food and it can be a bit alarming when you first walk into the pet store to pick something out.

Before you go and talk to someone at the pet store about the food, stop! While they do have some experience and knowledge on pet food, they are there; ultimately, to push a product and it may not be the best food, nutritionally for what you want.

While I can’t tell you what dog food to purchase, I can give you some idea of what to look for in a dog food. Personally, I prefer Life’s Abundance, which has everything I am looking for in a dog food. But dog food is a matter of preference and while I may use Life’s Abundance, there are also a number of top quality dog food’s available in the stores.

What Life’s Abundance and several other dog foods offer and should offer are all of the things that you should be looking for in a dog food and these are:

  • Fatty Acids: Although all fatty acids are important, what you are really looking for is a dog food that contains Omega 3 and 6. Fatty acids are derived from seeds of certain plants and from animal fats. They provide energy for your dog and will encourage the proper growth of your dog’s coat and will help with the health of his skin.
  • Carbohydrates: If you have ever talked to an athlete, you understand the importance of carbohydrates on providing energy and it is no different with your dog. The energy gained from carbohydrates help your dog with their day-to-day needs but also with growth and development.
  • Protein: Another important part of your dog’s diet, you should make sure that there are high quality proteins in the food since this will help with your dog’s growth and development.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Lastly, dog food should contain vitamins and minerals and if you dog is not getting them, then it could cause some upset in your dog’s health, or development. In addition, a Shih Tzu requires 10 essential amino acids, which are usually found in protein. Other vitamins and minerals that they require are
    • Vitamin K

    • Vitamin B1
    • Vitamin B6
    • Vitamin B12
    • Folic Acid
    • Pantothenic Acid
    • Niacin
    • Choline
    • Riboflavin

When you choose a dog food for your Shih Tzu, it is important that you avoid one that has a lot of fillers. If you aren’t sure what that means, a filler is something that makes the production of dog food less expensive while providing a high yield. Fillers can be a number of things but if you notice grains, corn, beets or other carbohydrates at the beginning of your ingredient’s list, then you know that your dog is receiving a high amount of fillers in his diet.

5 Tips for Feeding your Shih Tzu

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I know I just got finished telling you that I wouldn’t give you a number of things to do when it comes to feeding your Shih Tzu but it is still good to have some idea as to how your Shih Tzu should be fed.


For that reason, I will give you five tips about feeding your Shih Tzu.

Number One: Find a dog food that contains the proper nutrients.

When your Shih Tzu is a puppy, use a puppy food. Plain and simple but as your Shih Tzu puppy grows; you will find yourself plagued by the ever-expanding range of dog foods.

It is important that when you choose a dog food for your Shih Tzu that you consider the ingredients. Make sure the food has carbohydrates, protein, minerals, vitamins and fatty acids. I will discuss dog food in greater length later in this section.

Number Two: Feed according to weight

Many people make the mistake of simply following the directions on the package as it pertains to age but more thought should go into how you feed your Shih Tzu than just age.

The best way to find the right amount of dog food for your Shih Tzu is to weigh them. From there, you can follow the directions on the bag to determine how much food your Shih Tzu should eat during the day. After that, you can split up the food between two or three meals.

Number Three: Provide Variety

When I say variety, I don’t mean that you should mix up the different brands of dog food but to add a few things into their diets occasionally. This can be in the form of fresh veggies, or it can be in the form biscuits for you Shih Tzu.

Number Four: Forget the Human Food

No matter how much your Shih Tzu is begging, you should avoid feeding human food, or at least limit the amount of human food that you give them. I have heard horror stories of Shih Tzu refusing anything but the food from their owner’s fork, literally!, and this can be
detrimental to the lifelong health of your Shih Tzu. In addition, it can create a fussy eater and that can be one of the worst things that can happen for you and your dog.

Number Five: Offer Water

After you get through housetraining and your dog’s bladder is larger, you can start leaving
water out throughout the day. It is important that you dog always have access to fresh water at all times, and no, the toilet doesn’t cut it.

Some people rely on a self water system but it isn’t necessary to spend that much on a water dish if you can pay attention to how much water is available and fill it up during the day. Still, if you are gone long hours during the day, it may be better to find a water dish that can refill itself.

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Your Shih Tzu Diet

Friday, May 28th, 2010

When it comes to feeding your Shih Tzu, there is really no right way to do it. Every dog will have a different feeding schedule, a different diet and a different way to eat. The only thing that should stay the same is the amount your Shih Tzu is eating and the amount of human food your Shih Tzu is getting.

While I could go over all the things I do to feed my dogs, I find that it is best if you find what works for you and your Shih Tzu. You may find things that work better and you may find things that don’t work but eventually you and your dog will find the eating habits that make both of you happy.

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The First Week with your Shih Tzu

Friday, May 28th, 2010

That first week with your Shih Tzu can be such a joy. The puppy is slowly starting to become a part of the family and when he isn’t snoozing, he is being a cute little ball of energy.  He is growing quickly, much faster than you could imagine, and you will find that you are taking more and more photographs of him each day.

While you have gotten through the first day and made the various introductions to your puppy, there is still a lot that goes on in the first week. It can be a harrowing time with middle of the night potty breaks and crying for his littermates but it can also be very rewarding.

Generally, when you bring a puppy home, you will be given a number of instructions on how to care for your Shih Tzu puppy properly.  Many Shih Tzu breeders send home a puppy care package and this includes some instructions on
the puppy’s first week and first few months.  It is important that you read these papers because it contains insight into your dog that is valuable.  In addition, there may
be kennel specific recommendations that you should follow.

If your puppy didn’t come with a care package, don’t worry. In general, the first week of a Shih Tzu’s life in his new home is similar to the first week in any puppy’s new life.

Feeding and Watering:

It is very important during the first week your puppy is home with you that you follow the advice of your breeder concerning feeding and watering. Don’t switch to a different food since this will upset your puppy’s stomach. Instead, use the same food and then gradually introduce the new food.

Usually, you will feed your puppy three times a day.  Do not allow your puppy to free feed since it will make it almost impossible to see how much he is eating or when he will need to go out.  If he doesn’t eat, pull up the food and then place it back down later.

With water, it is recommended that you start with bottled water until your puppy is used to your tap water.  Don’t use ice cold water as this can upset your puppy’s stomach as well and like the food, don’t allow access to water all the time.

Start housetraining:

It is never too early to start housetraining and it can begin the moment your puppy arrives home.  Make sure you take your puppy out after he has eaten and don’t follow the old 20 minute after a meal rule.  I have seen some dogs eliminate almost immediately after a meal and some puppies last upwards of an hour before they have to go.  If you pay attention, you can become familiar with his schedule.

Start training your puppy:

No, you aren’t going to be going to be starting with commands this week but you can start training your puppy by giving clear rules and sticking with them.  Don’t give in to your Shih Tzu puppy, no matter how cutely he looks at you.  If he is chewing something he shouldn’t be, break the action with a loud noise to distract him and then remove him from the activity.

Also, follow through on your own rules.  If he isn’t supposed to be on the furniture, then don’t let him up when he is small.  Establishing the rules during the first week is a good way to lay the foundation for training.

Winding Down in the Evenings:

During your first week, it is important to start an evening routine.  This means that your puppy will know what to expect and will know when it is bedtime.  Don’t give him any food or water after a certain time each night and take him outside about 15 minutes before you go to bed.

When you do put him to bed, make sure that he is comfortable with a hot water bottle, never use an electric blanket, and an alarm clock. This provides him with comfort.  I personally find that crate training is the best way to start bed time and it keeps him from wandering at night and getting hurt.

Oh, those sleepless nights:

Life with a new puppy isn’t easy and in many ways it is similar to having a new baby. You will be up many times during the night to take him outside so be prepared to be a little tired.

The best thing to do at night is to set up his crate beside your bed.  This will give you the opportunity to comfort him when he is sad and to also hear him when he first wakes up.  It is imperative, whether you feel like it or not, to take him outside the minute you hear him stirring.

This will begin laying the foundation for housetraining and will make the task much easier.  (And yes, you should start this on day one).

Take a visit to the vet:

The last thing that I am going to mention is something that is often overlooked by new puppy owners and that is the vet visit. While many people wait for a week or two, generally, there is another set of vaccinations due around the time your puppy comes home.  Even if there isn’t, it is important to get a health check done on your puppy to ensure that he will remain healthy and happy.

Once you get through the first week, you will be on your way to the second week and then all the other weeks of your Shih Tzu’s life.

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Introducing your Shih Tzu to family pets

Friday, May 28th, 2010


Although not all homes have other pets, many do so it is important to touch on introducing a Shih Tzu puppy to the other pets in the home. This is another important facet of your puppy’s life and it is important for both your older pets and your puppy to start off on the right paw.

When you introduce your puppy to other pets, it is important that you try to keep it in a controlled and calm environment. With other, larger dogs, this is very important and you should give both dogs tiem to adjust to each other. Make sure that you never leave the dogs unattended until you are absolutely positive that they get along.

To introduce your Shih Tzu puppy to your dog, place your older dog on a leash. (Note: if your dog has more stress when introduced to other animals while on a leash, don’t use one but hold onto his collar.) Allow them to be in the same room but don’t force the introduction.

When the puppy is ready, he will approach the dog and you should be ready to correct your older dog if he growls or snaps at the puppy. Allow your older dog to sniff the younger and praise your older dog while he is doing so. Also praise your puppy but the main focus is your older dog since he is the one who will usually have the most problems.

In addition to praise, treat your older dog so that the puppy is seen as something good. When they are done the introduction, allow them a little time together, with you close at hand and then separate them when you can’t control the situation. Later on, you can introduce them again and then again if necessary until you feel confident with your dog and puppy being together without you standing between them.

For cats, the introduction needs to be done gradually and you should let the cat decide when it is the right time for an introduction. Start by letting the cat into the room but don’t force him done. Again, praise the cat with strokes or even a treat whenever he goes near the puppy without hissing or growling.

Eventually the cat will go close to the puppy and you will need to be on hand to step in if the puppy gets too rambunctious before your cat swats the puppy. Usually, a cat and puppy will find a truce, if they don’t hit it off, but it does take some time and I have heard of some cats taking up to a year before they will accept a puppy so be patient, they will find someway to live together, eventually.

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Introducing your Shih Tzu to Family

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Many times, when you pick out your Shih Tzu puppy, you do so with your family in tow and in a sense, everyone gets to meet the new Shih Tzu. However, that is done in the puppy’s environment when he is feeling confident about things. When you bring your puppy home, that is a completely new experience and it is important to reintroduce your family to the puppy.

In general, your spouse or other adults in the home will not have as much difficulty being
introduced to your puppy. It should be done in a calm manner but there is rarely anything to worry about with that initial introduction.

The same can’t be said about introducing children and it is very important that you introduce them to the Shih Tzu puppy the right way. Before you bring your puppy home, it is good to prepare them. This means talking about the puppy, how to treat the puppy and also what will happen when the puppy comes home. The younger they are, the more preparation you will need to do.

Once the puppy comes home, make sure you let the Shih Tzu puppy adjust before you bring in the children. When you do, bring the children to your Shih Tzu puppy. Have them sit and wait for the puppy to come to them and remind them that they need to be quiet and patient.

Eventually, your Shih Tzu puppy will wander over to your child and will begin sniffing, licking and even chewing. Don’t’ correct the behaviors of the puppy right now as there will be plenty of time for training later.

Encourage your children to pet the dog gently but don’t allow them to hold him right now. Also stress that they are not to hold the puppy unless syou are there with them. When the puppy is done exploring these new people in his life, allow your children a few minutes to pet him while he is laying down and then have them calmly leave the room.

Do this a few more times and your puppy will quickly realize that the children and everyone in the family are a joy to be around.

After you have introduced your Shih Tzu to your children, there are a few rules that you should follow and these are:

  • Never leave the puppy and children unsupervised.
  • Teach your child how to play with the puppy and stress that pulling, poking or prodding the Shih Tzu puppy is appropriate.
  • Encourage play when the child is sitting only since they could fall and seriously injure the puppy.
  • Start correcting your puppy when he is comfortable in the home and do not allow him to jump, nip or steal things from your child.
  • Don’t expect your children to train the puppy. This is your job.

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