Shih Tzu Temperament

Shih Tzu Temperament

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S8 Shih Tzu Temperament

Shih Tzu Overview

Shih Tzu’s are known to be gentle, happy, lively, friendly, courageous, affectionate, and never afraid to provide their humans with licks of love.

Check out our Shih Tzu page to learn more about the breed and its characteristics!

The Shih Tzu is best know to be the pet who wants to be a loyal companion to their home owners. They are essentially everything that you need a house pet to be. This is why the Shih Tzu Temperament is very happy, friendly, affectionate, outgoing and trusting. Even without such a Temperament, this small dog breed are the first to win our hearts with their adorable hair covered faces and fluffy bodies!

With the Shih Tzu Temperament being so centered around it’s owner, they can sometimes become obsessively possessive and need to be socialized early. This means that when they are young puppies, they need to be put in a healthy and loving environment. It is also essential to let them be with their breeder and mother for quite a couple of weeks before they are going to their forever home so that they have the strong social skills needed to be part of a family. Any good breeder who knows about the Shih Tzu Temperament will do this .

Are Shih Tzus Good Apartment Dogs?

Shih Tzu’s are known to the “little lions” and they for sure act their part. They are little love bugs who are great apartment dogs and can live in big homes since they are so small. The Shih Tzu Temperament is good enough to get along with any other pets. They are excellent for large families. The Shih Tzu Temperament is also well suited for single people and the elderly. They are very well behaved. They are also very adorable and loving looking with their under bite!

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How Much Exercise Does a Shih Tzu Need?

The Shih Tzus do not need to be tamed with a huge amount of activities or things that keep them busy all day. The Shih Tzu is actually quite satisfied being a lap dog and they are by no means in need of tons of outdoorsy activities, such as, running, hiking, biking and climbing. They would actually rather be the clown of the neighborhood and romp around the backyard and the nearby park. They can be happy being anywhere as long as they are with their humans.

Given that the Shih Tzu is a very small dog, some of them suffer from the small dog syndrome which means they can sometime be aggressive. This means that even though they are small, they try to pack in a punch in those small bodies. Often times they are unaware of their size and can be stubborn with an independent streak. This makes them a little harder to train, but there’s nothing more than a treat that is needed to get them to come around quickly! They will not do anything if you are harsh with them or if you appear to be stressed. The best way, then, to train your Shih Tzu is by making sure you are calm and strict. Try to train your Shih Tzu earlier in the day when they have not had too many things already consumer all their energy. Also, it will be helpful to keep the training sessions short to keep the Shih Tzu from getting too tired or anxious. Finally, it is very important to vary training to keep your Shih Tzu from getting bored. There is a need for compassion and consistency while training the Shih Tzu Temperament. While training the Shih Tzus, it is important to provide a lot of praise to the dog so that they can feel rewarded and do even better!

Is a Shih Tzu Easy to Train?

Because of the same stubbornness present in the Shih Tzu Temperament, housebreaking a Shih Tzu can take between six and eight months. It is important during this time to train them to go outside by using a variety of items, such as commands, clickers, reward treats, etc. Finally, it might even be possible to ask a breeder to do the house training for you. Even then, dogs act differently in different environments and so you will need to provide the Shih Tzu with some training for your house.

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The Shih Tzu can be a very excellent watchdog. They are very alert and vigilant. They will bark when someone approaches the house. The same alertness makes it important to train your Shih Tzu, to make sure that the barking does not get out of hand. Training them can include commands that will keep them from barking or stop them from barking once they start.

In conclusion, the Shih Tzu Temperament makes them the perfect house pet. They need to be trained to not bark excessively because they are excellent watchdogs. They are suitable for all kinds of families (even the ones with little babies) and for human beings, who work long, hours, are elderly, do not have much time and do not like to do much activity. Their sweet yet stubborn temperament makes them their owner’s loyal little friend!

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, thanks for the history lesson on the Shih Tzu Bunk! My pal Sasha is the sweetest pups there is!! Ma says I should behave more like her….pffffft! BOL
    Kisses,
    Ruby

  2. says

    Hi my shih tzu gizmo is ten this year i am having trouble with him being very grumpy and is growling ans snapping at me hes always been so placide im getting to the point im scared of him sometimes. Can any one help me not sure what to do next. ..

    • sandy says

      He could just be getting old. Maybe he has arthritis or his teeth hurt. Take him to the vet, they might know what’s going on.

    • Barbara says

      Have his eyes checked. A common health issue at this age is eye ulcer and blindness. If he isn’t able to see well he will become
      Aggressive and nervous when you put your hand up to his face. The best way is to go gently behind the head and pet him before you go to pick him up.

    • T Rogers says

      Sounds like he is getting old an in pain maybe from arthritis or teeth, you really need to have him checked by your vet especially since he doesn’t normally act like this. Something is wrong I’d take him to the Vet Right Away. He’s tryin to tell you something is wrong by his Actions… Plz listen to your doggie.

  3. Lori says

    Yes my aunt has a Shih Tzu she adopted from Homeward Bound he found wandering the streets. Mange was his biggest health problem. They figured him to be about 10 yrs. old. My mom fostered him first. She had problems with him first being aggressive, then your best friend, then for no good reason snapping @ people. As though he is Bipolar or something. He gets regular walks & is well socialized with other dogs as well as people. No one wants to see him be put down but he simply can’t be trusted. I hope there is some treatment or training for this as we don’t want to put him in puppy heaven.

    • Ali says

      I hope that your family hasn’t put down this dog. It could be that he came from an abusive or neglected situation prior to ending up at the shelter. One of my Shih Tzu’s was a rescue from a puppymill. He had severe trust issues when I first adopted him. I have another Shih Tzu prior to adopting Bailey. I was very patient and understanding of his personal space and gave him a LOT of time and space. Meaning, I didn’t force anything on him (my affection, playtime). The first 2-3 weeks he would watch how my other dog and I interacted and over time I was able to win his trust. It took 3 weeks before he would let me touch him and stroke his back and 8 months before he allowed me to cuddle him and hold him in my arms for longer than a few quick minutes. Bailey would have moments of aggression towards me and my other dog, to the point where he will bite and for awhile I was afraid of him then I realized he’s 10lbs, I’m the adult. When he has his aggressive moments, he’ll warn me by growling and baring his teeth. Depending on the situation I’ve simply walked away from him and he’ll quickly relax and be back to normal or I’ll don oven mitts (so he doesn’t bite my hands) and pick him up and take him out of the room he’s in. That usually always does the trick. Just be careful not to let his head near your face in case he bites.
      It could just be that maybe your aunt’s dog needs to be socialize and he definately needs patience. Also, a behavior specialist would help with his training too.

  4. Carole Lagacé says

    Hi,

    I have a 3 years Shih Tzu. I had him he was always 5 weeks which is way to young, but that the way the lady wanted it to be.

    He is fix, but still, he lift his leg to pee on everything he sees.

    What can do for that.

    He is presently with my ex and he does not play anymore he misses me, but after the separation, I am now in an appartment and I dont want him to destroy everything here by peeing all over the place. New furniture etc. kids toys.

    Waiting for your comments.

    Thank you and have a great day.

  5. Kinu says

    My 2 year old, Leah, has a lot of these characteristics too, it’s just that A LOT of the time, she plays and it’s super rough housing. She likes tonusenher teeth. Of course, it doesn’t hurt, and she stops when you tell her to most of the time. My issue is with potty training. She’ll have good streaks and then all of a sudden, she’ll poop on the floor when we have pads placed around the apartment for her to use at night. She absolutely HATES her crate, and will throw a fit if she is in there. She can be very spiteful and will poop/pee in the crate and spread it all over herself and said crate. So needless to say, we’ve stopped using it. I just don’t know what to do with her, we can’t have puppy pads on the floor forever, you know? And she knows that outside is where we’re supposed to use the bathroom, so I just don’t understand . Other than this, she’s really sweet and follows me wherever I go, like a true shih tzu. Love her to death.

    • Ali says

      When using the wee wee pads, are they always in the same place or do you move them around the house? Both my shih tzu’s are wee wee pad trained and it didn’t take as long as I thought (2-3 months). Place the pads on the same spot all the time so your dog will know where to go. You have to reward them when they go on the pad both with treats and a ton of praises. When he/she has an accident, simply say “No, bad girl/boy” then bring him over to his pad and say “good boy/girl”. You’ll need a ton of patience but this was how I’ve been able to successfully potty train both my shih tzu’s. They are super smart and behave almost like little humans.

  6. Dawn says

    I recently got a puppy whose parents were shih tzu border collie (mother) and miniature schnauzer (father) mix. He is completly opposite of what I just read. He sleeps almost all day long and he is very aggressive. He bites everyone and does not let them pet him. He is seven weeks old and I am worried that he will end up a mean dog. I watch kids in my home and for the little time he is up during the day he chases them and trys to bite. When I pick him up to move him away from them he growls at me and trys to wiggle out my arms like if he is scared of me. Any suggestions of what I can do?

    • Amy says

      Have you taken the pup to the Vet? Sounds like there is something else going on. If he is chasing little ones he is afraid of them and wants to be left alone. Kids are loud and sometimes rough with pups thinking they are just playing. Your pup should have a temperament. Call the vet if that checks out fine, call a trainer get into puppy classes. This pup is establishing dominance in your home and winning as it sounds like people are scared of him. Does he have a crate? Crates can provide a safe sanctuary for pets if used right.
      Sounds like a handful but can be rewarding with patience.

  7. Elaine says

    My Daughter has a 4yr old Shih Tzu (Jensen) and although he is funny, loving, and happy, he is very aggressive. He protects me by growling and snapping at people. Which is what he does with my Daughter too. Even my Granddaughter (aged 20) will get growled at if she tries to come near me. He was being groomed on a regular basis, but he will no longer go into the groomers, it’s so traumatic that we don’t force the issue. He won’t let us groom him either though. It would be lovely to see his eyes, but he won’t let us trim his face. He barks for ages if anyone knocks the door, he will also bark at people walking past the house if they are noisy. He cannot be trusted in public, he snaps at people if they dare to come too near him. He bit one of my friends when she came, he bit through her skirt, but only managed to bruise her leg. He doesn’t even live in my house, he lives with my Daughter. We are at our wits end with him as he started off as such a good little dog. He is very intelligent and learns fast. If he actually bites anyone we will be forced to have him put to sleep, that would break our hearts. Can anyone help?

  8. Amy says

    We have adopted a ll month old girl (Mia) she came completely matted to her skin, she growled when she was touched or carried. She would use the floor to piddle on. I left her to warm to me for a few days and she would come snuggle with me. I noticed she was loaded with fleas and fur was so tangled it was pulling her skin badly. I decided she needed to be shaved. I called Groomers no one wanted to do her as she was loaded with fleas and possible sores due to her aggressive growling. Well I bought expensive clippers gained her trust and she let me shave her last night…I love to report she is incredibly happy, if she has a smile I see it…she rolls on the floor, allows petting all over and just a joy to play with. She went from Grump grumperson to happy puppy. She covered my face in licks. Ive treated her with revolution and just tell her how beautiful she is all groomed. I love Mimi.

    • Lisa says

      That’s great you got Mimi’s trust. Getting rid of all that matted hair no doubt improved her temperament more and getting rid of fleas certainly helped too. Lots of times dogs are grumpy because of matted fur and being flea bitten and then you find out that they’re friendly when they’re out of pain. Believe it or not, dogs love to be told how cute and beatiful they are. They know it. Finances prevent me from taking my Chihuahua to the groomer, but when we did oh would she prance when we walked home. When she’s gotten dirty at home and I give her bath in the tub(she used to be so small I could wash her in the sink and she’s a big Chi not the teacup)and I show the towel, why she’ll wiggle in the towel helping me to dry her off and she’s all clean and sparkling white she just prances around and does her Chi dance. Dogs really know when they look hot. And my girl would give me a lick or two after a groomer session or when I give her the ocassional bath.Trying to save enough so I can take her to the groomer again. Maybe the white Poodle she’ gave the eyes to will still be going there. My girl was such flirt to that Poodle.

  9. steve says

    We have a neat little dog called Bailey , he likes walks & chasing the cat around the house, but we have just been away for a few days and had a dog minder look after him with about 5 other small dogs which we have done before and he usually loves it , gets all excited, we are now at home with him and he seems to be with drawn – he sleeps most of the day both at home and at work – we take him to work each day, however my wife takes him for at least two walks a day , we are just thinking he might be depressed , is this possible, if so what do you think we could do about it.

    • Lana Senchal says

      My shih tzu was the same after spending a week at private kennel where he went before with no problem. After the second time at same kennel, he came home sleeping a lot and was quiet which was unusual. I believe that he was disturbed by other dogs.. Noises.. Unwanted shagging all day that made him so tired. He had some sores and had to have antibiotiques. Never again I send him to kennel.

    • Bunk says

      Haha! First ask yourself why you want a Shih Tzu so badly. Gather as much information about them as you can, and honestly assess whether or not you are fit to own a Shih Tzu -because it come with a lot of hard work. Do that and you might not need to ask your parents ;)

    • Lisa says

      Sounds like you want a Shih Tzu just to have one and your parents are right to say no. Go to every bit of information, Emily on the breed. Their good points, their bad points. Look up everything you can about feeding, supplies, and training. Your dog MUST be trained. I’m tired of hearing people complain about their dogs’ bad behavior that they never trained their dog not to do. If you get a Shih-Tzu know that they can be stubborn. Realize that ANY dog is a dog, NOT a toy. not something you get just to have, only to give up the dog because you don’t want to put in the work. You want your parents to give you this dog, prove that you alone will take care of it. DON’T dump it on them when you lose interest. From your very inquiry, it tells me that you don’t want a Shih Tsu. You like the novelty of owning one, without the responsibility. I don’t know how old you are, but dogs aren’t novelties and I think that’s why you want one. Just to show everyone you have one, while the dog gets messed up. I know that’s not what you want to hear. But I don’t want another dog to be dumped in a shelter because someone, especially if they’re a kid, wants a dog but expects everyone else to take care of him and train him and they refuse to so we get an abandoned dog who soon has trust issues.

  10. wendy says

    my shih tzu will be year old in october ,she was 8 weeks when i got her , she is no trouble and has been quite happy if and when we have left her untill last three times when she has chewed writing pad and some pics an now photgraphs that were in frames with no glass has anyone any ideas i leave her lots of toys ans a Kong full of titbits ,,thank you , wendy

  11. Lisa says

    I noticed a couple posts where an aggressive Shih Tzu was rationalized. You NEVER, EVER let them get away with it. When my Chihuahua puts back her ears and growls when we’re on the couch because my cat is near by I go “Shhht!” very sternly. Or I poke her in the side of the neck with a couple fingers to snap her out of it. She’s never bitten me. NEVER, ever rationalize your dog’s aggressiveness. Never EVER let them get away with it even as a puppy. I taught my Chihuahua as a puppy that her food was my food. That means I can take it away any time I want and no snapping. I taught my girl that her toys were my toys. I tell her to “drop it” and she will. I go near her favorite toys when she’s playing and she doesn’t have a problem with that. When she thinks she owns the couch I do a loud “Shhht” and that wakes her up.

    Never EVER show fear for your dog because they’ll take advantage of your weakness. Be firm but not abusive obviously, but don’t EVER let your dog get away with growling or snapping. Teach them early as puppies that that behavior is not acceptable in your pack.

  12. Sarah says

    Hi I have a shih Tzu she is just over 1 and just over a week ago she came into season
    And ever since she has been growling and going for us for no reason
    Is this because she is in season or could there be something else
    Else why she is doing this she is a very happy loveable dog normally
    Don’t want to get rid of her so could anyone give me some advice
    Before she bites one of us.

  13. Cas Wilkerson says

    My shih Tzu just turned 8 years old and suffered a stroke. I am wondering if he pulls through will he ever be the same?

  14. charmaine smith says

    My shih-tzu scratch tge face if my daughter..my dog is 3 months old..he had a bad temper. .I an sinetyms afraid of him.wgat shoulfd I do..

  15. Tricia says

    I have a shih -tzu male Buddy just over a year. My daughter has his brother Marley same litter they have been nearly always been together. But mine has got very aggressive growling fighting with Marley really bad like they gone kill each other it very sad as they where good company for each other. Any advice.

  16. Kayla says

    My Scruff is my Bestfriend. I need some advice tho!!! I live in a house of 5. Mom, dad, me, and my 2 younger brothers. My dog scruffy we found and couldn’t resist his adorible face and love. I let him come to me at first. Our bond started growing since. :) but….. here’s my concern. The longest I left home was 10 months. I am in the military and I hate the look on my dogs face when he sees me packing my bags. While I’m gone my mom has told me that he seems sad and not as playful or loving and that he seems to be upset that I’m gone. I hate knowing my little scruff is sad. Well….. now I’m getting deployed for a year… and I’m very worried on how my dog will be. He’s my Bestfriend… we do everything together… I protect him and he protects me…. please help… I need some advice on what to do for him! Thank you!!!!! Can’t wait to hear some answers. :) I already have some ideas like letting him hear my voice on Skype :)

  17. velma says

    DUSTY. Is a 2yr. rescuit dog. He has aggression with his food. He will be good @ let you pet him then he will growl @ show his teeth. I have been biten 6 times so far. I NEVER KNOW . Been to the vet. hes ok. He growls we growl back @ give him the stare down. Hate to give up on him @ take him back. I m afraid no one will take him @ have to been put down.

  18. leanne says

    my shih tzu is just over one year old, hes a playful dog but the other day my my 10year old girl and my 5yearold girl were playing and my 5yera old daughter was smacking my other daughters back and my dog jumped on my little girls back and bit my 5yr olds hand! hes been grumpy aswell for a while when we try and pick him up from my bed and take him down and when we pick him up and throw him out the back for being naughty he growls all the way he snaps alot! hes already bit my daughter, im scared off what else hes going to do he kind off went for my husband when he through him outside, we want to get his hair cut again but scared he will bite the groomer, im going to take him to the vets to see if they can help, but will they suggest us putting him down for biting?? we love him loads and dont want that at all but im scared for our kids, what else can we do?

  19. lisa says

    Hi my shih keeps weeing ever time you go and stroke her or even when you pick her up why and how can i stop it also she is always scrounging for food she would even go in the rubbish bag and rip it open and eat my baby poo out off nappiey is this her food bowl is always full help

  20. says

    I have just got my puppy sophie.we are doing great with her shes sticking with her toilet training an we praise her after.she will go to the door when she wants out.my problem is..when we go 2 feed her she starts to dig the ground no matter where she is in the house are outside.it upsets me she cant injoy her food..am so worried about her doing this.she is only 12 weeks old..

  21. Hugh Kennedy says

    I have lost my little mate. We visited family in Karuah, NSW on the weekend of the 24/11/2013, she got out through the cat door and dug under the fence. We have done all we can think of to get her back, she is chipped and registered in The Scenic Rim.
    I didn’t realise just how much of my life she had some impact on.
    If anyone is able to help us to find her and bring her home we will be very grateful.
    Thank you.

  22. Craig Wardale says

    My Shitzu – Bourbon is 10 years old and has been a great dog since we got her. She was given to some family members of ours who truly didn’t care for her as a pup so we stepped in and took her on and since that day she has lived a truly wonderful life. BUT when my dad comes she turns into a NUTCASE !!! scratches the doors to get out, once out scratches to come in, runs upstairs scratches every door but doesn’t want to be in any??? very bizarre behaviour. No one has any idea as to why she does this. My dad has even tried given her treats and stroking her to win her trust but she seances his presence almost? ANY help as to why this happens would be greatly appreciated. Craig – Beverley – England

  23. EUNICE says

    I have a 7 week old shitzu that gets upset when I say no and put him in his crate. Today he bit me when i tried to hold him I do not know what to do?

  24. Bonnie says

    Hello….. My husband and I have a 2 year old shih tzu named Chloe. When I leave to go work and kiss my husband goodbye she jumps at my face to bite me. There have been other times I have gone to give her a kiss goodnight and she has bitten me in the face. Lastly, if I pick her up while she is sleeping to bring her to bed she will attack me and bite my hands. This behavior has been going on the last few months and she only shows this aggressive behavior towards me and not my hubby. I am worried that when the time comes to expand our family Chloe may show this behavior towards our child. She seems to be very possessive over my hubby. I need help. I don’t know the correct way to react when this happens. What do I do?

  25. Lisa says

    My Mom has a 7 year old Shih-tzu. Temperament has been fine up until the last few years and she has started to bite us. Normally, she’s loveable and fun loving but if we go to pick her up or to coax her to go to bed or something she doesn’t want to do, she’ll nab you so fast it’s over before you realize it. Last night, I had to take my mother (who is 81) to the ER. She really bit her badly on her wrist. The dr. said he didn’t like to stitch bite wounds, they gave her a tetanus shot and an antibiotic and bandaged her. I didn’t realize Shih-tzus were aggressive in nature. She still loves ppl. and children. But when she’s not to be bothered, you don’t mess with her. I wanted to spank her, but Mom would not have it. She has never been abused, we got her at 6 weeks old so I don’t understand. She is taken to the vet for all her shots and she loves the vet and the vet loves her. Help!!!!!

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