WRITTEN BY STACY | EVERYTHINGSHIHTZU.COM
Imagine that you’re walking your Shih Tzu, everything is going great until in the distance a fellow dog walker approach.
As you near each other, your sweet Shih Tzu turns into a yapping maniac, and you frantically try to quiet her down.
Taking your dog on a walk or other outing should be a source of joy, not stress, so don’t fret; you just need to know how to get her to stop barking at other dogs.
Yelling or yanking at a leash are surefire ways to KEEP your Shih Tzu barking at other dogs.
Instead, maintain a firm tone, keep the leash relaxed, and have lots of treats handy to both distract and reward your pup. Proper training on how to react to other dogs is essential, and rewarding good behavior is a must.
You can’t expect your Shih Tzu to be the perfect socialite without giving her any direction or guidance.
Dogs need proper training to know what's expected of them and how to behave. This will take time with a Shih Tzu.
You can do it!
All you need is some patience and determination, and these tips to get your Shih Tzu to stop barking at other dogs.
While the Shih Tzu breed in general in not considered a yappy breed, not every dog will be exactly the same.
Dogs bark for all different reasons including to play, assert themselves, send a warning, demand food or water, express themselves, and say what they have to say.
Animals make noises for the same reasons humans do--to communicate.
If your dog is always barking at other dogs, it’s important to understand that this does not automatically mean your pet won’t get along with other animals.
In fact, sometimes, it just means your Shih Tzu really wants to meet the other dog, but she just doesn’t know how to greet another canine properly.
When dogs bark repeatedly at other dogs, this is usually because they have not had many opportunities for socialization, and they just don’t know what to do.
Sometimes, if your dog has an inflated desire to protect you, the barking could be a warning to other dogs, and your dog may feel like she is doing her job and telling them to back off from her owner.
Of course, she could also be staking her claim to you, and saying, “Nope, this human’s all mine.”
Since Shih Tzu are not really known for their guard dog abilities, your pup probably falls into the “not sure how to react to other dogs” category.
If your pet is barking nonstop every time they encounter another dog but isn’t showing any signs of aggression (like baring teeth, snapping, and growling), the odds are good that they just wants to get to know the other dog, and it’s your job to make sure they know how to do that in the right way.
Being a pup parent comes with a lot of responsibility, and that includes teaching your dog how to behave.
If you had kids, would you continue to allow them to yell every time they met another child? Probably not.
Therefore, don’t assume it’s okay for your Shih Tzu to keep barking at other dogs.
Instead, try these tips to help her learn how to properly meet and greet her fellow canine companions:
Treats are going to be an essential tool in your training arsenal.
They are good for distracting your pup from stressful situations or anything else that may start to get her worked up, like another dog.
Plus, you always need to be ready to reward desired behavior.
Would you try to build a house before laying down the foundation?
If your dog barks like crazy at other dogs, just tossing her into a doggy daycare to socialize her is not the way to go.
Don’t forget the basics.
If you need some tips on how to train your dog on some of the basic commands, read our article on basic dog training.
The sooner your dog can encounter other dogs the better.
If you have a young dog, make sure to provide ample opportunities for her to play and interact with other pups.
She’ll learn the acceptable way to greet another dog.
This really only works if your friend’s dog is trained and isn’t also a barking fiend, so choose appropriately.
Have your friend and her dog start to walk towards you as you walk your dog, then as they approach, before your dog has a chance to bark, distract your dog with a treat.
When your dog looks away from the other dog, immediately praise and reward her with the treat.
Keep her distracted as the other dog walks by and continue to praise her for as long as she remains quiet.
Sometimes, the use of a clicker can also help to distract your dog, just be ready to give a treat as soon as your dog responds to the click.
Shih Tzu do not require a ton of exercise but love to play, and they adore attention.
Make sure your pup gets enough of both, so they aren’t letting it all out at the wrong times.
Don’t expect your dog to be an angel after one or two training attempts.
Resist yelling as that only confuses your dog and makes her want to bark more.
Be firm and vigilant with your training, and your Shih Tzu will stop barking at other dogs.
If you have tried all of the steps, and your Shih Tzu still becomes a barking menace every time another dog gets near, then it may be time to consider calling in the pros.
This is also a good idea if you know you don’t have the necessary time, skills, or patience to train your dog the correct way.
Your vet can give you suggestions of some trainers that can help you on your mission to civilize your pooch.
If your Shih Tzu won’t stop barking at other dogs, please don’t think you have to stay shuttered away inside and can never bring your dog in public.
This is not the answer.
Follow these steps to work toward helping your Shih Tzu know what to do when she meets a fellow pup.
In the meantime, check out our blog for other great tips on how to help your Shih Tzu be a happy and healthy pup!