How to Control Shih Tzu Barking
Are you tired of your shih tzu barking all the time? Shih tsu’s have somewhat of a reputation when it comes to excessive barking (as well as fear-biting). This breed of dog is quite easy to rile and even the slightest noise or disturbance can set off a half hour barking frenzy. Unfortunately, it is not in any dog’s nature to control their protective instincts. Dogs who do this have been trained to do so, and so as an owner this is what you must be willing to do in order to gain the upper hand with your shih tzu barking problem.
Gentle Correction and Praise
The best way to start training your shih tzu is through gentle but firm correction When your dog begins barking at an inappropriate time, tell him no in a very calm but authoritative tone. Understand that your dog is being taught to control one of his baser instincts—to alert his family when something catches his attention—so a great deal of patience will be needed on your part. In conjunction with telling your dog when not to bark, you should also praise him for barking at things that are acceptable. For instance, if you want your shih tzu to alert you when someone pulls into the driveway, allow him to bark during this time and praise him with a quick pat on the head or a “good boy.” If the barking continues after your guest enters the house and you find this unacceptable, follow through with the steps for gentle correction.
If your dog doesn’t seem interested in your training attempts, then it is likely that he simply doesn’t see anything in it for him. Don’t be disappointed—this is a common attitude in the animal realm (and indeed with us humans, as well). Using a treat to praise your dog when he barks at appropriate things or times is one of the easiest ways to show him that you are happy with his actions. He will also quickly learn “what’s in it” for him!
Adequate Exercise and Stimulation
If you are finding it difficult to get a response to the previous training method, then you may want to consider some other reasons behind your dog’s easy-to-rile nature. One of the leading causes for this type of behavior is inadequate exercise or not getting enough mental stimulation. The shih tzu breed is a smart one and they need to have a bit of a challenge or purpose once in a while. Perhaps you could invest in a dedicated half hour or hour long play time with your pooch. Play games that will appeal to his interest and curiosity, such as hiding his favorite toy or a dog treat. Make a big deal about getting him involved by using an excited tone of voice or exuding a happy and engaging personality. You may also want to develop a steady and reliable exercise routine that your dog can grow to count on. Shih tzus are quite small and can get most of their necessary exercise indoors, but taking your dog outside once a day can allow him to expel any pent-up energy that may have accumulated throughout the day.
If you find that at-home training simply isn’t doing the trick, then you may want to consider enrolling your dog into an obedience class. Shih tzu barking can drive you up the wall—especially if your dog is stubborn enough to resist your efforts at correcting his behavior. The environment of an obedience class can help support your authority and the support of a good trainer can help you address any mistakes or mixed signals you may be making in your training attempts.