Welcoming a Shih Tzu puppy into your home is almost as hard as adopting a child. The big difference is that there aren't as many resources to help you raise a Shih Tzu, as there are to raise a child. It can be a time-consuming process, but your Shih Tzu will only be a puppy for about two years. During that time, there are certain major practices you should follow that can make raising your Shih Tzu puppy an easier and more successful experience.
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Get your Shih Tzu from a reputable breeder or rescue group. A Shih Tzu puppy that comes from a responsible breeder will have a certificate of health and be up-to-date on shots. A responsible rescue organisation will also have their Shih Tzu up-to-date on shots, and will have the dog altered if he is old enough. Another sign of a good breeder or rescue group is that they will request that if you can no longer care for your Shih Tzu, you return him to them.
Bring your puppy home to a household that is ready for him. Be sure to have all the materials you will need to care for him, including the food your breeder or rescue organisation recommended, grooming tools and a crate. (Although not essential, you may want to substitute a water bowl for a water bottle to prevent discolouration to the fur around the mouth.) Introduce him slowly to any children or pets that might already live in the household. Closely monitor their interactions for the first few months, avoiding leaving them alone with the puppy.
Keep your Shih Tzu healthy with regular visits to a licensed veterinarian. Your puppy needs regular vaccinations, including the rabies vaccine. Shih Tzus are relatively healthy, but they can develop breathing problems due to their short noses. Although they are one of the sturdier of the small breeds, your puppy is still vulnerable to physical damage from larger animals and high falls.
Start training your Shih Tzu early because they are not the easiest breed to train. Housebreaking and crate training are both essential and go hand in hand. Both processes can take up to 2 months to complete. Your Shih Tzu should also know the "sit," "come" and "down" commands as safety precautions. Other commands that will be helpful while raising your puppy are the "no" and "leave it" commands. The more commands your Shih Tzu knows, the easier it will be to raise him. Consider enrolling your puppy in obedience classes to help you.
Make sure that your puppy gets accustomed to being groomed from the start. As a long haired breed, Shih Tzus can become matted if they are not brushed out daily and bathed every 4 to 6 weeks. Nails will have to be trimmed about once a month, too. The earlier your puppy is groomed, the better he will tolerate it as he gets older. Also, consider the amount of time and money you are willing to spend to keep your puppy groomed. Although a Shih Tzu can grow his hair fairly long, you might consider keeping it cut short to make it easier to manage.
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