The Shih Tzu is a small dog breed sometimes called "the small lion" or the "chrysanthemum dog," so named for its unusual facial appearance. As the name suggests, it originated in Asia and is most prized in China. Shih Tzu puppies are generally affectionate, playful and friendly.
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Shih Tzus have a reputation for being outgoing, friendly dogs. As puppies, they enjoy playing and interacting with humans as well as dogs of their own and other breeds. Puppies are personable and prefer to be around their owners. Generally, Shih Tzus get along with children and are rarely physically aggressive.
Despite their playful personality, Shih Tzu puppies can be rather self-assertive, making them a challenge to discipline and train. They can be stubborn in the face of verbal and physical reprimands. Shih Tzu puppies often like to consider themselves pack leaders, an endearing part of their personality but a potential source of difficulty for owners who expect obedience. This breed was originally bred for Chinese royalty, and their "regal" temperament seems to remain. Shih Tzu puppies also have the habit of assertively craving the attention of humans around them and can get snappy when their desire for attention and affection is not met.
Because they are a social breed, Shih Tzus resent being left by themselves for long periods of time and react adversely to temporary abandonment. Undisciplined Shih Tzu puppies can engage in destructive behaviour in such situations. Puppies have a tendency to chew furniture and other objects.
Shih Tzu puppies enjoy being both outdoors and indoors, although they tend to stay indoors. Like most dogs, they enjoy walks and should be taken for daily walks. Shih Tzus have traditionally been bred as watchdogs, in spite of their small size, and puppies sometimes express this inborn tendency by barking, yelping or getting physically rambunctious in the perceived presence or approach of an "intruder."
It's advisable to take your Shih Tzu puppy to obedience school or train him on your own. One advantage of obedience school is that it socialises your pet. Shih Tzus are lovable but can be difficult to handle. Obedience training helps keep in check some of their more rebellious qualities. Additionally, this breed generally takes well to training. Use physical affection or food as an incentive and inculcate the Shih Tzu with clear training commands (sit, come and stay). Positive reinforcement works well with this breed, which seeks the approval and affection of its owner. Instilling this dynamic of authority makes the breed's assertiveness more manageable.
Caring for Shih Tzus
It's important to understand the particulars of Shih Tzu health care alongside understanding their temperament and character. Shih Tzus tend to live long and maintain good health. However, their unusually large eyes can get irritated. They also often develop breathing difficulties that manifest in wheezing, snorting and snuffling. Additionally, try to keep Shih Tzu puppies out of the heat, as they're not bred for very high temperatures.
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