The Shih Tzu was bred as a companion dog by the ancient Chinese. As such, it remains to this day an ideal family or single-person companion dog. It’s in the Shih Tzu’s breeding.
The Shih Tzu is at the same time a friendly little dog, an excellent watchdog despite its diminutive size, fun loving, affectionate and playful. Shih Tzu’s are also surprisingly hardy considering their size, and sociable in the extreme.
Shih Tzu’s were bred to be people dogs, that is to say, they love being with people. They need human contact. They are not a dog to be left alone for long periods of time. They are most definitely a ‘house’ and not a ‘yard’ dog. Remember, they were bred as a companion dog. Depriving the Shih Tzu of the human contact it craves can result in rather destructive behaviour.
Understanding the breed is particularly important with the Shih Tzu. It is said by some that they can be somewhat haughty, rather aloof and full of their own self-importance. This is not the dog’s fault. It was bred to be that way. It lived with royalty remember!
As with all dogs, but especially with the Shih Tzu, it needs to understand its place. It may have been a royal dog, but even royal dogs need to know their place. Most problem dogs don’t start out being problem dogs; they are made that way by humans. So no matter how much you love your Shih Tzu, you owe it to both yourself and your dog to train it properly. Your Shih Tzu must never be allowed to think that it makes the rules, that it is top dog in your home.
So don’t spoil your Shih Tzu. Teach it how you expect it to behave. Love it by all means but don’t let it rule you. It is imperative that it knows its place. This is particularly important if children are involved. There can be no confusion in the Shih Tzu’s mind as to where it stands in line with its family. As a general rule, the Shih Tzu is not recommended for the younger family as it can become jealous of the attention given to the younger members of the family. Yet another reason why the Shih Tzu has to be properly socialized and firmly but fairly made aware of what is expected him, and where he stands in line with those around him.