Is a Shih-Tzu puppy a good choice for us? Opinions welcome:)

sarahandbrayFebruary 8, 2013

We have a Shih-Tzu puppy on hold for us from a breeder, set to pick up Sunday. I really think I thought this through but am getting cold feet!
What do you think?
--late 30's couple
--3 kids--9, 7, 5
--both teachers but with in-laws next door for puppy assistance
--2 dogs--13-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback (lazy couch potato!) and 4-year-old Wheaten Terrier (bundle of puppy energy)
--fenced in yard and 2 acres
--very dog savvy family, but mainly big dogs
--will crate the pup

Would a Shih-Tzu be good choice for us? I do all the grooming for the dogs, including clipping and frequent baths.

My concerns:
--are these really difficult dogs for dog-savvy people?
--are they really hard to house train? We don't want to use pads/paper--outside only?
--are they yappy? Was hoping not!
--generally good with kids? This is a busy household!

Thanks for your help!!
Sarah in Albany, NY

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First question: why do you want a 3rd dog?

After reading your info my first instinct is to say no, I don't think you want to bring in a young puppy into a buzy household with 3 young kids and 2 larger dogs.
The breed is definitely a house dog and some can have house-breaking problems. As for yapping, a neighbor had a Shih Tzu that wouldn't stop barking, especially when left along, yet I've seen some that were well behaved.
I honestly feel your household is just too busy right now to bring in a small breed puppy that will be crated most of the day. Are your in-laws really on board to help when needed?

Here is a link that might be useful: Shih-Tzu

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:35AM
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I'm also wondering why you want a third dog since you both work and have young kids, it's just going to create more work for you. I have two shih tzus, the first one we got as a pup and luckily I was working from home because raising that little dog was like a full time job in itself. These are really active dogs, they get bored so easily and want lots of attention and stimulation so leaving a shih tzu crated all day is just wrong imo. Even once they outgrow puppihood, they still need lots of attention, exercise and play time to really be happy, my shih tzus can not handle boredom at all.

I have a neighbour with two shih tzus and they howl and bark at everything while their owner is at work. My two are also yappy but I am home to keep them under control. The other thing I would say is that the coat grows really quickly, I'm used to owning long haired breeds but my shih's need clipping about twice as often as any dog I've had before, and I can't let the coat get beyond a couple of inches before they have to be shorn off because they feel the heat so much and have to be kept really short for most of the year or they just overheat.

As for training, it depends on the dog, one of my shih's is very strong willed and she may obey a command and then decide meh, whatever, and start ignoring it but she's always been hard to train and obstinate at times, it depends on her mood, she was very easy to house train though and it was about the only thing she was easy to train for, you can't imagine how much trouble I had leash training her because of her stubborn attitude but it took a long time. I think you need to give this some more thought because for a little dog they do need a lot of your time and attention.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:25AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I would worry about your Wheaten terrier injuring the pup, given the high energy level and boisterous nature of the first, and small size of the new pup. I have to agree with the others that this doesn't seem a great match.

If you are trying to provide your younger dog with a playmate, perhaps a young adult dog, already house broken, and of a size more compatible with your wheaten, would be a better match. But I agree that in such a busy household you might not want to complicate your family life.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:36PM
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I've only known one Shih Tzu, personally, & he was a handful.

He barked non-stop at me unless I was petting the other dog, in which case he pushed the other dog aside & bullied his way into my lap.

He peed in the house to discipline his owners, or maybe just "because".

One day when his owner was sneezing, I took him to "his" park, where he liked to slide down the slide.

Some children were playing on his slide...
& he tried to run them off.

That said, I too think that it sounds like you have a full house;
if you absolutely must get another dog, you might try a Lab mix.

They're like the big "fat" Crayolas:
sturdy enough that children aren't likely to hurt them,
easy for children to handle.

& they're friendly, tolerant, patient, devoted, soulful, forgiving, capable of great love...
& there are a lot of them from which you can choose.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 3:41PM
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I agree with all that has been said. I visited someone with 2 shih-tzus the other day and the house reeked of urine! They jumped, yapped, scratched and chewed on me! Of course, some (most) of this is probably lack of training.

I also wanted to add, when you get ready to get a third dog, pleeease rescue! So many dogs need homes and you can find any breed/mix you want!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 6:35PM
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I think reading these responses must have felt harsh. Have you fallen in love with the puppy?

When I read your post I too thought that any puppy, not just Shih tzu - would be alot more to take on, and might upset the established chemistry of your house.

Puppies, especially little puppies, can be hurt, sometimes hurt badly, by well-meaning children.

So I would indeed reconsider you plan to get another dog.

But that said, they can be crate trained, house broken, and generally good with kids. I think it depends on the individual dog, too.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:51PM
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When we experienced the loss of our matriarch dog, I waited a year and then adopted a third dog to go with our two boy dogs. What were we thinking? That third dog did not add just a "little" extra dog time and attention to our household! She doubled it! DH says, "never three dogs again." With two dogs, you manage one canine relationship, with three dogs, you monitor at least three, plus the group cohesion.

I am with the others, a tiny puppy with an energetic young mid-sized dog is not good, even without kids and an elderly large dog in the mix. Your elder dog may not appreciate the high-pitched voice and small size of an energetic baby Shih-Tzu. My 13 yo medium mutt would not, I know. He is becoming hard of hearing now and cannot locate where sounds originate. A puppy bark would have him looking all over for the source. You never know when an older dog's needs will change, even if your older dog is not having issues right now.

I just added a second dog to our household, but it is a 10 year-old dog. She is a mini-dachshund, and even with two elderly dogs, we ran into trouble with the bigger dog injuring the smaller when they were fetching after the same toy. I often wish I had gotten a larger dog as a companion for Toby. He is a 40 lb dog, and Lizzy is only 12 lbs.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:04AM
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I have a Shih-Tzu and she is delightful. We have a dog door, and haven't had any issues. Greta is about 2 years old. She is part of our pack of 4 dogs (until Friday night; my 19 1/2 year old Westie passed away). She gets along with all the dogs she has encountered, from Goldens to Bassets, and everything in between.

Her coat does take some time, but it's not excessive compared to my terriers.(I've always wanted a Wheaton). If you let her hair grow long a daily brushing will do. I've found that a few drops of hair oil on a brush helps a lot because her hair is very fine and fluffy and hard to brush otherwise. The hair oil helps it lay down. I use a boar bristle brush followed by a courser plastic bristle brush. She doesn't get many matts, except a tendency for very small ones right behind her ears that are easy to take care of. I make a point of keeping the hair on her ears clipped short to promote air getting inside her ears. Wahl Stable Pro clippers work really well, as does a Flowbee when she needs a cut. She does seem sensitive to temperature and stays inside most of the summer , but loves to lay outside in the winter sun.

For a small dog ( about 12 lbs) she has a really good barking voice, rather deep, and not at all yappy sounding. She actually doesn't bark all that much...unless she's got a squirrel up a tree.

I found Greta as a stray and initially tried to find her a home (she was our 5th at the time; more than our city allows). She's part of the family now. At first I didn't want another long haired dog. But all in all she is about the same amount of hair care as my terriers, maybe a little easier because her hair isn't course.

I've read that Shih-Tzu's are prone to dental problems so Greta and the gang get lots of dog biscuits and I check and brush them regularly.

The only disposition thing I've noticed with Greta, and it may only be her due to her unknown original home background, is that she is very sensitive to being told "bad girl," so much so that the phrase is banned in our house. She has been exceptionally easy to train, though.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:33PM
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The main reason they end up in rescue is that they are difficult to housebreak, and maintaining that coat can be a lot of work and groomers are expensive.

Be sure you are getting a pup from a reputable breeder. That means someone who is doing the testing for any inheritable problems in the breed,such as cataracts. I don't know what problems are in that breed, though, so I can't tell you what needs to be tested for. A reputable breeder usually shows their dogs, and they breed to improve the breed and to have more healthy and show quality dogs. They don't breed to make money, and don't breed their females every time they go into heat. A reputable breeder will have you fill out an application, and will ask you a lot of questions, and will want you to return the dog to her if you ever can't keep it for any reason. You will have to agree to have the dog spayed or neutered at the appropriate age, or maybe they will have that done when you buy the pup and you have to pick it up from the vet.

They don't advertise on craigslist or in the newspaper. Never.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:11AM
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Wow - you asked for advice and you sure are getting it. I hope your mind wasn't made up before you posted! My opinion is that if you are going to have three dogs, they should all be similar in size.

My son/family have a little dog and can't bring it out to our farm because our two (very friendly - playful) labs completely overwhelm the little guy and they have to have him crated while here. Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:33AM
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