5 Month old Shih Tzu

jokesmaloneJune 16, 2012

My wife and I have had a little Shih Tzu puppy for about three months now. In the beginning we crate trained him, putting him in there at night, and he adjusted quite well. Then I was talking to someone and they led me to believe that he would probably be fine to roam the house so I gave it a try to see how he would make out. We also have an enclosed back yard that's very safe, no wild animals have access (and it's not really that big either). I've been letting him have the run of the house at night but if the doggy door isn't open he tends to take a poo in the house. Thankfully, if it IS open he does his business outside. He isn't barking or anything, I'm just wondering if it's healthy to give a young dog like him access to the outdoors at night, unsupervised. As I said, we're in a great neighborhood and there's no access to our yard for any other animals to get in. I'm not even sure how much time he spends out there and I'm pretty sure he stays inside unless he has to go do his business.

Anyway, I'm still a bit of an amateur with dogs so I thought I'd ask anyone here what they thought of this. I tried to put him back in his crate tonight but he simply wasn't having it and barked A LOT. As I said, perhaps I'm worrying for no reason as he seems pretty fine with the doggy door arrangement and having the run of the house. Just wanted to double check and make sure I'm not scarring him for life!


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I don't have a dog, but from what I've been seeing and hearing in the news, pet attacks and disappearances have increased (from other dogs, because of increased #'s of coyotes in some areas, etc.).

If it were my pet, especially a smaller breed dog, I would not allow it access to the yard unsupervised at night, or even during the day. Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 10:28AM
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It sounds like it's working out well for you so I don't see why not? Oh and I have two shih tzus and they *are* stubborn! I've owned a number of dogs over the years and have never known such stubborn dogs as my current two. :) I think it must be in the breed.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 10:42AM
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I have had several Shih Tzus and did not find them all that stubborn. Quick learners and were fully house trained by abot 4 months, Just find out what motivates them. Is it food or a toy ? Use that as a training tool.I do not let them out at nite unsupervised as there are coyotes and porcupines around. They have tons of courage and have no fear of anything.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:08PM
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I wouldn't let him out unsupervised at night, or during the day for an extended period of time either. I'd be afraid someone would steal him. There are just too many sick and cruel people in the world.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 6:40PM
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Just make sure to take him out and watch to be sure he actually goes poo before you go to bed, then lock the doggy door so he can't go out at night unsupervised. You would be surprised at what might have access to your backyard in the night that you don't know about. Raccoons, possums, wild cats, rats, snakes, etc. Your little pup might not be able to get away if he happened upon a creature in his yard. Not to mention that if he can go out, any one of those types of critters can come in. And if there is dogfood to be had they will.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 12:01AM
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Yes, Shih Tzus are very independent. You show them something once, and if they like it good luck trying to go back to the old ways ;)

DO NOT let him out alone, without watching him, or being outside with him. There are coyotes, mountain lions, snakes, toades, ect that are very dangerous and can kill your small dog. Snakes can kill your dog, and so can a toad if he licks it (toxins/poison in the skin).

Look out especially for HAWKS and OWLS!!! They have been multiplying recently like crazy, everywhere. I don't know where you live, but I live in the NE, in the suburbs, but very populated. Some of the animals were unheared of a few years ago. In the last 5 years I have seen a bear, a mountain lion, a fox, and many hawks swirling over MY Shih Tzu by my side outside, in the daylight. At night, I've heard owls, and even seen a dead one on the road. Unbelievable. Supposedly, they stay around for a while and fly to another area. NOT TRUE.

I lived in another location 5 years ago and a hawk flew by my neighbor's Beagle (30lbs) and tried to swipe it!

I'm just letting you know before your dog goes missing. In a neighboring town a Maltese (12 lbs) little dog was taken away by a hawk.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:56PM
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I agree with everything already said about the dangers of wild animals to small dogs. I never let my little guys out unattended.

There are some real advantages to keeping your dog crate trained all his life. You never know when a dog might develop diabetes or some other health issue that causes them to need out frequently. At least if they stay in a crate at night and when you aren't home, you won't face a situation where your home is being destroyed by their accidents. I just went through this with my old dog for the last few years of his life, and the crate was a lifesaver.

I would think your puppy might still chew at his age and crating keeps him safe from electrical cords and other dangers, as well as protecting your things.

It's nice to use the crate if you travel with your dog, as you can never predict how they might behave in a strange location.

It's also possible that your puppy is having accidents that you don't see. Small dogs pee such small amounts that if you don't discover it right away it tends to soak in and disappear in carpet. You don't want to risk starting a lifelong bad habit, especially since small dogs are notoriously hard to housebreak.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Agree with Deb18. And young dogs need the emotional security of a crate, rather than a whole house. They may feel the need to defend their territory, and psychologically can't defend an entire house. Shrinking that territory to a crate can be very comforting to a puppy. Been there with that one.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 11:18PM
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Hawks and owls can grab him in a New York second. My friend had her toy poodle weight 7 pounds on a leash when a hawk swooped down and grabbed it and pulled the leash out of her hand.. Was the last she say of her fur baby.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 6:04PM
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