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I am hating my Shih Tzu...

Posted by kittenbites (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 19, 09 at 14:11

Ok...not quite that bad yet but good grief!

My Shih Tzu is driving me nuts and my family has just about had it.

Our dog is a 3 year old Shih Tzu male. We have had him since he was 6 weeks old.
From the start I have worked with him on his behavior but I guess I must have done everything wrong because he just hasn't gotten the message.
He poops and pees wherever he wants, he is sneaky and always seems to be trying to 'get back at' members of our family. I don't want to attribute human behavior to him but he is very specific about his targets.
I have read about what the problem is...he thinks he is top dog although honestly, I do not understand how he could possibly believe this since I consistently correct his behavior. I have controlled his entertainment and food, I have controlled everything so that he would know he only gets what he gets when I allow him to have it. He has been loved and played with. He has premium foods, mostly grain free, raw and home cooked but even his kibble is grain free and top line. He is regularly groomed and attended to. He has plenty of toys to play with. He has kids to play with. He goes for walks although he would probably like more.
I just don't know what to do with him.
Here are two examples of his behavior:

Yesterday, my daughters and I got up to my mom's for dinner. She lives right behind us so it isn't like we were gone for a long period, about 1.5-2 hours total.
We come home to candy spread all over the house that he got from the top of my husband's computer desk (about 6' up), a brand new box of tea ripped open and scattered AND a soaked pee pad (he has a litter box with pee pads)that he specifically picked out of the trash without spreading trash everywhere. He then smashed the soaked pee pad onto my daughter's blanket.

Another example:

The other day my daughters and I were sitting around crocheting various things and just having a good time. Our dog never even asked for attention, he was contentedly (we thought) sleeping on his back most of the time.
The next day, I find a ball of our yarn dragged into a part of the house we have banned him from and barred off (so I have no idea how he even got in there) and he POOPED on the ball of YARN!

Another example:

Usually our dog is never alone but since my mother and I got into a car accident back in April, we have been going to the chiropractor and other therapists regularly throughout the week.
I was concerned about Ziggy (our dog) being unhappy so I began taking him with us since he has always been a good car dog.
In the approximately 45 seconds that it took us to go in and ask our chiropractor if Ziggy could come into the session with us (which he was allowed), he POOPED in the car!

Now he isn't allowed to go in any of our cars because he also pooped in my husband's car.

He has pooped and peed in our bed.

He is sneaky, always waiting to pull his bathroom behavior when we can't catch him.

He waits for us to go to bed and then rampages in my husband's computer desk.

BTW, he does use his pee pads as well so it isn't that he doesn't know how to use the appropriate place.

There are a lot more examples of his bad behavior I could list but it all ends the same...with Ziggy crapping somewhere he absolutely shouldn't...or peeing.
I cannot fathom what he is trying to tell me and it is getting to the point that none of us even want to know anymore.

Any ideas?

Please understand before posting, we have been very consistent with him. I have read reams of information about these issues and how to handle them and nothing has worked.
The only thing I have not done is actual crate training and that is what is next if for no other reason than I cannot trust him to be in the house alone or otherwise unless directly supervised.

Thank you for your help in advance.

-Stephanie


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

Crate training for these little guys is a must! I was not the best at it so I will let others here who can describe how to do it tell you :)


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

His problem could be the pee pads, which tells him he is allowed to go in the house. But he does seem to be doing things a bit spitefully. I don't care what people say dogs do think and do things for spite. My old bulldog was a sweeties...most times.....but I got her when I was in college and partying alot. One day when I was getting ready to go out she came into the bathroom right behind me (I was putting on Makeup) , looked at me, and peed on the floor right after she had gone out.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I absolutely 100% disagree with the first reponse.
First of Shih's can be hard to potty train - just to start off with. It is a known fact about the breed, and crating this dog is just going to end up with a dog with its hair full of poop.
These dogs can be tempramental and obstinate if there is not enough boundaries in its environment...
This dog needs EVERYONE in the house to be its Alpha leader or it wont take anyone seriously. Everyone needs to be involved in training, walking and playing with it. Everyday.
These little dogs Can be a handful, and thank god they are not as powerful as a pitt bull or more would be damaged.
So there is your validation that you absolutely have your hands full.
If you could let me know how long you have had the dog, where it came from and its daily routine, I can help with more information. The more detail you can write, the better I can help.
I suspect your dog needs more walking (as do you - from your post) and you might need to apply even more control measures, such as leashing the dog to you during the time you are in the house doing things around the house. More positive rewarding, by having the dog leashed to you it has no choice but to follow you around, and it also constantly reminds you of the dog. It will help to go out and get some Natural Balance meat sticks - dice it up and use a training pouch to be with you at all times. When you sit, you turn to your dog and say sit, use the meat stick as a reward, when you get up, turn to your dog and say sit, use the meat stick, when you get ready to walk to another room, tell your dog "Heal" or whatever you want and have your dog heal. This helps in a number of ways, it bonds the dog to you, improves communication between you and your dog, and increases training time.
Everyone in your home can do this.
For accidents - Before you go anywhere - take your dog out for a walk. A good 15 minute walk should do the trick. making the time to take the dog outside for a walk before you go anywhere will help break your dogs bad potty habits. By the way a walk is not a leisurely stroll up the block and back where your dog sniffs every blade of grass - a walk should be brisk, it should be a different path every couple of days.
Next trick - take the offending matter from inside your home and put it outside your home where you want your dog to use the toilet. This will help your dog too associate where you want it to go. Because Shih's are hard to housebreak dont just let the dog out in the backyard until it does its thing. It wont work, you actually have to walk these dogs briskly to help things MOVE ALONG.
I have some other training treats up my sleeve so if you will post more about your dogs daily routine, I can add more....PS - try not to interact with your dog when you are frustrated or angry, because when you approach a dog with these feelings, the dog can sense them and you end up being viewed by your dog as weaker than you really are. Be firm, but be kind. Good luck, hope to see another posting soon.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I have two shih-tzus and both trained very quickly. I did crate train them to start with. Seems to me those pee pads let the dogs think it's ok to go in house. We live on two acres but the girls are trained to go out in same spot away from house. Friend has a male shih-tzu and has had some problems with him. Daughter has a three yr.old golden retriever that sounds just like your dog. They can take her out and be there an hour and few minutes after coming in she decides to do her jobs. There also at there wits end.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I don't know if this would help, but you might want to consider boarding your dog for two weeks. We adopted a collie/St. Bernard mix, 6 mo. old, and he was the dog from Hades. He bit, he tore up furniture, and would not obey any command. We went on vacation and boarded him for two weeks. When we got him back, he was a different dog--gentle, obedient, and instantly housebroken. We figured after three months at a home, then to go to a cage with less attention, he figured he'd blown his big chance. When he got back home he decided to be ideal doggy. Might work for your dog (at least you'd get a break from his behaviour!).


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I agree with the posters who said to crate him. This will keep him safe, as well as save your sanity. If he's randomly getting into trouble, you never know when he may decide to chew an electrical cord, eat something toxic, or eat something he could choke on. Really, I would find crating for him to be crucial.

He may have accidents in his crate at first, but eventually he'll figure out that the only one who truly suffers from that is him. If I were you, I'd much rather clean the crate and him than the whole house anyway.

If he cries in the crate, don't give in and let him out. It may help to sleep by the crate for the first couple of nights until he adjusts, but don't open that door while he's crying.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

kittenbites, crate training in the begining would have made your life easier and you would be enjoying your dog now.
I would still consider it and start from scratch for housebreaking. Out of the crate to outside, crazy praise when they do go outside. Do not let the dog out of your site in the house. If you are to busy to watch, back in the crate until you can watch. No more pee pads unless you keep one down, not to use, just so when he goes near it you know to bring him out. Good luck.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

Since he is allowed to go on pee pads in the house this allows no routine to his potty times. This is the reason you never know when, or where, he's going to poop.
If you intend to take him outside during his crate training, then do that and get rid of the pee pads. Also come up with a phrase each time he poops/pees. My dog will go on command with a 'do your business' or 'go tinkle' when we're outdoors.

If your mobility is limited, and you don't intend to train him to go outdoors, then buy a collapsible pen and keep him in it when you can't watch his every move. Keep his food/water and pee pads in the pen and praise him each time you see him use them. When he's outside the pen, keep a leash on him so he can't sneak off. Also watch for signs that he needs to do his business when he's on leash and place him back in the pen.

I'd also suggest you buy a pen large enough to keep a crate in (take the door off the crate) so he learns to make the crate his bed.
Put a pad or bedding in it so that he'll want to use it to sleep in. I say this because I know some people put nothing in the crate! Just be sure the pen is tall enough so that he can't jump out.

At this point, I think if you try to crate train him without taking him outdoors on a regular schedule, he's going to poop and pee in it.....and not give a d@#n.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pens


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I bought a shih tzu pup just over a year ago and I had no idea what a handful they can be. They can be very wilful little dogs with lots of energy and a low boredom threshold IMO. I've found that one of the best ways to deal with some of my shih tzu's behaviour is just not give her the opportunity to do the millions of naughty things she will do if she has the chance to.

e.g. I would never leave food, wool etc anywhere she can reach it because she would definitely run off with it and make a mess. she is notorious in our house for sneaking off with thingsi it might be there one second and the next thing it's gone and ends up in another room often chewed or scattered around and we didnt even see her take it. I dont think it's vindictive just one of their quirks. I dont think we could ever train her not to do it, she just thinks she's so clever quietly sneaking off with things like that, so we've trained ourselves to keep things out of her reach especially anything valuable or anything she might eat or swallow so e.g if your husband often has candy on his desk I'd just get a jar to keep it in so your dog cant get at it.

I do agree with the above posters that the pee pads have taught him to go to the toilet in the house and on top of things (such as the wool, in the car etc) and you need to house train him properly and/or crate him when youre out. My dogs arent crated but when I go out they have the laundry and back room access only, I dont let them roam the house and it prevents a lot of problems like chewing things or going to the toilet inside.

I feel that shih tzus can be hard to train because they just arent that submissive and have a bit of an attitude :) and I know that if I tried to get mine to be a well behaved little angel I would go insane trying and she would still be a little devil at the end of it. Enjoy your dog, give him lots of attention and walks so he uses up some of that boundless energy and IMO deal with as many things as you can by not giving him the opportunity. I find with mine if I dont have time to her for a walk and she is getting bored or has too much energy, I get one of her toys or a ball and throw it up and down the hallway for her to fetch and she loves it. It's a really good quick fix when Im short on time.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I've had Shih Tzus all my life.

They are one of the easiest dogs to train.

All of my Shih Tzus were trained quickly. You must get all excited when they pee outside and give them a treat. When they pee in the house, crate or whatever, say a firm NO and take him immediately outside, so he knows he should go there. Crate him for a while. Make it a positive reinforcement. Don't make it like a punishment. They NEVER respond to being scolded. They get worse. Put some food and toys when you tell him to go into the crate. Praise him. He won't be happy with that arrangement, but it will work- Get ready for pouting, crying, pooping and peeing in the crate....but be patient.
I would never confuse a dog with pee pads.

Shih Tzus have "people" traits. They are different than other dogs. As soon as you learn they THEY are "in charge" the better you'll get a along ;)

You cannot control a Shih Tzu. The owner is lucky to serve them. I am not joking. That is their personality in a nutshell. They are very smart. They get a bad wrap from owners who don't understand them.

In your situation it sounds as though your Shih Tzu needs additional training and crating for a while. He sounds stubborn (which they are)and it's been going on for 3 years, so you need to start from the beginning. Good luck and let us know how you make out.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

As others said crate him when you are not with him. Our peke is generally a good little guy but if we leave he is put in his kennel. The peke we had last was able to be left to roam the house without chewing up stuff.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

Btw- the behavior you are describing seems to be two-fold: wanting more attention, and nervousness (some separation anxiety, too). Some of the pooping incidents point to being scared or upset to be left alone. The others seem spiteful that you are "busy" with other things rather than doding in him.

Finding a good trainer in addition to crating him may help.
Don't be surprised if he gets resentful when you start crating him. These dogs are very manipulative-lol

I wonder if taking him away from his mother at 6 weeks was way too early. She would have taught him some lessons, if he had been with his mother another 2-4 weeks. You got him before she could scold him and teach him to listen, or she would have yanked on him.

Another thing: when he does these pooping behaviors don't give him more attention. He IS getting more attention when he does something wrong (ex. You were quietly doing something. He wasn't getting any attention then. When you found his poop, you probably got upset. Finally, he got a reaction out of you). Just clean up and say nothing as though it's not bothering you. If you catch him in the act, say a firm NO and take him outside. Obviously he's not going to do anything outside. Let him stand there for a couple of minutes then take him in like nothing happened.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I have a 7 month old Bischon that I got when he was 12 weeks old. I have been at my wit's end trying to potty train him. Crating does the trick, I just wasn't using the crate during the day when I left him for an hour or two or when I was in the shower. Be sure you get a crate that your dog can only stand up in and turn around. If the crate is too big, the dog can poop or pee in it and not be bothered. Your dog needs to be taken out to potty every 2-3 hours. Bring a treat outside with you and reward him when he goes. I also have bell tied to the back door and am trying to train my dog to "ring the potty bell" when he needs to go out. My dog has a dominant personality even though my Lab dominates him. I also enrolled in a beginner's dog training class and that has helped him. The trainer's there give me better potty training advice than others have. If I take my dog out after he eats and he doesn't poop he goes right back in the crate for 30-45 minutes until I take him out again.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

Looks like you need to start from zero.

1) Get a crate and some baby gates. Crate him when you can't watch him. Use the baby gates to restrict him to only one room at a time during training. Depending on how training goes, he may never graduate to "run-of-the-house".

2) Put him on a feeding schedule. If you are free-feeding (leaving food out all day) - stop it. Feed him on a set schedule and take the food away after eating.

3) Put him on a go-out-to-potty schedule. Go out at the same time, every time, with him on leash. Go to the same place. Keep repeating "go-potty" or something like that. When he potties do a loud "gooood boy!!!" and throw him a small treat.

4) Stop using the pee pads. I think they should only be used (if at all) during first-time training and if you live in a high-rise apartment.

5) Give him enough exercise every day. Wear him out. He has too much pent up energy. A tired dog is a good dog. A good long walk at least once a day.

6) Don't get angry. Stay focused on what your job is every day (giving him exercise, taking him out to potty).


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I admit i did not read this entire thread, but frankly, i stopped after "i have had him since he was six weeks old". WHO SELLS dogs at 6 wks old? and WHY? THAT IS just wrong! Dogs are NOT ready to leave their litter at 6 wks. I hope anyone who reads this thread would NEVER EVER buy or accept a pup who was not ready to leave its litter at such a young age. It just is not RIGHT, and it just BEGS for some of the problems described above.

Some of the most critical training a pup receives is from its mother and litter mates between the ages of 6 wks and 8 wks. It is just wrong for someone to let a pup go before or AT the age of 6 wks. They totally do the new owner and the pup a total disservice. That includes bite-pulling and many other behaviors.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

while I dont agree with letting pups be sold so young, I dont believe thats the problem here because my shih tzu was 12 weeks when I bought her from a reputable breeder (this breeder does not sell any pups before 10 weeks) and I can see a lot of similarities in some of the behaviours.

I actually think part of the problem is the OP has expectations of her dog that dont work with shih tzus, as someone said above they cant be controlled (they're a bit like cats in that way) and they are high energy dogs that really need lots of exercise and to have their energy channelled so they dont get bored. If they dont get enough of your time and are not kept busy, they will find something to do and get up to mischief. I've owned dogs all my life, I worked with dogs for a number of years and even I wasn't prepared for owning one of these little rascals but once you understand the breed you realise what great little pets they make. They are little party animals always on the lookout for fun and a bored restless shih tzu is going be a problem no matter what.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

You can substitute any dog for the shih tzu as far as being bored and restless leading to problems. And most dogs take and need a lot more exercise than they are getting in the average household - just like people.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I haven't posted here in a while, but have been a regular reader here. I've gotten great advice on this forum, but I just had to speak up and mention one thing: you've been advised to tie your dog to you as you go about your daily chores, this being part of the dog's training process. I was advised this, too, with our latest rescue dog, Ronin. But, this became a huge problem, as he was tripping me while were tied together. I fell over him three times in the course of that week. The last time, I chipped my right patella (kneecap). It took 7 months before I could kneel again. I'm not considered old, but I darn well could have used all the exercise that I had to forgo for those long months of recouperation. It really affected my health and well being. And, thank goodness that Ronin was large enough so that my fall over him didn't injure him, as well.

My point is, this kind of training can be dangerous for you. For a small dog that you might trip over, it can be dangerous for him/her, as well. Please think seriously before trying this yourself.

Just a FYI to think about.
Lynn (mom to furkids Chloe & Ronin . . .
and a couple human kids, too)


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

We have a three year old male shih tzu, and he is very well trained. We did use a crate early on, but no longer do, or need to. DH was pretty obsessive about getting our pup on a schedule of feeding, and then 20 minutes later, walking him outside and directing him to do his stuff. And then taking him out on intervals during the day.We initially used newspaper when he was a tiny pup, but stopped as soon as we could. I would imagine that the pee pads could be confusing him.

Shih tzus are very smart. And yes "party animal" is an apt description. We rarely take our pup for long walks, but we have a yard that we let him run in, and he does fly around the yard like a bat out of h#$%. It is so much fun to watch.

I hope you can get on better terms with your tzu. I know they have a reputation as being difficult to train, but we didn't find that, but again, DH was very consistent, and rather obsessive about getting him out for walks on a schedule, and we haven't had any problems. Good luck.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I also have a 3 1/2 year old shihtzu and from beginning has been very well trained. But I was very persistant in training him. Never let him out of my sight until I was sure he was potty trained. Took him on short walks always after feeding. I agree that they are very smart animals and mine thinks he is my youngest ,
He brings a lot of joy to our home and I / we do not know what we would do without him.

just my 2 cents


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

I have 2 Shih Tzus and they both were very easy to house train. One thing about these little rascals is that they do not sit and admire you for doing things for them. In their mind that is your duty and you must at all times remember that.That is their role in life ---- as far as they are concerned.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

when i crated my shih-tzu's at night i would put a light sheet completely over cage and they knew it was time for sleep. Never heard anything out of them. They love long walks. We live five miles from town and they also like to ride to town in my bicycle basket. They remind us dailey they own us. :>)


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

Wonder what happened to kittenbites???


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

Hey I have a 4 month Shih Tzu and he had to be kept inside for the first three months since he got a respiratory disease. Because of this we had to use pads inside the house and in the laundry area. When we finally were able to take him out it was hard to potty train him not to pee in the carpet, but the only thing that worked was to throw a big celebration and give him a treat every time he did outside or in the only pad we left in the laundry area. For two weeks, we sclded him but it did not seem to work. So right after waking up we would take him to the laundry area or outside and as son as he is finishing the pee we would clap tell him "good boy" almost jumping and run to the fridge for his treat. After doing this for two weeks he would go exactly there and then come running to show us and the run to the fridge!! Sometimes I think he even takes Little pees just to get his treat (Chopped meat). But we are so glad our carpet was saved!! He would go every 3 to 4 hours or 20 minutes after eating or drinking so try to pay attention and show him.


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RE: I am hating my Shih Tzu...

IRIS makes an Indoor/Outdoor Plastic Pet Pen for $45 at Amazon. You can also get two add-on panels for $22. Light weight and come apart by just removing corner plastic pins. Just picked up a set for our new pup. The extra panels allow the pen to go from 3x3 to 3x6. We ended up using the two panels to block off a separate pee pad area. (Too much snow outside for us to take her out each time.) Once snow is gone, it's outside and no pee pads!!
If your dog circles she may be telling you that she has to go.


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