Teething and chewing with a puppy

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy
Chewing, Biting, Gnawing, Teething Problems & Fixes


There is a very good reason why “Chewing” ranks among the top behavior issues that owners have with their dogs.  It can drive a dog owner crazy!

Let’s discuss in detail all of the ways that a dog can have chewing issues and how to help your dog get this behavior under control.

There are 3 main reasons why a dog will chew/bite/gnaw:

  • Teething
  • Boredom
  • Aggression


This, thankfully, is a phase that all dogs will grow out of.  Your Shih Tzu will begin teething at around the age of 3 weeks and this will continue for months. ( It will seem like forever ).  Therefore, if you obtain a Shih Tzu puppy, you will need to deal with the issue of teething.

When a Shih Tzu is teething, they will have an uncontrollable urge to get their teeth on anything and everything.  A dog will chew on carpet, cords, shoes, clothes… even you!  The pain and discomfort that a puppy feels from the process of their teeth coming in causes them to seek comfort in any way that they can.  Once this is understood, the answer is logical:  An owner must provide their dog with as much comfort as possible in a controlled environment in order to stop destructive chewing.

This can be accomplished by giving your Shih Tzu dog toys that are designed purposefully and intently for teething purposes.  Giving your dog any dog toy will not help at all.  The toy must:

  • Be cold.  There are many dog toys that are manufactured for and intended for being put into a freezer.  Once the dog toy is very cold, this will greatly sooth a dog’s teething woes.
  • Correct Shape.  If your Shih Tzu cannot reach bothersome areas in their mouth, the dog toy is useless to them.  A proper teething toy will have tentacle-like pieces that your dog will be able to maneuver to the spots that are causing them discomfort


A Shih Tzu needs activity, interaction and a daily schedule that keeps them busy in order to be well adjusted and happy.  If a dog is left alone to their own devices and it is believed that they will stay content by simply laying around the home, this is a huge misconception!

A Shih Tzu can display destructive chewing if they are not given enough stimulation.  An owner must keep a daily schedule of exercise, feeding, play time, grooming and interaction.  There will, of course, be many times when an owner is otherwise busy.  It is those times that a dog must be shown  what is appropriate chewing.

It is best to rotate dog toys.  A dog will become bored seeing the same toys all of the time.  1/2 of the toys should be tucked away and 1/2 should be left out for the dog.  After a week or so, they should be switched.

Dogs are most content when given toys that produce results.  Toys that make noise are a good choice. Toys that produce a treat for the dog are best, especially when a dog is left alone and really needs dog toys that keep them occupied for long periods.

When a dog chews on something inappropriate, an owner should immediately stop the action, give a command, offer a replacement and give praise for appropriate behavior.   For example, if your Shih Tzu begins to chew on the leg of your coffee table:  Walk over to your dog and stop them from chewing, say a firm and strong “No!” and then give your dog one of their toys, offer an abundance of praise for chewing on their dog toy.  To stop destructive chewing, in the beginning phases of training, a huge display of praise should be given, as if your dog just did the most wonderful action in the world.  After several weeks, the Shih Tzu will understand which actions cause disappointment in their owner and which actions make their owner happy.  Dogs have a natural instinct to please.  By training your dog in this way, you are helping them to behave in a way that makes both owner and Shih Tzu happier.


When a Shih Tzu has aggression issues, this can stem from neglect/abuse from a previous owner or from a lack of socialization skills.  A dog may nip, growl or bite objects, other animals or people.

In either case, a slow yet steady pace toward training the dog for appropriate behavior should begin.  Dogs that have been mistreated in the past will usually have a difficult time trusting anyone.  They will bite or act out as a sign of self preservation.  Dogs that are not used to other dogs may act out because of territorial issues.

As with boredom and destructive chewing a dog must be shown what is proper behavior and what will not be tolerated.  However, it should be noted that a dog who is not used to socializing with other dogs cannot be expected to suddenly get along with other animals.  Training should be slow and steady.  It is best if you have a friend, family member or other who has a well adjusted dog.  With both owners keeping a close eye on the dogs, they should be introduced.  Time together should be limited to 5 minutes or so.  As training continues, the time should be added on.

This works best if done first in a territorial free zone.  If another dog comes into your home, your Shih Tzu may show aggression in an attempt to “protect” the house, his toys and all they know.   Having “play dates” with other dogs in a neutral area such as a dog park is best.   If your dog becomes used to other dogs, you can begin to have meetings at your home.  It will be best to keep your dog’s favorite dog toys in an area where another dog cannot reach them.

If your Shih Tzu continues to show aggression despite a slow socialization training, professional dog training may be needed to retrain the dog to remain in control.


Shih-Tzu colors

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

Color Examples
Shades may vary

Gold & White

Red & White
Black Mask Gold Solid Red
Black & White
Solid Black
Solid Liver Liver & White
Blue & White Brindle & White
Silver & White


Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy
Be Prepared When The Unexpected Happens: A Tiny Microchip Provides the Advantage
By Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia
Some have said that never before in history has humanity been so unprepared for so many of our new technologies. In a little more than one generation, what we thought were the limits of our world have been transformed into new ways of doing things. Some have been unique opportunities to directly apply some of the new technologies to solve many of our most practical problems. Most of us never expect to lose our pet or to be directly affected by a natural disaster. When the unexpected happens, the facts show that most owners were caught by surprise and were unprepared. Statistics for America show that thousands of pets are lost each year and the problem may be getting worse only because owners have not taken a simple preventative action. This article focuses on a new era of technology for our pets and a new way to ensure their future. It also explains how a tiny microchip has revolutionized the way owners can protect their pets.

Using Microchip Technology

The microchip has many uses but when the American Kennel Club adopted it for its Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) Program, pet owners were given a new way to protect their pets. This technology can be used in any species of animal at any age and it will last for their lifetime. The microchip is slightly larger than a grain of rice and is placed just under the scruff of the neck by a veterinarian. It is designed with a special anti-migration tip. The microchip is the most effective form of permanent identification. Each chip is encoded with a unique and unalterable identification code that can only be activated when read by a scanner. For these reasons, CAR recommends the HomeAgain® Microchip Identification System, which is marketed by Schering- Plough Animal Health Corporation.

Who Is Car?

The Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) Program is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) affiliate of the AKC. Established in June 1995, CAR is dedicated to providing lifetime recovery services for microchipped and tattooed animals 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year. After a pet has been microchipped or tattooed, and is enrolled in the CAR program, a record is maintained in a safe, central database in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Why Is Microchipping Recommended?

We know from experience that microchipped pets have the best chance of recovery because many shelters and veterinarians scan lost pets for microchips. They can easily be read with a handheld scanner. While tattoos are a good form of identification, lost pets are usually frightened and reluctant to let strangers search their bodies for their identification. Not only are tattoos difficult to find but many fade or blur over time. Collar tags also work but many come loose and are lost. Tags and tattoos should be considered a secondary form of identification.

The Unexpected

The problem for most owners is that they do not expect to lose their pet, and when they do, it becomes their worst nightmare. Think back to the number of signs that we have all seen in our own neighborhoods. That “Lost Pet” sign is a reminder that something went wrong. Unfortunately, thousands of unidentified pets are lost and never recovered. Some fall victim to theft, others are displaced during hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. Those “Lost Pet” signs serve as a constant reminder that someone is missing a beloved pet. Our pets deserve better. CAR’S goal is to eliminate those “Lost Pet” signs from every neighborhood by encouraging owners to ID their pets with a microchip and enroll in the CAR program.

Who Scans For Microchips?

Animal shelters, SPCAs, humane societies, animal control officers, and veterinarians are increasingly and routinely scanning found pets. In 1995, CAR established a scanner fund to help place scanners at this “front line” of defense against lost pets. Thanks to the continuing efforts of CAR, who has spent over $2 million toward this important initiative, most shelters in America now have a scanner so that every new admission can be scanned for a microchip.

What Happens When A Pet Is Found?

Hundreds of pets are lost every day. Some are picked up by shelters, others are taken to a veterinarian. Both scan pets for a microchip. A quick call to CAR’S toll-free hotline is simple and efficient. CAR Recovery Coordinators answer calls around the clock to help identify lost pets and immediately notify owners.

To date, CAR has enrolled over 1.5 million pets. What makes this program effective is the toll-free hotline and CAR Recovery Coordinators who are available 24 hours a day to expedite each pet’s return home. Does it work? You bet. Over 100,000 pets have already been reunited with their owners.

The First Step

Take your pet to a veterinarian to have it microchipped. Then immediately enroll your pet in CAR’S 24-hour recovery program. The fee to enroll in CAR is $12.50, a one-time fee that protects your pet for its lifetime. Those who chip and enroll protect themselves and their pet from that worst nightmare. Remember, all breeds and species can be microchipped, and any microchip brand can be enrolled in CAR.

For more information, visit www.akccar.org, e-mail found@akc.org, or call 1-800-252- 7894. Organizations interested in hosting a microchip clinic should e-mail chipclinic@akc.org or write to AKC Companion Animal Recovery, 5580 Centerview Drive, Suite 250, Raleigh, NC 27606- 3389.

Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia is President and C.E.O. of the AKC Companion Animal Recovery program. To find a participating HomeAgain® veterinarian near you, log on to www.akccar.org. Reprinted with permission © 2002 AKC CAR



Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

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