Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!
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  1. #1
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    Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    We got a 11 week old Shih Tzu puppy about 1 week ago and we are having some training problems. The first problem is that he is always trying to bite our feet and pants. He also growls while doing this. It doesn't seem like anything that we do will help. We will get him excited about one of his toys and he will leave our feet alone but he soon loses focus and starts biting again. What should we do to start training him properly?

    The 2nd problem is house training. We bought a crate for him and placed it in a guest downstairs bedroom. He seems to like his crate as he will get into his bed without us forcing him in it. We will shut the door to the guest bedroom and leave the door to his crate open. We are okay with him walking around the guest bedroom unsupervised. We made the mistake of putting a pee pad down in his crate when we first got him and he has since been peeing in his bed. We have gotten him in the habit of going outside when he wakes up, when we get home from work, when we go to bed and any other time that he looks like he needs to go. He usually poops outside but he has a difficult time not peeing in the house. What more can we do to get him house trained.

    My wife and I both work so we leave at 8 and get home around 5 so he is in the guest bedroom during this time. He seems to like his crate and bed so he sleeps in his bed while we are gone. He will also spend the night in the guest bedroom as well, usually from 11 to 6.

    We are new to this puppy business and he is very frustrating but we very much want to give him a good home and to make sure that he is happy.

    He also likes to chew on everything.

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    Junior Member omgjustinbieber's Avatar
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    Re: Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    I have a Shih-Tzu / Coton mix, but she seems "mostly" Shih-Tzu to me.
    My puppy is older, and I got her at 3 months, so not sure how much of my experience is due to just getting her later.

    Re biting:
    1) when she bites things she shouldn't, I say "no" firmly and point at her - she tends to stop (or bite my finger, depending on how riled up she is)
    2) if particularly bad biting, grab the scruff of her neck, shake mildly (certainly don't want to hurt) and do the "no" and finger
    3) if the biting is skin, say (sometimes quite naturally) "ow" in such a way that sounds like pain - and if particularly bad followed with the "no" and scruff thing (occasionally I've accidentally just knee-jerk reaction bumped her away, if she bites my elbow on the couch, or a toe through a sock - and so she gets a physical response - I wouldn't normally just do that - but she actually reacts to it well with the "ow!" in that they are learning their limits - normally when they are young like that they would do that with their brothers/sisters and be told the same via yelps and responses)
    4) she bit a friend's dog and he helped and my dog pooped herself - they feel bad when they hurt someone/something during play - sometimes to the extreme
    5) the biting/growling is part of a play response and is not necessarily a bad thing - you can redirect it, but you want to make sure your redirection doesn't lead to an event-to-reward feeling for the puppy - and some of this just seems to get better over time regardless.

    re housetraining
    1) mine was perfect at it, would go outside when I brought her out, would go on the pad without even being shown - just perfect... then one day just stopped and now will poop on the pad, but pees sort of anywhere she feels like - and she knows it is wrong as she will see me stand to come over and correct her and bring her to the pad and she does that "oh dear - run run run" thing with her head down - they are little and will have mistakes (and I think in the case of mine, as her long hair picked up urine scents, it makes it harder for her to smell where to go or not indoors... just a theory - doesn't seem to really be the case, so I'm not sure).
    2) that's a long time to have them in the crate - they say 1 hour for every month - mine is now 5 months, and she can do nearly 8 hours, but that's pushing it - supposedly they can get a UTI when holding it "too long" - I go home at lunch and give her a brief walk outside to break it up, and I'm looking into a dog walker to come during the day until she is older

    I think it is easier for them to hold pooping than it is peeing - particularly if the long holding leads to a uti (which is my concern with mine)


    As for the chewing on everything -that's what puppies do - be grateful that the shih-tzu isn't very strong, particularly as a pup, so cannot damage things the way larger breeds like labs do - destroying furniture and door frames along the way.

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    Re: Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by omgjustinbieber View Post
    I have a Shih-Tzu / Coton mix, but she seems "mostly" Shih-Tzu to me.
    My puppy is older, and I got her at 3 months, so not sure how much of my experience is due to just getting her later.

    Re biting:
    1) when she bites things she shouldn't, I say "no" firmly and point at her - she tends to stop (or bite my finger, depending on how riled up she is)
    2) if particularly bad biting, grab the scruff of her neck, shake mildly (certainly don't want to hurt) and do the "no" and finger
    3) if the biting is skin, say (sometimes quite naturally) "ow" in such a way that sounds like pain - and if particularly bad followed with the "no" and scruff thing (occasionally I've accidentally just knee-jerk reaction bumped her away, if she bites my elbow on the couch, or a toe through a sock - and so she gets a physical response - I wouldn't normally just do that - but she actually reacts to it well with the "ow!" in that they are learning their limits - normally when they are young like that they would do that with their brothers/sisters and be told the same via yelps and responses)
    4) she bit a friend's dog and he helped and my dog pooped herself - they feel bad when they hurt someone/something during play - sometimes to the extreme
    5) the biting/growling is part of a play response and is not necessarily a bad thing - you can redirect it, but you want to make sure your redirection doesn't lead to an event-to-reward feeling for the puppy - and some of this just seems to get better over time regardless.

    re housetraining
    1) mine was perfect at it, would go outside when I brought her out, would go on the pad without even being shown - just perfect... then one day just stopped and now will poop on the pad, but pees sort of anywhere she feels like - and she knows it is wrong as she will see me stand to come over and correct her and bring her to the pad and she does that "oh dear - run run run" thing with her head down - they are little and will have mistakes (and I think in the case of mine, as her long hair picked up urine scents, it makes it harder for her to smell where to go or not indoors... just a theory - doesn't seem to really be the case, so I'm not sure).
    2) that's a long time to have them in the crate - they say 1 hour for every month - mine is now 5 months, and she can do nearly 8 hours, but that's pushing it - supposedly they can get a UTI when holding it "too long" - I go home at lunch and give her a brief walk outside to break it up, and I'm looking into a dog walker to come during the day until she is older

    I think it is easier for them to hold pooping than it is peeing - particularly if the long holding leads to a uti (which is my concern with mine)


    As for the chewing on everything -that's what puppies do - be grateful that the shih-tzu isn't very strong, particularly as a pup, so cannot damage things the way larger breeds like labs do - destroying furniture and door frames along the way.

    Thanks for the help. We will try your suggestions.

    We certainly don't expect him not to pee or poop while we are away from the house or sleeping. We were using pee pads but he started to destroy them and eat them so we have stopped putting them down. Our goal is to get him on the right path so that he will be housetrained by the 4 to 6 month mark.

    Anyone else have suggestions?

  5. #4
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    Re: Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    Oh my gosh. Please do NOT correct your very young puppy by grabbing her by the scruff of her neck and shaking her, no matter how "mildly". Please do not do this.

    Biting your feet and pants, along with the growling is completely normal for a puppy. They explore and learn by using their mouth. But, you obviously don't want them to bite, and their puppy teeth are needle sharp. Please read the sticky at the top of the forum page titled "The Bite Stops Here." It will give you a great plan on how to reduce the biting.
    Basically, you will want to pick a sound that gets your pup's attention. For some puppies a yelp sound works. But, for other puppies that same yelp sound will only excite them more and make the biting worse. So, you might try "hey" or "ouch". When your pup bites or grabs onto the pants, make the noise. He will probably stop for a second to see why you made the noise. Then, he may go right back to biting. So, make the noise again, but this time, leave the room for 20-30 seconds. Any longer than that and your puppy will forget why you left.

    The idea is, you make the noise to get their attention and let them know you didn't like it. If they continue, you take your attention/contact away by leaving the room. The thing is, it takes many, many repetitions of this for it to even start to sink in. You are not trying to get them to stop biting on just one occasion, you are trying to teach them something they will remember forever, so it takes lots of time and practice. Everyone in the house has to respond the same way. YES, it is a hassle to constantly get up and leave the room for 30 seconds, but it's worth it in the end.

    House training:

    When you leave him in the guest room, where does he pee? Do you have a pad in the guest room? Or is he still using the crate to pee in? The thing is, he seems to have gotten the idea that the crate is an acceptable bathroom spot. So, for now, I would just take away the crate. If he's using it as a bathroom, then it's not really doing it's job, right? So, leave him in the guest room, with a pad, and maybe a doggy bed, but, if he continues to use the crate as a bathroom, he will continue to think it's acceptable.

    At 11 weeks old, puppies are not in complete control of their bladders. They won't have complete physical control til about 6 months of age or so. So, they may think everything's great, but, occasionally, they just can't hold it, and will pee wherever they happen to be. It's just their age.

    Does the guest room have carpet? I would suggest getting a black light, and checking to make sure you don't have any other urine stains in the guest room that you don't know about. At 11 weeks, sometimes puppies pee just a tiny amount, and you may not even have noticed. Really, in just small amounts you can't smell it unless you're actually looking for it. Then, if you find spots, clean them with an enzyme cleaner.

    Don't expect much from a puppy this young. It will be awhile before this puppy is potty trained, or learns bite inhibition. Is there a way you can leave the guest room door open, but blocked off with a baby gate? Sometimes puppies don't like being left completely isolated. Also, can you or your wife come home at lunch to let your puppy out for a potty break? It becomes more difficult to potty train if they are allowed to pee in the house.

    Just noticed you said you don't leave pads anymore because he would tear them up. You can get pad holders that secure the pads in so the puppy cannot destroy them.

  6. #5
    Senior Member annadee's Avatar
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    Re: Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    The only experience I have with puppies is from the ones I interact with when I volunteer at the SPCA, and the ones my bf's mom fosters. Nonetheless I just wanted to add a little tidbit that you may find helpful regarding biting. Recently my bf's mom fostered a very rowdy, bting GSD puppy. What worked wonders on biting was first saying "no!" then spraying with a little squirt bottle. It totally snapped him out of biting, and it also enforced that when we said "no" the squirt, which he didn't really like, would come after if he didn't stop. The GSD puppy wasn't perfect, but managed to catch on pretty fast. You can also add a bit of lemon juice to the water, I hear that works better with some puppies.

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    Re: Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by annadee View Post
    The only experience I have with puppies is from the ones I interact with when I volunteer at the SPCA, and the ones my bf's mom fosters. Nonetheless I just wanted to add a little tidbit that you may find helpful regarding biting. Recently my bf's mom fostered a very rowdy, bting GSD puppy. What worked wonders on biting was first saying "no!" then spraying with a little squirt bottle. It totally snapped him out of biting, and it also enforced that when we said "no" the squirt, which he didn't really like, would come after if he didn't stop. The GSD puppy wasn't perfect, but managed to catch on pretty fast. You can also add a bit of lemon juice to the water, I hear that works better with some puppies.
    This sounds like a great idea.

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    Senior Member Kyllobernese's Avatar
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    Re: Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    I have an 11 week old Shih Tzu x Maltese puppy. I have a pen set up in my kitchen and have a pellet box for her to pee and poo in. I have not started crate training her yet as she still cannot go all night and with it being below freezing at night and with snow on the ground, I am not taking her out at night. I use wood pellets in a box and she is very reliable about going in it. She gets to go outside for a short time, several times during the day and is getting good about going when she is outside.

    She is in her pen unless I am right with her and watching her and so far has not peed or pooed anywhere but in her box. The quickest way to house break them is to try and never let them make a mistake. If they do, just clean it up and do not say or do anything to the puppy as it is your fault, not theirs.

    If she bites, I say ouch and put her in her pen for a few minutes and quit playing with her. When I let her out again, she plays for a while, forgets and bites again, back in the pen she goes. She loves playing tug-a-war and that lets her bite and chew on something. She very seldom bites now and if she does, it is not hard and an "ouch" makes her remember not to do it.

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    Re: Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by omgjustinbieber View Post
    I have a Shih-Tzu / Coton mix, but she seems "mostly" Shih-Tzu to me.
    My puppy is older, and I got her at 3 months, so not sure how much of my experience is due to just getting her later.

    Re biting:
    1) when she bites things she shouldn't, I say "no" firmly and point at her - she tends to stop (or bite my finger, depending on how riled up she is)
    2) if particularly bad biting, grab the scruff of her neck, shake mildly (certainly don't want to hurt) and do the "no" and finger
    3) if the biting is skin, say (sometimes quite naturally) "ow" in such a way that sounds like pain - and if particularly bad followed with the "no" and scruff thing (occasionally I've accidentally just knee-jerk reaction bumped her away, if she bites my elbow on the couch, or a toe through a sock - and so she gets a physical response - I wouldn't normally just do that - but she actually reacts to it well with the "ow!" in that they are learning their limits - normally when they are young like that they would do that with their brothers/sisters and be told the same via yelps and responses)
    4) she bit a friend's dog and he helped and my dog pooped herself - they feel bad when they hurt someone/something during play - sometimes to the extreme
    5) the biting/growling is part of a play response and is not necessarily a bad thing - you can redirect it, but you want to make sure your redirection doesn't lead to an event-to-reward feeling for the puppy - and some of this just seems to get better over time regardless.

    re housetraining
    1) mine was perfect at it, would go outside when I brought her out, would go on the pad without even being shown - just perfect... then one day just stopped and now will poop on the pad, but pees sort of anywhere she feels like - and she knows it is wrong as she will see me stand to come over and correct her and bring her to the pad and she does that "oh dear - run run run" thing with her head down - they are little and will have mistakes (and I think in the case of mine, as her long hair picked up urine scents, it makes it harder for her to smell where to go or not indoors... just a theory - doesn't seem to really be the case, so I'm not sure).
    2) that's a long time to have them in the crate - they say 1 hour for every month - mine is now 5 months, and she can do nearly 8 hours, but that's pushing it - supposedly they can get a UTI when holding it "too long" - I go home at lunch and give her a brief walk outside to break it up, and I'm looking into a dog walker to come during the day until she is older

    I think it is easier for them to hold pooping than it is peeing - particularly if the long holding leads to a uti (which is my concern with mine)


    As for the chewing on everything -that's what puppies do - be grateful that the shih-tzu isn't very strong, particularly as a pup, so cannot damage things the way larger breeds like labs do - destroying furniture and door frames along the way.
    I can't. I just.
    This is horrible advice, in my strong opinion. I would not suggest following a word of it.


    Scruffing your dog, shaking it, yelling at, "correcting" it when it goes inside, will do nothing but create a fearful dog and likely make things worse.
    I'd strongly suggest following the advice Doxiemommy gave, not this quoted part.

    Your puppy will NOT be housetrained by th 4/6 month mark, as most puppies cannot even control their bladder's until 6 months.
    Mother and Maid to Eight Little Lovelys
    Diesel, Aleu, Troubles, Draevyn, Lumos, Killian, Annbelle Wee & Amalie


    Forever in my heart ~*Kalabar & Cassius; Binx & Saoirse Sinclair & Mordecai*~
    "Even-tempered at home but an aggressive hunter. Amenable to formal training. A good family dog that likes to please."
    The Redbone Coonhound, defined by the AKC.


  10. #9
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    Re: Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by annadee View Post
    The only experience I have with puppies is from the ones I interact with when I volunteer at the SPCA, and the ones my bf's mom fosters. Nonetheless I just wanted to add a little tidbit that you may find helpful regarding biting. Recently my bf's mom fostered a very rowdy, bting GSD puppy. What worked wonders on biting was first saying "no!" then spraying with a little squirt bottle. It totally snapped him out of biting, and it also enforced that when we said "no" the squirt, which he didn't really like, would come after if he didn't stop. The GSD puppy wasn't perfect, but managed to catch on pretty fast. You can also add a bit of lemon juice to the water, I hear that works better with some puppies.
    I do not recommend the squirt bottle. The squirt bottle is an aversive technique, it's negative. And, really, there's no need to use an aversive on an 11 week old puppy. There just isn't. What you COULD end up doing is making the puppy afraid of water, also, which could be HORRIBLE for bathtime, or for grooming appointments in the future.

    Also, no means nothing to dogs. To people, on the other hand, no has so many meanings, and is really overused.
    The biggest thing is that we humans are ingrained to understand that no is ALWAYS negative. Also, when say no, we don't really just mean "stop that right now", we also mean "stop that right now and don't ever do it again." That's why so many of us get frustrated with our pets. We SAID no, why don't they get it, why do they keep doing it??? Well, that's easy, PETS don't understand no to mean forever, always, etc. It's kind of something we humans mean subconsciously.

    So, it's hard for pets to understand the many meanings of no, and how many different situations it can be used for. If you want to use it simply to interrupt your dog, or get them to stop for a second so you can give further instruction that's ok, (that's more of an interrupter word and you can use anything to interrupt, like "hey" or "ah ah") but, if you're using no to teach that something is not appropriate, that's confusing because it's used too often. It's always better to be more specific and less general.

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    Re: Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by doxiemommy View Post
    I do not recommend the squirt bottle. The squirt bottle is an aversive technique, it's negative. And, really, there's no need to use an aversive on an 11 week old puppy. There just isn't. What you COULD end up doing is making the puppy afraid of water, also, which could be HORRIBLE for bathtime, or for grooming appointments in the future.

    Also, no means nothing to dogs. To people, on the other hand, no has so many meanings, and is really overused.
    The biggest thing is that we humans are ingrained to understand that no is ALWAYS negative. Also, when say no, we don't really just mean "stop that right now", we also mean "stop that right now and don't ever do it again." That's why so many of us get frustrated with our pets. We SAID no, why don't they get it, why do they keep doing it??? Well, that's easy, PETS don't understand no to mean forever, always, etc. It's kind of something we humans mean subconsciously.

    So, it's hard for pets to understand the many meanings of no, and how many different situations it can be used for. If you want to use it simply to interrupt your dog, or get them to stop for a second so you can give further instruction that's ok, (that's more of an interrupter word and you can use anything to interrupt, like "hey" or "ah ah") but, if you're using no to teach that something is not appropriate, that's confusing because it's used too often. It's always better to be more specific and less general.
    Good point about the squirt bottle. I don't want to make him scared of water or bath time will be a disaster.

  12. #11
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    Re: Shih Tzu Puppy HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by lamboworld View Post
    Good point about the squirt bottle. I don't want to make him scared of water or bath time will be a disaster.
    Yeah.
    If there's one thing in a dog's life you should make fun, or at least neutral, it should be bath time, I think. Makes life a l o t easier.
    Mother and Maid to Eight Little Lovelys
    Diesel, Aleu, Troubles, Draevyn, Lumos, Killian, Annbelle Wee & Amalie


    Forever in my heart ~*Kalabar & Cassius; Binx & Saoirse Sinclair & Mordecai*~
    "Even-tempered at home but an aggressive hunter. Amenable to formal training. A good family dog that likes to please."
    The Redbone Coonhound, defined by the AKC.


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