15 Signs Your Shih Tzu Hates You

A Maltese Shih Tzu poses for a portrait.
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Okay…hate is a strong word, but there are signs that your dog is not happy and may not like being your pet. So, let’s take a look at them and see if there is anything you can do about it.

15 Signs Your Shih Tzu Hates You

You hate to think that your dog isn’t happy with you or doesn’t really like you, but it can happen.

And they do give you signs that something is off.

If you pick up on several of these signs you might want to consider changing your behavior instead of assuming it is your dog’s behavior that needs to change.

1. They Scratch Themselves, You, and Everything Else

Scratching is normal for a dog, up to a point.

But if your Shih Tzu is scratching everything, including themselves, all the time, there could be another issue.

First off, if they don’t have fleas or they are scratching other things such as furniture or you, this can be a sign of stress or anxiety.

And an anxious dog is not a happy dog.

As a pet owner don’t assume that excess scratching isn’t an issue.

Adorable Shih Tzu dog look at the owner. Pet lifestyle and concept.

2. They Are Showing You Their Teeth

When a dog is showing you their teeth it is a sign of aggression.

They are angry or upset.

They might feel they are protecting their territory.

Or, they may feel threatened by you or someone else in your household.

Don’t ignore this body language.

Your Shih Tzu is telling you there is something wrong.

You need to listen to them.

And while a Shih Tzu might not be able to do much damage with their little teeth, you still don’t want them acting in a way that they feel they need to protect themselves.

Back off for the moment, but then investigate further.

If this is new behavior for them, make sure your furry friend isn’t sick or injured or has some medical issue that can cause this type of issue as well.

3. They Hide

If your Shih Tzu runs and hides at the first sight of you, then there is a problem.

This isn’t normal behavior and can be a sign that they are afraid or feel threatened by you.

If you are rough with your dog or yell at them a lot, they can grow to fear you.

Even if you only do it out of frustration, try not to.

Think about it, your pet’s life is in your hands.

You want to make them feel loved and secure.

Think about how you interact with your dog.

Do they have reasons to fear you?

Hopefully not, but if so, consider changing how you interact with them.

If things are good between you and your Shih Tzu and everyone else in the household then hiding can also be a sign of illness, so you might want to schedule a visit to the vet.

4. Their Ears are Flat and Back

If your dog’s ears are flat and back this is not a sign of affection.

Instead, it means they are upset or are feeling aggressive and anxious.

If you are petting them, then they might be in pain.

If they are across the room then something else is going on.

You’ll want to find the cause of their distress, but don’t approach them at this time.

Let them calm down and get a little more relaxed before you touch them.

Funny Shih-tzu out for a walk in Autumn cheely day
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5. They Aren’t Interested in Your Treats

Typically your Shih Tzu will be really excited about any treat you might want to give them.

I know that my two certainly are.

My, Sammy will run in circles and get so excited she can barely contain herself.

If suddenly she stopped wanting to take treats from me, I would know there is something off.

She could be sick or maybe I did something to upset her.

Once again, think back to what has happened in the past few days to determine if there is something that happened that might have upset your pup.

6. They Make Direct Eye Contact – A Lot

There is nothing better than when your pup lays their head in your lap and looks lovingly into your eyes.

It can show just how much they love and trust you.

However, if your Shih Tzu is looking you directly in your eyes without breaking eye contact a lot, this could spell trouble.

One way dogs show dominance is to stare down their opponent.

If you see two dogs growling at each other or acting aggressively this is one thing they do to let the other dog know that they are the top dog.

So, if it isn’t the loving gaze and just plain naked aggression that’s a bad sign.

7. They Won’t Play With You

Shih Tzus love to play.

They love to chase balls and play with their toys and they want you to get involved.

Playing by themselves is great, but add in their owner and they are in hog heaven.

If your Shih Tzu’s playing habits have changed or they have stopped playing altogether, it is a sign they are unhappy, depressed, or just not that into you.

The first thing you should do is make sure they aren’t sick or injured.

A quick trip to the vet will help with this.

Once they get the all-clear, then think back to when this new behavior showed up.

Did something happen?

Did you yell at them or is there a reason they are now associating bad things with play?

See if you can figure it out and then try to reintroduce playing into their little lives.

Funny Shih tzu dog sleeping and relaxing on the floor at home
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8. They Don’t Want to Be Around You

If you have a rescue Shih Tzu like my Sammy, you may find that they are skittish and not comfortable being around you.

They may have been abused in the past and assume if they are near you they will be hit or harmed in some way.

This type of behavior can take a while to change.

Be sure to give them lots of praise.

Reward them with treats when they do good things.

Don’t force them to interact with you more than they are comfortable with.

Never yell at them or hit them, of course.

And be patient. In time they will come around and start to trust you.

Now, if this is a new behavior then once again a trip to the vet is necessary.

Chances are your Shih Tzu is not feeling their normal self.

9. They Growl At You

There is a big difference between barking and growling when it comes to dogs.

A barking dog just might be excited to see you or wants your attention or to even play.

A growling dog is not a happy dog.

They are warning you to stay away.

If you don’t pay attention you could get bit.

And while a Shih Tzu isn’t going to do a lot of damage, you still don’t want yours to bite you or someone else or a child.

This type of behavior you can’t ignore.

If you have been abusing your dog, then you can expect this behavior from them.

If you haven’t been and there is no one in your household that is stressing them out or being abusive, then they could be injured.

When I was a kid, my neighbor’s dog went missing.

I was the one to find him, but he started growling at me when I got close to him.

He had been hit by a car and was in pretty bad shape.

So, if your Shih Tzu is growling at you there is something wrong.

And it could be as simple as a young child not understanding how to play with your little pup.

dog on white background
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10. They Try to Bite You

Even worse than growling is biting.

However, one might lead to the other.

If your dog is growling at you and you try to pick them up or touch them there is a good bet they will bite you.

Any time your Shih Tzu feels threatened they may resort to biting.

I know that my Shih Tzu, Truman, who is super sweat will bite if he happens to find a Kleenex and you try to take it away from him.

I swear, he will fight to the death to keep that Kleenex.

It wouldn’t be so bad but he would eat them, so I would have to take them away from him and yes, he would try to fight me for it.

11. They Become Destructive

There are a lot of reasons why your Shih Tzu might be destructive.

From separation anxiety, which Shih Tzus tend to suffer from a lot, to fear or not getting enough attention, they aren’t destroying your home just for the heck of it or to give you the finger.

There is something wrong and it is their way of showing you that.

Maybe they need more attention when you are home or perhaps they need a dog walker to come by in the middle of the day so they can get some exercise.

Doggie daycare might be the answer.

Just be sure not to punish them for this behavior.

It will only make things worse for them and you.

12. They Don’t Want You to Pet Them

Most dogs, including Shih Tzus, want to be petted.

Some just want it from time to time while others demand attention all the time.

Either way, this is normal behavior for your pet.

If all of a sudden your dog no longer wants to be pet then something is going on.

They are either upset with you or they are not feeling well.

If they cry out in pain when you touch them, then something is seriously wrong and they need to see a vet immediately.

13. They Groom Themselves Too Much

It is normal for your dog to scratch or lick themselves once in a while.

They get an itch just like we do, but it if is constant, then something else is wrong.

They could have fleas and if they have a flea allergy they will lick and bit themselves to the point of pulling out their hair.

If it isn’t fleas or some skin condition then it could be stress.

An unhappy Shih Tzu will try to make themselves feel better by licking themselves.

This can be their attempt to deal with anxiety or stress.

Once again a trip to the vet wouldn’t hurt.

But also see if something in the house, or you are stressing them out somehow.

Has something changed? A new person in the house or someone leaving?

Maybe a new animal or a new routine…

Dogs are creatures of habit and they aren’t happy when their routine gets changed.

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14. They Aren’t Eating

If you’ve had a Shih Tzu for any length of time then you know they love their food and especially treats.

That’s pretty par for the course.

So, if all of a sudden they aren’t eating something is up.

They could be sick or stressed or upset about something going on with you or within the house.

A missed meal or two isn’t a big deal, but beyond that or for a few days, it shouldn’t be ignored.

A Maltese Shih Tzu poses for a portrait.
YAYImages ID: 31408304

15. They Aren’t Sleeping

Shih Tzus do like their naps so if they aren’t sleeping there is a reason for it.

My, Sammy, who was a rescue has always been a little skittish.

She was abused as a puppy but now that she is getting older, she is almost 14 years old, and her skittishness has gotten much worse.

She has a hard time laying down at night and getting any rest.

Sammy will just walk the house back and forth over and over.

There is nothing physically wrong with her but she is simply stressed out.

The vet and I are working on it.

So, there are reasons why your Shih Tzu might stop sleeping, but none of them point to things being normal.

It could be that they aren’t getting enough exercise during the day or they are dealing with anxiety.

Do what you can to get to the bottom of their anxiety and make your home as stress-free as possible.

You’ll both be happier for it.

You might also enjoy:

Why Does My Shih Tzu Hide Under the Bed?

Why Does My Shih Tzu Keep Sneezing?

To Sum it All Up:

While it might not be as serious as your Shih Tzu hating you, if you are seeing any of these behaviors, there is a good chance they are unhappy and possibly ill or injured or just stressed out. Do what you can to ensure that yours is happy and healthy and they will love you completely for it.


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