A Shih Tzu can be a great addition to your home if you want a good looking and lovable pet. They are active and intelligent, however, sometimes they do think they are the boss of the humans which can lead to defiant barking. So, you might be wondering do Shih Tzus bark a lot? Honestly, it depends on the dog.
Do Shih Tzus Bark a Lot
When it comes to barking and how much barking there is it really comes down to the specific dog. Shih Tzus, as a breed, are not what you would consider overly barking dogs.
Some small breed dogs get a bad rap as being yappy. Shih Tzus don’t fall into that category.
In fact, Shih Tzus bark less than most dog breeds. They are generally more prone to howling than barking.
Even so, if your Shih Tzu tends to bark more than you would like, there are reasons for this.
Reasons for Shih Tzu Barking
There are a number of reasons why your Shih Tzu might be barking.
These include the following:
- They are bored
- They are lonely
- They feel territorial
- They are overly aggressive
Take the time to learn your Shih Tzu’s barking habits such as when they bark and when they don’t, and that will help with training to get them to stop.
I know my Shih Tzu, Truman used to bark when someone would come to the door. That wasn’t an issue.
However, when someone he didn’t know would come into the house, he would start barking and wouldn’t stop.
The only way I could get him to stop was to pick him up.
As long as he was in my lap he wouldn’t bark, but as soon as he got back down he would start right back up.
Now he wasn’t barking to get my attention. I guess, he just felt safer when I was holding him.
Once he got older, this habit went away, but it lasted for a good ten years or so.
Now, Sammy, my other Shih Tzu, she never barked at anyone or anything. I doubt she barks more than once a year if that.
So, a lot of this does come down to your dog’s personality.
I believe Truman was territorial over his living space and maybe even me.
He always felt like he was the man of the house, so it would make sense he didn’t like strangers in “his house.”
If you find that your Shih Tzu is barking at people or at other animals, then there is a good chance that they are being territorial.
Background noises can also trigger barking.
Things such as dogs barking, babies crying, or even people walking by your house can all trigger barking.
Health issues might make your Shih Tzu bark as well.
If they aren’t feeling well, they can become aggressive if someone, especially a child, tries to pet them or pick them up.
They bark as a warning to the person to back off.
So, if your Shih Tzu has never been a barker but has suddenly started to bark, especially if people come near them, you should take them to your vet to make sure they are okay and that a health issue isn’t causing the problem.
In addition, Shih Tzus can suffer from separation anxiety. This can lead to barking while you are away from home and also when you are there.
Separation anxiety is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
If you don’t, your dog can become so upset that they cause damage to your home and even worse hurt themselves.
Finally, sometimes your Shih Tzu will bark to get attention.
For example, if your Shih Tzu is outside and wants in, they may bark…and bark…and bark. You don’t want to reward this behavior, so you need to wait until they stop barking before you let them back inside.
Otherwise, they will learn that barking will get them what they want.
Keep in mind, dogs bark for a reason, and owners must understand why.
Barking That’s Not a Problem
Barking is natural dog behavior and not all barking is bad.
Sometimes a Shih Tzu will bark when you get home from work or any time you have been away.
This is just their way to greet you and to let you know they are happy to see you.
Once you give them a quick rub, they should stop this behavior.
Also, when dogs play, they will bark as part of the play.
This is also normal and is perfectly fine behavior.
How to Reduce Shih Tzu Barking
There are different things you can do to stop your Shih Tzu from barking depending on when they are barking in the first place.
Barking at Night
If your Shih Tzu barks at night, one way to help reduce the barking is to be sure they get a lot of exercise during the day.
That doesn’t mean you should take them for a ten-mile walk. That would be bad as they are too small to walk that far.
What it does mean is you should be sure they get plenty of playtime during the day, so they are tired at night.
Just running around the house and throwing their toys for them to fetch should get the job done.
You might also enjoy:
Barking for No Reason
If your Shih Tzu seems to bark for no reason, there is a simple way to make them stop and that’s ignore them.
If your pouch starts barking, turn your back on them and ignore them. You don’t want to give in and give them attention as that is what they are looking for.
Once they stop barking, turn back around and give them a treat.
In time, they will learn that not barking gives them something they want while barking gets them nowhere.
Barking When You’re Not at Home
Shih Tzus can get really upset when you leave the house. It would be great if we could all stay at home all of the time, but that’s not really possible.
So, if your Shih Tzu starts barking as soon as you leave, you’ll want to stand outside the front door while your dog is barking. Don’t say anything.
Instead, wait until your dog stops barking, this may take a while, but once they do, step back inside and give them a treat.
This is really just the same method as mentioned above, but backward.
Just keep in mind that Shih Tzus tend to be really stubborn. That means punishment typically won’t work and won’t end the bad behavior.
Instead, positive reinforcement, and treats for good behavior is the way to go.
You might also enjoy:
At What Age Does a Shih Tzu Start to Bark?
Normally, you will see a Shih Tzu starting to bark once they are about three weeks old. Before that, you might hear some grunting, but no barking.
Proper training, from day one, will help you avoid barking issues when your Shih Tzu gets older and even as puppies.
You should talk to your vet to see what training method they feel is best for your specific situation.
This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.