Does a Shih Tzu Become Less Social as It Ages?

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When you have a Shih Tzu puppy, it seems to love everyone. Everything and everyone is a new surprise to discover. Love is in the air. But does a Shih Tzu become less social as it ages? There’s a good chance your Shih Tzu will.

5 Reasons Your Shih Tzu Becomes Less Social as it Ages

You need to keep in mind that not all Shih Tzus are alike. They all have their own personalities. In fact, they tend to have big personalities.

That means some Shih Tzus love adults and kids alike while others might be a little standoffish. How comfortable they are with other people and other dogs can change as they get older.

My Truman was never super fond of other dogs. (You can learn more about Truman here.) 

Once he was past the puppy stage he was okay with some people, but with others, he kept his distance.

As he got older, all of that has changed. 

There are a number of reasons that your Shih Tzu might not be as social as there were when they were younger. Here are some of the more common reasons this happens.

1. Your Shih Tzu Has Become Overly Possessive

Shih Tzus are very much one-person dogs. They may get along with a lot of people, but they only love one person. 

Because of this, they can become overly possessive of that person. They won’t let anyone else near them and can even become aggressive.

If this happens you can see your sweet little Shih Tzu change from an angel to a demon seemingly overnight. They will be less social and want to always be close to you while keeping everyone else away. 

They can act out against other people and other animals such as other dogs or cats in your household.

If you let your Shih Tzu sleep with you, they may even growl or try to bite the person that sleeps with you.

This isn’t a behavior you want to encourage or even allow. 

“Dogs who get anxious, growl, or even snap at other animals are showing “possessive aggression,” and it’s important to intervene.”

Some of the other reasons Shih Tzus become less social is due to age-related health issues.

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2. Your Shih Tzu Does Hear As Well

As your Shih Tzu ages, it can develop age-related health issues just like humans do. For a lot of dogs, their hearing starts to go bad as they get older.

This means they can become startled easier and this makes them less secure. Being startled or unsure of themselves even in familiar territory will make them see new people or animals as being more of a threat than they did in their younger days.

I know that my Truman has this issue. It isn’t so much that he can’t hear, it is more like he can’t quite tell where the sound is coming from. 

I know this confuses him and puts him on edge. He will jump when you come up to him touch him when he is sleeping. 

3. Your Shih Tzu Doesn’t See as Well

As a dog ages, it can get a blue or white-colored clouding in their eyes. 

According to the American Kennel Club, “The most common causes of cloudy eyes in senior dogs are nuclear sclerosis and cataracts.”

Cataracts can take years to form, or they can come on very quickly.

There are several other causes of this discoloration as well, so it is a good idea to take your Shih Tzu to the vet if you see any discoloration of the eyes.

Truman has cataracts and doesn’t see very well. 

Not being able to see well is another reason that your Shih Tzu can become less social. 

4. Your Shih Tzu Has Old Age Related Aches and Pains

Another reason your Shih Tzu might become less social is that they don’t feel all that well. They could have arthritis and moving might hurt their joints.

Rough play with kids could cause them pain. 

Think about it. If you don’t feel well or are in pain, you might not want to hang out with a bunch of people or be as active as you once were.

That could be how your Shih Tzu is feeling.

I know that once Truman hit 10 years of age, he started to develop arthritis. If he played too long or went for too long of a walk, he would be in pain. 

After a while, the walks pretty much had to come to an end, and now that he is 15 and ½ years old, walking or even playing much is out of the question for him.

Give him a soft bed and a blanket and he is happy. (This is where you’ll find Truman most of the day.)

my dog, Truman sleeping in his bed
Truman in his happy place. Copyright: @ Shih Tzu Island

He no longer greets strangers when they come into the house. When he was younger he was right at the door barking his head off. 

5. Your Shih Tzu Has Doggie Dementia 

I was kind of surprised to find this out, but 54 percent of dogs over the age of eleven has some degree of doggie dementia. 

Just like human seniors, they may become confused at times and not know who someone is or exactly where they are.

Truman also has this issue. There are times when we go outside that he gets confused and wants to go in the opposite direction of the house when its time to go back in. He will go so far as to fight me when I try to make him go the right way.

I’ve also seen him standing in a room acting as if he isn’t quite sure where he is or where he needs to go.

This doesn’t happen often, but he has these moments.

The point is, as your Shih Tzu ages, they aren’t the same dog as they were when they were younger. 

They could be in pain when they play or if someone picks them up. They might not see or hear as well, and they can even have dementia. 

All of these things add up to a Shih Tzu that isn’t very social. 

The best you can do is make sure you take your Shih Tzu to the vet to keep an eye on these types of conditions and then make them as comfortable as possible at home.

Related Questions:

What Age Is Considered Old for a ShihTzu?

A Shih Tzu is considered to be a senior dog by the time they reach ten years of age. The average life span of a Shih Tzu is thirteen years although they can live longer than that.

How Old Is a 13 Year Old Shih Tzu in Human Years?

A 13-year-old Shih Tzu is 68 years old in human years. 

To Sum it All Up:

It is a good possibility that your Shih Tzu will become less social as it gets older. From being overly possessive to losing their hearing and sight and even doggie dementia, your Shih Tzu ages just like humans and that means they need a little less social time and a little more tender loving care.

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