Does Your Shih Tzu Know Its Name? (Yes!)

Brown Shih Tzu dog in front of a white background
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Have you ever wondered does your Shih Tzu know its name? They answer to it, so it seems like they must, but what’s really going on? And what else can they understand?

Does Your Shih Tzu Know Its Name?

Yes, there is a good chance your Shih Tzu knows its name.

Most dogs do learn their name over time.

They do this in a couple of ways.

1. Dogs Use Deductive Reasoning

Some dogs can learn a lot of words.

I know that my two Shih Tzus know quite a few.

They know the difference between the “big bed” (mine) and your bed (theirs.)

Like most dogs, they know the word “out,” as in let’s go outside.

And I was able to teach them “go left” and “go right,” so when we are out walking they will know which way to go.

There are other words as well, and I’m sure your Shih Tzu knows quite a few too.

A lot of dogs will learn their name through positive reinforcement and deductive reasoning.

What this means is that they will respond to their name because it means something good is going to happen.

That could be as simple as being petted or it could be a treat or going for a walk.

They pick up on the actions surrounding their name as well as your body language.

That also means if you use their name and then scold them they could pick up on that negative reinforcement and associate their name with something bad happening.

So, stay positive for your dog’s sake.

What's your name written on a Chalkboard, with chalk
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2. You Can Also Train Your Shih Tzu to Learn Their Name

Just like you can train a dog to learn how to sit or heel you can also teach them their name.

You would go about it the same way using training treats and positive reinforcement.

If you go this route keep the training sessions to about 10 minutes long.

But, honestly, if you use your Shih Tzus name when you call them, they will pick it up very quickly.

What if you have gotten a new Shih Tzu from a rescue group, should you change their name?

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Changing Your Dog’s Name

If you have rescued a dog from the animal shelter or a rescue group, the dog will typically have a name.

This name could have been given to them from their previous owner or from the shelter.

Either way, should you change it, and will your new pup be able to learn their new name?

It’s all going to depend.

If the shelter has given your dog its name, then there is a good chance that they don’t even know it yet, so changing it isn’t going to be an issue.

They will learn the new name you give them within a few days to a few weeks.

If their name came from their previous owner, this could be good or bad.

If the Shih Tzu came from an abusive home, then changing their name is a really good idea.

They will have very negative associations with their old name, so getting it out of your dog’s vocabulary is a good idea and will provide them with a fresh start.

Even if there was no abuse, there is still no reason not to change the dog’s name if you want to.

I’ve rescued a few dogs in my lifetime and I have always changed their name.

There have been no issues and the dogs, including my Shih Tzu, Sammy, learned their new names quickly without any special training.

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To Sum it All Up:

Your Shih Tzu is going to be your family pet, and as its human family, you want to give it a name that is easy for your dog to remember and which doesn’t have any negative connotations for the dog. The name shouldn’t sound like the word “no.” Keep in mind, this is a name you are going to be using for years to come, so make it a good one.



Please Note:

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.

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