Chances are if someone comes to the door your Shih Tzu will start barking. If this person is a stranger they may even continue barking once you let this person in your home. And what about if you are out and about with your Shih Tzu, do they bark when they see someone they aren’t familiar with? It’s possible they will, but why does my Shih Tzu bark at strangers?
Why Does My Shih Tzu Bark at Strangers?
There are a few reasons why your Shih Tzu might be barking at strangers.
Let’s take a look at the most common reasons dogs bark at strangers.
1. Your Shih Tzu is Guarding Their Territory
Even though your Shih Tzu belongs to the toy breeds classification, it doesn’t mean they know they are small dogs.
In fact, most feel they are plenty big and can go toe to toe with anyone or any dog no matter the size.
And they also see their home, your home, as their territory.
If someone new is coming into that territory, they will want to protect it even if there really isn’t any threat.
Your pup doesn’t know the difference between the cable guy coming to repair your wifi and a stranger that is there to do you harm.
So, for your Shih Tzu, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Since most Shih Tzus like everyone, once you introduce this person to yours they will most likely stop barking.
Of course, I have a friend with a Shih Tzu named, Ted.
Ted starts barking the moment a stranger comes near the house and will not stop until that person leaves.
The only way my friend can get Ted to stop barking is to pick him up.
Once she holds him, he stops completely.
It’s kind of odd.
Although Ted does have an incessant barking problem to begin with, so for him, it isn’t all about protective barking.
He would bark non-stop when someone he didn’t know would come into the house.
It was kind of an issue.
And nuisance barking is a whole other issue.
Your Shih Tzu can also be territorial with you as well.
If they become too possessive of you, they may bark at anyone that comes near you.
2. They Are Protecting You
If they aren’t being territorial, they might just be trying to protect you.
Shih Tzu barking can just be a signal to the stranger, “Hey dude, watch out.”
They use this barking sound to let someone know that they are there to just make sure you are okay.
While they might be small in stature, they have the heart of a lion.
While it is true, they aren’t big enough to fight off an assailant, they can certainly let them know that you have a loyal companion by your side.
You’d be surprised at what excellent watch dogs these little pups can be.
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3. They Are Afraid
Sometimes excessive barking can be a sign of fear.
Maybe your Shih Tzu is afraid of the stranger coming to your door or walking down the street near you.
There may or may not be a good reason for this fear, but they feel it anyway.
One clue that they may be feeling fear is their body language.
If they are barking and cowering at the same time, then that points to fear.
4. They Want to Alert You to Danger
This kind of goes hand in hand with wanting to protect you.
Sometimes they feel there is danger, whether or not that is true, and want to make sure you know about it.
Of course, most often there is no danger, but it is nice to know that if there was, your Shih Tzu would ensure you know about it.
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To Sum it All Up:
Prospective owners should know it is not uncommon for Shih Tzus to bark at strangers. This type of barking can be caused by different factors from alerting you to danger, to just letting the stranger know they are on your Shih Tzu’s territory. This shouldn’t be looked at as bad behavior. It is normal as long as it isn’t combined with excessive barking.
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.