Shih Tzu Breed Magazine - Showsight

One of the most distinctive features of the Shih Tzu is its head. While Shih Tzu should be of sound structure, as any dog, it is the complex collection of recessives that create the head and expression that distinguishes this from all other breeds. Th e head should be round, like a softball. Th e wide-set eyes should be large, full, round, dark and expressive. Th e short, broad, well-cushioned square muzzle should be set no lower than the bottom of the eye rim and the lower jaw should be strong and broad. Th ere is a deep stop. In the show ring, judges should be sure to look beyond the elaborate grooming to be sure that the head underneath is cor- rect. At home, the a ff ectionate warmth in your Shih Tzu’s expression will melt your heart. It can also, of course, be a way for your dog to convince you that it is simply too sweet and charming to be forced to do something it doesn’t want to do or be punished for a misdeed! As befits its royal ancestry the Shih Tzu can sometimes be stubbornly independent. Th is can make training a challenge. With this breed, you will find that praise works far better than harsh discipline. Anytime your dog is doing what you want, praise him profusely…pretty soon he’ll think the behavior was his own idea and delight in pleasing you with his cleverness! If your dog is on the floor and misbehaving (bark- ing, jumping up and such), simply turn your back and ignore him rather than give him the attention he is seeking. Because Shih Tzu love people, they consider being ignored the cruelest punishment of all. One of the things all Shih Tzu require is regular grooming. Whether you keep your Shih Tzu in gorgeous long coat or in a cute pet clip, whether you use a pro- fessional groomer or do it yourself, all Shih Tzu should be brushed and combed daily, checking eyes and ears and rears in particular for any problems. Remember that small mats that are easily removed can quickly become large ones if ignored, that dirty coats mat more quickly than clean ones and that bathing a matted dog sets in the mats like concrete. When training your dog for grooming, don’t put him down on the floor when he is misbehaving. Instead, take things in small increments, with lots of pauses for petting and praise (and maybe even bits of kibble). Release him only when he is calm and cooperative.

Training this breed for obedience can be frustrating, because Shih Tzu are real hams. Th ey are likely to wander o ff to greet people at ringside, flip over on their backs while wagging their entire bodies when told to “down,” and otherwise add crowd-pleasing enhancements to their routines. Performance activities are a

great way for you and your dog to bond and training is well worth the e ff ort. Shih Tzu, like all dogs, should learn the commands “come,” “sit,” “down,” “leave it,” and “stay” at the very least for their own protection. Shih Tzu, being even- tempered and a ff ectionate, also make good therapy dogs.


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