Can Shih Tzus Be Left Alone At Home? (Detailed Guide for New Owners!)


A really important question when you are getting a new shih tzu is just how well they deal with being alone. A calm dog can make the difference between a serene house life or a messy home (read: peeing in the house). So on that note today we’ll tackle just how well can Shih Tzus be left alone, and if you should take special measures for your new partner.

Shih Tzus are incredibly likely to get separation anxiety because of their breeding as companion dogs, and as such will hate to be left alone for very long, this only intensifies the younger they are.

However, this doesn’t meant it’s impossible for them to get used to it. What it does means is that it takes effort and patience, but if you both give it your all you can expect real results.

How Likely Are Shih Tzus To Get Separation Anxiety?

Chances are that you have heard Shih Tzus referred to as companion dogs, and this moniker sums up the breed perfectly. They are loyal, affectionate and just love to spend time with their owners. However it’s important to note that it’s not like Shih Tzus accidentally developed these traits.

Shih Tzus were actively bred to be great companions for humans. And while this was an undeniable success, it does come with its caveats. These loyal dogs not only love people, but really need to be alongside them to feel comfortable.

Our little pals are far more likely to get separation anxiety than other breeds because biologically they need our company.

As such, the chances of your own Shih Tzu getting antsy when you leave the house isn’t really based on it’s personality, but just on its breed. An issue that can’t be fully avoided, and based on the age can get worse.

Puppies are logically more affectionate and dependant, and far, far less likely to be properly trained. This can increase the symptoms of their anxiety as well as cause a bigger mess in your house.

That isn’t to say this separation anxiety cant be overcome, and while you will see symptoms they don’t have to be crippling on all individuals. But you should expect shades of it to pop up one way or another, and the effect on your own dog can vary wildly.

Our main recommendation is to be patient, caring and understand that things will get better with training and care. This isn’t something that can’t be overcome, it’s just proof of how much our Shih Tzus enjoy our company. And as long as you work together you’ll overcome it with no issues.

If you’re interested in some excellent tips on how to train your shih tzu, I wrote another article on this website all about that which you can find by clicking here.

Helpful Tips To Overcome Your Shih Tzu’s Anxiety

The best way to deal with separation anxiety is to train for it ahead of time, as always being prepared beats being reactive. However if your dog hasn’t been properly trained or just had a relapse while you two are working on it you don’t have to worry. Stress and anxiety can happen at any time both for dogs and humans.

The key thing to remember is that you have each other, as well as these tips. So strap on and let’s take a deep look on how to best deal with anxiety on our furry friends.

Of course, the first step is actually not training but rather to make sure if their issue really is separation anxiety. Certain symptoms of anxiety like peeing indoors or trashing furniture can be caused by other factors.

And before placing all your efforts on dealing with anxiety you might want to make sure that’s what you are dealing with. A check up with your vet to properly identify what your dog is going through is always a good call.

The first step to dealing with shih tzu separation anxiety is making sure your dog’s issue really is separation anxiety.

If there’s no way around it and it’s separation what is affecting your dog then let’s follow on with some tips.

One of the most important factors in anxiety and other stress symptoms is energy. The more energy a dog still has, the more likely they are to explode all over your house. I talked about avoiding boredom like this in another article you can find here on this website.

On the other hand, a properly exercised dog will be calm and soothed for a long period of time, and is far less likely to show adverse symptoms.

A really good idea if you have the time is to take your Shih Tzu for walks before you leave for work or school. The good news is that Shih Tzus aren’t the most energetic of breeds so a regular walk should be more than enough to drain their tanks and leave them calm and ready for the rest of the day.

Take 15 to 20 minute walks before you have to leave to attend your duties. And make sure you dog does all of its needs on the trip. If a dog doesn’t have spare energy or any bathroom needs to worry about, they’ll handle alone time much better and they are far less likely to exhibit any symptoms.

Affection can be an important part to get past anxiety symptoms, but it must be handled smartly. If you start covering your pal with kisses, hugs and pats right before you leave they’ll associate you leaving with an important event. And that’ll just make your absence all the more evident.

Feel free to play and care for your dog as much as you want, but make sure it happens some fair time before you leave. Of course you want your dog to know you love it, because you do. But we don’t want to make a big deal of your departure.

This is a simple routine you can take at anytime or any age to help your Shih Tzu deal with separation: Take a proper walk so your dog doesn’t have bottle up energy, make sure it’s needs are attended and try to avoid excessive affection some 20 minutes before you leave. Your dog will be fully ready for waiting and now won’t assume something big is happening, that’ll help a lot!

How To Train Your Shih Tzu To Stay At Home On Its Own

Training any breed can be a complex and long process, and how long it’ll take or how fast they’ll take to it varies by a lot of factors. A dog that has been previously trained will take to new patterns with ease. But that does not mean in any way that rookie dogs won’t learn. It might just take some more time.

If you want an extra detailed guide on a complete training regimen, our fellow Shih Tzu lovers have made an interesting guide here. But if you want the simplified take then stick with us, and with some dedication you’ll have a calm Shih Tzu in no time at all.

Prepping The Home

It might surprise some of you, but preparing for a new dog and how you’ll train it doesn’t really start with them, or in this case even you. Your house will likely have to be the first to adapt to this new status quo.

The thing with Shih Tzus and many small breeds is that they usually aren’t the best at living outside. Couple this with their natural apprehension to being left alone and the Shih Tzu just isn’t an ideal breed for a backyard life, or at least not a detached backyard life.

Something important from the start is to have a space in your house where your dog can feel safe and be safe. Being in a familiar space that still smells of you will help to avoid unnecessary separation symptoms. But is also largely useful.

Make sure to properly prepare their new area, be it it’s own room or just a portion of it and keep a selection of toys and amenities so the area is both comfortable for your pet and easy to clean for you.

Preparing Your Shih Tzu

Now that we have the house ready, let’s deal with the dog. The tips we gave for taking your dog out and minimizing the impact of your departure will help at any time, and you should keep them in mind. But other factors can help ease the transition.

If possible try to take your lunch break at home, especially if there’s no other humans at home. Breaking up the time your dog stays on it’s own will do wonders for them and help ease their mood.

If you have the time, come home to see your cute little shih tzu during your lunch break, this will build the bond between you and your dog.

And of course, just because you love them and they don’t have an ill will it doesn’t mean you should give them a free pass on anything that does happen. Your dog needs to understand what habits are right and which aren’t.

Gently scold your dog when it acts our of line, makes excessive noise, damages goods or peeing out of place. We do not recommend isolation due to the nature of separation anxiety, but verbal commands can help a lot with your dog understanding what is wrong and is right.

At the end of the day by making sure your departures aren’t a big deal and that their needs are properly attended to we already are dealing with the main causes of their anxiety. The other half of the process is correcting their bad habits, and that’s just regular training consideration.

Your Shih Tzu adores you, and that’s wonderful. But by following these simple tips you can assure that your daily routine does not impact them negatively. And that will lead to a better life for both of you.

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