Who Is In Control, You Or Your Shih Tzu?
Have you ever been in this situation?
You are out for a walk with your Shih Tzu, happily going down the street.
Then your heart misses a beat and sinks, because you see another dog coming?
It means only one thing.
Your lovely but very dominant dog is going to try to leave their mark on yet another dog.
And you have no idea how badly this could go!
Even though the other dog is on a leash, you know you are in trouble if they come too close.
And so you start looking for an exit strategy…
But before you know it your Shih Tzu is barking like crazy and showing off their teeth, despite their size.
You have tried everything to stop this behavior.
Like tugging on the leash, a different collar, distraction with food.
But nothing has made the slightest bit of difference.
Now, it is just a case of keeping them separated at all costs.
You have started to give up all hope.
So where did it all go so horribly wrong?
There is one thing that so many dog owners and trainers do not seem to understand.
If you have been giving your Shih Tzu the wrong messages at home, then it is too late to turn it around when you see another dog on the street.
The simple fact is this… Dogs are simple animals.
And I mean that in a very loving way!
But they are simply not interested in bigger TVs, faster cars or their next holiday.
Rather, dogs are about survival.
First and foremost.
Which includes protecting the property and the pack, especially when they are outside.
Now, think about it.
Just Follow The Leader
Dogs are pack animals.
They understand that there are leaders and followers.
And the leaders decide what is dangerous.
And leaders take the initiative of protecting the pack.
So what do you think happens when your dog thinks that they are the pack leader?
And when they walk down the street and see another strange dog coming?
That is right.
They walk up to them chest-up, head-up, tail-up and try to get them to back down.
And that is when it all goes pear-shaped.
But what started the reaction?
It was giving your Shih Tzu the message that they were in charge in the first place!
That they are in fact the Pack Leader in your home.
Note that when your dog has puppies, the maternal instinct might cause your Shih Tzu to react in such a way to protect the puppy.
That is a separate situation all together.
It is important to point out that this behavior is not related to just certain breeds, or even one breed.
In that respect all dogs are the same.
Yet, all dogs are different.
That comes basically down to their genes.
Some dogs are naturally more dominant than others.
And there are some who like to be more submissive.
It does not really matter what kind your Shih Tzu is.
The secret is this: YOU need to be the Pack Leader.
Once you establish this, you will find all the other training tricks will start to work.
A gentle pull on the leash, the distraction using a food treat, and the gentle word of warning.
The fact is that the training approaches that you are currently using are probably excellent ones.
But without a solid foundation, they simply do not work.
Because your dog is not taking any notice of you, once the other dog shows up.
Your dog has bigger things to worry about, like protecting followers in their pack (you).
Therefore, to turn it around… again, YOU need to become the pack leader.
The pack leader foundation HAS to be in place first, all else is secondary.
Training Tricks To Achieve A Calmer Shih Tzu
Here are some great training tricks that I can share that will help you achieve that calmer dog as the other dogs approach.
• Food distractions
This approach can really work with some food hounds!
The key is this: use it as a distraction.
Do not reward your dog after they have lunged towards the oncoming dog.
Use amazing food, such as chicken or cheese.
Not their usual biscuits!
• Take it slowly. Do not expect miracles overnight
Unless you have just put the pack leader rules in place!
Often pushing things too fast will result in it going wrong.
Going slowly builds confidence.
• Master the walk
Make sure that you have gotten control of your dog’s walking, before you meet the oncoming dog.
Some might want to consider a device other than a flat collar to achieve this.
This should not be necessary, if you establish a sound relationship with your Shih Tzu.
• Stay focused on what you want
It is easy to get sucked into following your dog’s behavior.
Stay focused for the best result.
Remember that you need to continue to show your dog exactly how you want him to behave.
• Be ready to step in
At all times, be ready to step in and quickly guide your dog away, or gently tug or correct him.
Once you have done this, remember to relax immediately afterward.
Natural Instincts Of Your Shih Tzu
One of the things that I love about this whole method is that it works with your Shih Tzu’s natural instincts.
For example, in the ranking it is natural that one dog will be above another.
You cannot take that out of dogs.
Position yourself as the top dog in the pack.
That way your Shih Tzu will not be nearly as likely to become overly protective, tense, dominant or take things too far.
Remember, that trying to deal with the problem when you see the other dog approaching, is always going to be too late.
It is about sorting out the real cause of the issue, that will turn things around.
How to train a dominant Shih Tzu should not be complicated.
Your Shih Tzu is just waiting for you to give him the right messages!