You might know Shih Tzus as small, cute, soft and cuddly, but does this mean that they are or cannot be aggressive?
Of course not. All dog breeds can be aggressive
Are Shih Tzus Aggressive Dogs?
The Shih Tzu is not known for being an aggressive breed, but like with any breed it can be especially if reduced or facing health problems. It has more to do with the history, age and temperament of the dog, so yes even Shih Tzus though most of the time not, can be aggressive.
How Aggressive Are Shih Tzu Dogs?
Not that aggressive, at least they are not known to be. The Shih Tzu dog breed is known to be one of the friendliest, happy and affectionate breeds out there, so pretty much the opposite of aggressive. If you meet an aggressive Shih Tzu chances are they are not comfortable/scared of you, have an abusive past history or they could be in pain.
What Is Aggressive Vs. Too Aggressive?
Aggression when we look at the definition is any threat or harmful behavior displayed towards another person(s) or dog(s). It is normal for your dog to be scared every once in a while as we get scared as humans too and would defend ourselves if we thought we were in danger. Dogs usually use warning signs such as growls and barks to show that they are uncomfortable which is how they communicate.
Too aggressive would be your dog going out of their way to jump at, bark at, growl at and nip at any one other person, group or animal, especially other dogs. If you find your dog displaying this behavior or even towards you it is best to nip the behavior in the butt and train them immediately, even professionally if you need more guidance.
What Are The Signs Of Aggression In A Shih Tzu?
- Ears are pushed back
- Showing teeth
- Tail tucked
Why Is My Shih Tzu So Aggressive?
There are many reasons to why your Shih Tzu is acting aggressive, especially if you just adopted them and they are being aggressive towards you they could be showing fear, they might be trying to assert their dominance to you, they could be possessive over their area and food/toys etc, and they could even just be frustrated with you.
Your Shih Tzu if you do not know their history and are aggressive towards others and other dogs especially they could have been attacked by a dog or hurt by another human being so they have a hard time trusting so their natural instinct is to warn them off. More reasons for aggression could include an illness/pain as they are acting out in pain.
Are Shih Tzu More Aggressive Than Other Breeds?
No, they are not known to be more aggressive than other breeds, actually they are considered one of the least aggressive breeds out there since they are such good companions and family dogs.
Are Shih Tzu Naturally Aggressive [Nature Or Nurture]?
No, they are not naturally aggressive. Aggression most of the time is learned either due to the dog’s history or due to a lack of training of the Shih Tzu; they can become aggressive, but these behaviors can be trained and changed.
Reasons Why My Shih Tzu Is Getting Aggressive?
If you have had your Shih Tzu for most of their life or all or even a while without showing aggressive behavior, this is definitely something to look into. Take a look at the events or circumstances, objects such as food or toys, treats or anything leading up to the aggressive behavior.
If this comes out of nowhere and you cannot find any reasons you think your Shih Tzu would be aggressive, consider taking a trip to the vet for a checkup to make sure they are not sick or hurt that you cannot see.
Do Shih Tzus Have A Bad Temper?
Not usually no! Shih Tzus are known to have a wonderful temper(mant). But like with any species, other dog breeds or even us humans we can be pushed beyond our limits and lose our tempers every once in a while. Make sure you are not pushing your Shih Tzu too far in being uncomfortable or else eventually they might snap, pay close attention to their body language.
Are Shih Tzu Puppies Aggressive?
Puppies are so playful and included in this play can be nipping and biting, yapping/barking and even growling! Just because your Shih Tzu puppy is displaying some of these behaviors does not mean they are aggressive, it usually just means they are a puppy and they need to be taught what and how much of something is a good or bad thing.
How To Immediately Calm Down An Aggressive Shih Tzu?
- Try to find the cause of the aggression
- Take action such as respecting their space/toys while giving them some space, asserting your dominance/authority & training them more when necessary
How To Tame An Aggressive Shih Tzu?
- Socialize them as early as you can as a puppy if possible
- Use positive training methods and less punishing ones
- Seek advice from your vet
If you have tried and tried and failed to train your aggressive Shih Tzu it might be time to look into the help of a local professional dog trainer as they could have great tips you have not tried yet.
How To Groom An Aggressive Shih Tzu?
It is suggested you take them to a professional as they have experience in grooming aggressive dogs, but make sure to let them know beforehand that you Shih Tzu can tend to be aggressive, they might just muzzle your dog to get the necessary grooming done.
If you are going to attempt grooming your aggressive Shih Tzu yourself here are some tips:
- Use a muzzle to prevent being bit
- Use long handed combs/brushes so they don’t nip at your hand as closely
- If recommended and approved by your vet using calming medications
- Go slowly and try not to make any sudden movements
- Have someone help you if possible
How Do You Play With An Aggressive Shih Tzu?
It can sometimes be confusing if your dog is just being playful or actually aggressive as sometimes the signs are very similar. If you know your dog to be aggressive, of course they still want to play but make sure you are not overwhelming them too much. Maybe try starting out with a game of fetch, tug a war and reward them with a treat for showing positive behaviors.
Shih Tzu Leash Aggression
Signs of leash aggression in your Shih Tzu can include:
- Them trying to escape from collar/leash
- Tucked tail
- Escape behaviors such as trying to run away and pulling
- Ears back
- Lunging at dogs/other people
What you should do if your Shih Tzu exhibits any of these behaviors is to train them immediately, you the owner or a professional dog trainer can help.
Are Shih Tzu Biters? Are They Known For Biting?
No, Shih Tzus are not known to be biters, it is actually very uncommon but not impossible for their breed.
How To Stop Shih Tzus From Biting?
- Cry/squeal make any noises that indicates they they have hurt you with their bite
- Don’t hit them or bite back or any form of aggressive retaliation this will confuse and hurt them
- Give them a toy if they are biting your hand or another object they shouldn’t be biting
- Use no biting spray, something that will taste bad to them
- Always supervise when playing with other dogs or children
Why Does My Shih Tzu Growl At Me?
Evaluate the situation, does your Shih Tzu seem hurt, distressed, uncomfortable? If you cannot seem to find a reason and you have already visited the vet you just might have a dog that loves to growl. It is hardly ever for no reason though as it is their way of communicating with you.
Why Does My Shih Tzu Growl When I Pet Him?
Your Shih Tzu could be growling for a few reasons, it could be that they don’t want to be touched at the moment or even that they may like it, it could be their way of communicating that they enjoy it, make sure to pay attention to your dogs other body language to differentiate.
Shih Tzu Growling When Picked Up?
Your Shih Tzu may be communicating with you that they do not want to be picked up, it may be a warning growl to put them back down. Your Shih Tzu may also be growling that you are hurting them in the way you are picking them up, be careful.
How To Stop Shih Tzu Growling?
- Calm quiet peaceful dining area –no noise, people, appliances etc and giving them their own safe space
- Adjust reasonable triggers
- Establish Alpha/Leader & Beta/Follower hierarchy
- Appropriately react by staying calm and sternly saying “No!”
- Rewarding when your dog stops growling
- Visit the vet to rule out any health problems
My Shih Tzu Attacked Me. What Should I Do?
It may be hard but try to stay calm, protect yourself as best you can, never turn your back to the attacking dog, make eye contact and act bigger. If your dog has attacked you try to put them in a different room once they’ve calmed down or in their crate and contact a professional dog trainer for help.
Are Shih Tzus A Dangerous Breed?
No, they are not known to be a dangerous breed and are not considered one.
Alpha Behaviour [Leader Of The Pack]
- Alpha dog circles and smells the other dogs
- Stands over other dogs
- Places paw on other dogs
- May urinate in area to mark their territory
Shih Tzu Aggressive Barking [Why & How To Stop?]
Barking is one of the ways your dog will use it to communicate with you, if they are aggressive barking at you chances are you have done something to scare or hurt them. Make sure they are not in any pain or discomfort then assert your dominance to let them know barking at you is not okay.
Once you assert your dominance try to distract them with something else either changing the environment, toy or something to distract them from barking. Tell them no very firmly if they continue, once they stop reward with praise and treats.
Blind Shih Tzu Becoming Increasingly Aggressive
Despite many misconceptions blind or even deaf dogs are not more prone to being aggressive, if your dog is having aggressive behavior out of nowhere and they have been blind and not turning blind then it is not due to the loss of eyesight. Take note of the environment/situation, your dog’s body language, sounds or anything else that happens before the aggression takes place.
Once you try to identify the cause of the aggression, fix it immediately with training so your Shih Tzu does not become more aggressive. If you cannot find a cursor to these events, reach out to your vet to make sure they are not sick and then reach out to a dog trainer.
Shih Tzu Turns Nasty At Night
Aggression at night can be due to many reasons, one could be that your Shih Tzu is anxious for some reason. There also could be a few health reasons why such as hearing and vision loss that you might not know is going on with your dog. It also could be due to them wanting to protect the home as it gets dark.
Once you are able to have an idea of why your Shih Tzu might be more aggressive at night, it is best to avoid anything that triggers them that you’ve noticed, comfort them, tire them out with exercise before bed, if none of these work talk with your vet or dog trainer to further explore options.
This is a very common problem especially if both of the females are not fixed, this is due to their hormones and causing them to be more aggressive to each other. If you have 2 females in the home that are snapping at each other it is best to separate them until you can fix both of them and to talk to an animal behaviorist.
The same reason that there is female-female aggression is the same with males, it is usually due to one or both of them not being fixed and their hormones cause them to be more aggressive, take the same steps as listed above.
Why Is My Shih Tzu Suddenly Aggressive After His Haircut/Grooming?
Your Shih Tzu was probably just in a new, scary and unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar person grooming them so it is normal to be stressed out after such an experience, they also could have accidentally gotten nipped or hurt somewhere, try to assess if they did get hurt, they might be licking this area a lot. If you cannot find anything, try giving them some space to calm down and relax after their experience.
Shih Tzu Aggressive After Medication?
If your dog is aggressive after you give them medication this could be a side effect and you should always bring this up to your Vet. The medication might not be working as it’s supposed to if your dog becomes aggressive after, especially if the medication is intended to treat aggression.
Rescue Shih Tzu Aggression
Aggression in your rescue dog is usually due to fear and their possible past of being abused. Aggressive behavior might be in response to them being overprotective of you and they act out due to fear and insecurity with their aggression that may come across as growling, barking, showing teeth etc.
Though this can be a normal response in rescued dogs, it is a response you want to train so they do not continue to be aggressive towards you or other people or dogs, if you are having trouble after trying to train your dog, reach out to a professional dog trainer.
Can Medical Conditions Cause A Dog To Be Aggressive?
Yes, medical conditions can cause your dog to be aggressive, even if they are experiencing pain or discomfort that you cannot see can cause them to be aggressive. Hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, brain inflammation and more are all more common possible medical conditions that can make your dog aggressive, seek a vet’s help immediately if you suspect one of these.
What Can I Do If My Shih Tzu Is Aggressive? How To Train? Medical Interventions?
- No punishment, especially not physically, use positive reinforcements only when they do something positive or right.
- Look for underlying medical causes by visiting your vet and decide which route to take from there
- Hire a professional trainer
- Try to remain calm and not lose your cool as this might make your dog more stressed and aggressive
- Use a muzzle if necessary
- Try to desensitize your dog to what is making them aggressive
Things Not To Do When Your Shih Tzu Is Aggressive
- Yell or get upset
- Ignoring the behavior
- Not socializing them/desensitizing them
- Push it past their limits, making them uncomfortable/uneasy
If you are dealing with these problems, reach out to your local vet or dog trainer for help and additional guidance.