Pet Peeves: Out of Control Shih Tzu

Riean from Lynwood, Illinois asks:

I have a nineteen-month-old Shih Tzu that has been potty trained since she was about four months old. She has recently been refusing to go potty outside, and does it in the house. She also tears the house apart when she is left alone, and she ignores us when we call her name. Why is she suddenly behaving so badly? Is she not happy with us?

Readers, psychics – what do you think? What should Riean do?

4 thoughts on “Pet Peeves: Out of Control Shih Tzu

  1. rhac

    many animal behaviourists will tell you that it is not a good idea to make a big fuss on leaving or returning – that just makes your pet even more anxious about your departure.

  2. ligress

    If they pee in a corner or back room its likely not about you. Check for health problems, territory struggles, or maybe depression. If they pee by the door, in the middle of a room, or even look at you and pee “bad attention is still attention”.They probably feel they are not in controll of a situation that you apparently are (attention, personal time, bored), so they controll something themselves! (peeing, dismanteling your leather sectional). Try making a bigger fuss over them, show them clearly they are important.If they do it when alone, try leaving a bone to chew, longer goodbyes and huge fuss on return. When they have not peed (or peed yet) i would have them see you sniff around (just like a dog) and then give them praise or “give a dog a bone”

  3. Linda

    Hi, I’m not psychic but I do have a shi-tzu, who is now 15 years old. My dog started showing unwillingness to go out the back door a few years back, and even went into the kitchen to go to the bathroom rather than go out there. It turned out he was terrifed of flying insects of all kinds. There was a wasps nest in a neighbour’s roof space, and I suspect he must have been stung, but unfortunately he can’t tell the difference between wasps and flies that don’t sting and as the back area is very small and enclosed, I think he felt trapped there. I make sure I take him extra walks in the summer as he still petrified of all flying insects. This may have no relevance whatsoever to your dog, but it’s worth mentioning in case something is scaring her. The other thing is that some dogs do chew things when left alone because of separation anxiety. They can be weaned off that by starting by leaving for a very short time and returning, then increasing the time gradually, to get her to realise you are going to come back. It also might help to leave a little food as well as water when you go out – even if she doesn’t touch it, it can be reassuring for her. The third possibility is that she thinks she is leader of the pack, in which case it is her responsibility to mark her territory. A TV show showed a shi-tzu who would mark all the doors and skirting boards by peeing on them whenever her owners went out. An animal behaviour specialist helped them show her that she was not leader of the pack and afterwards she did not do this, and seemed much happier. Obviously I can’t tell if any of the three things I’ve mentioned is relevant to your dog, but it can help to consider every possibility. Shi-tzus can be very self-willed, I know mine certainly is. I hope you can get to the bottom of it and get her back on track.


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