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The Nervous Shih-Tzu

Shih-Tzus, like any dog, particularly a small one, can develop nervous tendencies. One of the things I have noticed that causes nervousness is exposure to sudden, loud noises.

Our oldest started getting very nervous when it came time to go outside after the municipality installed some "crackers" by the lake to scare off the geese. It sounds like a shotgun going off, but it's enough to send the geese flying off. Unfortunately, it set my little guy off to the point he wouldn't even go outside to do his business. It was finally removed and now he's slowly making his way out again, albeit warily.

The second thing that happened was a carpenter started working on our basement and used an air nailer. Well, I thought our oldest was going to go clear out of his skin. He shook, he wouldn't leave my lap, and at one point he got so nervous and disoriented he pooped on the carpet...something he never ever does. We've actually started taking him to my mom's house during the day until the construction work is over...that's how badly it was affecting him.

However, loud startling noises of any kind, whether it's gunshots during a TV movie, dropping a heavy object, banging nails into the wall...any of these things start them up. I'm not saying you can't do anything around the house, but do be aware that these little guys don't know what's going on. I find lots of hugs, cuddles and playtime immediately after something startles them can do a lot to alleviate the nervous behavior that can be on the brink of development.


Marilyn in MN. said…
After my 14 year poodle died I got a near two year old Shih-Tzu/Maltese dog from a lady moving into an apartment as the dog barked too much to be an apartment dog. I must say the pup is quite unusual in comparison to other dogs I had over the years. He memorizes commercials and knows them by the first words spoken even tho no animals have yet come on the screen. H barks and growls like a Pit Bull would under attack. He hasn't bit at me but the little fellow scares other people walking their dogs. I think he does these things as he himself is scared and puts on an act to scare away others. He will stop if picked up when outdoors and be so gentle, but when watching TV nothing calms him down till the commercial is over or I have changed the channel. Then he turns and looks at me as if to say, I protected you and they are gone and he wants my approval. He is hard to train indoors as I don't put him out alone as don't trust the bigger ferel cats and other animals in the neighborhood. The first owner said she had him tied out almost all the first year outdoors. Perhaps that is why he barks so VICIOUS as he learned to protect himself that way? Sometimes I can feel every nerve in his little body vibrate beneath his skin. Any advise from others would be welcome or else I will just have to accept him as he is. I do worry that a new owner would hurt him in some way in order to control his growls and barking at TV and such. His ears and eyes seem to take in every little thing whether on TV or outdoors. Marilyn

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