I had the worst nightmare of my life when my Shih Tzu was only 4 years old. After a long and tiring day at work, I walked into the house to find that my beautiful custom made shoe cabinets had been scratched and chipped by unknown forces, and next to my cabinet is my sweet little dog, with wood chips left over. his mouth, jumping for joy at the return of his master.
I thought my house had been broken into, but upon closer inspection, I realized that my dog was to blame for this destruction. After the following days, similar events occurred. Of course, I was in an explosive mood but at the same time I was worried about my Shih Tzu’s destructive nature. What happened for a sweet little angel to become a monster from hell?
Very soon, after much research, I discovered that my dog suffered from separation anxiety. Research has shown that if a Shih Tzu experiences separation anxiety, he may display unwanted behaviors such as whining, barking, crying, howling, digging, chewing, and scratching at the door any time members of his family are away. So how did this behavior start?
Well, if you are facing similar problems, the bad news is that this unwanted behavior manifested itself due to our actions; yes, I mean you, the owner. Sometimes we unknowingly encourage such bad behavior by the way we leave our house. I used to have a tendency to say goodbye to my dog for so long that she can make things worse as it can make her feel more isolated after my departure. Research has shown that these types of long goodbyes can excite the dog and there is no way around it. These excited and isolated Shih Tzus would therefore burn off their excess energy in the most destructive way, such as chewing on furniture.
Remember, your Shih Tzu is not being spiteful when they chew wildly and scratch at walls, as they do not have the human intelligence to act spitefully. In fact, Shih Tzu is such a people-oriented dog. To prevent separation anxiety from occurring, it is important that you make your dog feel happy and safe if you are not home. It is important to keep the dog busy, such as providing toys for him to play with.
Your dog needs to learn to know that you will come home. If possible for you, try to spend consecutive days addressing this problem. Spend time with your dog and give him the required attention if he needs it. However, don’t pull the dog to stay by your side every time he decides to be alone. Your dog needs his personal space too, so leave him alone if he doesn’t follow you. By not encouraging your dog to always be by your side, you are teaching him that it is okay to be alone without your presence.
If your Shih Tzu is already experiencing separation anxiety, it is important that you start this exercise so that the dog gradually gets used to your departure. Try to go out and come home at irregular intervals and, if possible, continue to do so several times during the day. Doing so will allow your Shih Tzu to get used to his outings. It will also help the dog understand that you are not leaving him forever.
It is much more difficult to secure a Shih Tzu that has previously been lost, or those that are adopted. Therefore, as an owner, you need to provide a lot of love and patience to your Shih Tzu. This will help your Shih Tzu “let loose” when you are not home.
I hope this article helps you manage your dog’s separation anxiety.