How to Train a Shih Tzu to Not Bark

Medium
3-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Your Shih Tzu is a chatterbox. They bark at everything. The doorbell, the mailman, the wind, it's all fair game. It doesn't take long for the barking to get old and start to grate on your nerves. However, it seems that scolding your pup just makes them bark louder. Now your neighbors are starting to complain and you are just not sure what to do. Training your Shih Tzu to not bark takes patience, but it can be achieved if you are willing to set consistent rules for your pup and make sure they follow them.

Defining Tasks

Shih Tzus are alert, lively watchdogs. Most of them believe their sworn duty is to protect the house from intruders. Typically, when your dog barks, they are alerting you to some perceived danger or threat. Barking is your pup's way of communicating with the world, so don't expect them to give it up overnight. In fact, you shouldn't expect them to give it up completely at all, though you can convince them to scale it back. Ideally, you should start training your Shih Tzu not to bark unnecessarily the first moment they walk in the door. But, if you've had your furry friend for a while, don't despair. There is still hope.

Getting Started

To train your Shih Tzu not to bark, you will need some tasty treats and something that makes them bark. It is also best to practice this command when your dog is relatively calm. Avoid doing training sessions right after you get home from work or other times when your Shih Tzu is excited. Remember to be patient with your pup during this process. If you have a stubborn Shih Tzu, you may want to decide how much barking you are willing to live with. For example, allow your pup to bark three times when the doorbell rings before you expect them to stop.

The Ignore Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Get ready to be strong
One reason your Shih Tzu may be barking at you is to get your attention. In this method, you have to remove the reaction they are trying to get from you. However, you have to maintain the course until they stop barking.
Step
2
Prompt your pup to bark
During your training sessions, you need something to trigger your Shih Tzu to bark, such as the sound of a door bell or a knock. You can use this method on a daily basis as well though.
Step
3
Turn your back
When your Shih Tzu starts barking, turn your back on them and ignore them. They will likely keep barking, but do not turn around while they continue making noise.
Step
4
Wait it out
Eventually, your pup will give up on barking. Only turn around once they are quiet. Praise your Shih Tzu for being quiet with some affection and a nice treat.
Step
5
Repeat and keep practicing
Prompt your pup to bark and repeat the same steps. Over time, your Shih Tzu will realize that barking does not give them the attention they want. With patience and consistency, you can train your pup not to bark for attention.
Recommend training method?

The Muzzle Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Get ready to be consistent
With this method, you need to react the same way every time your Shih Tzu barks. Allowing your pup to bark at some things and not others will be confusing, especially when you are just starting your training.
Step
2
Encourage your pup to bark
During training session, you will need a trigger to make your Shih Tzu bark. Knock on a wall or door to make your pup think someone is at the door or have a friend ring your doorbell.
Step
3
Hold their muzzle
When your Shih Tzu barks, gently grasp their muzzle and hold it closed. Then say "quiet," "enough," or another similar command. Don't hold their muzzle for more than a few seconds.
Step
4
Praise the silence
Release your pup's muzzle and see what they do. If they go back to barking, repeat step three. If they stay quiet, praise them and give them a treat.
Step
5
Keep practicing
Continue to work with your Shih Tzu both during training sessions and in your normal daily life. As you progress, try saying "quiet" without grasping their muzzle and see if they stop barking. If they do, give them an extra big reward for connecting the command word with the action.
Recommend training method?

The Speak Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
Arrange for help
Teaching the 'speak' command can actually help you train your pup not to bark. For this method, have a friend knock on the door while you wait inside with your dog.
Step
2
Wait for your pup to bark
When your Shih Tzu barks at the knocking sound, give the command "speak." Repeat this process several times, so your pup begins to connect the word "speak" with the action of barking.
Step
3
Use the command without the trigger
Without having your helper knock, hold a treat in front of your Shih Tzu's nose and when they are quietly sniffing the treat, tell them to "speak." If your pup barks, praise them and give them the treat. If not, practice with the knock a few more times.
Step
4
Teach the command 'quiet'
Once your Shih Tzu can bark on cue, start training the 'quiet' command. First, tell your pup to speak and when they bark, say "quiet." Give them a reward when they stop barking.
Step
5
See if the command works in real life
After you have practiced using the command for a while, have someone knock on the door again. If your Shih Tzu barks, give the command "quiet." Offer big praise and rewards if they listen to the command. If not, practice further.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Hoshi
Shih Tzu
4 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Hoshi
Shih Tzu
4 Years

My dog is very aggressive to people and other dogs, and barks a lot if it's a stranger near by. What do I do? I would like to train her to stop that when I say stop and to be quiet.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
708 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tiana, To start, teach Hoshi the "Quiet" command using the "Quiet" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once Hoshi knows the command she will be able to understand what you would like for her to do instead of barking. Because of her aggression she will likely not have the self-control to obey in situations with strangers and other dogs at first though. The next step is one of two things. If the aggression seems to be fear based, then recruit as many different friends as you can that she does not know or like, and also friends with calm dogs. Have the individual people or person-dog couples walk up to her but stay about ten feet back with people and twenty feet back with dogs. Have the person by himself or with the dog toss her treats and stand or sit there extremely calmly without looking at her at. When she starts to calm down a bit, then have the person only toss her treats when she does something good like stop barking for a second, relax a bit, want to say hi, or calm down in anyway. If you feel like she is safe to do so, then if she wants to meet the person let her when she is ready and chooses to go up to them but keep the interaction calm and do not allow petting yet. If there is any chance she will bite, then have her wear a soft silicon basket muzzle during the interaction to prevent your friend from being bitten and to prevent Hoshi from learning that she can bite. If she fights other dogs when she meets, then do not let her meet the dogs without the help of a trainer. Repeat the treat interactions with as many people as you can. One-hundred would be ideal but get as many as you can. A few is still better than none, but it will take a lot of interactions for the aggression to significantly improve. If her aggression is not fear based or if you do not feel comfortable dealing with it on your own or she is not responding to your training, then hire a professional trainer to help you. Aggression is a complex issue and can be hard to tackle by yourself. Look for a trainer who is part of a multi-trainer group and has access to calm dogs, like her own dogs or other trainer's dogs. You will want a variety of trainers to do individual sessions with Hoshi to help her get used to strangers and dogs also. Look for a trainer who uses both positive reinforcement and fair, well communicated discipline. Fear-based aggression can often be treated with just a positive reinforcement approach but other types of aggression often need a combination of training approaches. This trainer should also have a lot of experience with aggression. Once the aggression is less of an issue, then when Hoshi sees another dog or person and begins to bark, tell her "Quiet" and distract her. As soon as she gets quiet for just a second, praise her and give her a couple of treats. Start to also tell her "Quiet" before she barks when you spot something that she would usually bark at, and praise her and reward her while she is being quiet before she has a chance to bark. This will teach her to automatically be quiet also when she sees something rather than bark first. It will also help her to like the presence of other people and dogs more. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Max
Shih Tzu
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Max
Shih Tzu
1 Year

He barks at people and when he does something wrong and I tell him not to do it he tries to bite me

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Question
Bailey
Shih Tzu
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bailey
Shih Tzu
6 Months

My puppy barks constantly and ì mean barks. I've never heard anything so loud. Ive tried whispering to him giving treats, ive tried squearting water from a spray bottle only a fine mist in his face. He doesnt flinch. Ive tried ignoring him, distracting him. Putting him in another room. Taking him for walks. I'm all out of ideas. The neighbours are complaining,and my landlord has had complaints so ive been given a warning. I don't want to sell him or give him away as i love him. When i first got him he was a joy and i would be excited to see him. Not anymore i now dread getting up each morning. Please i need help. I'm now at the point where I'm crying all the time. Please help me I'm desperate kind regards Helen Quinn

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Question
MuffinRose
Shinese
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
MuffinRose
Shinese
2 Months

He has suddenly started peeing in the house and he’s cheeky now. Even shows signs of being stubborn.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on potty training, as well as crate training just in case you decide to use a crate to help with potty training. As puppies develop, they can sometimes regress on behaviors they already know. A refresher will help! Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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