How to Train a Shih Tzu to Not Bark

How to Train a Shih Tzu to Not Bark
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon3-8 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

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.

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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.

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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.

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The Ignore Method

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2 Votes

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2 Votes

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Muzzle Method

Effective

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Effective

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Speak Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

By Christina Gunning

Published: 04/13/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Otis

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Shih Tzu cross

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1 Year

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Question

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My dog barks / yaps in house when I leave him

Feb. 28, 2022

Otis's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michelle, I would start by teaching Place and Quiet. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. Once pup is doing well with you in the house in another room, use a camera to spy on pup from outside. Start going outside where pup can't see or hear you. When pup barks, return to quietly correct then go back outside again. When pup gets quiet and stays quiet, initially for a couple of minutes, gradually working up to longer periods, then return to sprinkle in treats then leave again. After 30 minutes of practice, gradually working up to three hours, return when pup is quiet, ignore pup in the crate for 10 minutes until they are waiting calmly while go about your business in the home (correct if pup gets really loud and isn't settling down on their own). When pup is being patient and quiet in the crate, let pup out calmly. If pup tries to rush the door, close it again, making pup wait. Practice this until pup is waiting inside with the crate door open. At that point, happily tell pup "Okay" and let them come out calmly. You want to set that expectation of staying calm as they exit, so they don't get into the habit of getting anxious and excited in anticipation of being let out. As pup improves when you are outside, work that time up until you have worked up to you being outside for three hours and pup staying quiet the whole time. At that point, you can give pup a dog food stuffed chew toy in the crate. They will probably enjoy it once they are calm enough to focus on that for entertainment. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Feb. 28, 2022

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Crowley

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Shih Tzu

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1 Year

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Question

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He barks all the time

Nov. 12, 2021

Crowley's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Alex, I would work on teaching the Quiet command and desensitizing pup to the things they are barking at (make a list of common triggers even if it's long). Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Check out this video series on barking: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Nov. 12, 2021


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