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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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