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

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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.
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The Muzzle Method

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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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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

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 Trainier
81 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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