Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Shih Tzu!

December 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Pet Dogs

The Shih Tzu

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Shih Tzu!

Shih Tzus are a toy dog breed, and a cute one at that! My father and mother-in-law have a Shih Tzu, named Max. They got him as a puppy and he is now 4 years old. Max is absolutely adorable and he is a playful and personable little dog! He is small and loves to hang out on everyone’s laps during family gatherings. You really couldn’t ask for a sweeter dog.

Shih Tzus are actually ornamental toy dogs and are one of the oldest small dog breeds around. Other names for these dogs are the Chinese Lion Dog, the Chinese Shih Tzu, and the Chrysanthemum Dog. They make wonderful pets and are great show dogs. Because they are small they don’t need a lot of room they make good indoor dogs (especially good for apartment dwellers). They are happy, energetic little dogs who simply love their human companions! They have long beautiful fur coats. The one initial drawback of these dogs is that they can be quite expensive to purchase up-front. They range from around $300 to $1,000 depending on the area and the breeder.

Shih Tzu Background. It is known that these dogs came from China originally, and is agreed upon that they probably date back to the 7th century. Possible ancestors for the Shih Tzu include the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. The Chinese were quite proud of this breed and they did not start exporting them to other countries until the 20th century. Many people today will create mixes with the Shih Tzu by breeding them with other dogs. Common dogs they are crossbred with include the Maltese, the Poodle, and the Bichon Frise.

These dogs only reach about 11 inches in height and weigh from 9 to 16 pounds. They are often shown at dog shows, where you can see a large variety of colors they are available in. As I said before – they are happy and generally love human companions! They can make a good childrens dogs as long as the child is responsible and knows not to be too rough. They also usually get along well with almost any other pet! Because of their long hair they do not do well in hot temperatures. This makes it essential that they be allowed indoors if you live in a hot climate.

The Shih Tzu can be a stubborn dog. Anything you want to train them will have to be done consistently and you will need patience. I remember first-hand how difficult it was for everyone during the house-training of Max. It seemed like he was always having accidents! But now, he is fully trained and a great house dog. So don’t despair! Make sure to walk your dog regularly. That can be a great time to work on training them as well.

Shih Tzu Care and Feeding. These are typical dogs and so need mostly animal fats and some protein in their diets. Purchase a good quality dog food for them or make your own with poultry, rice, and soy. Keep their teeth clean as they are prone to dental problems. Just giving them teeth cleaning chews can help out in that regard. They also have long hair that should be brushed regularly to keep it free from tangles and mats. If you have a show dog this is especially true. If you don’t plan on showing your dog feel free to have your dogs hair groomed and cut for easier care!

Health problems can be common with the Shih Tzu. They are prone to respiratory diseases, eye and ear problems, spinal disc disease, and dental problems. First of all, make sure your dog or puppy appears healthy before purchasing him. Next, make sure to give all of the recommended vaccinations on time and to give the appropriate boosters. Bring your dog to the veterinarian for yearly check-ups and this would also be a good time to have his teeth checked and cleaned if necessary. One last note. They don’t do well in dusty areas because of their proneness to respiratory problems. So just make sure to keep the area they are living in as clean and dust-free as possible!

The Shih Tzu really is a great dog. More information is available on Shih Tzus if you have any questions or would like more details!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Small Dog Syndrome

August 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Dogs

Small Dog Syndrome

It sounds like a disease but it is a condition that pertains to dogs and the human perception of them. If you have a small or toy dog, keep reading to find out how detrimental this syndrome can be.

“Aren’t they cute?”

You hear this all the time when people are describing puppies and small dogs. We are used to seeing big dogs and other animals but the small ones just make us gush. In human language, this is adorable and endears us to our pets even more. In dog language, however, it means something totally different.

As dogs become older they grow larger, unless they are of the small or toy varieties. This can cause some problems in the dog’s behavior that many owners ignore. Here are some examples.

Small dogs allowed to jump on people
Small dogs allowed to nip at family and visitors
Small dogs allowed to sleep where they want to
Small dogs allowed to lead on the leash
Small dogs allowed to sit in owner’s lap when they want to

Be truthful – if a large dog did any of these things, you would not be pleased, would you? Well, in the animal world, size doesn’t matter. The same way that you discipline a large dog is the same way that a small dog needs to be treated. In fact, they demand it. And, when we don’t give it to them, they rebel and can become a problem.

Small Dog Mentality

Dogs are not humans. We often forget that. Dogs have a pack mentality much like their distant relative, the wolf. This means that someone in the group has to be the leader.

Having a leader brings order to the pack. They know who to follow so that the pressure is off of them to make all of the decisions. In the home, the dog is the follower and the human is the leader. Anything less is seen as weakness by your dog.

The reason that small dogs do some of the things mentioned above is that they have begun to act like the pack leader. They have taken charge.

One way to overcome this pattern of behavior is to regain the alpha position with your dog. Here are some suggestions:

1. Don’t allow your dog to walk in front of you on the leash
2. Use a negative command like “No” when the dog nips at someone or jumps up on your legs
3. Wait until the dog displays a submissive posture before allowing them to sit in your lap or jump on the bed

Remember that dogs respond better to firm but calm instruction. Avoid yelling at your dog or pushing them around. Poke them with your fingers until they decide to move off your lap or your bed. Displaying your alpha position can avoid such things as separation anxiety as well.

Small dogs or toy dogs may be cuter but they need the same things as larger dogs.