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Do Shih Tzus Bark a Lot? (Answered!)



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Many people are curious about whether or not Shih Tzus bark a lot. Some people may be thinking of getting this breed and want to know if they will be constantly annoyed by incessant barking, while others who already own a Shih Tzu may be wondering if their dog is just noisy or if there is an underlying problem.

In this article, we will explore the truth about Shih Tzu barking and offer some solutions for excessive noise.

Key Takeaway

  • Shih Tzus are known to bark a lot as they are an alert and lively breed, but with proper training, this behavior can be managed.
  • Training a Shih Tzu not to bark involves techniques such as desensitization, obeying commands, ignoring the barking until it stops, and redirecting their attention to a more productive activity.
  • Shih Tzus can be left alone for short periods, but they are prone to separation anxiety and prefer human company, so it’s not recommended to leave them alone for extended periods.

Do Shih Tzu Dogs Bark a Lot?

Do Shih Tzu Dogs Bark a Lot

Yes. Shih Tzus bark a lot. In general, small dogs tend to bark more than larger breeds. Shih Tzus have been bred to be companion animals, and barking is one way they communicate with their owners. Plus, some Shih Tzus simply have a lot of energy and like to vocalize it.

Unlike some small dog breeds that are usually aggressive towards strangers or other dogs, the Shih Tzu is not looking to pick a fight; and is going to get along with other dogs pretty well. Barking can mean a lot of different things. Shih Tzu very much likes to bark at the door when visitors arrive, but it is usually trying to get the visitors to pet it.

Shih Tzus can bark for different reasons including excitement, anxiety, pain, fear, territorial instincts; and usually just to get your attention. The Shih Tzu is generally calm and loves nothing more than to curl up into a fluffy ball in your lap and cuddle with you.

The Shih Tzu may also bark at night; and aside from this being a natural dog behavior, there are also other reasons such as fear.

Trying to scare anything away that it might perceive as danger, or trying to alert its owners. A common reason can be separation anxiety; because when a dog is alone for a long time, it can have an emotional and physical urge to be with the people it can cuddle with and have their attention.

Nobody wants grumpy neighbors and certainly, your dog barking at night won’t help. This can be quite stressful for both you and the dog, although training your Shih Tzu to not bark as much isn’t straightforward, it is indeed possible.

How To Train a Shih Tzu Not To Bark

Do Shih Tzu Dogs Bark a Lot

Training a Shih Tzu not to bark involves waiting for them to bark, then using commands like “speak” or “quiet,” ignoring the barking until it stops, and encouraging interaction with other dogs.

Wait for Your Pup to Bark

Start the training process by waiting for your Shih Tzu to start barking, which could be triggered by various stimuli such as knocking sounds. Once they bark, use this opportunity to introduce a command like “speak.”

Use Commands

Once your Shih Tzu has learned the “speak” command, you can introduce the “quiet” command. When your dog starts barking in response to a trigger, calmly say “quiet” and wait for them to stop barking. Over time, your dog will understand these commands and respond appropriately.

Ignore the Barking

Another technique is to ignore the barking by turning your back on your dog. When the barking stops, allow a short period of time, and then give them a reward such as a belly rub. This method teaches your dog that quiet behavior is rewarded.

Encourage Interaction

Encourage interaction with other dogs. Let your Shih Tzu meet other dogs on neutral territory to help them become more comfortable and less likely to bark at other dogs.

Pay Attention to Routes During Walks

Pay attention to the routes you use during your walks. If certain places or things trigger your dog to bark, try changing your route to avoid these triggers while they’re still learning to control their barking.

Use Training Aids

Training aids such as a behavior corrector device can be used during the pause in their barking if they do not obey your commands. This can help reinforce the training and make it more effective.

Are Shih Tzus OK To Be Left Alone?

Do Shih Tzu Dogs Bark a Lot

Most Shih Tzus will do just fine when left alone for a few hours. However, having been bred to be a companion dog, the Shih Tzu will get separation anxiety; especially if left alone for several hours.

As much as we’d love to spend all our time with our fluffy friends, most of us can’t be home all day. Separation anxiety is the fear and panic that your Shih Tzu may experience when you leave for several hours or even minutes.

 You can train your Shih Tzu to cope better with your absence. This does not require complicated training but a few habits changes on your end. Dogs in general, depend on social interactions with the people around them to feel relaxed, excited, and happy.

And when left alone for long periods without any way of knowing when you are coming back, they start to get anxious.

Separation anxiety is not good for your Shih Tzu. And luckily, there are ways you can identify the symptoms of separation anxiety. When you aren’t at home, your Shih Tzu is alone and stressed about your absence.

It may defecate and/or urinate in places it usually shouldn’t and/or doesn’t. It also may loudly and excessively bark and whine in your absence.

 The Shih Tzu can also chew items at home or even its paws or tail. These are all reactions because your Shih Tzu is in distress and has symptoms of separation anxiety.

Depending on where in the hierarchy of the pack your Shih Tzu believes it fits, and how it gets training, it can also start nipping, barking at you, or start whining when you are about to leave the house. These are also signs of separation anxiety in your Shih Tzu says PetCreeks.

Why is My Shih Tzu Barking For No Reason?

Shih Tzus may bark for what seems like no reason due to a variety of factors including territorial behavior, perceived threats, separation anxiety, boredom, lack of exercise, or frustration.

Territorial Behavior

Shih Tzus, like many dogs, have a strong instinct to protect their territory. This can lead them to bark at any perceived intrusion, such as unfamiliar people or animals approaching their home.

Perceived Threats

Barking is a dog’s way of communicating, and often, it’s used to alert their human companions of potential dangers or threats. Therefore, when your Shih Tzu barks, they might be trying to warn you about something they perceive as dangerous.

Separation Anxiety

Shih Tzus are known for being very social and attached to their human companions. If they are left alone for extended periods, they may experience separation anxiety which can cause excessive barking.


Without enough mental stimulation or physical exercise, Shih Tzus may resort to barking out of sheer boredom. It’s important to provide them with plenty of toys and activities to keep them engaged and active.

Lack of Exercise

Shih Tzus, though small, is quite active and needs regular exercise. If they do not get enough physical activity, they may start barking excessively due to pent-up energy.


Like humans, dogs can also experience frustration. If your Shih Tzu is left outside for long periods or is not given the attention it craves, it may bark out of frustration.


Q: How can I control my Shih Tzu’s barking?

A: To help control your Shih Tzu’s barking, it is important to provide them with proper training and socialization from a young age. Enroll them in obedience classes and teach them command words like “quiet” or “enough.” Consistency in training and positive reinforcement will help curb their excessive barking.

Q: Are Shih Tzus difficult to train?

A: Shih Tzus can be stubborn at times and may require some patience during training. However, with proper techniques and positive reinforcement, they can be trained successfully. It is important to start training early and establish yourself as the pack leader to make training sessions more effective.

Q: How often should I groom my Shih Tzu?

A: Shih Tzus have a long and dense coat that requires regular grooming to avoid matting and tangling. It is recommended to groom your Shih Tzu at least once every 4 to 6 weeks. Regular brushing and occasional trimming of the hair around the eyes and ears are also necessary to maintain their hygiene.

Q: Are Shih Tzus good with children?

A: Shih Tzus can be great companions for children if they are properly socialized and trained. They are generally friendly and affectionate, although supervision is always recommended when young children interact with any dog breed to ensure safety for both the child and the dog.

Q: Are Shih Tzus hypoallergenic?

A: Yes, Shih Tzus are considered to be a hypoallergenic breed. However, no dog is completely hypoallergenic as allergies vary from person to person. Shih Tzus have hair-like fur instead of traditional dog fur, which reduces the amount of dander they produce and can be less allergenic for some individuals.

Q: Do Shih Tzus require a lot of exercise?

A: Shih Tzus are generally not a high-energy breed and do not require extensive exercise. However, they still need daily walks and playtime to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. A moderate amount of exercise, along with mental enrichment, is important to keep your Shih Tzu happy and healthy.

Q: Do Shih Tzus get along with other pets?

A: Shih Tzus can get along well with other pets if they are properly socialized from a young age. They may need some time to adjust and establish boundaries, especially with bigger dogs. As with any new pet introduction, it is important to supervise their interactions and ensure a positive and gradual introduction.

Q: How long do Shih Tzus live?

A: Shih Tzus have an average lifespan of 10 to 16 years. With proper care, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups, they can live a long and healthy life. Some Shih Tzus have even been known to live beyond 16 years.

Q: Are Shih Tzus prone to any health issues?

A: Shih Tzus are prone to certain health issues, including eye problems, dental issues, allergies, respiratory problems, and joint disorders. Regular visits to the veterinarian, proper grooming, and a balanced diet can help minimize the risk of these health issues and ensure the overall well-being of your Shih Tzu.

Conclusion and final thoughts

In conclusion, Shih Tzus are known to be vocal dogs and may bark more than some other breeds.

However, with proper training and socialization, their excessive barking can be controlled. It is important to understand the reasons behind their barking and address them accordingly.

Shih Tzus are loving and loyal companions, but like any other breed, they require time, patience, and consistency in training.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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