Is She Mad at Us?

by pats chultz

Discipline? Not My Thing.

Discipline? Not My Thing.


Our "baby" is 7 years old. Has always been perfect. Loves everyone, especially us. Comes when called, never messes indoors, never runs away. Until 10 days ago she went for a walk to a neighbors house by herself.

When we got her home she was told she was bad. Since then she hates us. Won't come when called, prefers to sleep in another room, walks away when called. Vet gave her clean bill of health.

Will she go back to her old self? Can we do anything to help?

Our Answer

Oh, you naughty, naughty human. You dared to discipline the great and mighty Lion Dog? You shall now be shunned! Of course, we shouldn’t really humanize our Shih Tzus like that, but sometimes their prideful little personalities make it hard not to.

The breed is known for getting their feelings hurt easily and it’s not unusual to hear of a “wronged” furbaby acting out after they’ve been corrected.

Take heart, your baby still loves you and is sure to return to her friendly, good natured self soon enough. There are some actions you can take, and some you should avoid to help restore harmony in the family.

  • Don’t take this as a sign that you shouldn’t discipline your doggie. Your Shih Tzu needs boundaries and rules or else she really will become a tyrant. But with this breed discipline is best when delivered with a dose of sugar. Focus on positive reinforcement for good behavior as much as possible.
  • Don’t become too needy or demanding in your desire to reconnect with your pup. If she senses that you’re being overbearing she may continue to put you on extinction. The best course may be to carry on as if nothing has happened.
  • Do resume some basic training. For her own safety and well being it’s essential that your dog respond to basic commands; we can’t let her continue ignoring you for too long.

Going back to the basics will also help reestablish your bond as companions and give you an opportunity to shower her with earned praise. Since she’s already showing her obstinate side some lead training may be in order.

Teaching the “Come” Command

The American Shih Tzu Club reminds us that we should never use the “come” command to call our dogs for punishment or to do something they don’t like, such as take a bath. Knowing that unpleasant things happen when they respond to “come” will understandably deter them from obeying the command.

Put a training lead or light leash on your dog, and arm yourself with lots of her favorite treats. Tell her to come. If she obeys and gets close enough to you that you can reach down and grab her collar, praise her (Good come!), and give her a treat.

If she doesn’t come, grab the lead and run or walk quickly in the opposite direction, forcing her to follow you. Use the lead to bring her close enough so that you can hold her collar. Give her praise and a reward.

Repeat the process a few times and then try it without the lead. If she still won’t come replace the lead and practice one more time. It’s important to always end a training session with success.

Spend no more than 10 minutes a day practicing the command until she’s responding reliably. Keep the sessions fun and positive. Hopefully in a few days she’ll be bounding happily back to you as soon as you ask.

If she does decide to take another stroll to the neighbor’s house remember to praise, and not punish, if she comes back to you when called.

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