Busy routines often require Shih Tzus to spend a few hours alone at home. However, we don’t call them pets just because they keep us company: they also need our presence, attention, and affection.
Before having Shih Tzu, people don’t usually give much importance to this subject. After all, Shih Tzus stay at home alone when their tutors go to work and doesn’t die for it.
But when spoiled things start to appear in the house, broken objects or “necessities” scattered on the floor, the case changes. Punishing the Shih Tzu will only make the situation worse, adding more stress to this whole situation that the Shih Tzu has already accumulated by being alone.
What stress can affect your Shih Tzu’s health
The main problem with going out is that Shih Tzu doesn’t know if our absence is temporary. Closing the door and heading out to work is a normal experience for us, but it can be very stressful for the animals left behind.
Stress and anxiety can trigger a number of behaviors that we naturally don’t want them to have, such as incessant barking (possible neighborhood problems), “needs” in undesirable places, gnawing on furniture, rummaging through trash, licking themselves incessantly (causing wounds), among others.
Your Shih Tzu will probably never appreciate the idea of being alone, however, with a few tips you can significantly reduce the problem. Check below Learn methods to leave your shih Tzu alone at home.
Get used to the Shih Tzu little by little
If your Shih Tzu isn’t used to being alone, it’s a good idea to start getting used to it little by little. Try leaving the house for 5 minutes, coming back, leaving for another 15 or 30 minutes, and coming back again. This little training helps the Shih Tzu understand that you leave, but come back, and with that reduce anxiety.
Also try to promote some periods of silence and detachment during the day, for the Shih Tzu to get used to it and realize that there is no harm in this.
Don’t let your Shih Tzu associate isolation with punishment
Since your Shih Tzu will be alone during your absence, he should not associate this isolation with something bad or punishing. On the contrary. By associating isolation with good things or at least something natural, you will be more at ease.
A nice morning walk
A good walk with some exercise in the morning can go a long way. The energy spent on a walk or a run will no longer be spent at home during your absence, you will probably be calmer.
Of course, the amount of exercise must be considered on a case-by-case basis: is the shih Tzu still young or not? Do you have any health problems? It’s very hot? All this must be taken into account and in case of doubt, your veterinarian can help.
Devalue the farewell and the return
Don’t say goodbye when you leave, or throw (or let it be) a big party when you return. Separation and reunion should be normal habits, not an event. If you give it a lot of attention immediately before going out, your shih Tzu may associate that attention with something bad (it will be alone).
Likewise, if you give your shih Tzu a lot of attention when you first arrive, it will increase the shih-tzu’s anxiety the next time you leave, looking forward to your return and the extra attention you receive.
Leave things for your Shih Tzu to do
It is common to read reports of tutors who arrived at home and saw an object destroyed, but in fact, did not leave any toys at the disposal of the Shih Tzu to distract him. Put some toys around the house before you go out (balls, dolls, bones to play with) so that your Shih Tzu has something to do during the hours he is alone.
You can even hide some toys in accessible places so that the shih Tzu can discover them, but that forces him to look first, stimulating him physically and mentally.
You don’t need to play Beethoven’s 9th symphony at home, but a simple television on, with the light background noise of the programs, helps to combat loneliness. Choose a channel or a set of calm shows, like nature documentaries or, there you have it, classical music. Alternatively, a simple radio on is better than nothing.
A sign of your presence, even absent
Your shih Tzu’s separation anxiety will be less if it has access to something of your own, with your scent — for example, an item of clothing you’ve recently worn.
Two shih Tzus are better distracted than a shih Tzu alone. Of course, the decision to add a new shih Tzu to your family must take into account many factors besides loneliness, but it is still an idea to consider.
Talk to your vet and ask if it would be a good idea to add a new shih Tzu to what you already have and what you should be looking for in the new companion (in terms of size, gender, energy, or temperament).
The last thing we want is to end up with an incompatibility situation, bad for us and also for the shih Tzu.