Are you planning to get a Shih Tzu puppy? If you are, one of the things you should prepare for is socialization, which involves exposing your pup to various stimuli so he can get used to them. Socialization keeps your Shih Tzu from being a scared, aggressive dog and helps him transform into a calm, happy, and well-adjusted pet that will brighten up your life.
Not sure where to begin? You can start by taking these steps:
- Begin socialization ASAP
Socialization should start as early as birth. If you bought your pup from a reputable breeder, he or she should have already exposed the puppy to various sights and sounds. The process begins in earnest when your Shih Tzu is 12 weeks old and is old enough to be a bit independent.
- Introduce your puppy to various people
It’s important for your Shih Tzu to learn that most people won’t harm him and are not a threat. This way, he won’t get overly aggressive when you take him out of the house or when you get visitors. If you live with other family members, ensure that everyone has the chance to interact with the puppy so he can get used to them. Make it a point to invite your friends over and have them interact with your Shih Tzu. As much as possible, try to invite a mix of people (i.e. little kids, teens, older adults, tall and/or large folks, men with beards or mustaches, people of various ethnicity, friends who talk in loud voices) so your pup can adjust to them.
- Let him interact with various animals
If you have other pets in the house, make sure to introduce them to your Shih Tzu. If you don’t have other friends, take your puppy to a friend’s house where he can meet dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, birds, and other pets. This way, he’ll realize that there are many other kinds of animals, and he won’t be afraid to interact with them. Just make sure that the animals he comes in contact with have all the necessary vaccinations.
- Expose him to new objects and places
Your Shih Tzu should not be afraid of stairs, umbrellas, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dishwashers, lawn mowers, and other common household objects. You can also try rearranging your furniture after a few weeks or months so your puppy will realize that it’s all right when his environment changes.
Of course, make it a point to bring him to different places. In the video, the Shih Tzus and their owners are gathered in a popular pet lifestyle boutique, but you can also take your puppy to the dog park, pet stores, shopping centers, and other places with crowds. Take him on short car rides so he’ll get used to riding in a car and have the chance to visit other places.
- Help him get used to common grooming procedures
Your Shih Tzu should be used to being bathed, having his ears and teeth cleaned, and getting his nails clipped. This way, he won’t become aggressive when you take him to a professional groomer or when he gets his checkup from his vet.
Keep these tips in mind to make socializing your Shih Tzu puppy a breeze!