Problem Behaviors in a Six Month Old Shih Tzu

by Debbie Summers
(Altoona, Pa)

I bought my Shih Tzu at 8 weeks from a pet store. I have had her in two different puppy training classes but she bites me sometimes when I take something from her mouth that she shouldn't have.

She is 6 months old and I am still trying to house train her. She fights me now about going outside and I never know when she has to pee. She doesn't listen to a lot when I tell her no.

She is very loving at times and goes right down to bed at night but doesn't sleep much during the day.

This is my first dog and I have done a lot of reading but I feel I just don't know what I am doing wrong. I give her love and she is never alone for more the a couple hours any day.

I walk her on nice days, play with her and in the morning she lays on my lap for about 30 minutes.
I can't allow her in the living room or she will pee on the rug so I can't relax and watch TV.

She still puppy bites when I play with her and jumps on everyone that talks to her and puppy bites.

I am 68 years old and am in over my head, I just want to do what is right but I am running out of ideas.

Miracle Shih Tzu's Response...

Hi Debbie and thanks for taking the time to visit my site. I'm Janice and the voice behind this site. I wanted to break down the problems you were having with your puppy and perhaps give them a name so we can tackle one at a time.

First, let me say how sorry I am for all the problems you are facing. Some of these issues I have written about and are articles on this site. Others, I will write an article with links.
As I see it, there are six issues you are dealing with this puppy.

1. Stage of Puppy Adolescence

2. Housebreaking Problems

3. Mouthing or Possibly Biting (Unsure if it is aggressive in nature based on the description.)

4. Jumping on people

5. Resource Guarding

6. Stubborn ("She doesn't listen")

I want to point out that some of these behaviors can be problems in the Shih Tzu, but you usually don't see each one.


At six months of age, a Shih Tzu is almost or is sexually mature. They are adolescents and for all of us who have survived the adolescent stage with our own human children, you know that it is not the easiest of the human life stages. Think of puppy adolescents in the same light:

A brain that's not quite mature, not quite that of a child. Impulsive, Unpredictability, Mood-swings, self centered.... and the list goes on.

Read more about Shih Tzu Adolescence


May I suggest an article I wrote awhile back on housebreaking? You may have to start at the begining, but please know that the breed is known for being difficult to Housebreak

Puppy Mouthing

There is a difference between puppy mouthing and biting. From the description I am unsure which one it might be. Puppy mouthing can turn into adult mouthing where the dog puts his mouth on your hand or other part of you but "the bite" is gentle, rather like a retriever dog bringing prey back to a hunter in his mouth. Biting on the other hand is deliberate and likely to cause pain. Some puppies do not learn the difference.
For a little more information on the differences between the two, may I suggest checking out the links on this site.

Puppy Biting and

Puppy Mouthing

I can see that I have not addressed the other issues in any other article on this site, so thank you for your post. I will be writing on the topics of:

Shih Tzu Stubbornness

Resource Guarding


If you want to know my opinion on Pet Store Puppies and why that may be the root cause of many of the problems, please see my article on Pet Store Puppies

Please check back in a couple of days to view these articles. In the meantime, may I leave you with a conversation I had with my own Shih Tzu?

The breed is known for being stubborn, the "what's in it for me" attitude that almost every Shih Tzu owner encounters at one point or another.


Dog: "You want me to come inside? I like it out here. I'm having fun. Why should I come in?

You: Come, I have to go to work and you can't stay out there?

Dog: I'll come in if you pay me.

You: Are you crazy. I shouldn't have to pay you, just come.

Dog: How about if we negotiate. I'll come in if you give me a piece of that T-bone you were eating last night?

You: Listen, please just come in. Pleeeeese.

Dog: OK, I'll settle for a couple of those treats you have near the door.

You: Here, come get these treats. I've got to get to work.


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