How to Keep a Shih Tzu Puppy Out of a Big Dog's Water Bowl

by Rachael LaCross
(Lake Leelanau, MI)

Water Bottles for Shih Tzu, Bowls for Goldens

Water Bottles for Shih Tzu, Bowls for Goldens

Hi, I have a golden retriever and Shih Tzu puppy. I bought a water bottle and my Shih Tzu uses it but also uses the other bowl. How do I keep him out of it while keeping it available for my golden?

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Hi Janice Jones Here from Miracle Shih Tzu
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How many of you think your Shih Tzu dog(s) have no idea how big they are? I know my dogs can't seem to understand the size difference between dogs, but more likely, they know precisely but want to make up for the difference in size in many unique ways including stealing water from another dog's water bowls.

Shih Tzu dogs tend to do well with water bottles, and if you can get your dog to drink from one, you'll bypass a lot of the face grooming that accompanies puppies that love to drown their faces in the water just like they were bobbing for apples.

Some puppies will jump into the water bowl to see how it feels. After a couple of swims, most puppies give up that practice, at least that has been my experience with Shih Tzu dogs. Not so with other breeds.

But large dogs may not get enough water intake if they must rely on water bottles alone and that is why I'm surmising you have both.

There are a couple of things you could try to keep your Shih Tzu puppy out of the big water bowl.

Have you considered purchasing raised bowls for your Golden Retriever, ones high enough that the Shih Tzu may not be able to reach? They would need to be nested in a bowl holder that won't tip if a busy puppy tries to check it out.

Another option might be to train the puppy to visit the water bottle rather than the bowl. You would need to be there to catch her sneaking a sip from the bowl. To distract her, you will need some tasty treat tidbits.

1. When you see her begin to drink, grab her attention the way you would typically, call her name, say, "stop" or go tap on the bowl. I can get my "herd" of dogs to stop in their tracks with a single metal on metal noise, such as a utensil striking a steel pot whatever attention-getting behavior that works for your puppy is the one to use.

2. Lure her over to her water bottle. At first, you may need to pick her up and move her to the bowl. As soon as she starts to sip water from the bottle, mark the behavior with an enthusiastic "yes" and give her a treat.

3. You will need to repeat this numerous times until your puppy realizes that drinking from the water bottle gets a reward. Eventually, your goal is to call her to the bottle so that what you are doing is reminding her where she's supposed to drink.

4. You may also want to entice her to visit the water bottle through the use of some smelly substance that you place on the end of the nozzle. This odor could be anything that might taste good, too, but the smell is more important. (Peanutbutter, cheese, chicken fat, whatever you can put on it in a very think coat that is easy to lick off. It is the smell that is more important than the taste as that is what will hold her attention.

Good luck with your training or change of bowls. Training always takes some time, but she is still a puppy and is at a stage where she wants to please. As long as you make it seem like a game she can win, you'll likely have a puppy with a nice dry face. By the way, your puppy is a real cutie.

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