New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist

New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist     By Janice Jones     |Last updated 02-22-2023

Many new puppy buyers have questions about what to expect, what to buy, how to prepare, train, groom and feed.  It's often said that getting a dog is like having a baby -- there's just so many things to consider.

You can think of this article as a reminder sheet for everything you should know and do immediately.  As the puppy gets a little older, we’ll suggest further reading to help make that first year the best one ever. 

The anticipation is getting the best of you—admit it, bring home a new puppy brings out the inner child in all of us.  But if you have a few days before that puppy is ready, we suggest you read up and prepare. 

Part of your new puppy’s success in adapting to her new surroundings depends on making sure your family, your home and you are prepared.  Consider it like bring home a new baby with four legs instead of two.

New Shih Tzu owner checklist for bringing home a puppy.

Decisions About Dog Ownership

Before you can start planning for the new arrival, it's best know for sure that a puppy is right for you.  Still deciding whether to purchase a puppy?  There are many things to consider and we've put them together on a checklist similar to this one. Do a little soul searching as you Read more about making that big decision.

Then, it's time to assure yourself that the Shih Tzu is right for you.  Check out our little Shih Tzu Quiz, and then read the answers and explanations to our Shih Tzu Selector Quiz.

Laws, Rules, Licenses, OH MY

Probably the last think people think about when getting a new puppy is local ordinances and regulations that restrict dog ownership.  Luckily, most people do not consider the Shih Tzu to be a dangerous breed so they are accept wherever dogs are allowed.

Many communicates do restrict the number of pets one can have and others restrict dogs and cats entirely.  If you are renting, check ahead of time to assure you will be allowed to keep your puppy.  If you own your own home, check your home owner's insurance policy to assure it covers injuries from dog bites.

While you are checking into the legalities, find out if a dog license is required and when and where it must be purchased.  

New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist:  Your To-Do List

Now that you have decided that the Shih Tzu breed is right for you, it's time to pick out a puppy.  Visit Miracle Shih Tzu Pup to see if we have any puppies currently available.  If you have your new puppy picked out and have reserved him, now is the time to start preparing yourself and your home.

New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist:  Puppy Proof Your Home

Make sure your house and outdoor area is safe.  We call this process puppy-proofing your home, but don’t neglect the yard as there can be substantial dangers there as well. 

Look at the fence to be sure there are no holes or breaks; pick up flower pots that might be easily knocked over, look for any poisonous plants that might need to be re-potted and clean up any trash or containers that might be poisonous to a puppy.

While we’re on the subject of puppy-proofing you might also want to check out our list of foods you should never give to a puppy or adult dog. Both of these articles can be found on this site. For more information of keeping your puppy safe, you will want to check out this safety resource also.

New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist: Purchase Necessary Supplies

This is the fun part of our new dog owner checklist, but also costly, so don’t go overboard until you know for sure what you will need. 

Start with the basics and purchase additional items as the budget will allow.  We’ve put together a list of things you will mostly likely need, but don’t get overwhelmed with the list.  Puppies are like babies – you definitely need a few things at first, but add items when they fit into your budget.

New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist: Choose a Name

If you purchase a puppy from Miracle Shih Tzu Pup, she will already have a name.  This does not mean that you must keep the name we chose. 

Our motive for naming was purely for convenience and yes, we will call her that to help her begin to associate human words with meanings. Learn more about choosing a Shih Tzu Dog name or browse our list of girl puppy names or boy puppy names.  If you plan to register your dog with the American Kennel Club, you will want to think of a clever formal name.  The call name and the AKC name may or may not be the same, it's is entirely up to you.

Puppy Possessions:  Where will you Keep all That Stuff?

All that stuff that a puppy needs begins to add up even if your puppy is small.  Crates, pens, gates, stroller, car seat, toys, grooming equipment, everything will need to be kept somewhere.  Will you allocate a cabinet for dog supplies or fill up totes that can be carried from room to room?  Do you have room in your closet, pantry, or basement to keep your dog stuff?

Now is a good time to determine how you will store your puppy's possessions.  Remember that some of those supplies such as cleaners, disinfectants, and shampoos are toxic to dogs, so they should be kept in a location where puppy is not likely to go.

New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist: Choose House Training Methods

What method of house training you will use.  Everyone in the family should be in agreement when it comes to house training or the poor puppy will be hopelessly confused.

There are different options and the best one depends on what works for you and your family.  Choose a method and stick to it. Read more about house training a Shih Tzu.

House Rules, Manners, Routines, Dealing with Typical Puppy Behaviors

Every puppy must learn the ropes.  He must understand what he can and cannot do and he must learn the typical household routine.  Every family is different, so it is up to you to decide things such as 

Will I allow the puppy on my bed or other furniture?

Will he stay in a crate while I'm away from the home or live in a playpen or exercise pen?

Will I allow him to jump up or stop that behavior from the beginning?

These are just a few of the questions to ask yourself before the puppy arrives.  A well-behaved puppy is a joy to have around, but they don't start like that.  It's up to you to mold their behavior in a way that is acceptable to you.

Think about typical Shih Tzu puppy behaviors:

  • Barking
  • Whining
  • Chewing on stuff
  • Biting and Nipping
  • Running Under foot
  • Housebreaking mistakes
  • Eating things he shouldn't
  • Tearing up paper

Now would be a good time to learn how to deal with these normal behaviors.

What about scheduling and establishing routines?  Dogs, like small children thrive on predictable routines and schedules.  They are less stressed when they know when meals will be served, when they will be allowed to go out, when it's time to play or take walks. 

A very important reason for establishing a routine early on is to build trust and establish a bond.  A puppy that has a strong bond with you will want to please you which makes training so much easier.

New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist:  Read about Puppy Biting

Introduction to Other Pets in the Household

If your new puppy is going to be an only-child, you won't need to read this section.  Often, the puppy will be entering the family that may already have an older dog or cat.  Some families have other types of pets such as rabbits or ferrets.  It's important to consider how you will make the introductions so the puppy is not overwhelmed or the older dog feels displaced.  

There has been many books and articles that address this subject, how to introduce a new dog into the household.  Some suggest you do it on neutral grounds, others find that impracticable.  Do be prepared for the unexpected.  Love at first sight is not the normal reaction to two dogs meeting for the first time. 

There will be a greeting ritual such as tail sniffing, circling, crouching  or standing their ground.  It's important to let the two dogs get to know each other, but it is equally advisable to be close by should the encounter go south quickly.  

You may find you will need to keep the dogs separate when you can't supervise.  This would also include separate sleeping arrangements as well as eating spaces.   Short, frequent interactions that are totally supervised is the best way to get two dogs acquainted.  

It is also very important to assure your older dog(s) that they are loved and not being replaced.  That may mean greeting them first, serving food to them first, and giving them toys and treats first.  Later on when both pets have settled in, this won't be as necessary.

New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist:  Doggie Chores

No one likes chores, but those associated with a puppy can be fun.  Everyone in the household will want to be a part of the new puppy’s schedule and children may be excited at first to do those tasks that are required to keep puppy happy such as feeding, walking, playing with, or even grooming.  Decide who will be responsible for which chores

  • Provide fresh water several times a day
  • Feed 2 -3 times per day
  • Brush and comb once per day
  • House training – trips outdoors, every few hours
  • Walk & leash training
  • Training for basic commands, socialization, and teach manners.

New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist:  Choose a Veterinarian

This is the most important item on your new dog owner checklist.  You will need to establish a relationship with a veterinarian immediately after you purchase your puppy.  We offer a health guarantee, but it is only good if you take the puppy within 48 hours to a vet for a checkup. 

The dog may not need shots immediately, but it is always a good idea to have a stool sample checked for worms and other internal parasites. 

Read more about finding a good veterinarian.

Anticipate Early Health Needs (and costs) of Your New Shih Tzu Puppy

Again, puppies are like children in that they will require well-puppy visits to your veterinarian in the first year of life.  They will need a series of vaccinations, worm checks and your vet will like recommend products such as heartworm preventative and flea and tick medications.  A new Shih Tzu owner checklist would not be complete if we didn't address budgeting for the new arrival.  If you are on a tight budget, call ahead to get prices so you can budget. 

There are also additional low cost ways to obtain vaccines, heartworm tests and flea and tick products.  Many local pet shops host vaccine clinics.  Your local humane shelter may also set aside days for vaccine clinics.  There are also low cost spay and neuter clinics in most communities.  Call around to see what is available in your location.

Each veterinarian is a little different and each has his own preferences.  Here's a few of the typical vaccinations that puppies may get.  Rabies is the only vaccine required by law.

  • Rabies
  • Canine parvovirus (“parvo”)
  • Canine distemper
  • Leptospirosis
  • Canine Adenovirus-2
  • Canine parainfluenza
  • Canine coronavirus
  • Canine influenza
  • Lyme disease
  • Bordetella (“kennel cough”)

New Shih Tzu Owner Checklist:  Choose Other Helpful Professionals

It takes a village to raise a puppy and you will want to investigate what is available in your area for such things as groomers, doggie day care, and even the best emergency veterinary facility near you.  You won't need all of these services at first, but while you wait for your new puppy to arrive, it's advisable and fun to locate professionals near you that may be able to help should the need arise.

  • Doggie Day Care
  • Dog Walkers / Dog sitter / Boarding facilities
  • Trainers and Puppy Kindergarten Classes
  • Groomer Unless you plan to do everything yourself
  • Emergency Veterinary Hospital in your area
  • What about Pet Insurance?  Have you considered the Pros and Cons?

More Resources for the New Puppy Owner

You won't need these until the puppy arrives but it is a good idea to know where to find additional information for making that special little puppy feel welcome, calm and well-cared for. 

The First Few Nights, What to Expect

Shih Tzu Puppy Developmental Milestones:  Ages and Stages

Shih Tzu Puppy Growth Chart

About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and Smart-Knit-Crocheting.

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