Are Shih Tzus Aggressive: 8 Top Aggression Triggers

Are Shih Tzus Aggressive

Most dog lovers always ask are Shih Tzus aggressive, which is an interesting question and that is what this post is all about.

Shih Tzus are not aggressive but can develop aggression over time due to many things we will outline and discuss in this post.

In this post, we will outline the common signs of aggression in Shih Tzus and the causes or things that trigger off aggression.

We will also outline and discuss some types of aggression found in Shih Tzus as well as outline common ways to prevent aggressive behaviors in Shih Tzus.

Let me quickly answer your question are Shih Tzus aggressive before we proceed to other things, so sit tight and read through!

Are Shih Tzus Aggressive

Shih Tzus are not known to be aggressive dogs because they were developed specifically to be human companions.

Poor socialization, frustration, fear, anxiety, possessive behavior, and, most significantly, lack of adequate training or behavioral instruction by the owner can lead Shih Tzus to be aggressive.

Shih Tzus are small breeds of dogs that are frightened by any bigger animal and could become aggressive.

Let’s now look at some early signs of aggression in Shih Tzus.

Signs of aggression in Shih Tzus

The following are the most common signs of aggression in Shih Tzus which includes:

  1. Nipping.
  2. Teeth bared.
  3. Snarling.
  4. Growling.
  5. Temporary increase in size.
  6. Body posture that is stiff.
  7. Dragging  forward.
  8. Less receptive to the supplied command.
  9. Always barking for no apparent reason.
  10. A lot of snapping.
  11. Biting.

Health reasons for Shih Tzu aggression

Here are several medical reasons for Shih Tzu aggression, as well as certain health issues that are linked to Shih Tzu aggression:

  1. Hypothyroidism.
  2. Metabolic disorders
  3. Hip Dysplasia
  4. Patellar Luxation
  5. Allergies
  6. Intervertebral Disk Disease
  7. Ear Infections
  8. Brain tumors
  9. Seizures
  10. Head trauma
  11. Side effects of medication

As you can see, there are lots of health challenges associated with Shih Tzus that can make them aggressive.

Before concluding that your Shih Tzu is excessively aggressive, make sure you rule out all medical reasons with your vet.

Let’s now outline and discuss the most common reasons why your Shih Tzu may be excessively aggressive.

Causes of aggression in Shih Tzus

Here are several reasons why your Shih Tzu could be violent toward other dogs or humans, as well as some suggestions for dealing with the situation:

1. Fear

Most Shih Tzus become aggressive only when they believe they are in danger, are unable to run, and feel driven to defend themselves.

If a Shih Tzu is driven into a corner with no way out, or if he thinks a hand over his head means he’ll be smacked, this can happen.

To avoid inciting violent behavior in Shih Tzu, approach them with care or, better still let them approach you.

Train and socialize your Shih Tzu from the puppy stages to help him avoid fear in the future.

It’s important to remember that when dogs are threatened at any time of day or night, they turn aggressive toward other humans or animals in the vicinity.


So, whether it’s other dogs or humans, strive to eradicate all kinds of fear in your home.

Fear can be alleviated by socializing your dog with other dogs as soon as possible.

This will educate your dog that other dogs are not a threat while they are in the vicinity.

It will also teach your dog to be calm around other dogs and avoid unnecessarily attacking them. 

The best way to remove fear from your Shih Tzu is to introduce your Shih Tzu to its object of fear.

If your Shih Tzu is afraid of the mailman, call the mailman and introduce the mailman to your Shih Tzu to remove all sorts of fear.

2. Lack of socialization

If you have trouble socializing your Shih, he will attack a visitor or other dogs one day, and you will label him an aggressive dog.

An unsocialized Shih Tzu is one that is kept in your yard and trained without being taken on walks or interacting with other dogs, pets, or even humans.

It’s possible that your Shih Tzu is completely unaware of what’s going on outside.

Because you want your Shih Tzu to be less socially antagonistic, you can’t even tell your neighbors your Shih Tzu’s name with this type of training.

Lack of proper socialization is one of the major causes of aggression in Shih Tzus.


How to socialize a Shih Tzu

Here are some common ways to socialize your Shih Tzu:

  1. Taking your Shih Tzu for puppy classes.
  2. Taking your Shih Tzu to dog park.
  3. Go camping with your Shih Tzu.
  4. Visit other dog owners with your Shih Tzu.
  5. Go on vacation with your Shih Tzu.
  6. Invite other dog owners and introduce your Shih Tzu.
  7. Go for dog shows with your Shih Tzu.
  8. Go for evening stroll with your Shih Tzu.
  9. Visit your family members with your Shih Tzu.
  10. Play video of dog movies or dog shows.

3. Frustration

Anyone, even the dog’s owner, can be attacked by an agitated Shih Tzu. When a Shih Tzu is agitated, there are various factors that contribute to his high level of aggression.

Paying less attention than usual, ignoring the dog, interfering with the dog’s eating routines, and so on.

Why shouldn’t dogs be aggressive when they’re upset? Humans are aggressive when they’re frustrated, so why shouldn’t dogs be aggressive when they’re frustrated?

Shih Tzus are companion dogs that are easily frightened and frustrated with loud sounds and constant changes of routine.


Frustrated Shih Tzus are more likely to do unexpected things, so make sure your Shih Tzu is always happy.

To address the issue of Shih Tzus frustration, you must first determine the cause of the issue and eliminate it as soon as possible.

Try not to disregard the Shih Tzu when he or she needs your attention. Make sure you avoid your Shih Tzu being frustrated.

Other dogs or animals should not be permitted to access the feeding area of the Shih Tzu. It is not a good idea to pay less attention than normal.

How to avoid your Shih Tzu from getting frustrated

  1. Stop changing your daily routine.
  2. Stop changing your dog food.
  3. Keep your Shih Tzu away from loud sounds.
  4. Keep your Shih Tzu away from heat.
  5. Groom your Shih Tzu daily.
  6. Keep your Shih Tzu from cold temperature.
  7. Never leave your Shih Tzu alone for too long.
  8. Give your Shih Tzu high-quality food.

4. Illness

A dog ailment is a disease or stage of a disease that affects the body or mind of a dog.

Injecting tainted food or bacteria into the body, as well as injuries, insect bites, and parasite infections can cause this.

When your Shih Tzu is unwell, and you ignore him for the majority of the time, he gets aggressive against you, your family, and other pets.

A sick Shih Tzu is continually hostile as a result of its illness and will attack other dogs regardless of their size.


Parasites, fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens are only a few of the many causes of disease in dogs.

This can be induced by the environment or by consuming specific foods, both of which can be avoided via good hygiene.

So be on the lookout for signs of illness in your Shih Tzu and take him to the clinic for treatment or regular checkups.

5. Anxiety

Shih Tzus are little dog breeds that are prone to anxiety and these can definitely lead to aggression.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  1. Destructive chewing
  2. Digging
  3. Whining
  4. Barking
  5. Shaking
  6. Freezing
  7. Sadness
  8. Growling
  9. Excessive licking.
  10. Excessive shedding.
  11. Crying.


How to fix anxiety in Shih Tzus

  • Visit a dog behaviorist or veterinarian.
  • Desensitization and counter conditioning.
  • Make time to be with your Shih Tzu.
  • Establish a stress-free atmosphere
  • Create a daily regimen.

Read more about Shih Tzu anxiety!!!

6. Lack of proper training

This is the most thorough solution to your question about why my Shih Tzu is aggressive with other dogs.

Even military personnel must teach their canines before they start accepting orders since inadequate training is responsible for 60% of dog aggression toward other dogs.

As a result, in order to lessen or eliminate aggression against other dogs or humans, you must offer your Shih Tzu with correct training.

Despite the fact that proper training leads to reduced aggression, most dog owners assume that training requires just feeding your Shih Tzu.

Read more: 10 Shih Tzu Behavior Problems & Solutions

7. Lack of care

Lack of care is the root cause of aggression in Shih Tzu. There are a few things you should be doing to properly care for your Shih Tzu.

Here are some common ways to care for your Shih Tzu:

  1. Daily brushing.
  2. Good quality food.
  3. Feeding at the right time.
  4. Provide interactive toys.
  5. Provide lots of chewing toys
  6. Taking your Shih Tzu to professional groomer.
  7. Bathe your Shih Tzu once in a while.
  8. Play with your Shih Tzu.
  9. Take your Shih Tzu for an evening walk.

8. Pain

This is a fantastic explanation of why your Shih Tzu is aggressive: if your dog is in pain, you may expect him to act aggressively against you, the owner.

Pain causes anxiety in Shih Tzus, and it may be caused by disease or injury, so if your Shih Tzu is acting aggressively, check to see whether it is wounded or ill.

Pain in a Shih Tzu can lead to a number of strange behaviors, such as barking, biting, whining, growling, and so on.

In a number of situations, discomfort might diminish their tolerance, leading to violence in some circumstances.

For a Shih Tzu, pain is not only unpleasant, but it may also be quite stressful.

How to solve Shih Tzu aggression

The following are some strategies for dealing with Shih Tzu aggression:

1. Avoid potential aggressive triggers

If you can identify a specific cause for Shih Tzu’s aggressive behavior, that’s great.

It’s critical to make their lives easier by avoiding the situation if feasible.

Even though not all Shih Tzu aggressive triggers can be avoided, there are several that can.

If your Shih Tzu looks to be agitated when new animals join the house, for example, it may be best to refrain from bringing in any new pets.

2. Talk to an experience dog trainer or owner

When trying to figure out how to keep your Shih Tzu from getting violent, it’s vital to speak with someone, whether it’s a dog trainer or a seasoned dog owner.

Please contact an experienced owner or trainer if your Shih Tzu gets violent for no apparent reason.

They will provide you with solutions to assist you to stop your Shih Tzu to quit from being aggressive.

As a dog owner, long-term dog training will offer you a wealth of knowledge.

You can’t compare yourself to a professional dog owner; thus, if your Shih Tzu gets very aggressive, seek the counsel of a knowledgeable dog owner.

3. Create and stick to a working daily routine

This may seem absurd, but it works; all you need is a good eating regimen.

Do you think your Shih Tzu would be friendly if you train him to eat between 7 and 8 a.m. every day, and then you suddenly start feeding him at 11 a.m.?

If you want to help your Shih Tzu become less aggressive, don’t change your eating schedule.

Make a schedule for yourself and follow it.

If you change your feeding schedule, stay with it; don’t revert to the old one unless it’s not working for you and your Shih Tzu.

Changing your Shih Tzu’s feeding schedule will make him feel abandoned and mistreated. Dogs, like humans, have feelings too.

4. Committed attention and periodic vet visits

When Shih Tzus are well-cared for, they become less aggressive.

Feeding, exercising, socializing, bathing, attention, training, and regular veterinarian appointments are all part of caring for a Shih Tzu.

Examine the whole list above and make any required modifications to reduce your Shih Tzu’s chances of getting aggressive.

Also, keep in mind that most issues with your Shih Tzu may be remedied by seeing a veterinarian.

5. Make more engaging and interactive toys available

The toys you choose for your Shih Tzu will have a huge influence on how aggressive they are.

There are several types of dog play toys, and you may purchase up to five different ones and let your dog choose.

Keep an eye on your Shih Tzu to see which toys make him happy or want to play more.

Shih Tzus are happy when they are playing with toys, as seen by their bouncing up and down.

Remember that a happy dog has less time to be hostile. This is something I’ve tried, and it’s effective.

6. Desensitize your Shih Tzu

Desensitization involves practicing in a quiet, enclosed location with a very weak version of the issue stimulus. 

You may reduce the effect of reactivity to other dogs by increasing the space between them.

You are also weakening our dog’s attentiveness, allowing him to be quiet enough to listen and learn.

This is required in order to create situations in which you can educate your Shih Tzu to be calm and relaxed in the presence of other dogs.

Forms of aggression found in Shih Tzus

Here are the common forms of aggression found in Shih Tzus:

  1. Fear Aggression
  2. Sexual Aggression
  3. Predatory Aggression
  4. Redirected Aggression
  5. Social Aggression
  6. Maternal Aggression
  7. Possessive Aggression
  8. Territorial Aggression
  9. Protective Aggression
  10. Pain-Related Aggression

Best training tips for aggressive behavior in Shih Tzus

Here are some popular tips for aggressive dog training:

  1. Continue to practice and teach orders.
  2. Participate in aggressive dog training.
  3. As often as possible, pay a visit to fellow dog owners.
  4. With your dog, watch more dog TV shows.
  5. Punishment is less effective than positive reinforcement.
  6. As often as possible, pay a visit to experienced dog owners.
  7. Sign up for dog training lessons.
  8. If your efforts aren’t yielding results, seek expert assistance.

Where to surrender an aggressive Shih Tzu

If you’ve tried everything on this page and your dog is still hostile, you should surrender him to one of the following places:

  1. Shelters and nice dog sanctuaries: a shelter is a fantastic location to keep an aggressive dog or a homeless dog. They also have a strategy for dealing with vicious dogs.
  2. Dog rehabilitation centers: If your violent dog has to be dropped off or rehabilitated, a dog rehabilitation facility is the place to go.
  3. Experienced dog owner: If you feel your dog has become overly aggressive, and you are unable to follow any of the ideas provided here, or if you have done so and your dog is still aggressive, seek the advice of an experienced dog owner.
  4. Dog training facilities: There are several dog training facilities in every state; these institutions already have a unique approach to dealing with violent dogs; simply call them.
  5. Dog rescue groups: Dog rescue groups are organizations committed to assisting dogs that have lost their way or have gotten away from their owners. This organization knows how to cope with violent dogs.

How to live with an aggressive Shih Tzu

Here are some things to avoid doing if your dog is hostile to other dogs or humans:

  1. Don’t shout at your Shih Tzu since this will just reinforce the behavior.
  2. Never let your Shih Tzu off the leash when there are other dogs nearby.
  3. It is not a good idea to keep mute or do nothing to aid your dog, therefore seek answers.
  4. Never strike your Shih Tzu even as a last resort; alternatively, use positive reinforcement or simply walk away.
  5. Do not punish your Shih Tzu for being aggressive toward other dogs; after all, you are the one who caused it by failing to regularly socialize your puppy.
  6. Keep desensitization and counter conditioning of your Shih Tzu.

I strongly hope your question Are Shih Tzus Aggressive was answered!!!

Read more: 22 Pros And Cons Of Shih Tzu You Should know.