Effective Ways to Help Your Shih Tzu Overcome Separation Anxiety

Shih Tzus are adorable and affectionate dogs known for their loyal and loving nature. However, like any other breed, they can also experience separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods. Separation anxiety in Shih Tzus can lead to destructive behavior, excessive barking, and overall stress for both the dog and the owner. In this blog post, we will explore ways to help Shih Tzu owners deal with separation anxiety in their furry companions.

Understanding Separation Anxiety in Shih Tzus

Separation anxiety is a common behavioral issue in dogs, including Shih Tzus. It occurs when a dog becomes overly attached to its owner and struggles to cope with being left alone. Signs of separation anxiety in Shih Tzus may include excessive barking, destructive chewing, pacing, and even attempts to escape. Understanding the root cause of your Shih Tzu’s anxiety is crucial in addressing and managing this behavior.

Creating a Safe Space

Designate a Comfortable Area

One way to help alleviate separation anxiety in Shih Tzus is by creating a safe and comfortable space for them when you are not around. Designate a specific area in your home, such as a cozy corner or a quiet room, where your Shih Tzu can feel secure and relaxed. Make sure this space is equipped with your dog’s favorite toys, blankets, and maybe an item that carries your scent to provide comfort in your absence.

Gradual Alone Time

Help your Shih Tzu get accustomed to being alone by gradually increasing the time they spend by themselves. Start with short intervals and gradually extend the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable. This gradual exposure can help build your Shih Tzu’s confidence and reduce their anxiety when left alone.

Establishing a Routine

Consistent Schedule

Dogs, including Shih Tzus, thrive on routine and predictability. Establishing a consistent daily schedule for your furry friend can help reduce anxiety and provide a sense of security. Make sure to include regular feeding times, exercise sessions, playtime, and rest periods in your Shih Tzu’s daily routine. Consistency can help your dog feel more secure and less anxious when you are not around.

Pre-Departure and Arrival Rituals

Create specific pre-departure and arrival rituals to help your Shih Tzu associate your leaving and returning with positive experiences. Before leaving, engage in a calming activity with your dog, such as a short walk or a cuddle session. Upon your return, greet your Shih Tzu calmly and reward them for their good behavior while you were away. These rituals can help alleviate your dog’s anxiety and make transitions smoother.

Interactive Toys and Puzzles

Keep your Shih Tzu mentally stimulated and entertained in your absence by providing interactive toys and puzzles. These toys can help distract your dog, prevent boredom, and reduce anxiety. Consider toys that dispense treats or require problem-solving skills to keep your Shih Tzu engaged and occupied while you are away.

Training and Behavior Modification

Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage desired behaviors in your Shih Tzu and reinforce calm and relaxed behavior when left alone. Reward your dog with treats, praise, or playtime when they exhibit calm behavior during separation. Positive reinforcement can help your Shih Tzu associate being alone with positive outcomes, ultimately reducing their anxiety.


Gradually desensitize your Shih Tzu to your departure cues by practicing short departures and returns multiple times throughout the day. Start with small absences and gradually increase the duration over time. Desensitization can help your dog become less reactive to your leaving and minimize their anxiety response.

Seek Professional Help

If your Shih Tzu’s separation anxiety is severe and impacting their well-being, consider seeking help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. A professional can assess your dog’s behavior, provide personalized training strategies, and offer guidance on managing separation anxiety effectively. Professional help can be beneficial in addressing complex separation anxiety issues in Shih Tzus.

Physical and Mental Exercise

Regular physical exercise and mental stimulation are essential for keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and balanced, both physically and mentally. Engage your dog in daily walks, play sessions, and interactive games to help release excess energy and reduce anxiety. Mental stimulation, such as training exercises and puzzle toys, can also help keep your Shih Tzu’s mind engaged and prevent boredom.

Dedicated Quality Time

Bonding Activities

Spending quality time with your Shih Tzu can strengthen your bond and alleviate their anxiety. Engage in bonding activities such as grooming sessions, training exercises, or simply cuddling together. Building a strong bond with your dog can boost their confidence and sense of security, making them feel more at ease when left alone.

Patience and Understanding

Dealing with separation anxiety in Shih Tzus requires patience and understanding. Remember that your dog’s behavior is driven by fear and insecurity, and it may take time to see significant improvements. Be patient with your Shih Tzu, offer reassurance, and avoid punishment for anxious behavior. Understanding your dog’s needs and emotions is key to helping them overcome separation anxiety.

Consistent Support

Consistency is key when helping your Shih Tzu cope with separation anxiety. Stay committed to implementing training strategies, establishing routines, and providing a supportive environment for your furry companion. Consistent support and care can help your Shih Tzu feel more secure and confident, ultimately reducing their anxiety when left alone.

Struggling with your Shih Tzu’s separation anxiety? Learn more about dealing with this common issue in Shih Tzus and check out our articles on Shih Tzu ear problems treatment, Shih Tzu eye problems, Shih Tzu socialization mistakes, and mental health enrichment for Shih Tzus for additional tips and information to help your furry friend.


In conclusion, separation anxiety in Shih Tzus is a common behavioral issue that can be distressing for both the dog and the owner. By understanding the root causes of separation anxiety, creating a safe space, establishing a routine, implementing training and behavior modification techniques, providing physical and mental exercise, dedicating quality time, and offering consistent support, you can help your Shih Tzu overcome their anxiety and feel more comfortable when left alone. Remember that each dog is unique, so it may take time and patience to find the right strategies that work best for your furry friend. With love, patience, and understanding, you can help your Shih Tzu feel more secure and content, even when you are not around.

Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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