How to Deal with the Shih Tzu’s Excessive Demand for Attention


As much as we adore our furry friends, it’s important to acknowledge that they have different needs and personalities. Some breeds, such as Shih Tzus, have a higher demand for attention and affection from their owners. While it’s lovely to have a loyal companion, it can also become overwhelming when your Shih Tzu consistently seeks your undivided attention. In this article, we will explore various techniques to manage and reduce your Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention, including setting boundaries, physical activity, interactive toys, positive reinforcement, and working with professionals. Let’s dive in and discover ways to create a well-balanced and fulfilling life for you and your furry friend.

Understanding Shih Tzu’s Need for Attention

Shih Tzu dogs are known for their endearing and loving personalities, but with that comes their excessive demand for attention. These furry friends have a natural tendency to crave attention from their owners, which can sometimes lead to behavioral issues. To better understand this need, here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Shih Tzus thrive on human companionship: These small dogs were bred for the sole purpose of being companions to their owners. This has led to their deep-rooted desire for human company and attention. As a result, they can become overly dependent on their owners, leading to separation anxiety and other behavioral issues.
  • They may resort to negative attention-seeking behaviors: When a Shih Tzu is not receiving enough attention, they may resort to negative behaviors such as excessive barking, destructive chewing, and even aggression. This is a sign that they are feeling neglected and want their owner’s attention.
  • Attention can come in various forms: Shih Tzus love to be petted and cuddled, but attention can also come in the form of playtime, training sessions, and even interactive toys. Providing them with a variety of attention options can help keep them mentally stimulated and reduce the likelihood of negative behaviors.

Understanding these needs is the first step in dealing with a Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention. By recognizing that these behaviors are due to a natural desire for companionship, pet parents can take the necessary steps to provide their beloved furry friends with the attention they crave without reinforcing negative behaviors. For more information on dealing with Shih Tzu behavioral issues, check out our article on dealing with separation anxiety in Shih Tzus.

Setting Boundaries and Routines

Setting Boundaries And Routines
It’s important to understand that Shih Tzus have a natural inclination towards getting attention from their owners. However, too much attention-seeking behavior can lead to pets becoming overly dependent on their owners, which can lead to a host of behavioral issues. To prevent this, setting boundaries and routines is crucial. This means that you need to establish clear rules for your pet regarding their behavior and interactions with you. Whether you are dealing with aggression, barking, fear, anxiety, destructive behavior, biting, possessiveness, or compulsive behavior, implementing a routine will help manage your Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention. Let’s take a closer look at how to set boundaries and routines for your furry friend.

Establishing a Schedule

Establishing a schedule for your Shih Tzu is crucial in managing their excessive demand for attention. It is essential to note that their need for attention is not necessarily negative but can be overwhelming, especially when it interferes with your regular routines or responsibilities. By creating a schedule, you can teach your furry friend to maintain healthy boundaries and allow you to have some alone time without getting anxious or upset.

Here is an example of a Shih Tzu schedule:

6:00 AMWake up and take your Shih Tzu to their designated potty spot.
6:30 AMFeed your Shih Tzu their breakfast.
7:00 AM – 12:00 PMEngage in interactive playtime or allow your Shih Tzu to play with their toys while you work.
12:00 PM – 1:00 PMTake your Shih Tzu for a short walk, and allow them to explore the outdoors.
1:00 PM – 5:00 PMEngage in interactive playtime or allow your Shih Tzu to play with their toys while you work.
5:00 PM – 6:00 PMTake your Shih Tzu for a walk outside to get some fresh air and exercise.
6:00 PMFeed your Shih Tzu their dinner.
7:00 PM – 9:00 PMEngage in interactive playtime or allow your Shih Tzu to play with their toys while you wind down for the evening.
9:00 PM – 10:00 PMTake your Shih Tzu for a short walk outside to help them burn off some energy before bedtime.
10:00 PMTime to go to bed!

Training your Shih Tzu to follow a schedule will take patience and consistency. Make sure to reward good behavior and redirect attention when necessary. By utilizing a schedule and other techniques mentioned in this article, you can manage your Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention and prevent negative behaviors from developing.

If you are struggling with other challenging behaviors such as aggression, biting or possessiveness over food and toys, check out our articles for more tips and tricks.

Training for Alone Time

Training your Shih Tzu to be comfortable when left alone is an essential skill for both you and your furry companion. Separation anxiety can result in destructive behavior, excessive barking, and even aggression towards their owners. However, with patience and perseverance, you can train your Shih Tzu to be relaxed and confident when you are away.

A great way to get started is by gradually increasing the amount of time that your dog spends alone. Begin by leaving your Shih Tzu alone for just a few minutes and gradually increasing the duration over the course of several weeks. This will help your dog become accustomed to being alone and reduce their anxiety.

Another important tip when training your Shih Tzu to be comfortable with being alone is to avoid making a fuss when leaving or returning home. This can actually increase your dog’s anxiety and make it more difficult for them to relax. Simply say goodbye or hello in a calm and confident manner, and then carry on with your day.

A great way to keep your Shih Tzu calm and occupied when left alone is to provide them with interactive toys or puzzles. These can keep your dog entertained and engaged while you are away. Check out the DIY Homemade Puzzles section for some ideas on creating fun and engaging puzzles for your furry friend.

If you find that your Shih Tzu is still struggling with anxiety when left alone, you may need to seek professional help. A pet behaviorist can help you identify the root cause of your dog’s separation anxiety and work with you to create a customized training plan. Additionally, trainers specializing in aggression or fear and anxiety can provide valuable guidance and support for both you and your furry friend.

Be patient and consistent in your training efforts, and remember that every dog is different. With time and effort, you can help your Shih Tzu feel comfortable and secure when left alone.

Physical Activity

Physical Activity
Keeping your Shih Tzu physically active is one of the most effective ways to manage their excessive demand for attention. All dogs need exercise, and your Shih Tzu is no exception. In fact, their small size often means they have a lot of pent-up energy to burn. Regular exercise and playtime provide an outlet for this energy and can help prevent destructive behavior or compulsive tendencies. Whether it’s a game of fetch or a long walk, physical activity can also strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. Consider incorporating these strategies and techniques for keeping your Shih Tzu active and engaged. For more information about managing difficult Shih Tzu behavior issues, check out our articles on How to Train a Shih Tzu to Stop Barking, Managing Shih Tzu Possessiveness of Food and Toys, Teaching Your Shih Tzu to Stop Biting, and Understanding Shih Tzu Compulsive Behavior.

Exercise and Playtime

Physical activity is important for Shih Tzus to maintain a healthy body and mind. It can also help distract them from seeking excessive attention. Exercise and playtime can be a great way to bond with your furry friend and make sure they are getting the activity they need.

It’s important to choose activities that match your Shih Tzu’s energy level and physical abilities. When starting, it’s recommended to start slowly and gradually build up the intensity and duration of the exercise. Consider going for brisk walks, playing fetch, or allowing them to run around in a safe, enclosed space.

To ensure your Shih Tzu is engaged in the exercise, consider bringing along their favorite toy or treat. Not only can this be a great motivator, but it can also help to redirect their attention away from seeking excessive attention.

Brisk Walks30-60 minutes dailyFull body workout, strengthens bones and muscles, can help with weight management
Fetch10-15 minutes dailyProvides mental stimulation, encourages physical activity, strengthens bond between owner and dog
Running/Jogging15-30 minutes twice dailyProvides cardiovascular workout, can help with weight management, releases pent-up energy

If you are not able to provide your Shih Tzu with the exercise they require, consider professional dog walking services to ensure they are getting the proper amount of activity throughout the day.

Remember to always monitor your Shih Tzu during exercise and playtime to ensure they do not become overexerted or injured. If you notice any signs of distress, such as heavy panting or limping, stop the activity immediately and seek veterinary care if necessary.

Exercise and playtime can play a significant role in managing a Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention. By providing them with the physical activity they need and keeping them engaged in the process, you can help them redirect their focus and energy in a positive way. For more tips on managing possessiveness with toys and food, check out our guide here.

Consider Professional Dog Walking Services

If you have a busy schedule and cannot provide enough physical activity for your Shih Tzu, consider hiring a professional dog walking service. Here are some reasons why it might be the right choice for you:

  • Expertise: Dog walkers have experience and knowledge to provide your Shih Tzu with the right amount of exercise and attention, based on their breed and personality.
  • Consistency: Your dog will have a regular schedule and routine with a professional dog walker, which can help reduce their anxiety and stress.
  • Socialization: Dog walking services often walk multiple dogs at once, which can provide your Shih Tzu with socialization opportunities, helping them interact better with other dogs in the future.
  • Physical activity: Professional dog walkers can offer different levels of activity, like leisurely strolls or more intense hikes, ensuring that your Shih Tzu gets the necessary exercise to stay happy and healthy.
  • Relief for you: Hiring a dog walking service can take the burden off your shoulders and give you peace of mind, knowing that your furry friend is getting the attention they need, even when you can’t be there.

Remember to choose a reputable dog walking company and check their credentials, reviews, and references before hiring their services. With the right dog walker, your Shih Tzu will receive the love, care, and attention they crave, and you’ll have more time to focus on other important aspects of your life.

Interactive Toys and Puzzles

Interactive Toys And Puzzles
Are you tired of constantly entertaining your Shih Tzu? Are you looking for ways to keep them occupied and stimulated while you’re busy? Interactive toys and puzzles may just be the solution you need. These toys provide mental stimulation and engage your furry friend’s natural curiosity. By providing interactive toys and puzzles, you can redirect your Shih Tzu’s focus onto something productive and satisfying. In this section, we’ll discuss the different types of interactive toys available, as well as how to create your own DIY puzzles.

Overview of Interactive Toy Options

One effective way to deal with a Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention is to provide them with interactive toys to keep them occupied. There are many different options available on the market, so it’s important to find the ones that suit your dog’s needs and preferences best. Here is an overview of some popular interactive toy options:

Name of ToyDescriptionBenefits
KONG ClassicA hollow rubber toy that can be filled with treats.Provides mental stimulation and satisfies the desire to chew.
Puzzle FeedersToys that require the dog to solve a puzzle to access their food.Provides mental stimulation, slows down eating, and promotes problem-solving skills.
Hide and Seek ToysPlush toys that contain smaller toys inside.Encourages natural hunting and foraging behaviors.
Bubble MachinesA machine that blows bubbles for the dog to chase and catch.Provides physical exercise and promotes playful behavior.

By providing your Shih Tzu with interactive toys, not only will you help them to expend their excess energy, but you will also provide them with an opportunity to engage in natural behaviors and improve their mental stimulation. Remember to always supervise your dog while they’re playing with toys, and ensure that the toys are size-appropriate and safe for your pup.

DIY Homemade Puzzles

When it comes to dealing with a Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention, providing them with interactive toys and puzzles can be an effective solution. However, purchasing new toys constantly can add up quickly. A more affordable option is to create DIY homemade puzzles.

Here are some DIY homemade puzzle ideas:

  • The Muffin Tin Puzzle: This easy-to-make puzzle involves placing treats or kibble in each compartment of a muffin tin and covering each compartment with a tennis ball. Your Shih Tzu must figure out how to remove the tennis balls to access the treats.
  • The Cardboard Tube Puzzle: Take cardboard tubes from paper towels or toilet paper and fill them with treats or kibble. Fold the ends of the tube over and make a small hole in the center. String the tubes onto a sturdy rope, alternating the position of the tubes, and tie a knot at each end. Your Shih Tzu must slide the tubes along the rope to access the treats.
  • The Milk Jug Puzzle: Take a clean milk jug and fill it with treats or kibble. Cut a small hole in the jug, just big enough for your Shih Tzu to fit their paw inside but not big enough for them to reach the treats directly. Your Shih Tzu must figure out how to tilt or shake the jug to get the treats to fall out of the hole.
  • The Snuffle Mat: To make a snuffle mat, take a bath mat or rug and tie strips of fleece fabric onto it. Sprinkle treats or kibble throughout the fabric strips. Your Shih Tzu must use their nose to search through the fabric strips to find the treats.

These homemade puzzles provide mental stimulation for your Shih Tzu and encourage problem-solving skills. Plus, they can be made from items you may already have at home. Give them a try and see which puzzle your Shih Tzu enjoys the most.

Positive Reinforcement and Training Techniques

Positive Reinforcement And Training Techniques
Are you struggling with your Shih Tzu’s constant need for attention? Don’t fret – there are various positive reinforcement and training techniques you can try out to help manage their behavior. By using rewards instead of punishment, you can encourage good behavior and help your furry friend feel loved and appreciated. In this section, we’ll explore some of these techniques and how you can use them to create a healthier relationship with your Shih Tzu. Let’s dive in!

Clicker Training

Clicker training is a positive reinforcement technique that can be used to teach your Shih Tzu new behaviors and tricks while also redirecting their excessive demand for attention. It involves using a clicker, a small handheld device that makes a distinct clicking sound, to indicate to your dog when they have done something correctly. Here are the steps to follow for clicker training your Shih Tzu:

  1. Get your clicker and some small, tasty treats.
  2. Choose a behavior or trick to teach your Shih Tzu, such as sitting on command.
  3. Wait for your Shih Tzu to perform the desired behavior on their own, then immediately click the clicker and give them a treat.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your Shih Tzu associates the click with the treat and the desired behavior.
  5. Add a verbal command or cue, such as saying “sit,” before your Shih Tzu performs the behavior. Then, click and treat as before.
  6. Continue repeating the verbal cue and clicking and treating until your Shih Tzu reliably performs the behavior on command.

Clicker training is an effective way to teach your Shih Tzu new behaviors and tricks, while also reinforcing positive behavior and redirecting their excessive demand for attention. By using positive reinforcement and a clicker to indicate when your Shih Tzu has performed a behavior correctly, you can build a strong bond with your furry friend and help them learn to be more independent.

Redirecting Attention in a Positive Manner

One technique for dealing with a Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention is redirecting their attention in a positive manner. This involves giving the dog an alternative activity or task to focus on, instead of seeking attention from their owner. Here are some ways to redirect attention:

Scent trainingTeach your dog to use their nose to find treats or hidden toys. This not only redirects their focus, but also stimulates their brain.
Teaching new commandsIntroduce your dog to new commands such as “sit” or “stay,” which require focus and can be used to distract them from seeking attention.
Providing chew toysGive your dog a chew toy or bone to focus on while you’re busy. This can redirect their attention and also help with dental health.
Playing fetchEngage your dog in a game of fetch, which gives them exercise and mental stimulation while also redirecting their focus from seeking attention.

When redirecting a Shih Tzu’s attention, it’s important to use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior. This can include verbal praise, treats, or affection. With consistent practice, your dog will learn to redirect their attention and seek positive interactions with you, instead of demanding attention in an excessive manner.

Working with a Professional

If you’ve tried setting boundaries, engaging your Shih Tzu in physical activity, and providing interactive toys to no avail, it may be time to seek the help of a professional. While it’s understandable to feel a bit uncertain about consulting with a pet behaviorist or trainer, their expertise can make all the difference in resolving your pup’s excessive demands for attention. In this section, we’ll explore some of the benefits of working with a professional, as well as some options for finding the right one for you and your furry friend.

Consulting with a Pet Behaviorist

Dealing with a Shih Tzu who constantly demands attention can be a challenging task. Despite trying various techniques, you may still be struggling to manage this issue on your own. In this situation, consulting with a pet behaviorist can be a great option to consider. A pet behaviorist is a certified professional who specializes in understanding animal behavior and can help address behavioral problems with the right approach.

Here are some reasons why consulting with a pet behaviorist can be helpful:

  • A pet behaviorist can conduct a thorough assessment of your Shih Tzu’s behavior to determine the root cause of the excessive demand for attention.
  • They can customize a training plan for your specific Shih Tzu based on their personality, age, and history.
  • A pet behaviorist can offer guidance on positive reinforcement training techniques and recommend appropriate interactive toys and puzzles according to your Shih Tzu’s individual needs.
  • They can also help you establish a routine and set boundaries to reduce excessive attention-seeking behavior.
  • A pet behaviorist can provide a support system and give you the tools you need to continue to work on your Shih Tzu’s behavior in the long run.

Consulting with a pet behaviorist can be particularly useful for addressing deeply ingrained behavior patterns or severe anxiety in your Shih Tzu. Reaching out to a professional will not only benefit your Shih Tzu but also give you peace of mind and confidence in handling their excessive demand for attention.

Trainers for Excessive Demands for Attention

One option for dealing with a Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention is to work with a professional trainer who specializes in this behavior. These trainers can provide tailored solutions and support to help you and your furry friend overcome this challenge.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a trainer for excessive demands for attention:

ExperienceLook for trainers who have experience dealing with dogs who require a lot of attention. Ask for referrals and read reviews from other clients.
Training MethodsMake sure the trainer uses techniques that align with your personal values and goals for your dog’s behavior. Positive reinforcement-based training methods tend to be effective and humane for many dogs.
CostProfessional training sessions can be pricey, so make sure you review pricing and any packages or discounts available.
LocationConsider location when choosing a trainer, as you’ll be attending regular sessions. You may also want to consider trainers who can come to your home for more personalized attention.
AvailabilityMake sure the trainer has availability that works for your schedule, and review any cancellations or rescheduling policies.

Working with a trainer can be a great option for those who may not have the time or resources to implement solutions on their own. Plus, a professional can offer personalized support based on your dog’s unique needs and tendencies. However, it’s important to remember that results will not happen overnight, and consistency and patience are key.


In conclusion, dealing with a Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention can be a challenging issue for pet owners. However, understanding the root causes of this behavior and implementing effective strategies can greatly improve the situation for both the owner and their furry companion.

Setting boundaries and routines is essential in ensuring that your Shih Tzu develops healthy habits and learns to be comfortable spending time alone. By establishing a schedule and gradually increasing the amount of time they spend alone, you can teach your pup that it’s okay to not have constant attention.

Physical activity is another key aspect of keeping your Shih Tzu entertained and mentally stimulated. Consistent exercise and playtime can prevent boredom and reduce the need for attention-seeking behavior. If you’re unable to meet your pet’s needs for physical activity, professional dog walking services can be a valuable solution.

Interactive toys and puzzles can also provide your Shih Tzu with mental stimulation and entertainment. You can choose from a variety of interactive toy options or even create your own DIY homemade puzzles. This will keep your pup engaged and can also relieve boredom.

Using positive reinforcement and training techniques can be an effective way to redirect your Shih Tzu’s attention in a more positive manner. Over time, they will learn to associate good behavior with positive rewards.

In some cases, it may be necessary to work with a professional to address your Shih Tzu’s excessive demand for attention. Consulting with a pet behaviorist or working with trainers for excessive attention-seeking behavior can help you identify underlying issues and develop a personalized plan for your pet.

Overall, by implementing a combination of these strategies, you can help your Shih Tzu feel fulfilled and content without constant attention. With patience, consistency, and love, you can nurture a happy and healthy relationship with your furry companion.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do Shih Tzus demand so much attention?

Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate nature and desire to be near their human companions, which can lead to excessive demands for attention.

2. Is it bad to give my Shih Tzu too much attention?

While attention is important for your Shih Tzu’s overall happiness, it is important to establish boundaries to avoid developing unhealthy or dependent behavior.

3. Can playing with my Shih Tzu help decrease their need for attention?

Physical activity and playtime can help decrease your Shih Tzu’s need for attention by providing mental and physical stimulation.

4. How can I teach my Shih Tzu to enjoy alone time?

Training your Shih Tzu to enjoy alone time can be achieved through gradual and consistent training, rewarding good behavior, and never punishing or scolding during training sessions.

5. Are there any toys or puzzles that can help with my Shih Tzu’s excessive demands for attention?

Interactive toys and puzzles can help keep your Shih Tzu entertained and mentally stimulated, which can decrease their need for constant attention.

6. Can professional dog walking services help with my Shih Tzu’s excessive demands for attention?

Professional dog walking services can help provide additional physical activity and stimulation for your Shih Tzu, which can decrease their need for attention.

7. What is clicker training and how can it help my Shih Tzu?

Clicker training involves using a clicker and positive reinforcement to train your Shih Tzu in desired behaviors, which can redirect their attention in a positive manner.

8. Are there any negative consequences to ignoring my Shih Tzu’s demands for attention?

Ignoring your Shih Tzu’s demands for attention can lead to negative behavior such as barking, whining, and destructive behavior.

9. Can consulting with a pet behaviorist help with my Shih Tzu’s excessive demands for attention?

Consulting with a pet behaviorist can provide professional guidance and advice on how to best train and care for your Shih Tzu’s needs.

10. How can I balance giving my Shih Tzu attention while also maintaining boundaries?

Establishing a schedule, training for alone time, and using interactive toys and positive reinforcement can all help you balance giving your Shih Tzu attention while maintaining healthy boundaries.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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