Shih Tzus are adorable, affectionate, and loyal companions, but they require proper exercise to maintain their health and well-being. While these small dogs may not need as much physical activity as larger breeds, it’s still essential to provide them with regular exercise to prevent obesity, behavioral issues, and other health problems. However, many Shih Tzu owners make common mistakes when it comes to exercising their furry friends, which can lead to potential issues. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common Shih Tzu exercise mistakes and provide tips on how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Lack of Exercise

One of the biggest mistakes Shih Tzu owners make is not providing enough exercise for their dogs. Despite their small size, Shih Tzus still require daily physical activity to maintain a healthy weight, strong muscles, and good mental stimulation. Lack of exercise can lead to obesity, joint problems, and behavioral issues such as excessive barking, digging, or chewing.

Mistake #2: Overexercising

While exercise is essential for Shih Tzus, it’s also important not to overdo it. These small dogs have limited stamina and can easily become exhausted or overheated, especially in warm weather. Overexercising can lead to injuries, heat stroke, and other health problems.

Signs of Overexertion

It’s crucial to watch for signs of overexertion in your Shih Tzu, such as excessive panting, slowing down, or refusing to walk. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to take a break and let your furry friend rest.

Appropriate Exercise Duration

As a general guideline, Shih Tzus should get around 30 minutes of exercise per day, divided into two or three shorter sessions. This can include walks, playtime, or indoor activities like puzzle toys or training sessions.

Mistake #3: Inappropriate Exercise

Not all types of exercise are suitable for Shih Tzus. These dogs have a unique body structure and may struggle with certain activities that larger breeds can handle easily.

Activities to Avoid

Avoid high-impact activities like running or jumping, as these can put excessive strain on your Shih Tzu’s joints and back. Additionally, strenuous activities like hiking or swimming may be too demanding for these small dogs.

Suitable Exercise Options

Instead, focus on low-impact activities like walking, playing fetch (with a soft toy), or indoor games like hide-and-seek. You can also consider enrolling your Shih Tzu in dog sports like agility or rally obedience, which provide mental and physical stimulation in a controlled environment.

Importance of Warm-up and Cool-down

Just like humans, Shih Tzus need to warm up before exercise and cool down afterward. A gentle walk or stretching can help prepare their muscles and prevent injuries. After exercise, allow your Shih Tzu to rest and provide plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Weather Conditions

Shih Tzus are sensitive to extreme temperatures and can easily become overheated or too cold. It’s essential to consider weather conditions when exercising your furry friend.

Mistake #5: Neglecting Mental Stimulation

Exercise isn’t just about physical activity; it’s also crucial to provide mental stimulation for your Shih Tzu. These intelligent dogs can become bored and develop behavioral issues if their minds aren’t challenged.

Mistake #6: Skipping Veterinary Check-ups

Before starting any exercise routine, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian, especially if your Shih Tzu has any underlying health conditions or is overweight. Your vet can provide guidance on the appropriate type and duration of exercise for your dog’s specific needs.

Are you making mistakes when it comes to exercising your Shih Tzu? Make sure to also avoid common errors in brushing and leash training to keep your furry friend healthy and happy. Learn more about fulfilling your Shih Tzu’s exercise needs, proper brushing techniques, and the benefits of regular exercise by checking out our articles on Shih Tzu exercise needs, brushing techniques, and exercise benefits!


Exercising your Shih Tzu is crucial for their overall health and well-being, but it’s important to do it correctly. By avoiding common mistakes like lack of exercise, overexercising, inappropriate activities, ignoring weather conditions, neglecting mental stimulation, and skipping veterinary check-ups, you can ensure that your furry friend stays happy, healthy, and well-exercised. Remember, every Shih Tzu is unique, so it’s essential to tailor their exercise routine to their individual needs and preferences. With the right approach, you can provide your beloved companion with the physical and mental stimulation they need to thrive.

Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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