Home Shih Tzu Dog Problems Stop Shih Tzu Nipping – Curb Biting Behavior Now

Stop Shih Tzu Nipping – Curb Biting Behavior Now

by Scott Lipe
shih tzu training tips

Nipping and biting can be common behaviors in Shih Tzus, and it’s essential to address them to ensure a harmonious relationship with your furry companion. Understanding the difference between nipping and biting is crucial in tackling this issue effectively.

Nipping refers to quick snaps of the jaw, often directed towards a person’s hand or lower arm. It rarely causes severe punctures or draws blood. On the other hand, biting is a more serious aggression problem where the dog locks its jaw onto a person, resulting in moderate to severe punctures and bleeding. Fortunately, most Shih Tzus exhibit nipping behavior rather than biting.

There are several reasons why a Shih Tzu may nip. It could be due to underlying health issues, improper hierarchy within the household, or simply their natural play behavior. So let’s dig deeper into these reasons and explore effective ways to stop Shih Tzu nipping and biting.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding the difference between nipping and biting is crucial in addressing Shih Tzu behavior problems.
  • Health issues, improper hierarchy, and play behavior can contribute to nipping in Shih Tzus.
  • Establishing proper hierarchy and consistent training is essential to curb nipping behavior.
  • Providing physical and mental stimulation can help redirect the dog’s chewing instincts in a positive way.
  • Consistency among all family members is vital in enforcing boundaries and reinforcing good behavior.

Reasons for Nipping

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Nipping is a common behavior in Shih Tzus, particularly among puppies. However, it can also be observed in adult dogs. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior is essential in addressing and finding a solution to Shih Tzu nipping. Here are the three primary reasons why a Shih Tzu may nip:

  1. Health Issues: Sometimes, a Shih Tzu may nip due to underlying health problems. The dog may feel vulnerable or in pain and instinctively nip when someone approaches. It is crucial to rule out any potential health issues that might be contributing to the nipping behavior.
  2. Improper Hierarchy: Another reason for nipping in Shih Tzus is an improper hierarchy within the household. When a dog doesn’t recognize its owners as the leaders or “Alphas,” it may attempt to assert its preferences or protect its belongings through nipping. Establishing proper hierarchy and ensuring the dog understands the owner’s leadership role is essential in curbing nipping behavior.
  3. Play Behavior: Play behavior is a common trigger for nipping in Shih Tzu puppies. Puppies learn to nip from their littermates during play, but they may not understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable biting force. It is crucial to guide and teach them appropriate boundaries for play to prevent nipping.

Identifying the underlying cause(s) of a Shih Tzu’s nipping behavior is the first step in finding an effective solution. By addressing health issues, establishing proper hierarchy, and guiding appropriate play behavior, you can help your Shih Tzu develop better manners and reduce nipping tendencies.

“Understanding the reasons behind Shih Tzu nipping is the key to addressing this behavior effectively.” – [Author Name]

How to Stop Shih Tzu Nipping

Stopping a Shih Tzu from nipping requires following specific steps. The first step is to establish proper hierarchy within the household. Shih Tzus should recognize their owners as the Alpha or leader and show respect by not nipping. This can be achieved through consistent training and reinforcing the Alpha role through food routines, entering and exiting the house first, and walking with the dog on a short leash by the owner’s side.

The second step is to react appropriately if the Shih Tzu attempts to nip. Verbal correction and redirection to a toy can help reinforce that biting is unacceptable. Consistency is key in these training methods, and all family members should follow the same guidelines.

Socialization and teaching bite inhibition are also important factors in stopping Shih Tzu nipping. By exposing your Shih Tzu to a variety of people, animals, and environments, you can help them feel more comfortable and less likely to resort to nipping. Teaching bite inhibition involves gradually decreasing the force of your dog’s bite through positive reinforcement training.

Remember, it’s important to be patient and consistent when training your Shih Tzu. It may take time for them to learn and understand what is expected of them. With dedication and the right training techniques, you can effectively prevent nipping and biting behaviors in your Shih Tzu.

Few tips to prevent Shih Tzu nipping and biting:

  • Establish proper hierarchy within the household by being the Alpha or leader.
  • React appropriately if your Shih Tzu attempts to nip, using verbal correction and redirection to a toy.
  • Consistency is key – make sure all family members are following the same training guidelines.
  • Socialize your Shih Tzu and expose them to various people, animals, and environments.
  • Teach bite inhibition through gradual training and positive reinforcement.

By implementing these tips, you can successfully train your Shih Tzu to stop nipping and biting, creating a safer and more enjoyable environment for both you and your furry friend.

Training Technique Explanation
Establishing hierarchy Show your Shih Tzu that you are the Alpha or leader through consistent training and reinforcing the Alpha role.
Verbal correction Use a firm and authoritative voice when correcting your Shih Tzu’s nipping behavior.
Redirection to toys Encourage your Shih Tzu to redirect their nipping behavior towards appropriate toys instead of people.
Socialization Expose your Shih Tzu to various social situations and environments to help reduce nipping tendencies.
Bite inhibition training Teach your Shih Tzu to control the force of their bite through positive reinforcement and gradual training.

Preventive Measures

Along with training techniques, there are several preventive measures that can help reduce nipping and biting behavior in Shih Tzus. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure a well-behaved and harmonious relationship with your furry companion.

Physical Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Providing your Shih Tzu with regular physical exercise and mental stimulation is crucial in preventing undesirable behaviors like nipping and biting. Taking your dog for daily walks not only fulfills their exercise needs but also allows them to explore their surroundings and expend their energy in a positive way. Consider incorporating interactive play sessions, such as fetch or tug-of-war, to keep your Shih Tzu engaged and mentally stimulated.

To further enhance mental stimulation, puzzle toys can challenge your dog’s problem-solving abilities and redirect their chewing instincts. These toys require the dog to work for treats or rewards, keeping their minds occupied and reducing the likelihood of nipping out of boredom or frustration. Additionally, providing appropriate chew toys designed for teething puppies can help alleviate discomfort and redirect their urge to bite onto more suitable objects.

Meeting Nutritional and Sleep Needs

Ensuring that your Shih Tzu’s nutritional and sleep needs are adequately met can also contribute to better behavior. Adequate nutrition supports overall health and well-being, which in turn can positively impact your dog’s behavior. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet and feeding schedule for your Shih Tzu.

Similarly, providing a comfortable and quiet sleep environment is essential for your dog’s physical and mental restoration. A well-rested dog is less prone to irritability and behavioral issues, including nipping and biting. Designate a cozy spot in your home where your Shih Tzu can relax and sleep undisturbed.

Consistency and Boundaries

Consistency among all family members is crucial when it comes to enforcing boundaries and reinforcing good behavior in your Shih Tzu. Establish clear rules and expectations for your dog’s behavior and ensure that everyone in the household follows them consistently.

Remember, positive reinforcement is key in Shih Tzu obedience training. Reward desired behaviors with praise, treats, or playtime, and ignore or redirect unwanted behaviors. This consistent approach will help your Shih Tzu understand what is expected and reduce their inclination to nip or bite.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can create a positive and nurturing environment for your Shih Tzu, reducing the likelihood of nipping and biting behaviors. Remember that each dog is unique, so it’s essential to tailor your approach to your Shih Tzu’s individual needs and temperament.


Nipping and biting behavior can be challenging to manage in Shih Tzus, but with the right approach and consistent effort, you can successfully put a stop to it. By understanding the reasons behind your Shih Tzu’s nipping, such as health issues, improper hierarchy, or play behavior, you can address the root cause and implement effective solutions.

Establishing proper hierarchy within your household is crucial. Make sure your Shih Tzu recognizes you as the leader by consistently asserting your role as the Alpha. Through training and reinforcing this hierarchy, you can teach your dog that nipping is not acceptable behavior. Verbal correction and redirection to a toy can also help reinforce this message.

Remember that every dog is unique, so the techniques that work for one Shih Tzu may not work for another. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key in training a well-behaved Shih Tzu. If you’re struggling to make progress on your own, seeking professional help from a trainer or behaviorist can provide valuable guidance and support.

By following these guidelines and implementing preventive measures, such as providing physical exercise, mental stimulation, and consistent boundaries, you can have a well-mannered and well-behaved Shih Tzu companion. With dedication and the right training techniques, you can create a harmonious and enjoyable bond with your furry friend.


Q: Why does my Shih Tzu nip?

A: Shih Tzus may nip due to health issues, improper hierarchy, or play behavior.

Q: How can I stop my Shih Tzu from nipping?

A: To stop Shih Tzu nipping, establish proper hierarchy, react appropriately, and provide consistent training.

Q: What preventive measures can I take to reduce nipping behavior in my Shih Tzu?

A: Providing physical exercise, mental stimulation, and meeting the dog’s nutritional and sleep needs can help reduce nipping behavior.

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