Barking is part of a dog's normal behavior, but excessive barking can become a nuisance and make you very unpopular with your neighbors. It is best to acknowledge the problem and to let your neighbors know that you are working on the problem. You can even ask your neighbors to help you in this regard, as they will be able to tell you when the barking occur, as you may be at work and unaware of the problem.
Determine the reason for your dog's barking.
The first step to rectify excessive barking is to determine the reason for the barking. Dogs bark because they seek attention, are bored, suffer from separation anxiety, are scared or are protecting their territory.
Attention seeking starts at a very early age and it is important not to pay attention to your dog every time he barks. If you do, he will associate the barking with getting attention and that will create a lot of problems later on in life.
To limit a bored dog's barking, you need to introduce excitement into his life. Take him out for short walks, play games with your dog, teach him new tricks and introduce toys into his life. It will take a bit of your time, but remember Shih Tzu were bred for companionship in the first place, so you owe it to your dog. Exercising is not only good for your dog's health, but you will find that a tired dog also barks less than a dog full of energy. Just keep the walks short as a Shih Tzu gets tired rather quickly due to their flat noses. If your dog is alone you may think of getting him a companion.
To stop your dog barking at children in the street it is best to take your dog to an area where he cannot see the children. This is not always possible and you may need to try something else. When your dog starts his barking tell him to be quiet. When he stops tell him good boy and reward him with a treat. If he continues you need to take more drastic measures like shaking a can filled with stones - dogs hate the sound. Another drastic measure is to throw water in your dogs face. The technique may sound harsh, but it works. He will quickly associate the quiet command with water in his face and stop his barking.
If your Shih Tzu is very territorial and protective (this is highly unlikely), you can ask a friend to walk in the street approaching your home. If the dog doesn't bark tell him good boy. Ask your friend to come closer and keep on praising your dog if he doesn't bark. The friend can eventually enter your premises and be sure to give your dog a huge bonus if he allows the friend to enter without barking. Also ask the friend to pat the dog. If you repeat this enough times your dog will learn that people are not a threat and that there is no reason for his barking.
There are collars on the market that will produce an offensive smell or an irritating noise or electrical impulse each time your dog barks. The problem with collars is that it does not address the underlying reason for your dog's barking. When you remove the collar barking will generally return. However, citrus collars do work and you may want to try it if the other techniques do not work.
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