Potentially getting a rescue shih tzu what do I need to know...(23 Posts)
Just that really, after debating getting a dog for a very long time have decided now is the right time. A 5 yo female shih tzu has come up at a local rescue who looks perfect on paper but other than a quick search on google I know very little about them as a breed!
Her back ground is she was apparently born in America and bought over to the U.K to be a breeder, once she had had a few litters was then surplus to requirements appears very sweet natured and playful....
Anything I need to know or be asking the rescue about?
I rehomed a Shih Tzu many years ago - his elderly owners had died.
They need a lot of grooming. I used to do it every day, but, come the summer, he was far too hot, so I clipped him, and always kept it short after that - the novelty of having a long haired dog and muddy walks soon wore off too. So you will either have to take him to a groomer, or learn to look after his coat yourself.
Also his face, even for the breed, was very 'squashed'. This meant his eyes used to run and needed regular cleaning. They have hair in their ears, and when I got him he had a chronic ear infection. It took a long time and many vet visits to clear, and I had to religiously clean his ears weekly.
Sadly he had heart problems and died at twelve. He was a real character though.
Thank you, yes the grooming aspect I was a little concerned about. Yy to keeping the coat short and i will look into local groomers, am assuming groomers would sort ear hair out as well?
From what I can see although they are little dogs they are big on character!!
Exactly that - tiny dog, big personality! They can be very stubborn, and they don't do separation well, but they are funny and playful and affectionate and have the heart of a lion!
I have a Shih Tzu from a similar background, and we love her to bits!
We have always had dogs but she's our first Shih Tzu, but she certainly won't be our last 😀
They are definitely stubborn - she has to be lured rather than ordered to do things, and she has a 'what's in it for me?' look. She has struggled with house training as she was an ex-breeder and kept in a shed (grr) but is now fine, but I understand that they often are difficult to toilet train as they are stubborn.
We keep her clipped as we live rurally and have muddy or sandy walks, so she has a rolling eight week appointment at the groomers.
She is very playful, likes a lay in, gets bored with walking after an hour and needs to go back on the lead (DH says it's like a child wanting to hold hands 😆), would like to be hand fed each meal (fat chance), and is utterly adorable.
She loves walking in the sea, trying to get other dogs to chase her, tripping me up, looking in my bag when I get back from the shops to see what I have for her...
She gets hot in the summer so we cut short her walks and limit it to early or late, and always have water and a bowl with us. Even so, she will find a muddy puddle to lie down in to cool her tummy 😆
Can you tell I am smitten? I would say, do it!
Thanks Scrappy will def check about the toilet training, that hasn't been mentioned as an issue so hoping she is at least semi trained! My daughter has wanted a dog for as long as I can remember and so this little dog would be well loved and looked after, dd would walk her before school and then a longer walk after school.
I think I would def keep her clipped as well, am assuming as they are quite close to the floor they would get really messy on walks otherwise!! Stubbornness is fine, she would be in good company here
What sort of food does yours have?
As Scrappy said, if an ex breeding bitch she may have been kept in an outbuilding or similar so I would want to know:
Is she used to/has she ever lived in doors (along with all the things that might mean like chewing furniture, being frightened of house noises like Hoover, door bell etc)?
Is she house trained? If not, is she clean in her outdoor kennel?
Has she been well socialised with other dogs?
Has she been well socialised with people?
Has she been walked on a lead?
Has she lived rurally or in a town (moving from rural to town/city could mean she's not used to traffic noises etc, busy areas)
None of these things would be deal breakers for me but at least knowing the answers will give you a heads up on how much training and desensitising she may need. Dogs that have been kept as breeders rather than in a home environment are not always able to just slot in to a home straight away. Bet she's lovely btw!
How old is DD? I would never rely on any child taking responsibility for walking a dog. It's appealing on a July afternoon in the school holidays. Not so much on a January morning before school.
I love shih tzus. I have mine groomed every month and joke that he goes to the hairdressers more than me! Mine is a very poor feeder and likes to be hand fed but others have a good appetite. Lovely breed I had one that would remove everyone's socks! Have funny facial expressions as well.
Mine eats Lily's Kitchen meals, in three meals.
She has the crunchy biscuits and a sprinkle of something (cheese or leftover plain meats usually) to get her to eat.
Dinner is half a little tray (shared with my other dog) and a handful of the meaty biscuits, plus another half handful or sometimes a homemade biscuit at bed time.
Like a lot of little dogs, she is prone to hunger pukes if her tummy gets too empty.
As an ex breeder and a short legged dog, she is at risk of cystitis (has had one bout quite badly) so we keep that at bay with plenty of encouragement to drink water throughout the day.
When she first arrived, she had only lived in a shed, except for the couple of weeks in foster care. It was fine though - she was scared and confused, but we took it as a challenge to teach her everything and she's pretty rock solid now. In fact, she has less issues than any other dog I've ever owned!
Most of her toilet issues were caused by 1. not knowing how to ask to go out, which we just pre empt by putting her in the garden regularly, and 2. my inexperience in clearing up properly! We now keep Rug Doctor around but she hasn't had an accident for a long time.
She is known as Coco the Merciless, Destroyer of Worlds.
So how old is DD? Please don't get a dog for your child. If you want to look after the dog and walk it etc then great. But you can't expect a child to take on a 10 year plus commitment.
Wolf my dd is 11yo, she is desperate for a dog and very animal orientated so I honestly don't think she would ever complain about walking her. That said she will be a family dog and I will be the one taking on the commitment.
Gorgeous pic Scrappy really helpful post thank you.
Also very helpful jud I am writing those questions down to take with me when I go to meet her!! Hopefully that will be next week all being well, the rescue has already said they insist on us taking her on a 'trial' basis to start with which sounds sensible.
well mine never shuts up. He's always grumping about, grizzling to himself about his poor lot in life (hmmf) or he's yapping at the wind for daring to blow.
Also, he's lazy and stroppy.
But I do love him, for some strange reason.
Also, just to add to what others have said below:
1) he is stubborn yes. He toilet trained very quickly and is good on that side of things. But he won't be told to be quiet. And he knows what I'm asking him to do.
2) he does have a heart of lion, as somebody else' has upthread. He sees it as his role in life to protect me.
3) He really hates birds. I don't know why, it's irrational but they make him livid
They are lovely little dogs - not very yappy, very affectionate. Our current one is very greedy and grumpy in his old age. He sleeps most of the time nowadays so we keep him separated from the kids so no-one bothers him. The grooming is hard work though.
She may be desperate for a dog. At that age I was desperate for a pony. But when she moves to secondary school, when she hits the teen years, when she does GCSE, when she gets a first boyfriend (or girlfriend or whatever?!). You can't expect a child to do all the walking. You need to think how you will cope with a pet.
Days out are a problem. Vet fees can be steep. Check out insurance costs. What about holidays. Just some things to think about.
Thank you for the comments
Wolf thank you for your concern but I have been considering getting a dog for 10 years and thoroughly considered all of the issues you have mentioned. I have waited until the time was right which I feel is now, we can offer a dog a loving and stable home and will only adopt if it is the right dog for us.
When I was 11 I was finally allowed to have a dog. I had been asking for one ceaselessly since I was 3 years old and had saved up ALL my pocket money all that time for one. I had no regrets later (he was my very best friend) and I did walk him (though my dad took him over a bit at first). If your dd has been long wanting a dog, I should think it would be ok.
It was contingent on my passing the 11 Plus though
Bloody hell. An animal is not a prize or a reward. It's a responsibility.
My mum has a shitzu - I think she honestly loves it more than me
She's a miniature one so is dinky, is friendly and affectionate, perfect little lap dog. Is really good around my DS (he's 3) and just wants to be as close to you as humanly possible.
Has a funny little sulky attitude if she doesn't get her own way.
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