Skip to content

Can Shih Tzus Be Left Alone?

Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate and loyal nature, often forming strong bonds with their owners. While they thrive on companionship, they can also adapt to being left alone for reasonable periods. However, it’s essential to consider individual differences and factors that may affect their comfort level when left alone.

Shih Tzu Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can occur in dogs when they feel distressed or anxious due to the absence of their owners. Shih Tzus are known to be prone to separation anxiety, mainly because of their strong attachment to their human companions. Common signs of separation anxiety in Shih Tzus include excessive barking, destructive behavior, house soiling and restlessness. Proper understanding and management of separation anxiety are crucial for the well-being of your Shih Tzu.

Factors Affecting a Shih Tzu’s Ability to Be Left Alone:

Various factors can influence a Shih Tzu’s ability to cope with being left alone. Understanding these factors and taking them into consideration can help create a more comfortable and stress-free experience for your furry companion. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Age: Younger Shih Tzus, especially puppies, may have a harder time being left alone for extended periods. They require more attention, socialization and house training.
  • Length of time: Gradually increasing the duration of alone time helps Shih Tzus adjust and develop confidence. Proper training and gradual acclimation are key.
  • Type of house: Shih Tzus living in apartments or small houses may require more mental and physical stimulation to compensate for limited space.
  • Training: Proper obedience training, positive reinforcement and crate training can help Shih Tzus feel secure and confident when left alone.

How Long Can You Leave Your Shih Tzu at Home By Themselves?

The maximum duration a Shih Tzu can be left alone depends on several factors, including their age and maturity level:

  • Adult: Generally, healthy adult Shih Tzus can be left alone for 4-8 hours without significant issues.
  • Puppies: Young Shih Tzu puppies have limited bladder control and may need to relieve themselves frequently. They should not be left alone for more than 2-3 hours initially, gradually increasing the duration as they mature.

Does it Make a Difference if it’s Day or Night Time?

The time of day can impact a Shih Tzu’s ability to be left alone:

  • Daytime: Shih Tzus are generally more active during the day. Providing them with interactive toys, safe chew toys and leaving the radio or TV on can help provide stimulation and reduce loneliness.
  • Nighttime: Shih Tzus are usually more relaxed at night. Ensuring they have a comfortable sleeping area and a regular routine can promote better sleep patterns.

What About as Puppies?

As mentioned above, Shih Tzu puppies require extra care and attention when it comes to being left alone:

  • Gradual training: Introduce short periods of alone time to gradually acclimate your puppy. Start with a few minutes and gradually increase the duration as they become more comfortable.
  • Crate training: Using a crate can provide a safe and secure space for your puppy when alone. Properly introduced, a crate can become their den and help prevent destructive behavior.

Tips & Tricks for When You Have to Leave Your Shih Tzu Alone:

Leaving your Shih Tzu alone can be a source of concern, but with the right strategies, you can help them feel more comfortable and secure during your absence. Implementing these tips and tricks can make the alone time a positive experience for your furry friend:

  • Provide mental and physical stimulation: Engaging your Shih Tzu’s mind and body before you leave can help tire them out and reduce anxiety. Interactive toys, treat puzzles, or frozen Kongs filled with dog-safe snacks can keep them occupied and mentally stimulated.
  • Establish a routine: Dogs thrive on routine, so establish a consistent schedule for feeding, exercise and alone time. This routine will help create a sense of predictability and security for your Shih Tzu, reducing anxiety when you’re away.
  • Create a safe and comfortable space: Designate a specific area in your home where your Shih Tzu can relax when alone. Ensure they have a cozy bed, access to water and familiar scents, such as a blanket or an item with your scent, to provide comfort and reassurance.
  • Use calming aids: Consider using calming aids, such as pheromone diffusers or sprays, which can help create a relaxing environment for your Shih Tzu. These products release synthetic pheromones that mimic the natural comforting scents produced by mother dogs, helping to reduce anxiety.
  • Leave background noise: Leaving a radio or TV on at a low volume can provide soothing background noise that simulates the presence of people. The familiar sounds can help your Shih Tzu feel less alone and provide a sense of companionship.
  • Practice gradual departures and arrivals: Avoid making departures and arrivals overly dramatic or emotional. Gradually desensitize your Shih Tzu to your comings and goings by practicing short departures and arrivals initially and gradually increasing the duration. This approach helps normalize the routine and minimizes stress.
  • Seek professional help if needed: If your Shih Tzu continues to exhibit significant distress when left alone, despite implementing various strategies, it may be beneficial to consult a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist. They can provide specific guidance and develop a customized plan to address your Shih Tzu’s separation anxiety.

How Do Shih Tzus Compare to Other Breeds?

While individual differences exist, Shih Tzus generally require more companionship and attention compared to some other breeds. Their strong attachment to their owners and tendency to develop separation anxiety should be taken into consideration when assessing their suitability for being left alone.

Leaving your Shih Tzu alone for reasonable periods can be safe, provided you consider their individual needs, provide proper training and manage separation anxiety. By gradually increasing their alone time, providing mental and physical stimulation and considering alternative solutions when necessary, you can help ensure the well-being and happiness of your Shih Tzu.

Can Shih Tzus Be Left Alone? – How Long & Separation Anxiety Tips