Dogs are no doubt a man’s best friend and the most faithful companion you can find anywhere. Different breeds and sizes of dogs are at home with individuals and families, but not every dog is good with children, especially with toddlers.
If you have kids and you are searching for the playmate and best friend for them, there is quite a list of dogs for you to go through. But if you want the very perfect companion and playmate full of affection, then a Shih Tzu is the best choice.
Are Shih Tzus good with kids and babies? The answer is a resounding yes. Shih Tzus are exceptionally affectionate, tender, and kid-friendly that they make the best companion for kids and babies. Many Shih Tzu owners also agreed that they get along with kids very quickly even without training.
Although Shih Tzus are generally acclaimed as a good companion for kids, there are still several things to look into, especially as it concerns building a good relationship between your kids and the dog.
Some dynamics need to be in place to ensure your young children know how to handle the pet, and he also knows how to respond properly to your kids.
What Makes Shih Tzu an Excellent Choice for Kids and Babies?
We know that Shih Tzus get along exceptionally well with kids and babies due to their temperament that makes them kid-friendly. The following are the eight reasons why I think the Shih Tzu breed is an excellent choice for families with kids and babies.
They are affectionate: Shih Tzus are a very affectionate breed; they have an easygoing personality and have more than enough warmth and love to share with all your kids. They are perfectly happy to socialize and play with kids.
They are very playful: Shih Tzus are very playful and will be ready to catch balls, go on walks, and run around with your children both indoors and outdoors. They have more than enough energy to have fun plays with your kids, bringing light and joy to their day.
They bond easily with kids and babies: Shih Tzus also find it easy to bond with kids, and they can teach your kid to love and look out for someone else early in life. When your child grows up with a Shih Tzu, they learn to love, trust, and looking out for the next person easily and it will help them in later years.
Having a cute little Shih Tzu beside you makes you want to love them and take care of them; it is the same with your kid.
Builds up a mutual love and support relationship: Growing up with a Shih Tzu will teach your child to care for someone other than themselves. The good thing is, the Shih Tzu will return the same level of care and attention to your kids, which will bring about a mutual love and support system between your kids and the dog.
Imagine having your kid learning how to take responsibility for something and someone other than themselves at a young age.
As they grow, you can transfer responsibilities of bathing, feeding, and taking care of Shih Tzu to them. It kind of prepares them for a younger sibling and teaches them how to show love and care for them when they arrive.
They are therapeutic: Shih Tzus are therapeutic, that’s a fact. They help to elevate your child’s mood and handle their mood swings better than any other option you have.
If you don’t want to worry about your child’s mood while they grow up, get them a Shih Tzu and you are covered. Shih Tzus are also great for kids with Autism.
They are man’s best friends: When we say a Shih Tzu is man’s best friend, we totally mean it. Shih Tzu is the best friend your child can have, especially in their early years.
Children build bonds with Shih Tzus at an early age and it helps them make friends when they start meeting people and attending school. Nothing teaches your kid to be a better friend than growing up with a Shih Tzu.
They can protect your kids and babies: Shih Tzus can also protect your kids if they are adequately trained. They are very protective of people they love and they won’t hesitate to take up their ‘small lion’ identity if your kid is in danger.
They are loyal: Shih Tzus are loyal; they teach your child how loyalty, honesty, and dependability work.
Although we have seen the reasons why Shih Tzus are the best for your kids and toddlers, these things still need processes and procedures to blend in smoothly. There are works to be done on the part of your kids as well as your dog to ensure they have a good relationship.
How to Build a Good Relationship Between Your Kids and Shih Tzus?
There are a couple of things to teach your kids about handling and living with Shih Tzus before and after you get a Shih Tzu; this will help put them know how to treat their pet just right.
Teach your kids how to deal with the new addition: A Shih Tzu puppy is a new addition to your family and your child needs to be in on the transition.
Educate your kids on how they should interact with their new puppy. Teach them the right way to pet the dog so that the dog will not feel uncomfortable and intimidated.
Include your kids in training your Shih Tzu: Ensure your kids take part in training your Shih Tzu, especially if you get a young Shih Tzu. Your kid will bond quicker when he takes part in teaching the puppy how to act and behave around you and others.
Teach your kids how to handle a Shih Tzu: Shih Tzus are cute and cuddly and your kids will want to squeeze them, but you should let them know that pets are not toys. Show your kids how to properly take care of their pets and treat them like living creatures that need to also be taken care of.
Your kids should understand that Shih Tzus also have their needs, they have their downtimes, and they feel pain and fall sick as well. Kids should know how to have fun with dogs without being too controlling or restrictive.
Teach your kids to not give their food to their Shih Tzu: The willingness of kids to share or treat their dog to a snack can be harmful. The habit of giving treats to dogs might be a good one but not only does it put your Shih Tzu at risk of poisoning, but it could also influence him to start having beggarly attitudes.
Teach your kids to understand the dog’s warning signs: It is easy to get carried away when playing with their dog and not notice when the dog is feeling uncomfortable or not in the mood to play.
Dogs give off signs when they are scared, angry, or simply not in the mood to play; you can teach your kids all of these signs even before you get a dog so that they can identify the signs once you get it.
Some warning signs a Shih Tzu will show when they are scared, aggressive, or in a bad mood include low growls, snapping, bared teeth, tail tucking, cowering or hiding.
Some other things to teach your kids include:
- Not patting your dog’s head
- Crouch beside the dog rather than bend over them
- Avoid being too loud
- Pick up the dog correctly and to avoid picking them up too much
Once you get your kids ready to welcome their Shih Tzus, you can now also get the dogs prepared to meet your kids and live with them.
Puppy Shih Tzus vs. Adult Shih Tzus
One thing most people don’t know is that the age of your dog does make a big difference when it comes to how your Kids will relate with your Shih Tzu and vice versa.
Adult Shih Tzus have some different traits and attitudes compared to puppies. This means adult Shih Tzus may react differently to your children than Shih Tzu puppies. Similarly, kids will also respond differently to Shih Tzu puppies than adult Shih Tzus.
Puppies are young and new to interaction and they might act unmannered towards your kids by scratching or hurting them. You, therefore, have to train them on how to relate with your kids and let them know what is acceptable and what is not.
Likewise, your child might have to learn how to handle a puppy. When they are young, your kids might handle them roughly and carelessly because they look just like toys and might be easy to throw around.
The thing is, they are not toys and can get injured or even choked when your kids handle them roughly.
Puppies are also more prone to teasing and other childish behaviors and might not be able to handle your child’s teasing. It is important to teach your kids how to be observant of their dog’s feelings so that they know how not to act towards puppies.
For adult Shih Tzus, the training will take a different angle because most dogs will already be used to a certain habit and behavior, especially if they have lived with you before your kids or babies come.
Small kids can be quite pushy and playful so you will need to teach the dog how to get used to having kids around so that a major confrontation does not occur.
Shih Tzu Attitudes to Look Out for
Sometimes things may go wrong when your dog is interacting with your kids. As a parent and a dog owner, you should always ensure that the child-dog interactions are appropriate to avoid any unwanted circumstances.
The signs and attitudes of your Shih Tzu that you need to look out for to ensure safe interaction between your kids and the Shih Tzu are as follows.
Just as Shih Tzus can be cute and lovable, they can also throw tantrums and can act in jealousy. Shih Tzus love to be pampered and fussed over, and you have probably pampered them for a long time if you had them before getting kids.
So, it is likely that they would get jealous upon the arrival of a new kid who suddenly gains everyone’s attention and love. I mean, they have been the center of your attention so they might not get over it easily.
One way to handle this is to prepare your Shih Tzu before the child comes. You can start by setting decorations, furniture, and nurseries in place to set the mood for the arrival of your baby.
Sounds have also been known to create the mood and subconsciously inform your dog that there is about to be a change in the way things are going. Some persons have been known to use audio sounds of baby noises as desensitization training for their pets while expecting kids.
Normal behavior among Shih Tzus is to see kids and babies either as playmates or as a leader or Alpha, just like other adults in the house. When he sees your kids as Alphas, he will act how he ought to and put up good behavior, listen to instructions from your kids, and obey commands.
When things go wrong, your Shih Tzu might try to put up a superior attitude towards your kids and see them as subordinates while taking the Alpha position.
When this happens, they act out of control and will not show respect and obedience when your kids control them. Instead, they will try to boss over your child.
To avoid this, you have to teach your pet that your kids are the Alphas in the relationship and they should behave appropriately towards your kids.
Temper and Arrogance
while Shih Tzus can be the cutest pets, you should look out for signs of aggression or temper tantrums, especially as he relates to your kids. Some Shih Tzus might suffer from the ‘prince syndrome’ and might want to lord over your kids.
If you notice anything like this, then that particular dog might have a temperamental issue and will not be the best option as a pet for your kids.
My Final Thoughts
Shih Tzus are one of the best dog breeds you can consider getting for your kids and babies. They are affectionate, loving, playful, and dependable that make them the best companions for your kids.
Growing up alongside this dog will help your kids develop many emotional, mental, and social skills as they grow into adolescence and adulthood. Your kids will have a best friend and a pet.
Shih Tzus are amazing playmates and they bring out the best in your kids, especially when you train them properly. They might be small in size but Shih Tzus have a heart that is big enough to love your kids just right and bring laughter, love, and sunshine to your home.
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.