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Q&A: What can I do about my Shih Tzu’s barking at meal time?

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Question submitted by Jennifer
I have a female shih tzu and she is about one year and eight months old. I am having an issue with her incessant barking at certain times for her food! We feed her in the morning and in the evening so that we can keep her at the proper weight but every morning she sounds off to be fed. Sometimes it’s so loud that you would think she is dying! We let her outside to go potty first and she gets even louder and smacks her little paws against the glass door until she is fed. She is not as bad in the evening but will whine at me from her crate if she doesn’t get what she wants! It’s become a constant struggle for me. I love my little girl, but this is starting to drive me crazy, and I am not sure how to stop this behavior. Any suggestions?

Terry’s answer

Jennifer, here are a couple of things to try. First, don’t let her in the door or feed her while she is barking. I know it will be ear-shattering for the first few times, but try really hard to ignore that she is even at the door. When she is quiet for even a full minute, let her in. She needs to understand that her bad behavior will not get her what she wants, which is to be inside. Second, I would begin to vary the times you are feeding. It may be easier for you  to start this on a weekend, or when you have a couple of days off in a row. Varying the times by 1/2 hour will help her understand that you ring the dinner bell – not her. You may even try feeding her by hand for a few days so she sees that you are the giver of food – not her bowl. Remember that changing the feeding times may also change the potty times, so just be aware of her signals that she needs to go out.  Good luck, and let me know how it goes.
Terry Meeks is a dog trainer, APDT Member an CGC Evaluator in Pinellas County, Florida.  Find Four on the Floor Dog Training at and on Facebook.

Author: doggywoof staff

7 Responses to “Q&A: What can I do about my Shih Tzu’s barking at meal time?”

  1. Cj says:

    My toy pomeranian’s do that..they’re almost nine 9yrs old now & they’ve been doing it for years..I always switched up their feeding times because of my hectic schedules, and I never fed them while they were causing such a scene, I waited til they calmed down..sometimes it worked…but I guess sometimes you can’t control it, the same way we can get ‘cranky’ if we lack food, they can too. Good luck & just be patient.

  2. Ginny Tomas says:

    Could it be that she is hungry and needs 4 smaller meals instead of 2?

  3. Sybil says:

    Maybe certain small dogs are just naturally bossy. In my case, my shih tzu became bossy as she matured – she is now 5. I have trouble outlasting her barking when she wants something. She barks at night when she wants more food and when she wants to go to bed and I am not ready. She wants me in bed before she is willing to settle down. I know it is my fault as I let her think she is the queen of the house as she grew up.

  4. Anonymous says:

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  5. Paki, aunque con retraso, te comunico que todos los que lo solicist teis a trav s de los coemntarios est is admitidos/as

  6. For all of you that say a "imperial " does not exist, what about the mini "toy" , it is a small version of the large standard poodle, yet NO ONE DARES call a toy poodle a "runt" or sickly dog because AKC recognizes it as a breed. One day the Imperial shih tzu will be recognized by AKC and you can all think back on your harsh comments, will you still say it is a sickly runt? A lot of breeds have been bred down for size and they are perfectly healthy versions of their larger breed. It can be done and is being done by ethical breeders who are placing health foremost, more than some standard shih tzu breeders.References :

  7. Jo Prillaman says:

    My shitzu has been barking around meal time which is at 7 or 8:00p.m. I try to fix her bowl with her dog food and sme low fat turkey. Can you help me? Please

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