Multiple issues

Posted by grace854
Dec 3, 2010
Hi. I am new here and a bit desperate for some help and answers. I adopted an 8 yr old lhasa apso last Feb, he is such a laid back little guy with few problems, then adopted a 3 yr old shih tzu last Sept. He is the most lovable adorable little guy who is just the opposite. He gets into everything. Multiple issues with him and I am not sure which thread to start in. The worst issue is his peeing in the house and I am not sure if he is marking or just pees when he has to go. I watch him closely and still don't catch him at it. I let him out frequently and while the older one, Koda, goes immediately, Sammy gets so busy it takes him forever and often won't go, if I make him stay outside he just sits on the steps. He can also be aggressive with some people and has bitten one person. He also takes anything that will fit in his mouth, nothing is safe. I have to be so careful not to drop anything, pencils, bottle caps, you name it. He will be 4 this month and for a 4 yrs old he has so much puppy in him. Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated. I thought about returning him to the shelter but I am afraid he may be put down and feel that his behaviors can be turned around in time. I absolutely love him in spite of all his behavior issues. Thanks for listening to me ramble.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Dec 3, 2010
Hi grace854,

Thank you for adopting both dogs and thank you for trying to keep your shih tzu and to work on his issues

Each of the issues needs to be addressed separately but basic obedience training will benefit alot in terms of establishing a great relationship and of building communication tools between the two of you.

For peeing issue, you will have to start from scratch unfortunately. As if you train a puppy, you should start from taking him out regularly and praise/traet when he releases outside, etc. However, once he gets it, it won't take as long as puppies, I hope. I want to ask you one question though. Is he neutered? If not, you should neuter him so that the chance of marking will decreases.

For eating everything on the floor, you will need to teach him "Leave it" and "Drop it" but again, if he doesn't listen to you, it won't help. So he needs some obedience trainings.

As for his aggression, I am a bit surprised. Usually, Lahsa Apso has more aggression than Shih Tzu because of how they are bred. Let us know the situations that he gets aggressive and that he bit someone.

Hope this will help
Posted by grace854
Dec 3, 2010
Hi Max, thank you for getting back to me so quickly. These little guys are the joy of my daily life, my family lives too far to see often and these little guys fill my life. I had lost my beloved 13 yr old American Springer a yr ago in Sept, had her since she was a pup and missed her terrliby. Life was too quiet and lonely so I decided to adopt. Koda was perfect for me, such a good little guy then I decided to adpot another one and I was not prepared for this active little Sammy.
I suspect that the previous owners did very little in the way of training. Sammy, my 'problem' child is just a little imp and yet has that 'I'm innocent or what did I do?' look. The reason the previous owner gave the shelter for giving him up was his safety, he would use the chain link fence as a ladder and climb out over the top and they lived in a heavy traffic area. I also suppect there were other issues they didn't forclose. I am aware that each has to be addressed individually but just a bit overwhelmed with all the different issues. The peeing one is the one that needs to be addressed first.
To answer your question, yes he is neutered. His taking every thing in his mouth that will fit, he does release it without too much problem, when I hold on to his collar and take it, he won't drop it. He does not listen very well at all, when I say come. He is pretty much the master here and I need to change that and quickly. The aggression, that is mostly when he is outside, he is on a leash but if someone steps into the yard and into his territory he will bite unless he knows who it is. With most people that come to the house, if he sees that I am ok with them being here, he is too, but not always. I always have to hang on to his collar to see how he responds first.
He is also a runner, if he sees any means of escape he will take it and he is light lightening so another thing I have to be so very careful with. He has gotten away on me twice when I open the door and very hard to catch again.
Yet, with all this, he is the most lovable little guy one could ever have. I know, most pet owners feel that way about their pets.
Sorry this is so long. I down loaded the book as well and will read that and hopefully be able to put what I learn into practice.
I think the people here will save my sanity.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Dec 5, 2010
Hey Carol,

I think you should try to focus a bit on alpha dog training, that is, getting your dog to realize that you are the head of the house, not him. Eat before him (with him seeing you eat first), go through doors first, don't put up with bad behaviour from him without some sort of punishment, like time-out or being put outside in the backyard, or ignored if he's attention seeking.

For peeing in the house, as MaxHollyNoah said, start all over with him. Keep him enclosed in a small area of the house and only give him access to more of the house when he's got the routine of not peeing in the area he's in. If you give him more room and he pees again, put him back a step and decrease the space he's given. Take him out often, with Koda, and give lots of praise for using the bathroom outside.

For picking things up, I think if you work with the alpha training that this behaviour will decrease, or he will learn to listen when you say "drop it" or "no". It sounds like he thinks he's a bit higher in the house than he actually should, and just needs constant telling otherwise

For aggression, I know Shitz Zhus can become aggressive to anyone other than their main person/owner. You should work with him, emphasizing what you said about him being comfortable with people you are comfortable with. Can you keep him out of the front yard, so that people can come up without being met by an upset dog, and so that you have some control over his getting worked up over visitors? When people come in the house, try ignoring him, or putting him in a quiet area until he calms down. Teach him a down stay, and give him this command when new people come to your house, so that he can see you interact in a friendly way, but isn't directly involved.

I hope this helps, let us know how you progress! Good luck!
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Dec 5, 2010
Hi Carol,

Let me give you a suggestion. I wrote about my foster dog Dundee in "Dog Lovers Corner" but he was a long time stray dog and liveds in our yard for a couple of weeks after I got him. He marked our yard from right to left, up and down, all over, on the deck, on the doors, everywhere outside

Eventually, he became an indoor dog but I was worried about his marking habit. So, I had him tied to me with an umbelical cord whenever he was in the house for more than 2 wks. Other times, he was loose in our utility room, or in his crate. This way, he cannot go out of sight and I could catch him actually before marking took place One time, he was about to lift his hind leg against our oven:eek: I said "No! Dundee" and pulled the leash (umbelical cord). He stopped. There were 3 times I caught him before he marked and that was all. He learned that he is not supposed to release him inside, along with taking him outside with my dogs for every few hours. He now pees and poops on command

>His taking every thing in his mouth that will fit, he does release it without too much problem, when I hold on to his collar and take it, he won't drop it.

Have you tried to offer a treat in exchange with the item he has in his mouth? When he tries to take the treat, there is nothing he can do but to drop the item. Remove the dropped item right away and praise him a lot.

>He does not listen very well at all, when I say come. He is pretty much the master here and I need to change that and quickly.

Don't practice "Come" command when he is distracted with something else. Start with little or no distraction, in short distance. Always reward him with treat and praise. What you want to teach him is that good things happen whenever he comes to you. Never practice "Come" when you are going to scold him. Practice 10 times a day, in different settings. When you are cooking, when you are brushing your teeth, when you are sitting on a couch, etc.

One last thing I want to suggest you is:

Please always treat Koda as your #1 dog, no matter how Sammy likes or not. Sammy should be second. He will learn that when you stick to the pecking order. That is my 2 cents. Good luck.