Shih Tzu puppies are tiny powerhouses of enthusiasm, and many pet parents are amazed to find that their energetic nature continues instead of subsiding.
This article will shed light on when you can look forward to your Shih Tzu pup calming down, as well as offering extra advice to be mindful of that can provide support.
Shih Tzus typically start to mellow out when they reach around 2 years of age. At this point, they are considered to be mentally mature. Before this age, Shih Tzu puppies tend to be especially spirited.
Lets get into it!
Why Do Shih Tzus Have So Much Energy
Shih Tzu puppies can sometimes make you reconsider what the term “wild” truly means. Indeed, these tiny dynamos can be incredibly energetic, leaving many Shih Tzu puppy owners wondering why.
The reality is, well, it’s actually quite normal. While it might reach a point of excess, for the most part, it’s typical for Shih Tzu puppies to possess a GREAT deal of energy.
Puppies are discovering their environment, exploring your home, getting acquainted with their new family, and naturally exhibit a high level of excitement.
In fact, as your Shih Tzu puppy becomes more comfortable and confident in their surroundings, their excitement levels will likely increase even more.
When Do Shih Tzus Calm Down?
So, you’ve come to terms with your situation. But how long must this continue…
Many Shih Tzu owners are astonished to learn that their puppy’s energy levels actually escalate around 1 year of age, rather than diminish. Yikes indeed…
Shih Tzu puppies usually settle down when they reach approximately 2 years old.
This is the age when they are finally considered adults and are mentally mature. Based on conversations with numerous Shih Tzu owners, this age range seems accurate for most, although some mature earlier.
The great news, however, is that it doesn’t mean you’re helpless in the meantime. Your extra efforts can significantly contribute to a calmer shih tzu.
After all, expecting a puppy to calm down on their own never turns out well.
The Truth About Getting a Calm Shih Tzu
Something that many owners misunderstand is that age alone is not the answer to having a calm dog, regardless of the breed.
Owners can successfully achieve a calm dog by proactively managing their shih tzus energy.
And this has nothing to do with their age!
Yep, with proper stimulation both physical and mental, as well as a proper routine, you’ll be able to “control” your shih tzus hyperactive behavior down to a point where it’s no longer an issue.
This doesn’t require waiting years for a calmer dog!
I’ll run through the tips below in the next section.
7 Tips to Help Shih Tzus Calm Down
Let’s review some essential basics that will assist your puppy in staying calmer for extended periods.
Keep in mind that ALL the following should be integrated into your puppy’s daily routine. It isn’t an either-or situation.
1. Use Puppy Pens for Relaxation Breaks
Puppy pens are incredibly useful for various situations when used appropriately. They are essentially a more spacious version of a crate.
Puppy pens are perfect for keeping your puppy safely contained in a small yet adequately sized area while you’re occupied in another room or need them to be secure and unwind for a moment.
After your puppy has displayed enough hyperactivity outside the pen, it’s an excellent idea to place them inside. However, it’s crucial to note that the pen shouldn’t be used as punishment, nor should they perceive it that way.
The pen should be seen as an equally pleasant place to be, which depends on how you introduce it to your puppy. Initially, create positive associations with the pen by using delicious treats, toys, and lots of praise.
How does the pen help them relax?…
By limiting their space (without causing frustration), your puppy won’t be able to run around frantically, which naturally encourages them to calm down and focus on their immediate surroundings. At this point, they’ll be more inclined to lie down and play with their toys.
⭐ Our favorite puppy pen (Amazon)
2. Mental Stimulation is Vital!
Mental stimulation is crucial for dogs of all ages to feel content, satisfied, and happy. Puppies are bustling creatures, and although they may lack the attention span of an adult, they still require ample mental stimulation.
Mental stimulation takes various forms, from reward-based command training, interactive puzzle toys, playing with you and meeting new people, to socializing with other dogs as often as possible.
How does mental stimulation help them relax? Many owners concentrate on physical exercise, neglecting the importance of mental exercise. It’s true that you could provide adequate physical exercise, but without mental challenges, your puppy will still have as much energy as before.
Puppies MUST receive mental exercise and have their minds properly engaged to become genuinely tired and calm.
This means engaging in entertaining and valuable basic command training, playing intriguing games like hide-and-seek and nose-work games (where they sniff out treats).
Socializing with other puppies and dogs is perhaps the ultimate form of mental stimulation. It’s not only important for other reasons but also offers unparalleled mental stimulation levels.
As long as other dogs are fully vaccinated and healthy, they can safely interact with your puppy from as young as 8 weeks old.
Related article: Can unvaccinated puppies play with vaccinated dogs?
3. Offer the Right Amount of Physical Exercise
Over-exercising very young puppies can lead to injuries and growth issues. Most puppies get plenty of running, jumping, and sprinting inside the home.
However, by 4 to 5 months old, your puppy should be walking outside and, ideally, visiting dog parks to interact with other dogs.
How much exercise does your puppy need? The 5-minute rule is a good guideline. For each month of age, your puppy should receive 5 minutes of exercise per day (up to two times). At 5 months old, that’s two lots of 25 minutes of dedicated outdoor exercise daily, not including playtime.
While this might not seem like much, it’s designed to prevent excessive stress on growing joints, bones, muscles, and ligaments during their puppy months.
Physical exercise is also important and will, of course, reduce some of your Shih Tzu’s energy levels.
However, if not combined with mental exercise, it’s likely that after a short rest, your Shih Tzu will be energized and ready to run around again.
4. Exercise First Thing in The Morning!
One of the most important parts of exercise isn’t just how much, but when.
It’s absolutely crucial to exercise your shih tzu first thing in the morning after waking up.
This will expend a chunk of their energy and give them a release before they need to go about their day.
By providing them with early-on exercise it will set them up for success for the rest of the day.
They’ll be calmer, have a better mood, and more receptive to your commands.
The quickest way to hyperactive behavior is to skip their morning exericse.
5. Engage with Your Shih Tzu Frequently
General interaction goes a long way, and while it may not seem significant, it truly is!
Spending time playing, engaging, and even talking to your puppy provides them with the stimulation and attention they genuinely need.
A puppy needs an outlet to express themselves and release their energy, which is much easier when they have someone they view as their “leader” or “human parent” to interact with.
Without consistent engagement, puppies may start seeking attention, and if they continue to lack it, negative behavioral responses might develop. In that case, hyperactivity will be the least of your concerns.
Make sure to give your puppy plenty of attention. It will help satisfy their need for attention and enable them to stay calm during other times of the day.
6. Keep a Variety of Exciting Toys and Chew Treats
Toys and treats are your best allies. Regarding treats, don’t go overboard as this will increase calorie intake and could disrupt your puppy’s eating habits. However, one chew per day is usually fine.
Choose chews that last a reasonable amount of time. Not only will your puppy have the opportunity to soothe their teething pains, but they’ll also settle down and relax for a while. Combine this with the puppy pen, and you’ve got a winning daily routine.
The same applies to toys. A useful trick is to rotate them. Use the same 5 toys but only put 1 or 2 down; then, after a week or so, pick them up and put another 2 down.
This keeps the toys exciting and fresh for your puppy every time you rotate them.
If your puppy has access to appealing toys, they’ll willingly channel their energy into them and be content to lie down with them.
Don’t forget about interactive puzzle toys mentioned earlier. These are toys you can fill with treats that encourage your puppy to solve a simple problem to access the small treat. Some puzzle toys can keep puppies engaged for a considerable amount of time. ⭐ Our favorite (Amazon).
7. Maintain Consistency with Command Training
This was briefly mentioned in the mental stimulation section, but it deserves another mention. You can start training your puppy almost immediately, and consistency is crucial.
Basic command training includes teaching your puppy simple yet valuable skills they will use throughout their life, such as sit, stay, come, drop, and down.
Shih Tzus are highly intelligent and easily trained if you are consistent. Training not only fosters a well-behaved and manageable Shih Tzu later in life, but it also provides them with enjoyable activities and your attention (which they will crave if they don’t receive it).
Additionally, each training session will make them feel “worked” and more prepared to relax compared to not receiving training.
Ensure you engage in some form of training every day and always use treats as rewards. Puppies heavily rely on treats to know when they’ve done something good, as they often don’t understand verbal rewards for quite some time.
It’s important to adjust your expectations when it comes to your Shih Tzu puppy. After all, puppies are naturally energetic – it’s just part of being a puppy!
Many Shih Tzu owners share similar advice: cherish their lively puppy behavior while it lasts because they’re only a puppy once.
After reaching around 2 years of age, you’ll have “a dog for the next 12 years and not a puppy,” as one owner aptly put it.
So, until your Shih Tzu outgrows their puppy and adolescent stage, do your best to embrace the energetic furball you have and enjoy the experience.
Shih Tzu puppies are incredibly lively and will continue to be bundles of energy until they are around 2 years old when most begin to settle down.
You can also help your Shih Tzu puppy calm down by providing ample mental stimulation, socialization, training, physical exercise, utilizing a “relaxation” zone, and effectively using treats and toys.
Appreciate your Shih Tzu’s puppy-like antics while she’s still young. It won’t last forever 🙂