Early Shih Tzu Puppy Stimulation
The first sense of a Shih Tzu puppy is “scent.” The newborn Shih Tzu puppy will be able to smell the scent of the breeder immediately after the sac is broken. The Shih Tzu breeder is familiar with litters of Shih Tzu puppies before their eyes open. Up until the Shih Tzu puppy opens its eyes they became familiar with their breeder’s scent through their dam’s coat. Shih Tzu puppies learn where there is and is not a place of milk and nourishment on their mother through scent.
It is advisable that only the Shih Tzu breeder handle puppies during their first two weeks. This does limit the Shih Tzu puppy’s reality of the world around them; however, it is practicing sound early responsible care practices. As Shih Tzu puppies begin to open their eyes they become aware of differences in people. Because of this awareness, a very young Shih Tzu puppy may act violently the first time handled by anyone other than their breeder. The Shih Tzu puppy may begin to struggle or scream to be free.
It really is not necessary for other people besides the breeder to handle Shih Tzu puppies during this very early period of their lives. If a Shih Tzu puppy is frightening by early interactions with other people it could set the stage for later mistrust toward all humans. It is therefore extremely important that all early contacts with a Shih Tzu puppy be positive. Once a barrier of distrust is instilled in a newborn Shih Tzu puppy, the puppy can become hard to work with and sometimes even unmanageable as adults. Limiting contact with humans also aids in the spreading of germs to newborn Shih Tzu puppies.
There is a proper way to hold a very young Shih Tzu puppy. You should not “swoop” a Shih Tzu puppy quickly into your arms, or hold it at arm’s length. Do not ever pick up a Shih Tzu puppy by its legs, ears, tail or scruff. Severe and even irreparable damage can result.
Use the following steps to pick up and hold a newborn and very young Shih Tzu puppy:
- Place your hands firmly around the Shih Tzu puppy’s body making it feel secure before it is lifted from the whelping box.
- Immediately begin to snuggle the Shih Tzu puppy closely to your neck, chest or face area, letting the Shih Tzu puppy smell your familiar scent. Here is where the Shih Tzu puppy will feel the reassuring rhythm of your breathing and your heartbeat. The Shih Tzu puppy will remain relaxed. The Shih Tzu puppy will have less tendency to struggle against others first holding them if you will practice these steps from the beginning.
In general, you should not place very young Shih Tzu puppies in your lap, at least until after they begin to walk. They do not feel secure in a lap position at a very young age.
When handling newborn Shih Tzu puppies it is helpful to make “kissing” sounds near their ears. The sound is similar to puppies nursing. Therefore, repetitious kissing offers the same sense of security and comfort for the Shih Tzu puppy.
One of the earliest conditioning a Shih Tzu puppy encounters is being nestled in secure comfort by its dam while being fed warm milk. When you emit the same type of sounds with repetitious kissing the Shih Tzu puppy responds immediately to your stimulation and will feel secure. The Shih Tzu puppy will snuggle rather than struggle and learn to trust humans from a very early period of their lives. This type of conditioning is important for proper development as an adult Shih Tzu and instills a “trusting” of humans rather than a “fear” of humans.
Shih Tzu puppy conditioning beyond diet is a highly important part of a professional Shih Tzu breeder’s job, and will often separate the professional breeder from the “backyard” or puppy mill breeders.