Why Does My Shih Tzu Cry All The Time? Facts Not Fiction

Just recently my Shih Tzu started crying all the time, to be honest it was getting on my nerves so I decided to look at the reasons why and this is what I found.

Why does my shih tzu cry all the time? There are a number of reason your Shih Tzu cries or whines all the time which can include physical needs like they need to potty or hungry or is anxious about something. In this article we look into all the reasons your Shin Tzu might whine and how to stop them.

After reading some of the dog forums a lot of people seem to be having problems with their Shih Tzu whining and crying all the time. Whining or crying is a different way for your dog to communicate and in this article we are going to go through the different types of crying and how to stop them.

Interpreting a dogs crying can be really tough and there are lots of different reasons for it. As with barking whining and crying is a different way for your dog to communicate. Often when they cry they are trying to tell us they want something, it can be food, a toy or just some attention.

Often whining and crying will turn into a problem behavior because when your dogs learn that when they do cry they will often get the attention they want. However, there are obviously more serious problems when dogs cry. It could be to do with pain, anxiety or age related decline.

This is why we always recommend you take your dog to the vet if you notice your dog whimpering or crying more than normal. I am going to run through the different categories of whining in dogs.

Crying Because Of Physical Needs

If your dog starts to whimper very suddenly it’s usually for a physical need. This could be food, water, to go outside to potty, for a toy or just for attention.

Appeasement Submission

Category two is appeasement and this is usually combined with submissive posture from your dog, this is when your dog has their ears, tail and head down. In a pack a dog would tell another dominant dog that they give up by submissive whining.

Crying Because Of Excitement When Greeting

A dog may whine when creeting you as a form of excitement. You will be able to spot this quite easily because it is normally accompanied by jumping, wagging their tail or spinning around.

Crying Because They Are Anxious

Anxiety is a strong reflex in dogs and there are multiple types of anxiety. Storm anxiety, separation anxiety which is probably one of the worst we see and sometimes some of the hardest ones to control.

Shih Tzu Anxiety Symptoms

The symptoms are generally going to be destructive in a lot of dogs. They will tear up things when owners are away, tear up their crate or cage, they can tear up their toys excessively, you can also see other symptoms like urinating or defecating when the owners were gone or when a storm is coming.

There are multiple different symptoms that can be going on and this creates a lot of problems for the owners and a lot of problems for the dogs as well. Anxiety can also cause diarrhea and vomiting and causing so much stress that the GI system reacts negatively.

Anxiety in dogs can be very serious so if your dog has some sort of anxiety disorder like storm phobias, loud noise phobias or especially separation anxiety you should talk to your veterinary clinic.

An anxious dog may whine while pacing up and down and showing unsertan body language like their tail being down and their ears being down.

How To Stop Your Shih Tzu Crying

Now we know what causes our dog to whine and cry, let’s look at some ways of stopping it based on the categories we have just run through. The way we suggest to build their confidence is to treat them with reward led obedience training.

Appeasement or Anxiety

Both of these categories are dealt with in a very similar way because they are both to do with a lack of confidence in your dog.

One on one reward based training will allow you to reward them for confident and focused behavior. It’s important to ignore any bad behavior, do not approach this with verbal or physical punishment.


As I said before, it’s very difficult to differentiate between what your dog needs when they are attention whining. To stop this type of crying you need to learn to ignore it, so when your dog stops whining that’s when you take them out, that’s when you give them food, that’s when you give them attention.

Don’t do it while they are whining because they will associate crying with getting what they want. So your main aim for this is for your dog to know that when they stop crying when they get your attention. If he gets it before he is going to associate the whining to get what he wanted.

Greeting Crying

This can seem really cute when you see your dog crying when you come through the door but if it is becoming a problem behavior you really need to address it. So when you come it try and greet them with a calmer tone and your dog will them greet you with a mirror tone and action.


If your dog has suddenly started whining then you should get them checked out by your vet. There will be a reason for the sudden crying or whining and it could be a number of things for your dogs health and welfare get them checked out as soon as possible.

Why Does My Shih Tzu Cry at Night

If your dog keeps you up at night it can be really overwhelming to deal with but what do you do when your dog cries at night? Should to take your dog out every time they cry? Do you ignore them? Let them cry it out? Scold them or what?

First let’s examine why your puppy might cry at night. The thing is dogs don’t intuitively understand our daily schedules and if you have a new dog there is a really good chance they have been thrown off by their new circumstances and surroundings.

This can cause anxiety which can cause many dogs to feel uneasy and cry or whine. This adjustment period is the single biggest reason that dogs cry at night.

When babies cry we ask “have all their needs been met?” and then we act accordingly. This is basically what we should do with our dogs too. Remember, if you have a new Shih Tzu puppy you’re actually not entitled to sleep all the way through the night. I mean, you should be taking them outside to potty a couple of times per night.

Once your dog is about three to four months old they ought to be able to physically make it all the way through the entire night without needing to pee.

Over time you will learn the difference between all of your dogs different whines and cries. One of them might mean “Hey I need to be taken outside right now” while another one could mean “I am hungry so feed me”. And then there is the classic “I am so bored I’m going to whine”.

The boredom whine is actually pretty common, it’s pretty easy to overcome in most cases. For immediate relief give then age appropriate mental exercise through the day. And make sure you give them exercise just before putting them to bed.

During the day discourage excessive napping, for most dogs a thirty minute walk should do the trick. A good way to exercise your Shih Tzu is to play fetch using one of their favorite toys. The good thing about throwing a toy for your dog is that you can do this in your back garden or yard, or even inside your home.

Working on obedience and mental training is also a good way to train your dog and this can help them sleep through the night too. You know the feeling when you have been studying all day for an exam, that’s the feeling we are going for with your dog.

When you put them to bed consider giving them a chew toy so they have something to do so they are less likely to be bored.

If you have ruled out any medical issues by asking your vet, make sure your dog has lots of healthy physical and mental exercise. If you have taken care of all their needs like food, water and going outside and they are still crying, it’s probably time to just ignore the crying for a while.

When your dog is whining or barking a minute can feel like ten minutes so why not time how long it actually takes your dog to calm down. Keeping track of the time can help you notice progress where you otherwise might not.

Once your dog is quiet after five, ten or fifteen minutes take note of than time. Your goal is to see if the time your dog cries get shorter and shorter over time.

It’s not like this type of behavior goes away all at once so this can help you notice progress where you otherwise might not.

Of course, if your dog seems extremely stressed out this could mean they don’t like their dog crate or they don’t like being away from you in another room. This is why we would encourage you to use a dog crate to get your dog used to being away from you. We have a great article which explains how to crate train your Shih Tzu in five easy to follow steps.

Our Top Training Tips To Stops Them Crying At Night

Depending on what age your puppy is there’s many different things you can do to help soothe them, calm them down and keep them settle while they are in their crate.

One of the most important things I think is exercise, regardless of how old your dog is. Of course, the younger the dog is the more they nap throughout the day, maybe even up to 14/20 hours.

Tips #1

If you have a crying puppy while they’re in the dog crate make sure that the crate is cozy inside. Put a warm blanket in there, maybe your old shirt or t-shirt from your dirty clothes hamper, something that has your scent on it.

Remember they’ve been separated from their siblings and their mom which also is very stressful for them, so keep them warm and keep them in a darker environment, that tends to help as well. If you have a wire crate you can always throw a thick blanket over it or something to just make it a little darker and cozy.

Tip #2

You can put some stuffed toys in their crate. What you can do with the toys is put them in your dirty clothes hamper so they have your scent on them and put them in the crate with your dog, that’s very soothing for them as well.

The worst thing you want to do for a crying puppy is comfort them by taking them out of the crate and carry them around and pamper them. Of course, that’s going to grow into bigger problematic behaviors when your dog gets older, so you should tolerate that as much as possible

Tip #3

If your dog’s been fed and watered it’s now down time. Once your dog has been outside to potty it’s okay to keep the dog in the crate and let them cry. As I said previously, the best thing you can do is if they have full bellies and they have been pottied and they are warm is to ignore them if they cry.

Just let them cry out and they will go to sleep, just be sure that you’re consistent with the rules.

Tip #4

You can place the dog crate near your bed at night so your dog gets used to being in a crate, but also near you. Then gradually move the crate away from your bed and out of your bed room so your dog gets more comfortable being away from you at night.

This may not be a very quick process so you need to be prepared to be very patient and tolerant while you both work through this period. Don’t worry it’s all going to be worth it.

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