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Fun Things

Fun Things to Do With Your Shih Tzu

Overview - Feeling a bit bored? Need something new to do with your Shih Tzu? Wondering how to get out of the house more with your dog aside from taking walks in the neighborhood? Let’s look at fun things to do with a Shih Tzu puppy or dog that you may have never even thought of. Some of these are seasonal related, some you’ll only be able to do if you take a drive and others you can do right from home. We start of with easy, simple activities and then dive into things for the truly adventurous. So, you’re sure to find at least a few new, fun things to do with your Shih Tzu today or to make plans to do in the future.

Things You Can Do with Your Shih Tzu Right Now from Home
1. Play an indoor game. You’ll need a small treat and 3 cups (that are not transparent). Set the cups in a row and hide the treat under one. Shuffle them. Encourage your puppy or dog to find the right one. You can also play hide n’ seek, by commanding your dog into a sit and then quickly finding a spot to hide. If he gets confused, call out softly to give him hints. When he finds you, be sure to have a treat on you to immediately reward. Once a dog starts to catch on, he’ll often love to engage in this type of game. 

2. Play with your Shih Tzu outside in a sprinkler. Weather permitting, this is a super fun activity in the summer and it’s a great way to help a Shih Tzu stay cool. 
Most dogs are enthralled at water being whipped out and just about any sprinkler (other than high powered ones) can be used. 

3. Teach your Shih Tzu a new command or a new trick. All dogs should know the basic commands, so if your Tzu does not yet know ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’, ‘Come’ and ‘Down’, now is the time to start. And teaching a dog tricks is well worth the time. This sort of training instills proper hierarchy, is a fun way to bond with your dog and can give a Shih Tzu a boost of self-confidence.

4. Blow bubbles for your dog to chase. Okay, if you don’t have bubble mix at home, you might have to run out and get some. However, you might be amazing how much dogs love this. It’s a great way to offer a bout of exercise for your Shih Tzu and it’s really fun to watch. 

5. Take on a fun DIY project by making a silhouette portrait of your Shih Tzu. Granted, your dog’s task here will just be to pose for you and keep you company while you create it, however if you have a knack for crafts or want to see if you do, you might have fun making this. 
liver shih tzu with harness
Vivienne Grace (Vivy for short)
Photo courtesy of
 Megan Shialabba
Things You Can Do with Your Shih Tzu Right Now that Involve Leaving the House

1. Go for a walk on a completely new route. Choose a destination and see if you can arrive there by different roads than you’d normally take. Or visit a neighborhood that you’ve always wanted to live in and walk there as if you’ve already moved in! Just be sure that the planned route has safe sidewalks. 

2. Bring your Shih Tzu to a dog friendly store. Chances are there are some stores that you didn’t know allowed dogs. Many do, the only rule is that they must be placed in the shopping cart, in a carrier (a sling is a great choice for this) or in a canine stroller. It’s a great thing to do with your Shih Tzu for either actually shopping or window shopping. As of this writing, dog friendly stores include: 

Anthropologie, Bass Pro Shops, Bebe, Bloomingdale’s, Crate and Barrel, Foot Locker, Free People, Gap, Home Goods, JoAnn Fabrics, Lowe’s, Lush Cosmetics, Macy’s, Marshalls, Michael’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Old Navy, PetCo, PetSmart, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Saks Fifth Avenue, Saturn car dealerships, TJ Maxx, Tractor Supply Co. and Urban Outfitters.
3. Bring your Shih Tzu for a picnic. Pack up a super yummy lunch for both of you and a large blanket and you are both ready to enjoy some outdoor time and new experience. 

4. Go to a shoreline. Has it been a while since your Shih Tzu has been to a beach, lake or riverside park? Why not go today (weather permitting)? Most dogs love to explore a new area and water can add a new element that make the time exciting. Just be sure to keep your Tzu on leash and harness. If the water is safe, let him splash at the shoreline and investigate the new setting. 
5. Treat both you and your Shih Tzu to a spa day. Spas meant for both owner and dog to enjoy together are popping up all over cities and towns. There are some that offer fun things like Jacuzzi tubs for owners to pamper their pets (or the facility will wash your Tzu while you relax). There are some owner & pet spas that offer including aromatherapy, massaging baths and nail treatments. You’ll want to do a web search of ‘owner and dog spas’ to see what is available in your area. 

6. Go on a hike. Search your area for ‘easy’ hike trails, you may be surprised what is in your town or close by; trails that you never knew existed. Most Shih Tzu do well with a 1 to 3 mile trail, with breaks to rest and hydrate. Prepare by bringing along a backpack with food and water and be sure to keep your Shih Tzu on harness. Plan for the hike to take about twice as long as you expect so that you are finished long before dark. Most dogs love being outdoors in nature, hearing new sounds and experiencing new scents. And of course, moderate exercise helps keep a Shih Tzu healthy. 

7. Visit a farm or orchard. Depending on the season, it can be a great time to go strawberry picking, apple picking or even explore a pumpkin patch. Often, apple orchards also have peach trees and other fruit trees to fill in between apple season. It can be a great way to do something new with your Shih Tzu and afterward (or during), you can sample the fruit. Strawberries are one of the fruits safe for dogs to eat. Peach and apple can be given to dogs if you cut out pieces (only the core, seeds and pits are toxic).

8. Take your Shih Tzu out to eat at a dog friendly restaurant. You might be surprised how many restaurants that allow dogs and if you can find one that has an outdoor eating patio, all the better! Some have menu items for dogs. Starbucks has a ‘secret’ menu item called a Puppuccino; It’s an espresso-shot-sized paper cup full of whip cream (most dogs can tolerate dairy when given in moderate amounts).

At places that serve hamburgers, you can order your dog a plain hamburger patty without the salt; In n’ Out has one specifically for dogs called the ‘pup patty’ that even comes in its own doggy bag. At Tim Horton’s, you can order a sugar-free doggy version of their ‘Timbits’, which are bite sized doughnuts. There’s even a restaurant chain called the Shake Shack located along the east coast that offers ShackBurger dog biscuits, peanut butter sauce and vanilla custard or the Bag O’ Bones, a bag of five ShackBurger dog treats. At the Laughing Dog Brewing Co. in Idaho, your Shih Tzu can’t drink beer such as the Alpha Dog, Dogzilla, Cold Nose, but he will be welcome inside. 
two Shih Tzu
Romeo and Redford
Photo courtesy of Deborah Singley 
9. Visit a museum, historical or tourist site. Again, you may be surprised how many fun things you can do with your Shih Tzu, where dogs are very welcome. Here are some great choices of places to go with your Shih Tzu in the US that allows or even encourages dogs:
  • Alabama – the Pioneer Museum of Alabama in Troy
  • California – The Old Sacramento Historic Area in Sacramento
  • Colorado - Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum in Manitou Springs
  • Connecticut - The Museum of America and the Sea in Mystic
  • Delaware - Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover
  • Florida - Key West Aquarium in Key West
  • Illinois- Illinois Railway Museum in Union
  • Indiana - Indiana Railway Museum and Train Ride in French Lick
  • Iowa - Living History Farms in Urbandale
  • Kansas - The Dodge City Trail of Fame in Dodge City
  • Kentucky, Dinosaur World in Cave City
  • Louisiana- Haunted History Tours in New Orleans
  • Maryland- The Original Fell's Point Ghost Walk Tour in Baltimore
  • Massachusetts - Historic Deerfield Village in Deerfield
  • Michigan - Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton
  • Minnesota - Pioneer Village in Worthington
  • Missouri - Fantastic Caverns in Springfield,
  • Montana - Kootenai Falls and Swinging Bridge in Libby
  • Nebraska- Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island
  • New Jersey - Historic Cold Spring Village in Cape May
  • New Mexico - International UFO Museum & Research Center in Roswell
  • New York State - Glen Highland Farm in Morris
  • North Carolina - Biltmore Estate in Asheville
  • North Dakota- International Peace Garden in Rugby
  • Ohio - Holden Arboretum in Kirtland
  • Oklahoma - Har-Ber Village in Grove
  • Oregon- Pheasant Valley Vineyard at the Oregon Garden in Silverton
  • Pennsylvania- Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg
  • South Carolina – Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach
  • Tennessee - Rock City Gardens in Lookout Mountain
  • Texas- Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin
  • Utah - Golden Spike National Historical Site in Promontory
  • Vermont - The Nordic Ski Touring Center in Chittenden
  • Virginia - Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg
  • Washington State - San Juan Island National Historic Park in Friday Harbor
  • West Virginia - Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Harpers Ferry
  • Wisconsin – The Riverwalk in Milwaukee
  • Wyoming - Wisconsin and Fort Bridger State Historic Site in Fort Bridger
This is just a sampling, so do look around at a site’s website or call to see if dogs are allowed. Doing things with your Shih Tzu that involves going to new places is an important element of socialization and opens up a dog’s world. 
Taking Shih Tzu on bike
Things You Can Do with Your Shih Tzu That Require a Bit of Planning

1. Bring your Shih Tzu bike riding with you. You’ll need a bicycle (you can rent, borrow or buy) of course and a canine bike basket. Opt for a front carrier (some are meant to fit on the back of the bike and that’s not good because you can’t keep an eye on your dog). Some bicycle baskets for dogs are super comfortable, with padding for the chin and even rain covers, should the weather take a turn. Many also come with pockets that hold dog toys, water and other needed on-the-go items. Photo left (above on mobile): Snickers is taken for a bike ride each evening! Owner: Tracy Sweet
2. Bring your Shih Tzu to a Doga class. Eventually, everything that can be thought of, will be. Doga is a yoga class that owners do with their dogs. These are just beginning to pop up, with doga now in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Fla., some cities in Canada, and even overseas in Japan. 

These are sometimes run by yoga studios, however many are organized by canine rescue groups and shelters. You may wonder how in the world a Shih Tzu can do yoga, however, these are orientated for canines. Owners help their dogs facilitate different poses and some places also include doggy massage and/or acupressure. 

3. Join a canine freestyling dance group with your Shih Tzu. Freestyling dance is a dog sport that is a mixture of obedience training, tricks, and dance. Lots of places offer beginner classes where you and everyone else is new to this sort of activity, allowing you to have fun and learn if this is something both of you would enjoy. 
4. Or plan to attend a freestyle competition. The Canine Freestyle Federation lists out a both places where you can take classes and events where you can watch. It's really fun.
5. Train your Shih Tzu to become a therapy dog to make the lives of those in nursing home and hospitals more pleasant. Therapy dogs also visit schools and even disaster areas to comfort victims. While this does take some time, both the training and becoming a volunteer along with your Shih Tzu can be amazingly rewarding. 
6. Sign your Shih Tzu up for agility classes. This is a very fun thing to do with a dog, as it offers an exciting yet challenging environment in which you will learn to guide your Shih Tzu over and around and through all sorts of obstacles. Most likely, your local SPCA offers classes and all sorts of canine training gyms and facilities offer these as well. Dogs of every breed, size and age can do this and you’ll never know how much fun it can be unless you try. 
7. Visit a national park. While dogs are not allowed at many popular destinations, there are some wonderful sites that do allow pets. Let’s take a look at some of the best places you can bring your Tzu:

Quinault Rain Forest (Olympic National Forest, Washington) – Surrounding the main national park (where dogs are not allowed) are some fantastic trails in the Olympic National Forest, which includes the Quinault Rain Forest south of the Hoh Rain Forest. 
Shih Tzu at Niagara Falls
Snickers, enjoying a trip to Niagara Falls
Photo courtesy of Tracy Sweet (there's dog-friendly restaurants there too!)
There are two loops that are recommended to bring your dog: There is the South Shore Road at Lake Quinault. This takes you to areas where fir trees and spruce grow up to 300 feet tall. It is a 4-mile hike, you’ll want to take plenty of breaks for rest and hydration. There is a much shorter, 1/2-mile loop in the Rain Forest Nature Trail that brings you to an area in which you’ll be standing underneath 4 types of giant trees: Western red cedar, Sitka spruce, Douglas fir and Western hemlock. 
Nelder Grove (Oakhurst, California) – Though dogs are not allowed at the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park, you can bring your Shih Tzu to 5 miles south to Nelder Grove. There are huge giant sequoia trees that you can walk right up to. The Shadow of the Giants Trail here is about 1 mile long, which is a perfect length for a Shih Tzu to walk. 

Converse Basin (Kings Canyon, California) – Though Kings Canyon does not allow dogs on their trails, 5 miles to the north of Kings Canyon National Park is Converse Basin Grove, where there is a huge famous giant sequoia called the Boole Tree. To reach Boole Tree, it is a 2.5 mile trail. Many of the trees here have been cut down for display purposes in museums and other places, but this makes this a great place to visit in order to see the stumps that contain a mindboggling amount of rings (one has 3200 rings). 
 
Oglala National Grasslands (Crawford, Nebraska) – Dogs are banned in much of the badlands; however, you can see amazing rock carved from both wind and water at the Toadstool Geologic Park in a 1 mile looping trail. There are 30-million-year-old fossils and footprints in the stone there. Do be careful here, because there is little shade. You’ll want to bring lots of water and avoid going on super-hot days. For a longer, 3-mile hike, you can take the path that leads from Toadstool Park to the Hudson-Meng Bison Boneyard. It is an archaeological site that seeks to answer the mystery of how 600 bison died in one 300-foot area. 

Catalina State Park (Tucson, Arizona) – This is located 9 miles north of Tucson. Many trails are not suitable for dogs or allow them, but the Canyon Loop Trail which is 2.3 miles does allow pets. It offers a rolling trail through spectacular views in an area home to 170 species of birds and even ends with a ‘doggie swimming hole’. 

Dead Horse Point State Park (Moab, Utah) – Though many trails here are a bit too long for a Shih Tzu to maneuver, there is a 1/2 path on the western side that leads to an overlook of Shafer Canyon where you can see where the car went off the cliff in the movie Thelma and Louise. 

Ross Lake National Recreation Area (Diablo, Washington) – Though you can’t bring your Shih Tzu to the North Cascades National Park North Unit and many areas of the South Unit, you can bring your dog to the Ross Lake National Recreation Area, which is in the middle of these sites. The River Loop takes you through alpine forests to the Skagit River. 
Did you catch the last few topics?  
Shih Tzu Breathing Problems - Though this brachycephalic breed commonly has breathing issues, there are things you can do to help your Tzu breathe easier.
What to Do if Shih Tzu is Stung be a Bee - This also covers wasps, hornets, fire ants and other venomous insects. Know how to react, how to treat stings and signs of allergic reaction.
Shih Tzu Chewing and Licking at the Paws - This is a very common issue for this breed. Read why dogs do this, steps you can take to stop it & helpful treatment to heal the paws.
Traveling with a Shih Tzu - From cars to plane, taxis and buses, motion sickness & more, we have you covered with helpful tips. 
Shih Tzu Tail Questions - Standing, curling, docking, shaving, chewing, limpness and more.
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