What is Prey Drive?

Prey drive refers to a dog’s innate desire to chase and catch prey. This instinct varies in strength between different breeds. Breeds with strong prey drives, like terriers and hounds, were originally bred for hunting. While Shih Tzus are not hunting dogs, they can still display a prey drive to some degree.

Shih Tzu Compatibility With Other Dogs


Shih Tzus are generally good-natured and can get along well with other dogs, especially if socialized from a young age. Proper socialization helps them learn appropriate ways to interact and communicate with their canine companions.

Introduce your Shih Tzu puppy to a variety of friendly, vaccinated dogs in positive, controlled settings. Puppy classes are a great way to socialize your Shih Tzu and teach them important social skills.

Supervise Playtime

When your Shih Tzu plays with other dogs, always supervise their interactions. Shih Tzu prey drive can cause them to chase or harass other dogs, especially smaller breeds. Some dogs may not appreciate this behavior and react aggressively.

Watch for signs of tension, such as stiff body language, growling, or snapping. If play gets too rough, calmly separate the dogs and give them a break. Reward polite play with praise and treats.

Consider Size Differences

Shih Tzus are small dogs, which can make them vulnerable to injury during play with larger breeds. They may also trigger the prey drive in bigger dogs. For safety, it’s best to arrange playdates with dogs of a similar size and energy level.

If you have a large dog in your home, teach them to be gentle with your Shih Tzu. Never leave them unsupervised together, as even accidental injuries can be serious for a small dog.

Respect Each Dog’s Personality

Just like people, dogs are individuals with their own personalities and preferences. Some Shih Tzus may love the company of other dogs, while others prefer human companionship.

Pay attention to your Shih Tzu’s body language and behavior around other dogs. If they seem uncomfortable or anxious, don’t force interactions. Let your dog set the pace and respect their boundaries.

Managing Shih Tzu Prey Drive

Positive Reinforcement Training

Training is essential for teaching your Shih Tzu to control their prey drive. Use positive reinforcement methods, like praise and treats, to reward calm behavior around other dogs.

Teach a reliable recall so you can call your Shih Tzu back to you if they start chasing. Work on impulse control exercises, such as “leave it” and “stay,” to help your dog resist the urge to chase.

Provide Appropriate Outlets

Give your Shih Tzu plenty of opportunities to express their natural instincts in appropriate ways. Play games like fetch or tug-of-war to satisfy their desire to chase and grab.

Puzzle toys and treat dispensers can also provide mental stimulation and help reduce prey drive-related behaviors.

Secure Your Yard

If your Shih Tzu has a strong prey drive, make sure your yard is securely fenced to prevent them from chasing animals or running into the street. Supervise your dog during outdoor playtime and keep them on a leash during walks.

Enjoy Your Shih Tzu’s Company

Understanding your Shih Tzu’s prey drive and compatibility with other dogs is key to creating a harmonious multi-dog household. With proper socialization, training, and management, your Shih Tzu can learn to be a polite playmate and enjoy the company of canine friends.

Remember, every dog is unique, so be patient and adaptable as you help your Shih Tzu navigate their social world. The effort you put into training and socialization will be rewarded with a happy, well-behaved companion that brings joy to your life.

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