How Do I Know My Shih Tzu Loves Me & is Happy? (21 Reasons)

It’s not always that easy to read a dog’s emotions, and sometimes we wish they could tell us how they were feeling. It’s not always obvious whether they are happy or sad. You might also struggle to understand if your Shih Tzu loves you.

Firstly, I am sure your Shih Tzu loves you a lot, so please don’t worry. Secondly, I wanted to put together a list of signs to look out for so you can tell if your Shih Tzu is happy or not. Firstly, a quick explainer though on Shih Tzu love and happiness…

How do I know if my Shih Tzu is happy? There are lots of ways you can tell a Shih Tzu is happy and loves you including wiggly bottoms, a relaxed body, being playful, a good appetite and no destructive behavior. These and more are how you know your Shih Tzu loves you and is happy.

How can I tell if my Shih Tzu is happy and loves me?

If you’ve been out for a while and come through the door to an excitable Shih Tzu jumping up at you, that’s a sign your Shih Tzu loves you. But aside from the obvious, what else should you be looking out for?

Here’s my top list of signs on how to know your Shih Tzu loves you.

1. Your Shih Tzu has what appears to be a smile

Shih Tzu will often relax their mouth, lips, and tongues to give you what looks like a happy grin. It’s a smile where their lips curl up, their eyes soften, and their tongue pops out.

2. Your Shih Tzu does bottom wiggles and tail wags

Shih Tzus will wag their tails when they are in the mood. What you will also notice how they love to wiggle their bum when happy.

If you come home through your door to be greeted by a shuffling, butt-wiggling pooch, you can be sure your Shih Tzu loves you and is happy as Larry.

3. Your Shih Tzu gives you the big puppy dog eyes

Shih Tzu have some of the most expressive eyes of any dog, and not just because of the unique appearance. Like all dogs, they can give you the classic puppy dog eyes, which is a sign of a happy Shih Tzu.

But why do dogs do this?

There’s actually some science behind it; apparently dogs have developed the ability to make your heart melt with a simple gaze as part of their domestic evolution. It’s a response behavior as dogs know it triggers a positive response in humans.

Happy dogs will relax their eyes, angry and scared dogs will narrow their eyes. So, if you see those soft Shih Tzu eyes, you know yours is happy and loves you.

5. Your Shih Tzu shows no aggression

Unhappy Shih Tzus will be aggressive and will show their teeth. Whilst they might be small, they can still snarl, put their ears back slightly, and act defensively.

happy shih tzu
This happy Shih Tzu shows no aggression. (Image licensed via

6. Your Shih Tzu has a relaxed body

Loving and happy Shih Tzus will be relaxed, and you will visibly see this in their body. A Shih Tzu that loves you will show happiness with a relaxed body including those bum wiggles I mentioned earlier.

If you have ever seen one of those Shih Tzu happy dances where their whole body starts wiggling, you will know what I mean. On the other hand, a rigid body is a sign of stress.

7. Your Shih Tzu has plenty of reasons to play

Playful Shih Tzus are happy Shih Tzus. If you have a Shih Tzu who doesn’t want to play, then get him checked out by a vet.

It’s also one of the best signs to look for to see if your Shih Tzu loves you. They will come up to you and try to initiate a game of play; that could be fetch, ball, tug of war, tickles, you name it.

For recommendations on what your Shih Tzu should play with, take a look at these Shih Tzu toy suggestions on Amazon.

8. Your Shih Tzu does not exhibit destructive behavior

Unhappy Shih Tzus can be destructive. When stressed and sad they will chew, bite and destroy anything in sight. This should not be confused with your puppy’s teething stage though when it’s completely natural or them to want to chew things.

One of the more common reasons for destructive behavior is separation anxiety. Dogs thrive on human company – being left home alone can have a huge impact on the way they behave.

If you are out at work, or even away from home for a couple of hours, you might come back to a scene of destruction. This can include barking, digging holes, chewing, tearing, ripping and other bad behavior.

To mitigate this, and to make your Shih Tzu love you more, make sure you keep your Shih Tzu active and exercised, play with them, and consider how long you might be leaving them home alone.

We bought a Furbo dog camera for when we go out. You can buy a Furbo on Amazon; they are great for dog separation anxiety… and will make your Shih Tzu happy.

10. Your Shih Tzu has a healthy appetite

You can tell your Shih Tzu is happy if he’s eating well.

Dogs who lose their appetite, act lethargic, and are reluctant to play and more often than not, sick. Your Shih Tzu puppy should be eating 3 small meals a day, whereas an adult should eat twice daily.

11. Your Shih Tzu sticks their tongue out

Whilst there is a condition called hanging tongue which can result from neurological and structural defects, a little tongue poking out can signal happiness.

You might notice it when your Shih Tzu is asleep. The tongue poking out means that are completely relaxed and in a happy state.

The next time your Shih Tzu’s tongue stick out, it could be a sign they are totally relaxed, content and happy with life.

12. Your Shih Tzu has a healthy coat

A healthy coat means a happy dog… well, in most cases. But in all seriousness, a heathy looking coat is usually a sign that most is alright with your Shih Tzu. When your Shih Tzu’s in great shape, he or she will definitely love you for it.

On the flip side, a stressed-out Shih Tzu can lose their hair. Signs to look out for include flaky skin, obvious signs of hair loss, and excessive scratching. If you do see this, it’s unlikely that you Shih Tzu is happy.

13. Your Shih Tzu wants to be close to you

When a Shih Tzu leans into you, it’s a sign that they love you and are happy with everything you are doing as their owner. You please them so they want to get up close and personal!

14. Your Shih Tzu follows you like a shadow

When you have earned the trust of your Shih Tzu, you will soon notice that they follow everywhere, from room to room, and even if you shift on the couch.

As I mentioned earlier, Shih Tzus can suffer with separation anxiety, so keeping close and following you around makes them feel secure. Shih Tzus love to follow their owners; it’s one way for a Shih Tzu to show it loves you.

New Shih Tzus soon become very attached to their owners and will fall in love with you quickly providing you give them security they need.

15. Your Shih Tzu will give you Shih Tzu kisses

How do I know if my Shih Tzu loves me? Could it be any clearer than with a big sloppy a kiss?

Shih Tzus show affection to their owners by getting their nose and mouth up close to yours and administering their version of a kiss. It’s not a lip thing, instead getting their face right into yours and doing some rapid-fire sniffing or a lick.

But, play safe with this one. You don’t really want to encourage your Shih Tzu to lick your mouth, despite how much it shows they love you and are happy for you to be their master.

16. Your Shih Tzu will bring you their toys

If your Shih Tzu keeps bringing toys to you, it’s a dog way of showing you love and affection. If it’s your Shih Tzu’s favorite toy, you can’t get a higher recommendation than this!

Why? It’s their way of wanting to play with you, but also showing that you are the leader of the pack. By offering you their well-loved toys, it means they trust you to be responsible for their favorite possessions.

If your Shih Tzu gives you a toy, it means your Shih Tzu is happy and loves you. After all, if they share that toy, it means they want you to like and enjoy it just as much as they do.

Sharing is caring, and it’s one way of telling your Shih Tzu is happy for you to be in their life.

17. Your Shih Tzu will yawn back at you

You must have seen a friend or family member yawning back at you when you do one. This is a biological response triggered by empathy, leading to contagious yawns.

However, a recent study I found on explains that dogs also do this. But interestingly, they only tend to yawn back at their owners, and not strangers – because it’s all based on empathy.

If you do see your little dog yawning when you do, you know your Shih Tzu loves you.

18. Your Shih Tzu will raise their eyebrows

This isn’t an easy sign to see but can still be a very subtle way for your Shih Tzu to show that they love you. I’ve personally not seen this in my own dogs, but did read about a study in Japan that founds when owners walk into a room, their dog will raise their eyebrows

The research found that dogs don’t do this with strangers though, only their close humans. That means if you walk into your lounge and your Shih Tzu looks at your and raises an eyebrow, he’s bound to be happy and love you unconditionally.

19. Your Shih Tzu will want to jump up on you

I know we’re meant to train our dogs not to jump up, but it’s still one way in which your Shih Tzu shows how affectionate they are to you.

shih Tzu love
How do I know my Shih Tzu loves me? Because he will love running and jumping up at you! (Image via

Whilst jumping up can be an adorable trait with a Shih Tzu puppy, as they get older it’s can be problem behavior you should not really encourage.

20. Your Shih Tzu will roll over

If your Shih Tzu rolls over in front of you and asks for a belly rubbing, it’s a sure sign they trust and love you – not to mention being in the throes of happiness!

When a dog rolls onto his back and exposes his belly, it means they trust you as they make themselves vulnerable. This is classic submissive behavior that only secure and happy Shih Tzus will display.

21: Your Shih Tzu will let out a little sigh

Shih Tzus can make little noises that let you tell they love you or they are in a happy mood.

For example, there’s one sound that shows your Shih Tzu is happy to be around you. It’s a little sigh of content. Some have compared it to a low moan, and it tends to happen when your Shih Tzu is settling down to relax.

If your Shih Tzu does this in your company it means they feel safe and happy around you, with no worries over threats.

Signs of a depressed Shih Tzu

I’ve already touched on a number of factors in my guide to Shih Tzu happiness, but what should you look out for if your Shih Tzu isn’t happy, but instead has depression?

Here are some signals that could point towards Shih Tzu depression:

  • Growling and aggressive behavior (here’s how to stop your Shih Tzu biting you and other people)
  • Narrowed eyes.
  • Lack of appetite (here’s what vomiting means).
  • Increasing panting.
  • Howling and whining.
  • Indoor urination and/or defecation.
  • Fearful behavior such as cowering and hiding.
  • Destructive behavior including chewing.
  • Overall disobedience.
  • Lack of interest in playing and their toys.
  • Disturbed or irregular sleep patterns.
  • Too much sleep compared to usual.
  • Excessive licking of themselves.
  • No longer responding to love and affection.


Some people will get a dog without really thinking about the commitment involved. Raising a healthy and happy Shih Tzu can be very hard work – but it can mean they might live longer.

But how do you know if your Shih Tzu is happy?

Well, I’ve detailed what I believe to be the main signs, but the bottom line is this; are they happy to see you, content, and healthy. If they are, your Shih Tzu probably loves you and will do as long as you keep your side of the bargain up.

You might might also like…

Here are more guides to help you keep a happy Shih Tzu dog.

Image in header via

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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