Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. It’s used to be that dog years were 7 years to every 1. Now it normally around 5 years to every year as long as your dog is healthy and kept up with vaccines. So he’s about 68ish in dog years.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

The first year of a medium-sized dog equals around 15 human years. The second year of a dog equates to approximately nine human years – which makes a 2 year old dog equal to a 24 year old human (15+9=24). After that every human year equals approximately five dog years.
15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog`s life. Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human. And after that, each human year would be approximately five years for a dog.
a 1-year-old dog is like a 31-year-old human; a 3-year-old dog is like a 49-year-old human; a 7-year-old dog is like a 62-year-old human.
A 13- to 15-year-old dog, depending on her size and health, is roughly equivalent to a 70- to 115-year-old person. In her elder years, it is harder for your dog to learn new things. In fact, she likely will be resistant to changes in her surroundings and routine.
Medium-size dogs align more with the overall average dog lifespan of 10-13 years. But some medium-size dogs can be very long-lived; the oldest dog on record was a Rafeiro do Alentejo named Bobi, who`s 30 years old and counting! Medium-size dog lifespans and diseases of concern vary from breed to breed.
The quick answer is that dogs can have puppies nearly for the entire duration of their lives. Dogs as old as 12 years or older can theoretically become pregnant. However, these late pregnancies are often associated with complications for both mother and pups.
A Shih Tzu dog – famous for its distinct long-haired coat — will live to approximately 12 to 16 years. It`s thought the oldest living Shih Tzu was a dog from Florida called Smokey who lived to be 23-years-old.
It is not uncommon for sleep patterns to become a bit disjointed. Senior dogs may wake up during the night, either for bathroom needs or to re-position a sore body. With an older, senior Shih Tzu you can expect the dog to sleep anywhere from 14 to 19 hours per day.
How long do shih tzus live? The average longevity of a Shih Tzu is 13 years, with the majority lasting between 10 and 16 years. At 23 years old, the world`s oldest Shih Tzu is still alive and well. Shih Tzus are highly independent dogs who may thrive in a wide range of environments.
Shih Tzu dogs become adults at the 1 year mark. The adult stage can be divided into adult (1 year to 9 years old) and senior (10 years old and up).
According to BeChewy, medium and long coat dogs should bathe every four to six weeks, and owners of dogs with short coats should bathe their pets somewhere between every month and every three months. Dog owners should be warned not to wash their pup`s coats too much, though.
Sadly, most mammals technically age faster than humans. This is mostly because other mammals have different DNA to humans, giving them a higher heart rate and metabolic rate. As a result of these genetic differences between humans and dogs, dogs have bodies that go through more wear and tear sooner.
There are many disorders of the respiratory system that can lead to breathing difficulties and panting in older dogs. Some of the most common include laryngeal paralysis, pyothorax, lung tumours, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Vestibular disease is the main reason why an older dog may experience a sudden loss of balance and an inability to stand or walk normally. How can you tell if a dog has a vestibular disease? A few of the signs include dizziness, stumbling or wobbly steps, and falling over.
Take a new approach to exercise

“In fact,” she says, “I would encourage shorter, but more frequent, exercises over a long exercise duration for most senior dogs—for example, a 10-15-minute walk in the morning, a 10-minute walk in the afternoon, and a 20-30-minute walk in the evening.

In Dr. Urfer`s study, small dogs had a longer median lifespan at 14.95 years, medium-size dogs lived an average of 13.86 years, and large dogs lived 13.38 years.
On average, however, males become fertile after six months of age and reach full sexual maturity by 12 to 15 months. Healthy stud dogs may remain sexually active and fertile to old age. Adult males are able to mate at any time.
It is recommended to be finished breeding when your dog reaches the ages of five to seven. After this age, dog pregnancies are rather difficult on animal`s bodies. Dogs are at a significantly greater risk of having miscarriages, being injured, or even dying during pregnancy after a certain age.
As dogs age, the bladder muscles can become weak and they can`t hold it like they used to. Dogs experiencing incontinence often pee on the floor, furniture, or their bed while sleeping because this is when their bladder muscles are most relaxed, allowing urine to leak out.
Providing a diet that is appropriate for a Shih Tzu`s age, size, and activity level is key to ensuring its good health and long life. Exercise & Mental Stimulation: Regular exercise and mental stimulation are important for a Shih Tzu`s physical and mental well-being.
So, at what age can you leave a Shih Tzu alone? In a perfect world, it wouldn`t be until the Tzu was 8 or 9 months old. However, since you most likely need to work/go to school/run errands, a puppy of any age can be left for the day… 7, 8 or 9 hours.
Shih Tzus are typically considered to be smart dogs and have even been to assist farmers and tradesmen in the past. However, Shih Tzus can also be stubborn at times. Shih Tzu`s intelligence varies from individual to individual, but most people agree they are pretty good problem solvers.
A wide range of health issues have decreased appetite as a symptom and it`s often one of the first to manifest. Also, dental issues including painful tooth decay, tooth infections, and/or loose teeth can be the reason that a Shih Tzu suddenly becomes picky about food.
The collective answer from all the responding veterinarians is that a dog can go 3-5 days without eating, and possibly live up to 3 weeks without food. What is this? The vets also agree that drinking water is even more critical.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. I have a 13 1/2 year old Shih Tzu. How old is he in dog years?
ANSWER : A. It’s used to be that dog years were 7 years to every 1. Now it normally around 5 years to every year as long as your dog is healthy and kept up with vaccines. So he’s about 68ish in dog years.

Read Full Q/A … : Shih Tzu Age

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. How do I desensitize my dog to squirrels and stray cats in the neighborhood?
ANSWER : A. It depends on the goal that you have in mind. I am going to assume that you would prefer that your dog not chase squirrels or stray cats in the yard/street. In this case, your options include: (1) training your dog on a “Leave it ” cue using positive reinforcement methods, (2) training your dog not to pull on its leash when it sees a squirrel/stray cat, and (3) training your dog to perform a more desirable behavior when it sees a squirrel/cat.
Training your dog on a cued “leave it” command is useful because it will give you the ability to tell your dog to stay away from any number of undesirable objects on your command. Training your dog to perform a more desireable behavior when it sees a squirrel or cat will substitute a behavior you find acceptable (sitting, laying down, coming to the door, etc.) with a behavior you dislike. Your dog can still react, just in a positive way. If your dog pulls on the leash every time you see a squirrel/cat, training not to pull will make your walk safer and more pleasant.
The ideal training method to use with dogs, or any animal for that matter, is positive reinforcement training, particularly a method called “clicker- training.” The basic concept of positive reinforcement training is to pair a reward (reinforcement) with a behavior you want to increase in frequency. In other words, when your dog performs the behavior you desire, it receives an award, which reinforces the desired behavior so you get more of that behavior. There are many excellent books in stores or on-line that describe positive reinforcement training in detail and many give step-by-step instructions for training common commands like “leave it”. Look for books that specifically mention positive reinforcement training or clicker-training. You can also take dog training classes to learn the techniques, find a mentor who already uses clicker-training, or request a consult from one of the pet experts on this site to guide you.

Q. My cocker spaniel is 9 years old. He has involuntary bowel movements (little drops) very frequently, especially when he is asleep.
ANSWER : A. Is your dog on a senior dog food? I would get your dog on a high quality high protien dog food. Ask a pet store assosicate or your regular vet for a food recommendation. When you buy a better food the dog will have to eat less to get the same amount of energy from the food. The dog has to eat more of the cheaper foods to get the energy it needs from it. Meaning more poop and buying more food. So the cost really evens out. So the lessen your dogs bowel movements get on a better senior dog food. Next talk to your vet they may have a recommendation. If you switch dogs do it slowly by mixing the foods. Start with 10% new 90% old mixed for at least a week until you have switched to 100% new 0% old. Senior foods have more fiber to help with bowel movements. Take the dog outside to go potty more frequently, right before bed time.

Read Full Q/A … : Symptoms Questions & Answers

Q. Why do dogs eat grass?
ANSWER : A. Some pet parents get concerned when they see their favorite canine nibbling on grass in the yard. They wonder whether it is because hunger, boredom or an indication of an underlying illness. Often the consumption of grass will result in vomiting because it irritates the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. This is an extremely common problem for dog parents. There is no one reason for why dogs exhibit these behaviors and it is very much dependent on each dog. Here are some of the reasons why our dogs choose to eat grass:

1. Nutritional Issues

Historically speaking, dogs are considered omnivores, which mean they consume a variety of both meat and plant-based food. There is some indication that dogs with a low fiber diet may choose to scavenge in the grass to fulfill this nutritional deficiency. These dogs may also find that grass has an appealing flavor and consistency. If you feel that this may be the reason for your beloved canine consuming grass then consider discussing with your veterinarian on how to incorporate more fiber into your dog’s diet.

2. Boredom

Many dogs who are not receiving adequate exercise will be become bored and search out activities to occupy their time, including eating grass. Evaluate how much exercise your dog is getting on a daily basis and consider more walks or other fun activities, such as playing fetch or tug of war.

3. Upset Stomach

There is a belief that dogs with an upset or gassy stomach will self-medicate by consuming grass. Vomiting often follows this grass eating activity eliminating the contents of the stomach or changing the gas distension within the gastrointestinal tract. However, there is not much scientific evidence to back up this theory. If you are concerned about too much gastric acid in your dog’s stomach or any other underlying medical issue that could be the reason for their grass eating, consult with your veterinarian.

Overall, grass eating is usually not toxic to your dogs unless your lawn contains chemicals, including pesticides or herbicides. Monitor your dog’s behavior along with his diet and exercise to determine if there is a reason for the inappropriate grass snacking.

Q. My 4 yr old male Catahoula Leopard Dog mix is a rescue. He’s become very possessive of me around larger dogs. How can I correct this behavior?
ANSWER : A. Sudden behavior changes can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue, so scheduling a checkup with your regular vet is always the first step. Once any health issues have been addressed, then you can address the behavioral ones. It is very common for dogs to become “possessive” of people or objects when around other dogs or people, and is called location guarding. Possession of objects or places can be a little easier to manage, however possession around other dogs can be treated as well. Working from a distance in a technique called BAT or Behavioral Adjustment Training may help. This technique involves your dog and another calm dog. Start off at a far distance and then move in until your dog becomes reactive or wary of the other dog. Move back a small amount and wait for your dog to become calm. If he shows calm behavior, reward with lots of praise, treats and love! If he becomes agitated or possessive, move back until he is calm, or stop the session completely and try again later. While this may take some time, it can help dogs learn that other dogs are not a threat to them or their people. Reading more information about BAT training or contacting a local trainer in your area can help with further advice and techniques!