Shih Tzu-Yorkie dogs, also known as "Shorkies," are a cute mixed breed growing in popularity. These cuddly creatures are a perfect fit for any household, be it one person or a whole family. If you are interested in adopting a Shorkie puppy, learning how to care for it will insure it a happy and healthy life.
How to Take Care of a Shih Tzu-Yorkie Mix Puppy
Set up a crate for your puppy prior to bringing it home. Use a crate large enough for the puppy to stand and change position but no larger. Keep the crate next to your bed for the first few weeks to make nighttime a little less stressful for the puppy. Plan to have the puppy sleep in the crate at night and stay in it when you are not home. Fill the crate with dog bedding and a few toys.
Purchase the other items you'll need, including a collar, leash, food and bowls for food and water. Ask the shorkie breeder what food the puppy has been eating and buy the same food if at all possible. You can change food later if you wish, but don't do so right away. Stick with steel bowls, which don't soak up food smells and cannot be chewed up. Place the bowls in the area you've designated for them.
Plan to bring your puppy home on a Friday or Saturday or any other block of time that will allow you to be home with the puppy for a few days. Try and get your shorkie to eliminate outside prior to taking it into your home for the first time. If it does, say something encouraging like "Good puppy" and pet it in praise. If it doesn't eliminate after five minutes, take your puppy into its new home.
Place 1/2 a cup of food into your puppy's food bowl and some fresh water into the water bowl within the first hour of bringing it home; then place puppy in front of the bowls. Your shorkie may not be hungry, but doing this will introduce it to where it can find food and water. If it eats or drinks, take it outside to encourage it to eliminate immediately afterward.
Plan a feeding schedule for your shorkie. Shorkies eat small amounts throughout the day, so always have a little bit of food and plenty of water available to them. One idea is to fill the food bowl three times a day with ½ cup of food and increase that amount as it grows older, say giving it a cup twice a day when it hits six months.
Place the puppy near its crate and let it investigate the area in and around the crate. Dropping a small treat in the crate will help draw your puppy into the crate and allow it to begin associating the crate with positive things.
Place your puppy in the crate at night. To help calm initial nerves, try placing a warm towel into the crate or a small radio next to it for the first few weeks. Make sure that you take your puppy out once during the night and before and after putting it into the crate. After about six weeks, it should be able to stay in the crate through the night.
Place your puppy in the crate anytime you plan on being out of the home, such as when you go to work. If heading to work for the day, you should either plan to come home during lunch to take it outside or have a friend or neighbor take it out. After six weeks or so, your shorkie should be able to stay in the crate straight through the workday.
Setup a walking routine for elimination. Since puppies have poor bladder control and aren't housetrained, plan to walk your shorkie every hour to two hours at most, praising it when it eliminates. After three or four weeks, try spreading out the walking times. After six weeks, it should be able to go four or five hours without a walk. Always walk right after feeding, when you arrive home, and just before bed.
Don't scold your puppy if you find it has gone to the bathroom inside. Only scold your shorkie if you catch it in the act, at which time you should promptly take it outdoors to finish its business. Always clean up any indoor messes with an odor neutralizer to prevent your shorkie from catching the scent and going in the same spot.
Set up an appointment with your veterinarian to have your shorkie puppy checked out and get it set up on a shot schedule. Also discuss with your vet the feeding schedule and care plans you have set up for your shorkie, as the vet may have some tips or changes for you to make, depending on the health and age of your shorkie. For the first year of its life, plan to make regular vet visits every two to three months for shots and checkups.