Shih tzu dogs are of Chinese origin and said to be a combination of Lhasa Apso and Pekinese breeding stock. These affectionate, friendly dogs are small and easily kept as house pets, but have long, silky hair that requires regular grooming. If you intend to keep your shih tzu's hair long and groom him yourself, be ready to follow some specific guidelines.
Wash your shih tzu 7 to 12 days to keep his coat clean. Use either dog shampoo or human shampoo, and lather the dog up in the sink or bathtub using warm water. Rinse the dog thoroughly, and consider using a conditioning rinse to smooth out tangles in the dog's long hair. Pay particular attention to the hair under your dog's belly and along his legs, as this is where he'll be dirtiest.
Towel the dog dry and keep him in an enclosed area, like the kitchen, while he dries completely. Use a dog brush or comb to begin working any knots out of his hair while he's still wet, as long hair is more easily detangled when it's wet and freshly conditioned. Be very gentle when you're brushing the shih tzu's hair, as his skin will be sensitive if his hair is pulled.
Brush your shih tzu's hair once a day to keep it tangle free and clean. Schedule a time for this, and follow the schedule consistently so that the dog knows when to expect grooming.
Trim your shih tzu's nails once a month to keep them from snagging on carpeting or breaking off. Use dog nail trimmers, available at pet stores, to cut only the tips of the nails off. Cutting off too much nail will cause pain and could lead to infection.
Clean your dog's eyes and ears every time you wash him. Use a Q-tip to clean any wax and debris out of his ears, but only clean the section that you can see, as pushing a Q-tip too deep into his ear can cause damage. Use eye drops, available at pet stores, and clean cloths to clean his eyes and keep them bright and free of buildup.
Pull the hair from the top of your dog's head up into a "top knot," or ponytail at the top of his head. Secure the pony tail loosely with a rubber band. This will keep it out of his face and allow him to see clearly.