Tips for Training Your Shih Tzu: A Happy, Well-Behaved Pup

Table of Contents

Professional dog trainer demonstrating Shih Tzu obedience and leash training techniques with a Shih Tzu puppy in a well-lit indoor setting.

Introduction to Training Shih Tzu Puppies

Training a Shih Tzu puppy can be a rewarding experience. These small, lovable dogs are known for their friendly nature and adorable looks. However, like any breed, they have specific needs and characteristics that influence how they should be trained. In this section, we will cover the basics of training Shih Tzu puppies.

  • Understanding Shih Tzu breed characteristics: Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate and loyal nature. They are small dogs, usually weighing between 9 to 16 pounds. Their long, flowing coats require regular grooming. Shih Tzus are generally friendly and get along well with children and other pets. However, they can be a bit stubborn, which means training requires patience and consistency.
  • Importance of early training: Starting training early is crucial for Shih Tzu puppies. Early training helps them learn good behaviors and social skills. Puppies are more adaptable and can learn new commands quickly. Early training also helps prevent bad habits from forming. The sooner you start, the better your puppy will adjust to your household rules.
  • Setting realistic expectations: It’s important to set realistic expectations when training your Shih Tzu puppy. Every dog is different and learns at their own pace. Be patient and consistent. Celebrate small victories and understand that setbacks are part of the process. With time and effort, your Shih Tzu will become a well-behaved and happy member of your family.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into specific training methods and tips to help you and your Shih Tzu puppy succeed.

Shih Tzu Obedience Training

Basic Commands

  1. Training a Shih Tzu to Sit

    Teaching your Shih Tzu to sit is one of the first commands you should start with. It’s simple and sets the foundation for other commands.

    • Hold a treat close to your Shih Tzu’s nose.
    • Move your hand up, allowing their head to follow the treat and causing their bottom to lower.
    • Once they are in a sitting position, say “Sit,” give them the treat, and share affection.

    Repeat this process a few times every day. Consistency is key!

  2. Teaching Your Shih Tzu to Stay

    After your Shih Tzu has mastered “Sit,” you can move on to “Stay.” This command helps keep your dog safe and under control.

    • First, ask your Shih Tzu to sit.
    • Open your palm in front of you and say “Stay.”
    • Take a few steps back. If they stay, give them a treat and praise.
    • Gradually increase the distance you step back.

    Practice this command in different environments to ensure they understand it well.

  3. How to Train Your Shih Tzu to Come When Called

    Teaching your Shih Tzu to come when called is crucial for their safety. It’s also a great way to bond with your pet.

    • Put a leash on your Shih Tzu and let them wander a bit.
    • Say “Come” and gently pull the leash towards you.
    • When they come to you, reward them with a treat and lots of praise.
    • Practice this in a safe, enclosed area without the leash.

    Make sure to always use a happy tone when calling them to make it a positive experience.

Advanced Commands

  1. Teaching Your Shih Tzu to Fetch

    1. Choose the Right Toy: Pick a toy that your Shih Tzu likes. It could be a ball or a small plush toy.
    2. Introduce the Toy: Show the toy to your Shih Tzu and let them sniff it. This helps them get interested.
    3. Throw the Toy: Toss the toy a short distance. Use a command like “fetch” as you throw it.
    4. Encourage Retrieval: When your Shih Tzu picks up the toy, praise them. Use excited words like “good job!”
    5. Return the Toy: Teach your Shih Tzu to bring the toy back. Use a command like “bring it here.” Reward them with treats when they do.

    Practice this regularly. Soon, your Shih Tzu will love fetching!

  2. Training Your Shih Tzu to Roll Over

    1. Start with “Down”: First, make sure your Shih Tzu knows the “down” command. They need to lie down before rolling over.
    2. Use a Treat: Hold a treat near your Shih Tzu’s nose. Move it slowly towards their shoulder.
    3. Guide the Roll: As your Shih Tzu follows the treat, they will start to roll. Say “roll over” as they move.
    4. Complete the Roll: Once your Shih Tzu is on their back, keep moving the treat so they roll to the other side.
    5. Reward and Repeat: Give them the treat and lots of praise when they complete the roll. Practice this until they can do it without the treat.

    With patience and practice, your Shih Tzu will master this trick!

House Training Shih Tzu

  • Shih Tzu Potty Training Tips

    • Consistency: Take your Shih Tzu out at the same times every day. This helps them learn when it’s time to go.
    • Positive Reinforcement: Always praise and reward your Shih Tzu when they potty outside. Treats and kind words work well.
    • Watch for Signs: Look for signs that your Shih Tzu needs to go, like sniffing or circling. Take them out right away.
  • Crate Training Shih Tzu

    • Choose the Right Size: The crate should be big enough for your Shih Tzu to stand, turn around, and lie down.
    • Make it Comfortable: Add a soft bed and some toys to make the crate a cozy place.
    • Use the Crate Wisely: Put your Shih Tzu in the crate when you can’t watch them. Take them out for potty breaks often.
  • Dealing with Accidents

    • Stay Calm: Don’t yell at your Shih Tzu. This can scare them and make training harder.
    • Clean Up Properly: Use an enzyme cleaner to remove all traces of the accident. This helps prevent your Shih Tzu from going in the same spot again.
    • Learn from Mistakes: If your Shih Tzu has an accident, think about what went wrong. Did you miss a sign? Adjust your routine to prevent future accidents.

Shih Tzu Training Techniques

Positive Reinforcement

  • Benefits of Positive Reinforcement

It means giving rewards when your dog does something good. This helps your dog learn what behaviors are wanted.

      • Builds Trust: Your Shih Tzu will trust you more when you use positive reinforcement. This makes training easier.
      • Encourages Good Behavior: When your dog gets a treat for sitting, it will want to sit more often.
      • Reduces Fear: Positive reinforcement helps your dog feel safe and happy. This reduces fear and stress.
  • How to Use Treats Effectively

    • Choose Healthy Treats: Pick small, healthy treats. This keeps your dog from gaining too much weight.
    • Give Treats Quickly: Give the treat right after your dog does something good. This helps your dog understand what it did right.
    • Use Praise Too: Along with treats, use words like “Good job!” or “Well done!” This makes your dog feel even better.

Clicker Training

  • Introduction to Clicker Training

    A popular method used to train dogs, including Shih Tzus. It involves using a small device that makes a clicking sound. This sound helps your puppy understand when they have done something right.

    Clicker training is based on positive reinforcement. When your Shih Tzu hears the click, they know a treat or praise is coming. This makes them more likely to repeat the good behavior.

    Many trainers and pet owners find clicker training effective. It is easy to learn and can be used for various commands and tricks.

  • How to Use a Clicker for Training

    1. Get a Clicker: You can buy a clicker at any pet store or online.
    2. Introduce the Clicker: Click the device and immediately give your Shih Tzu a treat. Repeat this a few times so they associate the click with a reward.
    3. Start Training: Use the clicker when your puppy does something good. For example, if they sit on command, click and give a treat.
    4. Practice Regularly: Consistency is key. Practice daily to reinforce the behavior.

    Keep training sessions short and fun. This will keep your Shih Tzu engaged and happy.

    Clicker training can be a great way to bond with your puppy. It helps them learn quickly and makes training enjoyable for both of you.

Shih Tzu Behavior Training

  • Addressing Common Behavioral Issues

Known for their friendly and affectionate nature. However, like all dogs, they can have behavioral issues. Common problems include barking, chewing, and jumping on people. To address these, it’s important to be consistent with training and use positive reinforcement. For example, reward your Shih Tzu with treats or praise when they behave well.

  • Preventing Destructive Behavior

Such as chewing on furniture, can be a big problem. To prevent this, make sure your Shih Tzu has plenty of toys to play with. Regular exercise is also crucial. A tired dog is less likely to be destructive. Additionally, you can use deterrent sprays on furniture to keep them from chewing.

  • Dealing with Separation Anxiety

They love being with their owners and can become anxious when left alone. To help with this, start by leaving your dog alone for short periods and gradually increase the time. Providing a comfortable space with their favorite toys can also help. In severe cases, consult a veterinarian for advice.

Issue Solution
Barking Use positive reinforcement and consistent training.
Chewing Provide plenty of toys and regular exercise.
Separation Anxiety Gradually increase alone time and create a comfortable space.

Shih Tzu Leash Training

  • Choosing the Right Leash and Collar

    A lightweight leash and a soft collar are ideal. Make sure the collar fits snugly but not too tight. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.

    Many Shih Tzu owners prefer a harness instead of a collar. A harness can help prevent neck injuries, especially if your dog tends to pull on the leash.

  • Introducing Your Shih Tzu to the Leash

    Let them wear it for short periods while giving them treats and praise. This helps them associate the leash with positive experiences.

    Next, practice walking around the house. Keep the sessions short and fun. Gradually, move to your yard or a quiet outdoor space. Always reward your Shih Tzu for good behavior.

  • Overcoming Leash Pulling

    If your Shih Tzu pulls, stop walking and stand still. Wait until they return to you and the leash is slack. Then, continue walking. This teaches them that pulling will not get them where they want to go.

    Another method is to change direction when they pull. This makes them pay attention to you and not just where they want to go. Consistency is key. With patience and practice, your Shih Tzu will learn to walk nicely on a leash.

Shih Tzu Training Challenges

  • Understanding Shih Tzu Stubbornness

    This breed often wants to do things their own way. It’s important to be patient and consistent. They are not being difficult on purpose. They just need more time to understand what you want.

  • Dealing with Slow Progress

    They may take longer to learn commands compared to other breeds. Don’t get discouraged. Celebrate small victories and keep sessions short and fun. Over time, your Shih Tzu will start to pick up on what you are teaching.

  • Overcoming Training Setbacks

    Your Shih Tzu might forget a command or have an accident inside the house. When this happens, stay calm and go back to basics. Reinforce positive behavior with treats and praise. Consistency is key to overcoming these hurdles.


  • Importance of consistency in training: Consistency is crucial. Your Shih Tzu will learn faster if you use the same commands and routines every day. This helps them understand what you expect from them.
  • Patience and understanding during training: Every puppy is different. Some may learn quickly, while others take more time. Be patient and understanding. Celebrate small successes and keep a positive attitude.
  • Enjoying the journey of training your Shih Tzu: Training should be fun for both you and your puppy. Enjoy the time you spend together. This will strengthen your bond and make the training process enjoyable.

Training your Shih Tzu is a journey. With consistency, patience, and a positive attitude, you can help your puppy become a well-behaved and happy member of your family.

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