Bringing home a Shih Tzu is an exciting, memorable time, but with a new pet comes new responsibilities. In order to make the transition as smooth as possible, you should start training your Shih Tzu as soon as possible. Even though your adorable new pup might not pick up on them right away, establishing ground rules from the beginning helps stop bad habits before they start.
Whether you recently added a puppy or an adult dog into your fur family, training a Shih Tzu of any age is a task you can achieve by following a few simple steps. Shih Tzu training tips are easy to implement and will make both your life and your new canine companion’s life easier.
Shih Tzu Potty Training
While commands such as shake and roll over are adorably entertaining, most pet owners are more concerned with getting their puppy potty trained.
Coming home to messes on the carpet or discovering “surprises” behind the furniture are less than ideal, so teaching your Shih Tzu the appropriate place to do his business is key.
Start your training by creating a routine that both you and your new furry roommate can follow. You should get in the habit of taking your dog out to the same location at the same times every day.
By establishing a strict routine, your pup will have a better understanding of when bathroom time is. Although it will take patience, the more consistent you make the routine, the more likely it is that your pooch will get the hang of things.
Whenever your Shih Tzu uses the bathroom in the correct space, remember to praise and reward him. A great way to incentivize your dog is with verbal praise and of course, treats.
With this particular breed, it is important to use very small treats or pieces of kibble as rewards. Since Shih Tzus are tiny, it is easy for owners to accidentally overfeed them.
In addition to establishing a strict routine that includes taking your dog to use the bathroom at the same time in the same place every day, you also need a plan for when your dog is in the house. Since Shih Tzus are small, it is likely that they will spend more time indoors than outdoors, so house training is essential.
You have two options when indoor potty training—constant supervision or crate training. If someone is home at all times and can keep an eye on your Shih Tzu, then your pup can be taken outside if he starts sniffing around like he is going to use the bathroom.
On the other hand, if no one is available to watch your pooch, you can try crate training. Dogs do not like to use the bathroom in their sleeping areas, and therefore will not go to the bathroom in their crates. While you run errands, put your Shih Tzu in a crate that is large enough for him to stand up and turn around in, but not so large that he could use the bathroom in the corner and sleep on the other side.
The crate should be equipped with clean, comfy bedding and his favorite toy. Although you should never use a crate as a way to be gone all day and neglect your dog, it is a great way to keep him from going to the bathroom in the house while you are still potty training. Once you are confident in your dog’s potty training abilities, you no longer need to utilize the crate.
The key to Shih Tzu training is repetition, consistency, and rewards. With any command, it is important to stick to your routine.
For example, when teaching your Shih Tzu to sit, you should say the command in the same tone of voice and do the same physical signal. To teach your pup to sit, the most effective tool is to use a treat as an incentive.
Start by getting on your Shih Tzu’s level and hold a small treat right above his nose. Slowly raise the treat and say, “sit.” As your pup follows the rising motion of the treat, he should naturally move into a seated position.
If this does not happen, gently guide his backside down as you say, “sit” and raise the treat. As soon as he sits, make sure to give him the treat and praise. Once he starts to learn the command, you can use verbal praise or playtime as a reward for sitting, but treats are the best incentive in the early phases.
Even after your Shih Tzu learns the command, it is essential that you practice daily so that it becomes ingrained in your dog’s long-term memory. Although the strategy will vary from one command to the next, the same practice of repetition and reward should be used throughout. By following these steps, you should have a well-behaved Shih Tzu before you know it.