Tips for Training Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are a toy dog breed originated in medieval China. They are also known as lion-dogs. Shih-tzus are full of energy and they find it easy to live in an apartment. However, they do not tolerate teasing and they have a tendency to bark a lot. Through careful training you can turn your shih-tzu into a great companion.

Tips for Shih-Tzu House Training

Many shih-tzu owners find themselves taking the dog back to the breeder as it seems they cannot be house trained. Actually, house training a shih-tzu only fails when the owner does not make the rules clear enough and the dog does not understand what is expected of him. Here are a few tips that can help you house train your shih-tzu:

  • Decide whether you want to paper train your dog or to start directly with training him to eliminate outside. Do not try to introduce both at the same time. Keep in mind that a small dog, especially when he is a puppy, has a very small bladder and needs to urinate often.
  • Should you decide to paper train your shih-tzu first, cover a larger area with paper and make sure everyone in the household will take the dog to the same place. In time, you can reduce the paper covered area and move the paper (or training pads) closer to the door and the outside.
  • Keep an eye on the dog to see when he is about to eliminate. When he is still a puppy, this will happen around every 45 minutes or after each meal, after sleeping or when he is excited.
  • Associate elimination at the right spot with a command that you will not use for anything else.
  • Congratulate the dog for eliminating at the right spot.
  • Do not rub the dog's nose in his own mess, as he will not remember what he is being punished for.

Tips for Shih-Tzu Obedience Training

Shiz-tzus are stubborn dogs, but they also like rules. It is important that you establish a dominant role when the dog is still a puppy.  Shih-tzus are prone to the small dog syndrome (i.e. the dogs to imagine that they are the head of the pack). Avoid this by being firm and sticking to the rules:

  • Do not start obedience training before you have finished housebreaking your shih-tzu.
  • Start with commands that insure the dog's safety (such as staying in one place).
  • Associate short commands to each action and give the dog treats and praise him every time he does something right, even if it is only by accident. When the dog has started learning, do not give the treats every time, but praise him.
  • If you are crate training your shih-tzu, start with short periods of time. If he is throwing fits when you put him inside, wait just enough for him to calm down, then let him come out. Praise him when he comes out.