Shih Tzus are well known to be cute and playful pets with lots of love and affection to share and they are widely coveted by dog lovers everywhere.
You are probably reading this article because you want to adopt or buy a Shih Tzu for you or your kids. And you are wondering if it is all fun and roses or if you are bound to face problems along the way.
Like every other dog breeds, Shih Tzus have their ups and downs; there are times you would love them and there are other times you would love them just a little less; regardless, there is nothing to fear.
Some persons faced problems and some persons did not, but there are a number of issues surrounding this topic so we will have to look into it properly.
Are Shih Tzus Easy to Train?
The quick answer is they are relatively easy to train. Training a Shih Tzu is not as hard as you may think but it is definitely not a walk in the park. With consistency and lots of attention, training a Shih Tzu can be less stressful.
In fact, Shih Tzus are fast learners, and according to some Shih Tzu owners, they are doing good in training classes as well as agility and obedience competitions.
However, you are bound to have it a bit difficult when it comes to housebreaking and potty training. Using treats and positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to handle the difficult stages when training your Shih Tzu.
Training your Shih Tzu can be an exciting and equally stressful experience. You might find it easy to teach your dog basic social skills and obedience to important commands, but you might not have it easy when you get into housetraining so you would have to work hard at that one.
It is crucial to start training your puppy Shih Tzu as early as possible to prevent the accidents and damages that might come from having an untrained Shih Tzu running around.
How to Train Your Shih Tzu & Top Training Tips
Since training Shih Tzus is not as difficult as other breeds, you may want to consider providing a training plan for them. It can help to avoid most behavioral issues of your Shih Tzu such as excessive barking, digging, fighting, aggression, and destructiveness.
Training is also one of the best ways to bond with your Shih Tzu and will help to build a good relationship with them. Here are some tips to effectively train your Shih Tzu.
Establish Your Authority
It is very important to establish your authority and make rules as soon as you bring home your cute little Shih Tzu. One reason for this is that ShihTzu can be the cutest and friendliest little thing. They are a royal breed and might pick up the superior attitude if you always let them have their way.
You should involve your kids and other members of the family in this stage so that your dog knows just who is in charge. Teach him to obey you and respond when you call. It would be best if you marked out some things your Shih Tzu is not allowed to do and some places he is not allowed to go.
At this stage, your dog should be taught what your ‘No’ means and what a ‘Yes’ means; you don’t want them doing what you had spelled out that they shouldn’t.
Here are some ways to establish authority over your Shih Tzu:
- Ensure you enter the house and go out before your Shih Tzu; teach them to follow after you and not run in front of you or move without your permission.
- Don’t allow your Shih Tzu to do whatever he wants whenever he wants to; everything must be done with your permission.
- Eat first and then feed your Shih Tzu after; this teaches them that your needs and actions are more important than theirs and should take precedence. This doesn’t mean you should not pay adequate attention to him; just let him know that he isn’t the boss.
Teach Your Shih Tzu to Respond When You Call
Teach your Shih Tzu to respond to your call as soon as possible because this will not only help prevent accidents in the early stage, but it will also help when you are teaching your dog some basic commands.
When you call your Shih Tzu and he responds, make it a pleasant experience for him. Your Shih Tzu might have a ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude so they might be reluctant to come to you.
But when you reward him with attention, pats, and treats, he is bound to come running every time you call. Before long, coming to you when you call will become a habit because you would have built rapport and relationship with your Shih Tzu.
If he refuses to respond to your calls, don’t go on and all with the commands because it would make him think it is okay to not respond to you and you will keep calling.
Rather than insisting that they come to you or repeating the command over and over, use treats or food to lure them to you; it works every time.
Teach Basic Commands to Your Shih Tzu
Once you have established who is in charge and taught your Shih Tzu to come to you when you call, you can now teach him to understand and obey basic commands.
Teach him to sit, lie down, stop, stay, and come according to your command. Add anything you want to teach your Shih Tzu at this stage and get into more advanced commands as your Shih Tzu gets older and can understand and obey.
Familiarize Your Shih Tzu With Different Sounds In and Around the House
One way to ease your dogs into your home and get them familiarized with your household is to expose them to different sounds and activities around the house.
Expose your Shih Tzu to the sounds of washing machines, microwaves, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, alarms, sirens, lawnmowers, and the likes. If they don’t get used to these sounds early, it might cause them to panic or react aggressively when they hear them.
Another reason you should get your dogs accustomed to strange sounds and activities is so that they can remain calm when they hear strange sounds or when you take them out.
You don’t want your Shih Tzu running off or acting weird when you take him out for a walk just because he hears the sound of a horn.
If you notice your Shih Tzu cowering, barking or whimpering at strange sounds, do your best to calm them down and soothe them when they are scared and walk them through the situation.
Avoid taking your dog away from any frightening sound or experience because it would make them grow to be timid and run away from everything that they are not familiar with.
Expose them to new situations, help them get used to strange sounds and occurrences and watch them grow into confident dogs.
Have Designated Meal Times
Design meal times as early as possible with the help of your vet and prevent feeding your Shih Tzu around the clock.
Feed your Shih Tzu at designated meal times and take away the food bowl after mealtime. Avoid letting your dog eat too much at a time to prevent the complications associated with overfeeding and also watch for excessive weight.
It is also important to prevent your dog from eating your leftovers for any reason. Because most human foods are not suitable for Shih Tzus, and consumption of such meals can lead to health problems. Teach your Shih Tzu to eat only what you give him.
Teach Your Shih Tzu How to Stay Alone
Shih Tzus love to cuddle up to you during the day and share your bed at night, but you have to teach them how to stay alone because as much as they might love to, they cannot be with you every minute of the day.
Start teaching your dog to stay alone as early as possible to prevent separation anxiety when you want to leave them alone.
You can do this by creating an area solely for your pet; you can get a crate, put in toys, comfortable bedding, and anything else your Shih Tzu might need in the crate. Start by always leaving the door open when you teach them to retreat into their crate so they don’t feel imprisoned.
If you don’t like the idea of getting crates, you can get a room where your Shih Tzu can stay, play, and feel safe. Set up the room so that it looks and feels like his private haven and he wouldn’t mind spending some alone time there.
Housebreak Your Shih Tzu
Many dog owners have found this stage to be quite difficult and demanding, especially when it comes to reading signs from their Shih Tzu.
Shih Tzus have small bladders so they need to go more often than other dog breeds; this means you will have to take him out a couple of times a day, especially before bedtime.
Although you are not a mind reader, you can study him and look out for signs he displays when he wants to go and take him outside immediately. For most Shih Tzus, sniffing, squatting, and circling are a few signs that they have to go.
Until you teach your Shih Tzu to go out on its own when he wants to relieve himself, you might have many wet experiences. Start by walking your dog out when you think he needs to go, use prompts and commands that tell him just what you need him to do and give him treats when he does well.
So far, praises, treats, and positive enforcement have been known to work well when it comes to potty training a Shih Tzu. When he gets praised for going without problems, he would always want to do well in subsequent times to get more praise.
Shih Tzus can be stubborn and absent-minded when it comes to potty training. But consistency, encouragement, and rewards will have your pet learn faster and become independent in this area in no time.
Praises and Punishments
Use praise during and after every training session so your Shih Tzu knows that good behavior leads to praises. Give them treats, play with them, and indulge them in things they love after a day of hard work.
When your dog is being stubborn or refusing to learn, you can use time outs as a form of punishment to let them know they are making you unhappy.
The greatest punishment you can give to your pet is to keep them away from you. Ensure to do this for only the worst behaviors and do it for a short while. Remember, praises work better than punishment every time.
My Final Thoughts
Training your Shih Tzu deserves all your attention and hard work, whether you are finding it easy or experiencing difficulty.
The key to training your Shih Tzu properly is consistency, attention, love, and positive reinforcement. With just the right amount of all of these, you will have yourself the best companion.