Home Shih Tzu Dog Training Basics of Leash Training for Shih Tzus

Basics of Leash Training for Shih Tzus

by Scott Lipe
Basics of Leash Training for Shih Tzus

Leash training is an essential skill for every Shih Tzu puppy to learn. It involves teaching them to walk nicely on a leash without pulling or resisting. This ensures a safe and enjoyable walking experience for the dog and the owner. Many small-breed dog owners underestimate the importance of leash training, thinking that their puppy doesn’t need it because they can easily manage them without a leash. However, this can lead to future behavioral issues and a lack of control when the puppy grows into an adult dog.

Supplies needed for leash training include tasty treats, a collar or harness, and a lightweight leash. The goals of leash training are to have the dog start sitting on the left side, walk comfortably by your side, and stop and sit when you stop. Techniques for leash training include attaching the leash to the collar, gently tugging on the leash, and rewarding appropriate walking with markers and treats.

Why Leash Training is Important for Shih Tzus

Leash training is crucial for Shih Tzus for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures their safety by preventing them from running off or entering dangerous situations. This is particularly important for small-breed dogs like Shih Tzus. By keeping them on a leash, owners can have better control over their movements and protect them from potential hazards, such as busy streets or aggressive dogs.

You Support Dog and Cat Rescues when you visit our site. I hope you enjoy the 1000's of pages devoted to helping animals find loving homes. Use our search box to find your new best friend!

Global Rescue and America Humane Society and Humane Society International

Secondly, leash training helps control their behavior and prevents them from pulling, lunging, or making erratic movements during walks. It teaches them to walk calmly and obediently by their owner’s side. Shih Tzus are known for their independent nature, and without proper leash training, they may exhibit stubbornness or defiance, making walks frustrating and potentially dangerous.

Finally, leash training fosters a more robust dog and owner bond. It requires consistent communication and cooperation, which helps build trust and understanding. When a Shih Tzu learns to walk nicely on a leash, it demonstrates their obedience and strengthens the relationship with their owner. It becomes an activity that both can enjoy together while promoting a sense of companionship and teamwork.

Reasons Why Leash Training is Important for Shih Tzus
Ensures safety by preventing them from running off or getting into dangerous situations
Controls behavior and prevents pulling, lunging, or erratic movements during walks.
Fosters a stronger bond between the dog and the owner

Overall, leash training is essential for Shih Tzus to ensure their safety, promote good behavior, and strengthen the bond with their owner. It is necessary for Shih Tzu owners to understand the importance of leash training and to invest time and effort into teaching their furry companions this valuable skill.

Supplies Needed for Leash Training Shih Tzus

Leash training Shih Tzus requires specific supplies to ensure a successful and comfortable experience. These supplies include:

  • Tasty treats: Small, easily consumable treats are essential for rewarding desired behaviors during training sessions. Opt for soft and tiny treats to avoid distractions and delays.
  • Collar or harness: Both options can be used, but a harness is recommended for small breed dogs like Shih Tzus, especially if they tend to pull. It provides better control and prevents strain on their delicate necks.
  • Lightweight leash: Choose a 4- or 6-foot long and lightweight leash. This allows for better handling and prevents the dog from feeling restricted or overwhelmed.
Treats Collar or Harness Leash
Small, tasty treats Choose a collar or harness based on the dog’s needs 4 or 6 feet long, lightweight
Aids in rewarding desired behaviors It provides control and prevents strain Allows for better handling
Prevents distractions and delays This prevents the dog from feeling restricted.

These supplies are essential for practical leash training and contribute to the comfort and safety of your Shih Tzu during walks. Remember to choose enticing treats for your dog that are suitable for training. The collar or harness should fit properly and be adjusted according to your dog’s size and comfort. A lightweight leash ensures ease of use and prevents your Shih Tzu from feeling weighed down during training sessions and walks.

With the right supplies, you can create a positive training experience for your Shih Tzu and set them up for success in their leash training journey.

The Initial Steps of Leash Training


Leash training is a crucial skill to teach Shih Tzus, and the initial steps are essential for laying a solid foundation. Attach the leash to your Shih Tzu’s collar or harness and position them on your left side. If your dog remains calm and sits in this position, reward them with a tasty treat as favorable reinforcement. Use a command like “Let’s go” or “Come on” to initiate movement, gently tugging on the leash as a cue for your dog to follow along.

At this stage, it’s common to encounter different reactions from your Shih Tzu. They may dash out in front, resist and refuse to move, or start walking comfortably by your side. Reinforce appropriate walking behavior with markers and treats to let them know they’re doing well. Remember, consistency and patience are critical during the initial steps of leash training.

To visually summarize the initial steps of leash training, refer to the table below:

Step Description
Attach leash Securely attach the leash to your Shih Tzu’s collar or harness.
Position on the left side Place your dog on your left side, ensuring they stay calm and sit.
Reward calm behavior If your Shih Tzu remains calm, reward them with a treat as favorable reinforcement.
Initiate movement Use a command like “Let’s go” or “Come on” to start walking, gently tugging the leash to encourage your dog to follow.
Reinforce appropriate walking When your Shih Tzu walks comfortably by your side, reward them with markers and treats to reinforce the desired behavior.

Dealing with Pulling on the Leash

pulling on leash

One of the common challenges in leash training is when Shih Tzus starts pulling on the leash. When the dog pulls, the handler needs to take immediate action to address the behavior. One effective technique is to stop and reverse the direction of the walk. By doing so, the dog learns that pulling will result in a change of direction, discouraging the pulling behavior.

This method helps teach the Shih Tzu the importance of walking without tension on the leash and encourages them to stay by their owner’s side. Correcting this behavior may take several attempts and repeated training sessions, but consistency and patience are key. With time and practice, the dog will understand the desired walking behavior.

Rewarding the Shih Tzu when they walk without pulling is essential to reinforce proper leash manners. Positive reinforcement can be verbal praise, a pat on the head, or a small treat. The dog will associate the rewards with walking calmly by their owner’s side, encouraging good leash behavior.

“Reward-based training techniques like positive reinforcement are effective in teaching dogs to walk nicely on a leash without pulling.”

Table: Techniques for Dealing with Pulling on the Leash

Technique Description
Stop and Reverse When the dog pulls, stop and immediately reverse the direction of the walk to discourage pulling behavior.
Positive Reinforcement Reward the dog with verbal praise, physical affection, or treats when they walk calmly without pulling.
Consistency and Patience Consistently reinforce the desired behavior and be patient, as it may take time for the dog to learn proper leash manners.

By implementing these techniques and consistently applying them, Shih Tzu owners can overcome pulling behavior during leash training and enjoy more enjoyable walks with their furry companions.

Overcoming Resistance in Leash Training

resistance in leash training

Some Shih Tzus may display resistance during leash training, making the training process challenging. However, effective strategies exist to overcome this resistance and continue progressing.

One approach is to get down to the dog’s level and call them to approach. By doing so, you can regain their attention and motivation to continue the training. When the dog responds positively, reward them with verbal praise and treats. This positive reinforcement helps reinforce the desired behavior and encourages the dog to cooperate.

If the dog continues to resist even after multiple attempts, taking a break and trying again later may be necessary. In some cases, seeking assistance from a professional trainer can provide valuable guidance and techniques for addressing resistance in leash training.

It’s essential to maintain a positive and patient attitude throughout the process. Remember that leash training is a learning experience for the dog and the owner, and progress may take time. By remaining consistent and persistent, you can overcome resistance and successfully leash train your Shih Tzu.

Common Resistance Behaviors Strategies to Overcome Resistance
The dog refuses to walk forward Get to the dog’s level, call them to approach, and reward a positive response.
The dog pulls back or tries to escape. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to encourage forward movement.
The dog becomes frightened or anxious. Take a break and try again later, gradually increasing exposure and providing reassurance.

Tips for Successful Leash Training

Leash training a Shih Tzu requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Here are some tips to ensure successful leash training:

  • Keep training sessions short and positive: Shih Tzus has a limited attention span, so it’s best to train for a few minutes several times a day. This approach keeps the training sessions enjoyable and prevents your dog from becoming overwhelmed.
  • Minimize distractions: Choosing a quiet and less stimulating environment is essential in the early stages of leash training. This helps your Shih Tzu focus on the training commands and prevents them from getting easily distracted.
  • Allow observation and learn from other dogs: Dogs are social animals who can learn by observing and mimicking the behaviors of other dogs. Take your Shih Tzu for walks in areas where well-behaved dogs are present. This allows your dog to see and learn from their behavior.

By implementing these tips, you can enhance the effectiveness of your leash training sessions and foster a positive learning experience for your Shih Tzu.

Gradually Phasing Out Treat Rewards

As the Shih Tzu becomes more proficient in leash training, it is essential to gradually decrease the reliance on treat rewards and introduce verbal praise instead. While treats are initially used as a powerful motivator, it is necessary to transition to other forms of reinforcement to ensure that the dog develops a well-rounded understanding of desired behavior.

Phasing out treat rewards can be done by reducing the frequency of treat rewards and replacing them with verbal markers and physical affection. This shift helps the dog associate positive reinforcement with verbal praise and affection, strengthening the bond between the dog and the owner.

However, ensuring that the dog fully understands the expected behavior is crucial before reducing treat rewards. This can be achieved by consistently reinforcing the desired behavior with treats and gradually increasing the intervals between treat rewards. Randomizing the timing of treat rewards also helps reinforce the desired behavior by keeping the dog engaged and motivated.

Benefits of Phasing out Treat Rewards How to Phase out Treat Rewards
1. Develop a deeper bond between the dog and the owner. 1. Reduce the frequency of treatment rewards gradually.
2. Encourages obedience and good behavior without relying solely on treats. 2. Replace treat rewards with verbal markers and physical affection.
3. Helps the dog understand that verbal praise and affection are equally rewarding. 3. Randomize the timing of treatment rewards to reinforce desired behavior.

By phasing out treat rewards, owners can ensure that their Shih Tzu is motivated by praise, affection, and the intrinsic joy of walking and spending time with their human companions.

Clicker Training and Leash Training

Clicker training can be a valuable tool in leash training for Shih Tzus. This positive reinforcement technique involves using a clicker, a small handheld device that emits a distinct clicking sound, to mark desired behaviors. When the dog performs the desired behavior correctly, such as walking calmly on a leash, the clicker is immediately followed by a reward, such as a treat or verbal praise. The clicker is a clear and precise communication tool, helping the dog understand which behaviors are being reinforced.

Clicker training can be efficient for leash training as it reinforces the specific moment the dog exhibits desirable leash manners. The clicker’s sound becomes associated with positive outcomes, and the dog learns to repeat the behavior that triggers the click. This training method helps the Shih Tzu understand what is expected during walks, promoting a cooperative and enjoyable walking experience.

Benefits of Clicker Training for Leash Training

  • Clear communication: The clicker provides a consistent and immediate marker for the desired behavior, helping the dog understand which actions result in rewards.
  • Positive reinforcement: Clicker training rewards positive behavior, reinforcing the dog’s and the owner’s bond.
  • Precision training: The clicker allows for precise timing, marking the exact moment the dog performs the desired behavior.
  • Reduced dependency on treats: As the dog becomes proficient in leash training, treats can be gradually reduced, with the clicker becoming a reward.

“Clicker training is a powerful tool in teaching leash manners to Shih Tzus. It provides clear communication and helps reinforce positive behaviors, making the training process more effective and enjoyable for both the dog and the owner.” – Certified Dog Trainer

Remember, consistency and patience are essential when using clicker training for leash training. Practicing in different environments and gradually increasing distractions is critical to ensure the dog can maintain good leash manners in various situations. With dedication and clicker training techniques, you can create a strong foundation of leash walking skills for your Shih Tzu.

Leash Training as a Lifelong Commitment

Leash training is not a one-time task but a lifelong commitment for Shih Tzu owners. Consistency and ongoing practice are vital to maintaining good leash manners and reinforcing the desired behavior in these adorable pups. Regular training sessions should be incorporated into their daily routine, ensuring that positive reinforcement is used to encourage proper walking behavior.

Owners can provide a safer and more enjoyable walking experience for themselves and their Shih Tzus by dedicating time and effort to leash training. It’s an opportunity to bond with their furry companions and strengthen their trust.

Remember, leash training should start early and continue throughout the dog’s life. Consistent training and positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, verbal praise, and clicker training can shape a Shih Tzu’s behavior and make leash training a positive and rewarding experience for both the owner and the dog.

Maintaining Consistency

Consistency is vital in leash training. Using the same commands, rewards, and training methods consistently will help Shih Tzu understand what is expected of them. This includes regularly walking on the same side, keeping a consistent pace, and reinforcing good leash manners.

It’s also important to remain patient and positive throughout the training process. While there may be setbacks and challenges, consistent training will lead to long-term success.

Tips for Maintaining Consistency in Leash Training
Use the same commands and cues consistently.
Reinforce good behavior with rewards every time.
Be patient and avoid punishment-based training methods.
Practice leash training regularly to maintain good habits.

In leash training, consistency is key. By staying consistent with commands, rewards, and training methods, Shih Tzus will learn what is expected of them and develop good leash manners over time.

Additional Training Resources

Additional resources are available beyond leash training for Shih Tzu owners looking to enhance their training skills further. One option is to consider dog trainer certification programs. These programs allow individuals to develop their knowledge and expertise in training techniques, allowing them to become certified dog trainers. Through these programs, owners can gain valuable insights into practical training methods and strategies to better communicate with their Shih Tzus.

In addition to certification programs, numerous training articles that cover a wide range of topics relevant to Shih Tzu training are available. These articles offer guidance and tips on teaching dogs to stay home alone, crate training, general Shih Tzu training, and specific commands such as “wait,” “lie down,” “stay,” and “focus.” By exploring these articles, owners can access a wealth of knowledge and apply it to their training sessions, promoting a well-rounded and obedient Shih Tzu.

By utilizing these additional training resources, Shih Tzu owners can expand their training repertoire and strengthen their bond with their furry companions. Whether pursuing dog trainer certification or reading informative articles, these resources offer valuable insights that can enhance the training experience and contribute to a well-behaved and happy Shih Tzu.

Source Links

Related Posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept

Privacy & Cookies Policy