Home Shih Tzu Dog Training Shih Tzu Training Tips for a Happy Pup

Shih Tzu Training Tips for a Happy Pup

by Scott Lipe
Shih Tzu Training Tips

If you’re a proud owner of a Shih Tzu, you know that training your furry companion is crucial for their well-being and your peace of mind. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to improve your Shih Tzu’s obedience, potty training, or behavior, we have gathered a few tips to help you along the way.

When it comes to housebreaking your Shih Tzu, crate training is a valuable tool. Choose a small crate that allows enough space for your pup to sit, stand, and turn around comfortably. Make sure it has ventilation on all sides and place it in a frequented area of your home. Remember, the crate should be associated with positive experiences and not punishment. Provide water, food, and appropriate toys to make it a cozy and enjoyable space for your Shih Tzu.

In addition to crate training, establishing a consistent walking schedule and using positive reinforcement can greatly assist in potty training and behavior training for your Shih Tzu. These tips can help your pup understand where to eliminate and how to behave appropriately in different situations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Use crate training to assist in housebreaking your Shih Tzu.
  • Establish a consistent walking schedule and use positive reinforcement for potty and behavior training.

Effective Training Techniques for Shih Tzus

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When it comes to training your Shih Tzu, positive reinforcement methods are highly effective. By rewarding your pup’s desired behaviors with praise, treats, and toys, you can motivate them to learn and follow commands. Starting training at an early age and maintaining consistency in your training sessions is key to ensuring success with your Shih Tzu. Here are some techniques you can employ to train your furry friend:

Clicker Training:

Clicker training is a popular technique that involves using a distinct clicking sound to mark the desired behavior followed by a reward. The sound of the clicker serves as an immediate and precise signal to your Shih Tzu that they have done something correctly. You can then reinforce this behavior by offering a treat or verbal praise.


Shaping is another effective training technique that involves breaking down complex behaviors into smaller, more manageable steps. By rewarding your Shih Tzu for each successive approximation towards the desired behavior, you can gradually shape them to perform the complete behavior. For example, if you want your Shih Tzu to learn to roll over, you can start by rewarding them for lying down, then progressing to rewarding them for rolling onto their side, and finally rewarding them for completing the full roll.

Patience and persistence are essential when training Shih Tzus. They can be a bit stubborn at times, so it’s important to remain calm and consistent throughout the training process. Remember to keep training sessions short and engaging, as Shih Tzus have a shorter attention span.

Here are some additional tips for effective Shih Tzu training:

  • Use short and clear commands that are easy for your Shih Tzu to understand.
  • Break training sessions into shorter, focused intervals to maintain engagement.
  • Be consistent with your training cues and reinforce behaviors consistently.
  • Avoid punishment-based training methods, as they can lead to fear and anxiety.

Training Table:

Training Technique Description
Clicker Training Uses a distinct clicking sound to mark desired behavior, followed by a reward.
Shaping Breaks down complex behaviors into smaller steps, rewarding each successive approximation.

Using these effective training techniques, you can help your Shih Tzu develop good behaviors and become a well-mannered companion.

Next, we will explore valuable tips for socializing your Shih Tzu to ensure they thrive in various environments and interactions with other people and animals.

Socialization Tips for Shih Tzus

shih tzu socialization tips image

Socializing your Shih Tzu from an early age is crucial for their overall well-being and development. By exposing them to various sounds, experiences, people, and animals, you can help them become confident and adaptable companions. Here are some helpful socialization tips for your Shih Tzu:

  • Start early: Begin socializing your Shih Tzu as soon as possible, ideally between 3 to 14 weeks of age. This is a critical period for their social development.
  • Gradual exposure: Introduce your Shih Tzu to new stimuli gradually and in a controlled manner. This can help prevent overwhelming experiences and create positive associations.
  • Positive reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu with treats, praise, and affection when they exhibit calm and confident behavior in new situations. This will reinforce positive social interactions.
  • Outings to different places: Take your Shih Tzu on regular outings to various environments, such as parks, pet-friendly stores, and busy streets. This will help them become comfortable in different settings.
  • Interactions with diverse individuals and animals: Expose your Shih Tzu to a wide range of people and animals, including other dogs of different sizes and breeds. This can help them learn how to interact appropriately and prevent fear or aggression.

Remember, patience and consistency are key when socializing your Shih Tzu. Provide a safe and positive environment for them to explore, and always monitor their reactions and comfort levels. By following these tips, you can help your Shih Tzu become a well-adjusted and socially confident companion.

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Shih Tzu Socialization

“One common mistake in Shih Tzu socialization is exposing them to too many stimuli all at once. This can lead to fear or anxiety. Remember to take things slow and at your Shih Tzu’s pace.”

Here is a visual representation of the recommended socialization process for Shih Tzus:

Stage Age Activities
Early Socialization 3-14 weeks Introduce to new environments, people, and gentle dogs
Continued Exposure 14-16 weeks Expand social experiences, exposure to different sounds, objects, and environments
Maintaining Socialization 16-20 weeks and beyond Regular outings, interactions with diverse individuals and animals

Commands for Shih Tzu Training

Teaching your Shih Tzu basic commands is essential for their safety and obedience. By learning commands such as sit, stay, come, down, and leave it, your Shih Tzu can become a well-behaved companion. To effectively teach these commands, it is important to use clear and consistent verbal cues, along with hand signals if desired. Starting with one command at a time and gradually increasing the difficulty will help your Shih Tzu understand and retain the commands.

Repetition is key when training your Shih Tzu. Regular practice sessions will allow your furry friend to reinforce their understanding of the commands and strengthen their response. Positive reinforcement should be used to reward the desired behaviors. This can include verbal praise, treats, or their favorite toys. By associating the commands with positive experiences, your Shih Tzu will be motivated to follow them consistently.

Remember, patience is important during the training process. Every Shih Tzu is unique, and it may take time for them to fully grasp each command. Stay consistent, maintain a positive attitude, and celebrate their progress along the way.

To illustrate, here’s an example of how you can teach the “sit” command:

  1. To begin, hold a treat close to your Shih Tzu’s nose. Slowly move your hand upwards, causing their head to follow and their bottom to lower.
  2. As their bottom touches the ground, say the word “sit” clearly and immediately offer the treat as a reward.
  3. Repeat these steps regularly, gradually decreasing the use of the hand signal until your Shih Tzu reliably sits on command.

Consistency, repetition, and positive reinforcement are the keys to successful Shih Tzu training. By establishing a strong foundation of basic commands, you’re helping your Shih Tzu navigate the world with confidence and ensuring a strong bond between you and your furry companion.

Command Description
Sit The dog sits down on their back haunches with their front paws on the ground.
Stay The dog remains in the current position until given a release command.
Come The dog moves towards you and comes close enough for you to reach them.
Down The dog lowers their body to the ground with their elbows touching the floor.
Leave it The dog stops interacting with or approaching something when given the command.

Housebreaking a Shih Tzu

shih tzu housebreaking

Housebreaking a Shih Tzu is an essential step in their training process. By establishing a consistent routine and using positive reinforcement, you can effectively teach your Shih Tzu where it is appropriate to eliminate.

To begin the housebreaking process, it’s important to take your Shih Tzu outside frequently, especially after meals and naps. This will help them develop the habit of going to the bathroom in the appropriate spot. When your Shih Tzu eliminates in the designated area, be sure to praise them and provide positive reinforcement. This will reinforce the desired behavior and make them more likely to continue using the designated spot.

It’s important to note that housebreaking a Shih Tzu can take several months. Patience and consistency are key during this training period. It’s normal for accidents to happen, so it’s important not to punish your Shih Tzu for mistakes. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement to encourage them to learn and improve.

There are two common methods used for housebreaking Shih Tzus: crate training and paper training. Crate training involves using a crate or a small enclosed space to confine your puppy when you’re unable to supervise them. When using crate training for housebreaking, make sure to gradually increase the amount of time your Shih Tzu spends in the crate and always provide them with positive experiences inside.

If you prefer an alternative to crate training, you can consider paper training. This method involves placing training pads or newspapers in a designated area of your home where your Shih Tzu can eliminate. Over time, you can gradually move the training pads closer to the desired outdoor spot to encourage them to go outside.

Ultimately, the method you choose for housebreaking your Shih Tzu will depend on your preferences and living situation. The key is to be consistent and patient throughout the process. With time and dedication, your Shih Tzu will learn where it is appropriate to eliminate and become a well-trained companion.

Housebreaking Tips for Shih Tzus

Here are some additional tips to help with housebreaking your Shih Tzu:

  • Establish a regular feeding schedule to regulate your Shih Tzu’s bathroom habits.
  • Use verbal cues or commands, such as “go potty,” when taking your Shih Tzu outside to eliminate.
  • Keep a close eye on your Shih Tzu and look for signs of needing to eliminate, such as sniffing the ground or circling.
  • Limit your Shih Tzu’s access to areas of your home where accidents may occur.
  • Consistently clean up any accidents with an enzymatic cleaner to remove odors and discourage repeat incidents.
Method Pros Cons
Crate training Can accelerate the housebreaking process
Provides a safe space for your Shih Tzu
Aids in teaching them bladder control
Requires initial training and acclimation
Not suitable for long periods of confinement
Some owners may have ethical concerns
Paper training Provides an indoor option for elimination
Can be helpful for households without easy access to outdoor spaces
Allows gradual transition to outdoor elimination
May confuse your Shih Tzu about appropriate elimination spots
Requires consistent training and maintenance
Can be more challenging to phase out the use of papers

Leash Training for Shih Tzus

Leash training is a crucial skill to teach your Shih Tzu, allowing them to safely explore the outdoors with you. By following these leash training tips, you can ensure a pleasant walking experience for both you and your furry companion.

Choosing the Right Harness or Collar

When selecting a harness or collar for your Shih Tzu, opt for one that is comfortable and does not put strain on their neck or limbs. A harness is generally recommended for small breed dogs like Shih Tzus, as it distributes pressure more evenly and reduces the risk of injuries. Ensure that the harness or collar is properly fitted to prevent any discomfort or undue pressure.

Gradual Introductions

Begin leash training by introducing your Shih Tzu to the leash and harness in a calm and positive environment. Allow them to sniff and investigate the leash, rewarding them with treats and praise for showing curiosity and interest. Start with short walks indoors or in your backyard before gradually increasing the distance and venturing out into new surroundings.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a key aspect of leash training for Shih Tzus. Reward your furry friend with treats and verbal praise for walking calmly beside you and exhibiting good leash manners. This reinforces the desired behavior and encourages them to continue behaving appropriately. Avoid scolding or punishing your Shih Tzu during leash training, as it may create a negative association with the leash and hinder their progress.

Consistency and Patience

Consistency is essential in leash training your Shih Tzu. Establish a regular walking routine and stick to it, taking them out at the same times each day. Be patient with your furry companion and understand that it may take time for them to adjust to walking on a leash. Use a gentle and encouraging approach, allowing them to gradually build confidence and trust.

Leash Training Tips for Shih Tzus Description
Choose the right harness or collar Select a comfortable and properly fitted harness or collar that does not cause strain on your Shih Tzu’s neck or limbs.
Gradual introductions Introduce the leash and harness slowly, starting with short walks indoors or in a familiar environment before venturing out.
Positive reinforcement Reward your Shih Tzu with treats and praise for exhibiting good leash manners and walking calmly beside you.
Consistency and patience Establish a regular walking routine and be patient with your Shih Tzu as they adjust to walking on a leash.


Training a Shih Tzu requires patience, consistency, and the use of positive reinforcement techniques. By implementing crate training, potty training, behavior training, socialization, and leash training, you can ensure your Shih Tzu becomes a well-behaved and happy companion.

Using clear commands and establishing routines are key in effective Shih Tzu training. Rewarding desired behaviors with praise, treats, and toys will motivate your Shih Tzu to learn and obey commands. It is crucial to start training at an early age and remain consistent with training sessions to achieve the best results.

Remember to provide a positive and safe environment for your Shih Tzu during the training process. Incorporating these effective Shih Tzu training techniques, including positive reinforcement, will foster a strong bond between you and your furry friend and ensure a lifetime of happiness together.


Q: What are some tips for crate training a Shih Tzu?

A: Crate training is an important aspect of housebreaking a Shih Tzu. It is recommended to pick a small dog crate that allows enough room for the Shih Tzu to sit, stand, and turn around. The crate should have ventilation on all four sides and be placed in a frequented area of the home. Crating should be associated with positive experiences and not punishment. It is also important to provide water, food, and appropriate toys in the crate.

Q: What training methods work well for Shih Tzus?

A: Shih Tzus respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. Rewarding desired behaviors with praise, treats, and toys can motivate them to learn and obey commands. It is recommended to start training Shih Tzus at an early age and be consistent with training sessions. Techniques such as clicker training and shaping can be effective in teaching new commands and behaviors.

Q: How can I socialize my Shih Tzu?

A: Socializing Shih Tzus from an early age is important to prevent behavioral issues and ensure they feel comfortable in various environments. Exposing them to different sounds, experiences, people, and animals can help them become well-rounded and confident companions. It is recommended to gradually introduce them to new stimuli, using positive reinforcement to create positive associations.

Q: What are some important commands for training a Shih Tzu?

A: Teaching basic commands is an essential part of Shih Tzu training. Commands such as sit, stay, come, down, and leave it are important for their safety and obedience. Using clear and consistent verbal cues, along with hand signals if desired, can aid in teaching these commands. It is recommended to start with one command at a time and gradually increase difficulty.

Q: How can I housebreak my Shih Tzu?

A: Housebreaking a Shih Tzu requires establishing a consistent routine and using positive reinforcement. Taking them outside frequently, especially after meals and naps, and praising them when they eliminate in the appropriate spot can accelerate the housebreaking process. It may take several months for a Shih Tzu to fully understand where it is appropriate to eliminate, so patience and consistency are key.

Q: How do I leash train my Shih Tzu?

A: Leash training is important for Shih Tzus to ensure they can be safely walked outdoors. Using a proper harness or collar that does not cause strain on their necks or limbs is recommended. Starting with short walks and gradually increasing distance can help them become accustomed to walking on a leash. Positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, can be used to reward good leash manners and discourage pulling.

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