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Socialization and Training Classes for Shih Tzus

by Scott Lipe
Socialization and Training Classes for Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are adorable and playful companions, but they can be a bit challenging to train. However, with the right approach and dedication, you can mold them into well-behaved pets. In this article, we will explore the importance of socialization and training classes specifically designed for Shih Tzus.

Before we dive into the details, let’s understand why socialization and training are crucial for these lovable furballs. Socialization helps them develop positive behavior and adaptability to new environments, people, and other animals. Training classes, on the other hand, provide structured learning and obedience exercises tailored to their unique needs.

In the next sections, we will discuss the key milestones in a Shih Tzu’s development, starting from their early weeks to adulthood. We will also explore the basics of training and the tools you’ll need to ensure effective training sessions. Additionally, we’ll provide insights into the background of Shih Tzus and their specific training needs.

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Whether you’re a new Shih Tzu owner or looking to enhance your training skills, this article will equip you with the knowledge to raise a happy and well-behaved companion. Let’s embark on this journey together and unlock the full potential of your Shih Tzu.

Key Milestones: 3-12 weeks

During the first three months of a Shih Tzu puppy’s life, they go through several key milestones that are crucial for their development and training. Socialization plays a vital role during this period, as it helps the puppy become comfortable with different experiences and environments.

Starting at around three weeks old, the puppy should be exposed to various sounds, sights, and smells. This exposure helps them become well-adjusted and less fearful as they grow older. By the fifth week, the puppy should be introduced to children, adults, and other dogs, promoting positive interactions and social skills.

Puppy proofing is also essential at this stage. As their teeth start to come in, Shih Tzu puppies have a natural inclination to chew on objects. Providing appropriate chew toys and redirecting their attention can help prevent unwanted chewing on furniture or cords.

Milestones Actions
Socialization Expose puppy to different sounds, sights, and smells
Puppy proofing Provide appropriate chew toys and redirect attention from unwanted chewing

By focusing on socialization and puppy proofing during the first three months, Shih Tzu owners can set a strong foundation for their puppy’s training and development. These early experiences will help shape their behavior and ensure they grow up to be confident and well-adjusted companions.

Key Milestones: 3-5 months

Shih Tzu Grooming

During the 3-5 month stage, Shih Tzu puppies reach important milestones in their development that impact their housetraining and grooming needs. Implementing the right strategies during this period will set them up for success.


By this stage, your Shih Tzu puppy should have a consistent schedule for eating, sleeping, and playing, which will aid in housetraining. Establishing a routine will help them understand when and where to go potty. Remember to be patient and consistent, rewarding them for appropriate bathroom behavior.


Grooming is an essential part of caring for your Shih Tzu’s coat. Regular brushing keeps their fur free from tangles and matting. During this stage, it’s recommended to brush your puppy’s coat every day to get them used to the grooming process. Additionally, consider introducing your puppy to a professional groomer to familiarize them with the experience.

It’s crucial to pay attention to your Shih Tzu’s eyes and ears during grooming. Clean their eyes gently with a damp cloth to prevent tear stains, and use ear cleaning solution and cotton balls to keep their ears clean and free from infections.

Housetraining Grooming
– Establish a consistent schedule – Brush coat daily
– Reward appropriate bathroom behavior – Introduce puppy to professional groomer
– Be patient and consistent – Clean eyes and ears regularly

Ensuring your Shih Tzu puppy reaches these milestones successfully will establish a strong foundation for their overall well-being and behavior. By focusing on housetraining and grooming during the 3-5 month stage, you can help your puppy grow into a happy and healthy adult Shih Tzu.

Key Milestones: 6-8 months

Shih Tzu puppy

During the 6-8 month stage, Shih Tzu puppies reach important milestones in their development. It is a crucial period for their nutrition, exercise, and continued training. Proper care during this time ensures their overall well-being and sets the foundation for their future behavior and health.

Important Milestones

At around seven months, it is time to transition your Shih Tzu from puppy food to adult dog food. It is recommended to feed them dry kibble, which provides the necessary nutrients for their growth and development. Additionally, adding a supplement like salmon oil can promote a shiny and healthy coat.

Exercise is another vital aspect during this stage. Introduce your Shih Tzu to walking on a leash, making it a fun and positive experience. Regular exercise not only keeps their physical health in check but also helps prevent weight gain, which can lead to various health issues in the future.

Continued Training

Continuing training during the 6-8 month stage is essential for shaping your Shih Tzu’s behavior. Reinforce the basic commands they have already learned and introduce new ones, such as “stay” and “leave it.” Consistency and positive reinforcement training methods are key to ensuring their obedience and proper socialization.

Remember, this stage of development can be challenging, as puppies may become moody and stubborn. It is crucial to instill confidence in your Shih Tzu and maintain a positive training environment. With patience and consistency, your Shih Tzu will continue to thrive in their training journey.

Key Milestones: 6-8 months Actions
Transition to adult dog food Switch from puppy food to a high-quality adult dog food, preferably dry kibble. Consider adding salmon oil for a shiny coat.
Introduce leash walking Gradually introduce your Shih Tzu to walking on a leash. Make it a positive and enjoyable experience to encourage regular exercise.
Continued training Reinforce basic commands and introduce new ones, such as “stay” and “leave it.” Use positive reinforcement methods to maintain obedience and socialization.

By focusing on nutrition, exercise, and training during the 6-8 month stage, you are setting your Shih Tzu up for a happy and well-adjusted adulthood. Keep in mind that each dog develops at their own pace, so be patient and flexible in your approach. With proper care, your Shih Tzu will continue to thrive and bring joy to your life.

Key Milestones: 8-9 months

Shih Tzu Puppy

As Shih Tzu puppies reach 8-9 months, they experience important milestones related to their teeth and behavior. This stage is crucial for their dental development and can also be a challenging period due to adolescence.

Development of Adult Teeth:

During this stage, Shih Tzu puppies start getting their adult teeth. It’s essential to monitor their dental health and ensure that their adult teeth come in properly. Some puppies may retain their baby teeth, leading to overcrowding and potential dental issues. Regular brushing and professional dental cleanings can help identify and address any problems.

Adolescence and Behavioral Changes:

At around 7-8 months, Shih Tzu puppies enter adolescence, which can bring about moodiness and stubbornness. This phase is characterized by hormonal changes and the testing of boundaries. Consistency and positive reinforcement training are crucial during this period to instill good behavior and maintain a strong bond with your Shih Tzu.

It’s important to provide your Shih Tzu with structure, mental stimulation, and plenty of exercise during adolescence. Keeping them engaged and providing outlets for their energy can help prevent behavioral issues and support their overall well-being.

Key Milestones Description
Adult Teeth Development Adult teeth start coming in at around 8-9 months. Some puppies may retain baby teeth, leading to overcrowding. Regular brushing and professional cleanings are important.
Adolescence Occurs at 7-8 months. Puppies may become moody and stubborn due to hormonal changes. Consistency and positive reinforcement training are vital during this stage.

By understanding and addressing the key milestones and challenges that arise during the 8-9 month stage, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu transitions smoothly into adulthood while maintaining good dental health and behavior.

Basics of Shih Tzu Training

Shih Tzu Training

The Shih Tzu is an intelligent and trainable breed, but proper training is essential to ensure their obedience and socialization. By starting training from day one, you can establish a strong foundation and set your Shih Tzu puppy up for success.

One of the first training tasks is housebreaking, which can be facilitated through crate training. The crate serves as a safe space for your puppy and helps in creating a routine for bathroom breaks. Positive reinforcement, such as praise and treats, should be used to reward desired behavior during this training process.

In addition to housebreaking, teaching basic commands is crucial for effective communication with your Shih Tzu. Commands such as sit, lie down, recall, and leave it can be introduced at an early age. Again, consistent positive reinforcement is key to reinforce desired behavior.

Socialization and Bite Inhibition

Socialization is another essential aspect of Shih Tzu training. Introduce your puppy to various people, places, and experiences to ensure they are comfortable and well-adjusted in different environments. This helps to prevent fear and aggression issues in the future.

Teaching bite inhibition is also crucial during the early stages of training. Shih Tzus are prone to nipping and biting, so it’s important to establish boundaries and teach them to control their bite strength. Redirecting their attention to appropriate chew toys and rewarding gentle behavior can help in this process.

Training Tips Obedience Classes Training Equipment
  • Consistency is key: Establish a regular training routine and stick to it.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu with treats, praise, and affection for good behavior.
  • Be patient and persistent: Training takes time and repetition, so stay committed to the process.
  • Consider enrolling your Shih Tzu in obedience classes or kindergarten to further enhance their training.
  • These classes provide structured training environments and opportunities for socialization.
  • Professional trainers can offer guidance and support tailored to your Shih Tzu’s specific needs.
  • Invest in essential training equipment such as a leash, collar, and harness.
  • A clicker can be a useful tool for marking desired behavior during training sessions.
  • Have plenty of treats on hand to reward and motivate your Shih Tzu during training exercises.

Remember, training is an ongoing process that continues throughout your Shih Tzu’s life. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are the keys to success. By establishing a strong foundation and building upon it with continued training and socialization, you can ensure your Shih Tzu is a well-behaved and happy companion.

Kindergarten Classes and Continued Training

Kindergarten classes are a valuable resource for Shih Tzu owners looking to provide their puppies with a solid foundation in training and obedience. These classes offer a structured environment where dogs can learn essential skills, such as sitting, staying, coming when called, leaving objects alone, and dropping items on command. Graduating from basic skills training, dogs can continue to learn more advanced skills for obedience or even participate in confirmation trials if they show an inclination and aptitude for it.

Individual training at home is also an option for those who prefer a more personalized approach. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key to successful training. Whether in a classroom setting or at home, training sessions should be short, frequent, and fun for both the owner and the Shih Tzu.

During training, it is important to address any behavioral issues that may arise. Resource guarding, chewing, biting, and nipping are common challenges that Shih Tzus may face. Seek guidance from trainers or behaviorists who can provide effective solutions tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

Continued Training Tips:

  • Regularly practice basic commands with your Shih Tzu to reinforce their training.
  • Expose your dog to different environments, people, and animals to ensure they remain well-socialized.
  • Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats, praise, and play, to reward good behavior.
  • Stay patient and consistent throughout the training process, as it may take time for your Shih Tzu to fully master new skills.

With proper training and continued reinforcement, your Shih Tzu will develop into a well-behaved and obedient companion, bringing joy to both you and your family.

Table: Comparison of Kindergarten Classes and Home Training

Training Method Advantages Disadvantages
Kindergarten Classes
  • Structured environment with professional trainers
  • Opportunity to socialize with other dogs
  • Access to a variety of training equipment and resources
  • Time commitment for attending classes
  • Potential for distractions from other dogs
  • Cost of enrollment
Home Training
  • Flexibility to train at your own pace and schedule
  • Individualized attention and tailored training approach
  • Reduced cost compared to classes
  • Requires self-discipline and consistency
  • Limited exposure to other dogs and environments
  • May lack access to professional guidance

Training Tools and Equipment

Proper training tools and equipment are essential for effectively training your Shih Tzu puppy. This section will provide an overview of the recommended tools and equipment that will aid in positive reinforcement training, grooming, and creating a safe environment for your furry friend.

Treat Pouch

A treat pouch is a convenient tool for keeping your dog’s treats easily accessible during training sessions. It allows you to quickly reward your Shih Tzu when they exhibit desired behaviors, reinforcing positive training experiences.

Soft Collar and Harness

A soft collar and harness are necessary for walking your Shih Tzu safely and comfortably. Choose a collar or harness that fits properly and does not cause any discomfort or irritation for your puppy.

2-Meter Training Lead

A 2-meter training lead provides you with control and flexibility during walks and training sessions. It allows your Shih Tzu to explore and roam within a safe distance while still being under your supervision.

Non-Slip Vet Bed or Soft Mat

A non-slip vet bed or soft mat is essential for creating a comfortable space for your Shih Tzu. It provides a cozy and secure area for rest and relaxation, ensuring your puppy feels safe and content.


High-quality treats that are specifically designed for training purposes are a must-have for positive reinforcement training. Choose treats that are small, tasty, and easy to consume quickly, so your Shih Tzu can stay focused on the training session.

Identical Toys

Identical toys can be used during training to teach your Shih Tzu the “take it” and “drop it” commands. Having multiple identical toys ensures consistency throughout the training process and helps your puppy understand the commands more effectively.

Soft Slicker Grooming Brush and Comb

Regular grooming is essential for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s coat health and appearance. A soft slicker grooming brush and comb are recommended for gently removing tangles, mats, and loose hair. Regular grooming sessions also help strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.


A crate or playpen provides a safe and secure space for your Shih Tzu when you need to confine them temporarily or when they need a quiet place to rest. Make sure the crate or playpen is appropriately sized for your puppy and has enough room for them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

By having the right training tools and equipment, you can ensure a successful training journey with your Shih Tzu. Remember to always use positive reinforcement techniques and provide a safe and nurturing environment for your four-legged companion.

The Background of Shih Tzus and their Training Needs

Shih Tzus have a rich history that dates back to ancient Tibet and later became popular in China and the United States. These adorable dogs are known as companion dogs for their loving nature and playful disposition. While they make wonderful pets, it is important to understand their unique training needs to ensure they are well-behaved and happy in human environments.

Shih Tzus require exercise, outdoor time, and mental stimulation to thrive. This breed enjoys going for walks, playing in the yard, and engaging in interactive activities with their human companions. Regular exercise not only keeps them physically fit but also helps stimulate their minds, preventing boredom and destructive behavior.

Positive reinforcement training is highly recommended for Shih Tzus. These dogs respond well to praise and rewards, making training sessions enjoyable and effective. Consistency is key, as they can be sensitive to changes in routine. By using positive reinforcement techniques and providing clear and consistent guidance, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu learns important commands and behaviors while building a strong bond with you.

In summary, the history of Shih Tzus traces back centuries, and their training needs are centered around companionship, exercise, and positive reinforcement. By understanding their background and unique requirements, you can provide the necessary training and care to raise a well-mannered and content Shih Tzu who brings joy and love to your life.

Table: Shih Tzus Training Needs

Training Needs Description
Socialization Introduce the Shih Tzu to different people, places, and situations to build confidence and prevent fear-based behaviors.
Exercise Provide regular exercise through walks, playtime, and interactive toys to keep your Shih Tzu physically and mentally stimulated.
Positive Reinforcement Use praise, treats, and rewards to motivate and reinforce good behavior, helping your Shih Tzu learn and retain commands.
Consistency Establish a consistent routine and training methods to avoid confusion and ensure effective learning.

Remember that training a Shih Tzu is a lifelong journey. Continuously reinforce their training throughout their life to maintain good behavior and a strong bond. With love, patience, and the right training approach, your Shih Tzu will become a well-behaved companion and a cherished member of your family.

Training Week-by-Week Guide

Training a Shih Tzu puppy requires a consistent and well-structured approach. This week-by-week guide will help you navigate the training process, focusing on socialization exercises, grooming, and training exercises. Remember to use positive reinforcement techniques throughout the training sessions to ensure a positive learning experience for your Shih Tzu.

Week 1: Socialization

During the first week, focus on introducing your Shih Tzu puppy to various sights, sounds, and experiences. Take your puppy to different environments such as parks, pet-friendly stores, and busy streets. This will help them become comfortable in new surroundings and develop confidence. Socialize your Shih Tzu with different people and animals to promote friendly behavior.

  • Take your puppy to meet other vaccinated and friendly dogs.
  • Expose your puppy to children, adults, and different family members.
  • Introduce your puppy to common household objects like vacuum cleaners and doorbells.

Use treats and positive reinforcement to reward your puppy for calm and confident behavior during socialization sessions.

Week 2: Introduction to Grooming

Grooming is an essential part of caring for a Shih Tzu. Start introducing your puppy to grooming activities during the second week. This will help them become accustomed to the grooming process and make future sessions more manageable.

  • Brush your puppy’s fur gently using a soft slicker brush.
  • Handle your puppy’s paws and ears, getting them used to being touched in these sensitive areas.
  • Introduce your puppy to the grooming table or a raised surface to prepare them for future grooming sessions.

Make sure to reward your puppy with treats and praise during and after grooming sessions to create a positive association.

Week 3: Basic Training Exercises

Now that your Shih Tzu puppy is becoming more comfortable with socialization and grooming, it’s time to introduce basic training exercises. These exercises will lay the foundation for future obedience training and create a well-behaved and obedient companion.

  • Teach your puppy their name and respond to simple commands like “sit” and “come.”
  • Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise to reward desired behavior.
  • Practice short training sessions throughout the day to keep your puppy engaged and focused.

Remember to be patient and consistent with your training efforts. Gradually increase the difficulty of the exercises as your puppy becomes more proficient.

Week Focus Training Tips
Week 1 Socialization Introduce your puppy to new people and environments. Reward calm and confident behavior.
Week 2 Grooming Brush your puppy’s fur gently and handle their paws and ears. Use treats to create a positive association with grooming.
Week 3 Basic Training Exercises Teach your puppy their name and basic commands like “sit” and “come.” Use positive reinforcement techniques.

Final Thoughts and Continued Training

As you wrap up the training guide for your Shih Tzu puppy, remember that training is an ongoing process that should continue throughout their life. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key to ensuring your furry friend remains well-behaved and happy.

Continue to reinforce the training exercises and commands you’ve taught your Shih Tzu, practicing them in various environments to solidify their obedience skills. Regular socialization should also be maintained to keep your dog comfortable around new people, animals, and situations.

Positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise, and play, will continue to be your best tool for shaping desired behaviors and discouraging unwanted ones. Be patient and understanding, as each Shih Tzu is unique and may require different approaches to training.

Remember to incorporate regular grooming sessions into your Shih Tzu’s routine to keep them looking and feeling their best. And don’t forget to provide them with mental stimulation through interactive toys, puzzles, and training games, as a happy and engaged dog is more likely to exhibit good behavior.

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