How to Train Your Shih Tzu - Shih Tzu Expert (2023)

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It looks like a new Shih Tzu owner is on board!

Great, you’re at the right place. If you’re ready to train your Shih Tzu, this guide will make the process much easier. So keep reading!

Shih Tzus are great dogs, active, friendly, and intelligent. These dogs make great pets for first-time owners.


Shih Tzus are also stubborn and temperamental and can be challenging to train, and can take time. So plenty of dedication, patience, and most importantly, consistency is needed to train a dog like Shih Tzu successfully.

Perfect training helps create a good bond between you and your dog, and once training is done successfully, you’ll have a happy and healthy puppy.

How to Train Your Shih Tzu - Shih Tzu Expert (1)

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When To Start Training Your Shih Tzu

The best time to start puppy training with a Shih Tzu is around 12 weeks old.

This is because, at this age, they have been contaminated with their mother’s hormones and will not develop any behavioral problems such as being aggressive or timid. On the other hand, if you wait until after 12 weeks of age, then the pup will have been exposed to his environment and may not submit as quickly when he is trained.

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Another key reason for starting Shih Tzu puppy training at 12 weeks old comes down to mental development.

Younger puppies are much more open-minded and will learn much easier and faster compared to an older Shih Tzu puppy. This is why it is essential that you begin some puppy training before he is 12 weeks old and get him used to the idea of training before you start a formal routine with him.

House Training Your Shih Tzu

This is one of the biggest challenges that every Shih Tzu owner faces. Housebreaking a Shih Tzu can be tough primarily due to its small bladders. A Shih Tzu will need to go every two to three hours, plus they can hold up to three hours max.

Start training right after you bring them home. The first thing you should do is select a designated area for your pup to eliminate, avoid leaving your pup to poop anywhere he wants.

Take him outside every hour or two to go potty. Also, take him out:

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  • Right after waking up from sleep.
  • 20 minutes after the meal.
  • 20 minutes before bedtime.

If your Shih Tzu eliminates outside successfully, make sure to reward and praise him if your Shih Tzu needs to go lookout for signs like Circling and Sniffing.

If any potty accidents take place inside your house, immediately clean it. Use soap and some water to clean up the mess. Once thoroughly cleaned, use an enzyme cleaner to remove the leftover.

Cleaning an accident that occurs indoors is a must. If you fail, your Shih Tzu will be drawn back to the smell and will go potty at the same spot over and over again.

If your Shih Tzu had a potty accident indoors, avoid punishing them.

Leash Training Your Shih Tzu

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Leash training your Shih Tzu is vital to make sure he’s comfortable around other animals, people, and other residential areas. Teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash should be one of the first things you teach them as puppies.

Leash Training increases their exercise as well as releases energy from pent-up emotions like anxiety or sadness, which can lead to more destructive behavior later on.

Learn How To Leash Train Your Shih Tzu Perfectly Here.

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Socializing Your Shih Tzu

One thing you might not know about Shih Tzu is that socializing them is really important for them. If you don’t socialize your Shih Tzu on a regular basis, the dog may end up being shy and fearful in certain situations or having separation anxiety when you leave it at home by itself.

Here’s how you can socialize your Shih Tzu:

  1. Take your dog out for walks or runs in areas with many people and other dogs.
  1. Spend plenty of time playing, petting, and caring for your dog at home, where he feels safe and comfortable.
  1. Practice walking around the neighborhood with him every day to get used to the sights and sounds of it, as well as meeting people on the street or sidewalks (especially children).
  1. Arrange meetings for him to play with unfamiliar dogs of all sizes in public spaces like parks or off-leash areas in neighborhoods where they exist while supervised by an adult who knows how to control the dog.

Training Your Shih Tzu To Be Alone

Shih Tzus are extremely friendly dog breeds and will want to spend all day with their owners. Separation anxiety is a common problem with Shih Tzus, and if left alone for long periods of time, it can result in destructive behavior. So crate training is an excellent way to prevent your Shih Tzu from suffering separation anxiety.

Click Here To Learn How To Crate Train Your Shih Tzu

Obedience Train Your Shih Tzu

The importance of obedience training your Shih Tzu is that it will help make them a more well-behaved and well-mannered dog. This will also ensure that the two of you have an easier time of living together.

Obedience Training includes teaching your dog to “sit,” “lie down,” “come,” and many more when giving commands and having him learn simple vocal signals like shaking paws.

  • How To Teach A Shih Tzu To “SIT”

To teach your Shih Tzu to sit, get a treat and move it over the dog’s head. That’ll make his head go up, and his back goes down. The moment his rear touches the floor, immediately praise and give him a treat.

  • How To Teach A Shih Tzu To “COME”

Give your dog your attention when it is nearby. Tell the dog to come and reward it with a treat or toy when they approach.

(Video) How to Train Your Shih Tzu

The purpose is for a dog to learn the command “come.” Dogs do not always understand what we mean by “come,” so you need to make sure that they know what you are talking about before they can obey.

Stand or kneel beside your pet, and call them over in a cheerful tone of voice. Give them space to walk towards you and praise them with words such as “good boy/girl!,” or “yes!” Reward them with a small treat if desired, but praise is often better from our experience. Do this for about five minutes every day over the course of a week.

  • How To Teach A Shih Tzu To “LIE DOWN”

To teach your Shih Tzu to lie down, first, it should respond to the sit command flawlessly. To make him lie down, Once your dog is seated, take a treat and place it down on the floor and gently move it away from him. That’ll make him stretch out for the treat and gradually make him fall for it.

There are TONS of basic obedience commands that you can teach your dog, and there are a lot of advantages of teaching each one of them to your dog, so if you want your dog to learn all of them, check this training program out from IPet Guides.

Positive Reinforcement Training Works Best

Avoid scolding and yelling at your Shih Tzu while training. This will make him frightened and make him more stubborn, where he’ll not respond to your commands.

Positive reinforcement training is a great way to train a dog and is very effective.

If your Shih Tzu misbehaves, simply ignore him by not touching or speaking to him. Praise them and give them their favorite treats when they do something right so that they associate good things with the behaviors that you want them to do.

This is how positive reinforcement training works, and make sure to use this while training your Shih Tzu.

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