Mastering the Art of Shih Tzu Training

Training your Shih Tzu

So, you think training your Shih Tzu will be a piece of cake, huh? Well, get ready to be pleasantly surprised!

In this guide, we’ll show you the ropes on how to train your adorable pup. From understanding their needs to being consistent with commands, we’ve got you covered.

Training takes time, but with a little patience and a lot of love, you’ll soon be amazed at what your Shih Tzu can achieve.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Shih Tzus are intelligent and trainable, but can be stubborn
  • Regular exercise, grooming, socialization, and mental stimulation are important for their needs
  • Positive reinforcement and consistent training techniques should be used
  • Engaging in advanced training and mental stimulation activities can keep your Shih Tzu active and happy.

Introduction to Shih Tzu breed

You’ll love welcoming a Shih Tzu into your home as they make wonderful companions. These adorable little dogs are known for their friendly and affectionate nature.

Shih Tzus are small in size, making them perfect for apartment living or for families with limited space. Their long, flowing coats require regular grooming to keep them looking their best.

Shih Tzus are also known for their intelligence and trainability, although they can be a bit stubborn at times. They’re generally good with children and other pets, making them a great addition to any family.

These dogs thrive on human companionship and love to be a part of all family activities. With their playful and lively personalities, Shih Tzus are sure to bring joy and laughter to your home.

Understanding the basic needs of a Shih Tzu

To ensure a healthy and happy Shih Tzu, it’s important to understand their basic needs and provide for them accordingly. Here are some key things to consider in meeting your Shih Tzu’s needs:

  • Physical needs:
  • Regular exercise: Shih Tzus may not need as much exercise as larger breeds, but daily walks and playtime are essential to keep them physically active and mentally stimulated.
  • Grooming: With their long, luxurious coats, Shih Tzus require regular grooming to prevent matting and keep their fur healthy and clean.
  • Emotional needs:
  • Socialization: Shih Tzus are social animals and thrive on human companionship. Make sure to spend quality time with them and provide opportunities for social interaction with other pets and people.
  • Mental stimulation: Engage your Shih Tzu’s mind with interactive toys, puzzles, and training sessions to prevent boredom and promote mental agility.

Understanding and fulfilling these basic needs will lay the foundation for a happy and well-adjusted Shih Tzu.

Now, let’s move on to discuss their food and nutrition requirements.

a. Food and nutrition requirements

For a balanced and healthy diet, it’s important to provide your Shih Tzu with both high-quality dog food and occasional treats. This will ensure that they receive the necessary nutrients to support their overall health and well-being. When choosing dog food for your Shih Tzu, opt for options that are specifically formulated for small breed dogs, as they have different nutritional needs compared to larger breeds. Look for brands that use real meat as the primary ingredient and avoid those that contain fillers or artificial additives. Additionally, remember to provide fresh water at all times to keep your Shih Tzu hydrated. Here is a table to help you understand the nutritional requirements of your Shih Tzu:

Nutrient Daily Requirement
Protein 18-22%
Fat 8-10%
Carbohydrates 44-45%
Fiber 2-4%

b. Grooming and coat care

To keep your Shih Tzu’s coat healthy and tangle-free, regular grooming and coat care are essential. Here are some tips to help you maintain your Shih Tzu’s beautiful coat:

  • Brush your Shih Tzu’s coat at least three times a week to remove any tangles or mats. A slicker brush or a comb with wide teeth works best for their long, silky hair.
  • Trim the hair around their eyes and ears regularly to prevent any irritation or infections. This will also help improve their visibility and hearing.
  • Bathe your Shih Tzu once a month using a mild dog shampoo. Be sure to thoroughly rinse their coat to remove any shampoo residue.
  • Keep their nails trimmed to avoid discomfort and potential injuries.
  • Regularly check their ears for any signs of infection or wax buildup, and gently clean them with a vet-approved solution.

c. Exercise and mental stimulation

Make sure you take your Shih Tzu for daily walks and provide them with plenty of mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Daily exercise is essential for your Shih Tzu’s physical well-being. Take them for a walk around the neighborhood or play a game of fetch in the backyard. Engaging in regular physical activity will help them maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity-related health issues.

In addition to exercise, mental stimulation is crucial for your Shih Tzu’s overall happiness. Provide them with puzzle toys, interactive games, and training sessions to keep their mind sharp. This will prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. Remember, a tired and mentally stimulated Shih Tzu is a well-behaved and contented companion.

d. Health care and regular vet check-ups

Ensure that you regularly schedule vet check-ups and prioritize the health care needs of your Shih Tzu. Regular visits to the vet are essential to ensure your Shih Tzu’s overall well-being and to catch any potential health issues early on. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Vet Check-ups
  • Schedule annual check-ups: Regular visits to the vet are important for preventive care and to monitor your Shih Tzu’s health.
  • Vaccinations and preventive treatments: Make sure your Shih Tzu is up to date on vaccinations and receives preventive treatments for issues such as fleas, ticks, and heartworm.
  • Grooming and Dental Care
  • Regular grooming: Brush your Shih Tzu’s coat daily to prevent matting and keep their skin and coat healthy.
  • Dental care: Regularly brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth and provide dental treats or toys to maintain good oral hygiene.

Taking care of your Shih Tzu’s health is crucial for their overall happiness and longevity. Make their health a priority and consult with your vet for personalized advice.

Establishing a routine and setting boundaries

Keeping your Shih Tzu on a consistent routine and setting clear boundaries is essential for their training and well-being. Dogs thrive on structure and predictability, so establishing a daily routine will help them feel secure and understand what’s expected of them.

Start by setting consistent times for meals, walks, and playtime. This will help your Shih Tzu learn when it’s time to eat, go outside, and rest.

In addition to a routine, it’s important to set boundaries to teach your Shih Tzu what behaviors are acceptable and what’re not. Use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior and redirect or correct unwanted behaviors.

Consistency is key when setting boundaries, so make sure everyone in your household is on the same page.

With a routine and clear boundaries in place, your Shih Tzu will feel more confident and well-adjusted.

a. Crate training and housebreaking

To successfully housebreak your Shih Tzu, you can start by using a small crate to confine them when you’re unable to supervise. Crate training can help establish a routine and teach your pup to hold their bladder and bowels.

Here are some tips to help you with crate training and housebreaking:

  • Provide a comfortable crate: Make sure the crate is the right size for your Shih Tzu, allowing them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu with treats and praise when they enter the crate voluntarily or remain calm inside.
  • Establish a schedule: Take your pup outside to eliminate after meals, naps, and play sessions, and always use the same spot.
  • Be patient and consistent: Housebreaking takes time and effort, so be consistent with your training and avoid punishing accidents.

By following these tips, you can successfully housebreak your Shih Tzu and create a clean and comfortable living environment for both you and your furry friend.

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Now, let’s move on to the next topic: teaching basic commands such as sit, stay, and come.

b. Teaching basic commands such as sit, stay, and come

You can easily teach your Shih Tzu basic commands like sit, stay, and come by using positive reinforcement and consistent training.

Start with the sit command by holding a treat above your dog’s head and saying ‘sit’. When your Shih Tzu sits, reward them with the treat and praise. Practice this command multiple times a day until they respond consistently.

For the stay command, have your dog sit and then take a step back. If they stay in place, reward them with a treat and praise. Gradually increase the distance and duration of the stay.

To teach the come command, call your dog’s name and say ‘come’ while crouching down. When they come to you, reward them and show excitement.

Transitioning into the next section, positive reinforcement techniques can greatly aid in teaching these commands effectively.

c. Using positive reinforcement techniques

Using positive reinforcement techniques can be highly effective in training your Shih Tzu. By rewarding your furry friend for good behavior, you can create a positive association and motivate them to continue with the desired actions. Here are some tips to effectively use positive reinforcement techniques:

  • Choose the right rewards:
  • Use small, tasty treats that your Shih Tzu loves.
  • Incorporate verbal praise and gentle petting to reinforce their good behavior.

Timing is key:

  • Immediately reward your Shih Tzu when they exhibit the desired behavior.
  • Be consistent and reinforce positive behavior every time.

Positive reinforcement techniques not only strengthen the bond between you and your Shih Tzu but also make the training process enjoyable for both of you. Remember to always be patient, consistent, and loving during the training sessions.

Socializing your Shih Tzu

When socializing your Shih Tzu, it’s important to expose them to various people, animals, and environments. This helps them become comfortable and well-adjusted in different situations.

Start by introducing your Shih Tzu to different family members and friends, allowing them to interact and build positive associations. Gradually expose them to other dogs and animals, ensuring that the interactions are supervised and safe.

Take your Shih Tzu on walks in different neighborhoods, parks, and busy areas to expose them to different sights, sounds, and smells. This will help them become more confident and less fearful of new environments.

Remember to always reward and praise your Shih Tzu for their good behavior during socialization, as positive reinforcement is key to their learning and development.

a. Introducing them to different people and animals

By regularly exposing your Shih Tzu to various people and animals, they can become more sociable and comfortable in different situations. This is an important aspect of their training and socialization process.

Here are some tips to help you introduce your Shih Tzu to different people and animals:

  • Introduce them to new people gradually, starting with family members and close friends. Allow your Shih Tzu to approach them at their own pace, and reward them with treats and praise for positive interactions.
  • Take your Shih Tzu to places where they can interact with other dogs and animals, such as dog parks or pet-friendly events. Supervise their interactions and intervene if necessary to prevent any negative experiences.
  • Socialize your Shih Tzu with different types of animals, such as cats, rabbits, or birds. Always closely supervise these interactions and ensure the safety of both your Shih Tzu and the other animals involved.

b. Exposing them to various environments and stimuli

Take your Shih Tzu to different environments and expose them to various stimuli to help them adapt and become more confident. This is an essential part of their training and socialization process. By exposing your furry friend to different environments such as parks, busy streets, and even crowded places, you are preparing them for real-world situations. It helps them become more comfortable and less anxious when faced with new experiences. Additionally, exposing them to various stimuli like different sounds, smells, and objects can help them develop their senses and become more adaptable. To give you a better idea, here’s a table showcasing how your Shih Tzu might react to different stimuli:

Stimuli Reaction Emotional Response
Loud Noises Startled Fear
Other Animals Excited Curiosity
New People Cautious Apprehension
New Objects Investigative Intrigue

c. Teaching proper behavior around other dogs and humans

To successfully train your Shih Tzu, you must both interact politely with other dogs and humans. Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

  • Socialize your Shih Tzu early: Introduce your furry friend to different dogs and humans from a young age. This will teach them how to behave around others.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu with praise and treats when they exhibit good behavior around other dogs and humans. This will reinforce positive interactions.
  • *Reward-based training*: Use treats or toys to reward your Shih Tzu for calm and friendly behavior around other dogs and humans.
  • *Clicker training*: Pair a clicker sound with treats to signal good behavior. This will help your Shih Tzu understand what’s expected of them.

By following these tips, you can teach your Shih Tzu to be well-behaved around other dogs and humans.

Now, let’s move on to the next section and discuss how to deal with common behavior issues.

Dealing with common behavior issues

If your Shih Tzu is exhibiting common behavior issues, such as excessive barking or chewing, there are several strategies you can try to address these problems.

Firstly, when it comes to excessive barking, it’s important to determine the underlying cause. Is your Shih Tzu barking out of boredom, anxiety, or territorial behavior? Once you identify the root cause, you can work on addressing it through proper exercise, mental stimulation, and positive reinforcement training.

Additionally, providing your Shih Tzu with appropriate chew toys can help redirect their chewing behavior away from your furniture or belongings. Teaching your Shih Tzu the ‘leave it’ command can also be useful in preventing unwanted chewing.

a. Separation anxiety and excessive barking

Does your Shih Tzu experience separation anxiety and bark excessively when you’re not around? Separation anxiety and excessive barking can be common issues that Shih Tzu owners face. Here are some tips to help you address these problems:

  • Addressing separation anxiety:
  • Gradually increase the time spent apart: Start by leaving your Shih Tzu alone for short periods and gradually extend the time.
  • Create a safe and comfortable space: Provide your Shih Tzu with a cozy area with their favorite toys and bedding to make them feel secure.
  • Managing excessive barking:
  • Identify the triggers: Observe what causes your Shih Tzu to bark excessively and try to redirect their attention to something else.
  • Provide mental and physical stimulation: Engage your Shih Tzu in activities like puzzle toys, walks, and playtime to help release their pent-up energy.

b. Chewing and destructive behavior

Is your Shih Tzu constantly chewing on furniture and exhibiting destructive behavior? This common issue can be frustrating, but there are steps you can take to address it.

Firstly, provide your Shih Tzu with appropriate chew toys and bones to redirect their chewing behavior. Make sure to praise and reward them when they chew on these items instead of your furniture.

Additionally, try to identify and eliminate any underlying causes of their destructive behavior, such as boredom or anxiety. Engage your Shih Tzu in regular exercise and playtime to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

If the problem persists, consult with a professional dog trainer who can offer guidance and further solutions. By addressing your Shih Tzu’s chewing and destructive behavior, you can create a more harmonious living environment for both of you.

Now, let’s move on to the next topic: ‘c. leash pulling and jumping on people’.

c. Leash pulling and jumping on people

When walking your Shih Tzu, make sure to address the issue of leash pulling and jumping on people. These behaviors can be frustrating and even dangerous, but with some consistent training, you can teach your Shih Tzu to walk calmly and politely.

Here are some tips to help you tackle these challenges:

  • Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise to reward your Shih Tzu for walking nicely on the leash.
  • Practice loose leash walking by stopping and changing direction whenever your Shih Tzu starts to pull. This will teach them that pulling doesn’t get them where they want to go.
  • Teach your Shih Tzu the ‘sit’ command and use it whenever they start to jump on people. Make sure to reward them for sitting calmly instead.


Punishment is an important part of teaching your Shih Tzu dog. Although it should be used sparingly, punishing your pup when necessary can help him learn the rules and boundaries that you have established.

When using punishment, it is important to remember that it must be done in a calm and controlled manner. Yelling, hitting, or other forms of physical abuse are not methods of punishment.

Instead, positive reinforcement should be used in combination with corrections and redirection when your Shih Tzu breaks the rules. For example, you can provide a verbal cue such as “No” or “Stop” when your pup is engaging in an undesired behavior, then redirect him to a more appropriate activity. This will help him learn which behaviors are acceptable and which are not.

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Advanced training and tricks

To further enhance your Shih Tzu’s training, explore a variety of advanced tricks and commands. Not only will this keep your dog mentally stimulated, but it will also strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion. Here are some impressive tricks you can teach your Shih Tzu:

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Trick/Command Description
Roll Over Teach your dog to roll over on command. Start by getting them to lie down, then use a treat to guide them into a roll. Reward and repeat until they can do it without assistance.
Play Dead Have your Shih Tzu pretend to be dead by teaching them to lie on their side and stay still. Use treats and verbal cues to train them to hold the position.
Give Paw Teach your dog to offer their paw for a shake. Start by gently lifting their paw and rewarding them. Gradually phase out the physical guidance and rely solely on verbal cues.

a. Teaching more complex commands like roll over and play dead

Start with incorporating treats and positive reinforcement as you teach your Shih Tzu more complex commands like roll over and play dead. These commands require a bit more time and patience, but with consistent training, your furry friend will soon master them. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  • Be patient and take it slow:
  • Break down the command into smaller steps, rewarding your Shih Tzu for each successful attempt.
  • Gradually increase the difficulty level once your dog is comfortable with the basic steps.
  • Use hand signals:
  • Pair verbal commands with specific hand signals to help your Shih Tzu understand what you want them to do.
  • Practice the hand signals consistently and reward your pup when they respond correctly.

b. Agility training and participating in competitions

Have you considered incorporating agility training into your Shih Tzu’s routine to prepare them for participating in competitions? Agility training is a great way to keep your furry friend active and mentally stimulated. It involves teaching your Shih Tzu to navigate through a variety of obstacles, such as tunnels, weave poles, and jumps, in a timed manner. Not only does agility training improve your dog’s physical fitness, but it also enhances their coordination and focus. Participating in agility competitions can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your Shih Tzu. It allows you to showcase your dog’s skills and bond with them on a whole new level. Below is a table that highlights some of the common agility obstacles and their descriptions:

Obstacle Description
A-Frame A steep ramp that your dog must climb up and down.
Tire Jump A hoop suspended in the air that your dog must jump through.
Tunnel A long tube that your dog must run through.
Weave Poles A series of upright poles that your dog must weave in and out of.
Dog Walk A narrow plank elevated off the ground that your dog must walk across.

c. Using toys and games to mentally challenge your Shih Tzu

Try incorporating interactive puzzle toys into your Shih Tzu’s playtime to mentally challenge them. These toys are designed to stimulate their problem-solving skills and keep them engaged. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Hide and Seek:
  • Hide treats or toys around the house and encourage your Shih Tzu to find them using their sense of smell.
  • Increase the difficulty by hiding the items in harder-to-reach places or using multiple hiding spots.
  • Treat Dispensing Toys:
  • Fill these toys with your Shih Tzu’s favorite treats, challenging them to figure out how to get the treats out.
  • Choose toys that require different techniques, such as spinning, pushing, or pulling to keep them mentally stimulated.

Maintaining training consistency and patience

To effectively train your Shih Tzu, you must consistently reinforce commands and be patient with their progress. Consistency is key when it comes to training your furry friend.

Make sure to use the same words and gestures for each command, and follow through with positive reinforcement every time they respond correctly. This will help your Shih Tzu understand what’s expected of them and reinforce their training.

Additionally, it’s important to be patient with their progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your Shih Tzu’s training. They may not grasp commands immediately, but with time and patience, they’ll eventually get it.

Remember to celebrate small victories and never punish or yell at your Shih Tzu for not understanding. Stay consistent and patient, and you’ll see progress in their training.

a. Understanding that training takes time and repetition

While it may be tempting to expect immediate results, remember that training your Shih Tzu takes time and repetition. It’s important to be patient and consistent in your training efforts.

Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Consistency is key:
  • Establish a routine and stick to it.
  • Use the same commands and cues consistently to avoid confusion.
  • Practice training sessions regularly to reinforce desired behaviors.
  • Repetition is essential:
  • Repeat training exercises multiple times, gradually increasing difficulty.
  • Reinforce positive behaviors through repetition.
  • Be prepared to repeat training sessions over an extended period.

b. Being consistent with commands and expectations

To effectively train your Shih Tzu, consistency with commands and expectations is crucial. Dogs thrive on routine and clear communication, so it’s important to be consistent in the way you give commands and the expectations you set for your furry friend.

Start by using the same commands for each behavior you want to teach, such as ‘sit’ or ‘stay,’ and make sure everyone in your household uses the same commands as well.

Additionally, be consistent with your expectations. If you allow your Shih Tzu on the couch one day and then suddenly ban them from it the next, it can cause confusion and make the training process more difficult.

c. Celebrating small achievements and progress

When your Shih Tzu successfully follows a command or exhibits desired behavior, it’s important to celebrate these small achievements and acknowledge their progress. By celebrating their accomplishments, you’re reinforcing the positive behavior and creating a positive association with following commands. This will motivate your Shih Tzu to continue learning and improving.

Here are a few ways you can celebrate their small achievements:

  • Verbal praise: Shower your Shih Tzu with words of encouragement such as ‘Good job!’ or ‘Well done!’
  • Treat rewards: Offer a tasty treat as a reward for their good behavior. This will make them associate following commands with something positive. Use healthy, bite-sized treats that are specifically made for dogs. Make sure to only give treats in moderation to maintain a healthy diet.

Conclusion and final tips for successful Shih Tzu training

For a truly successful Shih Tzu training experience, remember to consistently reinforce positive behaviors and provide plenty of praise and rewards.

Training your Shih Tzu requires patience, consistency, and a positive attitude. Remember to set clear and achievable goals for your pup and break down the training sessions into short, frequent intervals.

Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praises, and affection to reward your Shih Tzu for good behavior. Consistency is key, so make sure to enforce the same rules and commands every time.

Keep training sessions fun and engaging by incorporating games and toys.

Lastly, don’t forget to be patient with your Shih Tzu as they learn and grow. With time, effort, and the right approach, you can have a well-trained and happy Shih Tzu companion.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Prevent Separation Anxiety and Excessive Barking in My Shih Tzu?

To prevent separation anxiety and excessive barking in your Shih Tzu, it’s important to establish a routine.

Make sure you give your furry friend plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Gradually increase the time you spend apart from your Shih Tzu, starting with short periods and gradually lengthening them.

Provide them with interactive toys or puzzles to keep them occupied while you’re away.

Consider crate training as it can help create a safe and secure environment for them.

What Can I Do to Stop My Shih Tzu From Chewing and Engaging in Destructive Behavior?

To stop your Shih Tzu from chewing and engaging in destructive behavior, you need to provide them with appropriate alternatives and establish clear boundaries.

Start by giving them plenty of chew toys and bones to redirect their chewing instinct.

Additionally, crate training can help prevent them from getting into trouble when unsupervised.

Consistency is key, so reinforce good behavior with praise and rewards, while calmly correcting and redirecting them when they engage in destructive behavior.

How Can I Teach My Shih Tzu to Stop Pulling on the Leash and Jumping on People?

To teach your Shih Tzu to stop pulling on the leash and jumping on people, consistency is key. Start by using positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, to reward calm behavior and discourage jumping and pulling.

Practice loose leash walking in a low-distraction environment and gradually increase the difficulty. Additionally, teach your dog a solid ‘sit’ command to redirect their attention away from jumping.

Remember to be patient and consistent with your training efforts.

What Are Some Advanced Training Techniques and Tricks That I Can Teach My Shih Tzu?

What are some advanced training techniques and tricks that you can teach your Shih Tzu?

There are several fun and challenging commands you can work on with your furry friend. For example, you can teach them to fetch specific items, do cute tricks like spinning or rolling over, or even learn more complex commands like playing dead or jumping through hoops.

Remember to be patient, use positive reinforcement, and break down the training into small steps to make it easier for your Shih Tzu to learn.

How Do I Maintain Consistency and Patience in Training My Shih Tzu?

To maintain consistency and patience in training your Shih Tzu, it’s important to set clear expectations.

Use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior, and be consistent with your commands and routines.

Remember that training takes time, so practice patience and avoid getting frustrated.

Keep training sessions short and fun, and always end on a positive note.


In conclusion, training your Shih Tzu requires patience, consistency, and celebration of small victories. By understanding their basic needs, such as proper nutrition, grooming, and exercise, you can create a harmonious bond.

Remember, training takes time and repetition, so stay committed. Be consistent with your commands and expectations to establish clear communication. And most importantly, celebrate every milestone and progress made.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to successful Shih Tzu training.

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