In this article we look at Shih Tzu training and how best you can train your dog. Training Shih Tzus are essential - especially if you desire for them to live harmoniously with you and your family.
Shih Tzus are wonderful, spunky and gregarious dogs despite their small size and royal appearance. These dogs have their origins in China and Tibet and are known as the lion or chrysanthemum dog. The Shih Tzu is highly regarded by the Chinese for their friendly disposition as well as their keen guard dog instincts. However, these dogs aren’t exactly the easiest to train and require special knowledge of their particular characteristics for you to understand how to train a Shih Tzu.
The Shih Tzu dog is generally a very friendly and cheerful dog; however, when it comes to training there are a few points you should note. For one, this animal is very sensitive to moods, human emotion and personality traits. If you come off as harsh or brash in your commands and training methods, a typical Shih Tzu will simply not respond. These dogs are prideful and if they feel you are overbearing or demanding they will ignore your wishes and cut off contact. If you think about it... you wouldn’t like being treated that way either!
Most Shih Tzu dogs require a lot of praise and affection during training. They often enjoy being the center of attention and if you want them to obey commands, you will have to lavish them with praise and positive reinforcement.
There are two main techniques that are utilized for effective Shih Tzu training which can be categorized as either behavioral or obedience. These two techniques are tied together as the behavior of your dog will determine how well they respond to you and your commands i.e. obedience training.
An important aspect of owning a dog is to make sure you are the pack leader. If you don’t establish yourself as the top honcho, then your Shih Tzu will definitely become the king of your home! If your dog doesn’t recognize you as the pack leader this can lead to numerous problems such as aggression, dominance, incessant barking, attacking other humans and dogs as well as being a general nuisance around the home.
So how do you establish yourself as the pack leader? This isn’t an overnight process and requires constant work on your part. You must never be aggressive or be abusive to your Shih Tzu as this will not assert your position but cause more problems. In simple terms, all you have to do is adopt the attitude of a leader. A leader is calm, in control and makes decisions that positively affect their subordinates. You have to build respect by outlining clear boundaries and making it crystal clear what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t.
After you’ve established yourself as the pack leader, teaching your Shih Tzu some basic commands as well as how to respond to a clicker shouldn’t be too difficult.
Some of these basic commands are: sit, heel, no, stay and down. You can teach your Shih Tzu these commands on your own using some doggy treats and a lot of patience.
For example, in teaching him/her to sit, you can stand in front of them and hold the treat just above their reach and say “Sit”. Keep holding it there and repeat the command until they sit. If your dog doesn’t sit, gently yet firmly nudge their behind to the ground. When they do sit, immediately give the treat and praise your dog. You will have to keep doing this until your Shih Tzu makes the connection between the word “sit” and the action of sitting and eventually you won’t need to use the treat but only the command. The "sit" command should be one of the first Shih Tzu training lessons that you and your dog practice on.
Another command you will need to teach is “down.” The method is the same as above; however, you will be holding the treat to the ground so that your Shih Tzu will have to lie down. When he does lie down, be sure to praise and reward him/her.
This word-action-treat/praise is the main process that you can use to train your dog with each different command. With training Shih Tzu’s, consistency and praise are the best tricks you can use to teach your dog.
If you have a puppy and are looking for some advice on housebreaking, please visit our Shih Tzu Puppies page.
A clicker is a very effective Shih Tzu training tool and is used to let your dog recognize good behavior and bad behavior. The clicker does exactly what it sounds like - it clicks. One click typically means that the dog has completed a task as expected and two clicks is a reprimand. To enforce the meanings of these clicks you can give your dog a treat after you click once and don’t give him any after two clicks. This will quickly teach your Shih Tzu the difference and its meaning.
Many people choose to use a clicker because it is easier than always having to watch their tone of voice which may not always have the correct intonation. Using clicker devices can certainly make Shih Tzu training a whole lot easier and stress free for both you and your dog.
Training your Shih Tzu may not be the most fun task, but the benefits far outweigh the effort. Once you train your dog well, he will remember the commands for life. By learning these commands, he’ll improve his socialization skills and will definitely adapt better to life at home and in your neighborhood.
If you are having difficulties with your Shih Tzu training and not seeing any results, you might want to consider an online dog training program.