Shih Tzu dogs are said to be one of the most ancient of all dog breeds, with their ancestors dating back over 10,000 years to fossilized evidence. Shih Tzu dogs are a favored breed among many dog owners, enjoying a moderate amount of popularity. However, they do have some temperament and behavioral traits that affect the method you should use when understanding how to train a Shih Tzu. Proper Shih Tzu training is not difficult, as long as the proper methods are used. Here is some information you can use when training a Shih Tzu.
How to Train a Shih Tzu Puppy
Even when full-grown, a Shih Tzu usually stands no more than about 10 inches tall! Needless to say, Shih Tzu puppies are even smaller, and regarded by many small breed owners as being one of the most adorable puppies of any breed. When training a Shih Tzu puppy, it’s best to start as early as possible. Shih Tzu puppies are very cute, but are a bit slow to learn new concepts. This can make things slightly difficult, since they are always eager to please their owners.
With Shih Tzu puppies, it’s extremely important that you begin training as soon as they enter your household. In the first few minutes that a Shih Tzu puppy explores your home, they begin their “learning” about how to interact with the world. Gently encourage your Shih Tzu puppy to participate in good behavior with positive reinforcement, while simply ignoring bad behavior. Positive reinforcement training generally works best with Shih Tzu puppies, even if it does require a lot of patience.
In a study about dog intelligence, it is said that Shih Tzu dogs are in the lowest class of intelligence. According to that study, it may take a Shih Tzu from 80 to 100 repetitions of a command before they are able to accurately connect it to the desired behavior. However, this doesn’t mean that a Shih Tzu puppy can’t be trained! It simply means that by adopting a Shih Tzu into your household, you will need to have a lot of patience. Your puppy can still learn, but it may take them a bit longer than some other breeds. Don’t get discouraged during training, and don’t be afraid to offer your Shih Tzu generous rewards for good behavior.
How to Crate Train a Shih Tzu
Crate training can be very useful in proper Shih Tzu training. It’s best to go about Shih Tzu training with the mindset that Shih Tzu dogs are very much like small children, both in their temperament and behavior. Shih Tzu dogs love to be the center of attention, and will thrive in an environment where they are constantly praised. When crate training your Shih Tzu, be sure to pay special attention to small changes in your dog’s behavior, since this will allow you to change your crate training methods to find the one that is most effective.
Shih Tzu dogs love to be comfortable, which may be due to their “Lap Dog” tendencies. Because of this, it’s important to make your Shih Tzu’s crate look and feel every bit as “luxurious” (in dog terms) as possible. Use soft bedding to cushion the bottom of the crate, being sure to cover any uncomfortable corners. You can hide treats or toys in the crate as well, since this will help encourage your Shih Tzu to spend time in the crate.
Allow your Shih Tzu dog to investigate the crate on their own terms, without trying to force them inside. However, you may want to place food-based items inside the crate, in order to entice your Shih Tzu to go inside.
How to House Train a Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu dogs are notoriously difficult to house train. However, it’s much easier to house train a Shih Tzu if you understand that they love to be spoiled. If your Shih Tzu goes to the bathroom outdoors, go out of your way to offer praise, treats and even a belly-rub. Don’t ever punish your Shih Tzu for going to the bathroom indoors! Instead, use your dog’s crate to confine them when you aren’t able to closely watch their behavior.
Shih Tzu Training Tips
Shih Tzu’s are sometimes nicknamed by some as “The Royal Dog”. Though this may have something to do with the Shih Tzu’s history as a lap dog for Chinese royalty, it also is a good description of their temperament. A Shih Tzu will thrive when offered love, indulgence, affection and other positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement can have disastrous results with Shih Tzu dogs, since it may actually cause behavioral problems and destructive behavior. Be sure to take time each day to spend with your Shih Tzu, time that is outside of your daily training routine.