10 Tips Crate Training Shih Tzu

Crate training is a valuable tool for pet owners, especially for those with small breeds like Shih Tzus. While some may see crates as cages, when used correctly, they can provide a safe and comfortable space for your furry friend. If you’re considering crate training your Shih Tzu or are already in the process, these 10 tips will help make the experience positive for both you and your pet.

Choose the Right Crate

The first step in successful crate training is selecting the appropriate crate for your Shih Tzu. The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Opt for a crate that is not too big to avoid accidents but not too small to restrict movement.

Set Up the Crate Correctly

Place the crate in a quiet and cozy area of your home where your Shih Tzu can still feel like part of the family. Add a comfortable blanket or bed inside the crate to make it inviting. You can also place some of your dog’s favorite toys or treats to create a positive association.

Introduce the Crate Gradually

It’s essential to introduce the crate slowly to your Shih Tzu. Start by leaving the crate door open and allowing your dog to explore it at their own pace. Encourage them with treats and praise when they enter the crate voluntarily. Gradually increase the time your dog spends in the crate, making sure to keep the experience positive.

Establish a Routine

Consistency is key when crate training your Shih Tzu. Create a routine for meal times, playtime, and potty breaks, and incorporate the crate into this schedule. By establishing a predictable routine, your dog will learn when it’s time to relax in their crate and when it’s time for other activities.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the most effective way to crate train your Shih Tzu. Reward your dog with treats, praise, or playtime whenever they enter the crate willingly or exhibit good behavior inside the crate. Avoid using the crate as a form of punishment to prevent your dog from associating it with negative experiences.

Make the Crate a Safe Haven

To ensure your Shih Tzu views the crate as a safe haven, never force them inside or use it as a time-out spot. Instead, make the crate a positive and comfortable space where your dog can retreat when they need some alone time. Avoid disrupting your dog while they are in the crate to respect their space.

Monitor Your Shih Tzu’s Behavior

Pay attention to your Shih Tzu’s body language and behavior when they are in the crate. If your dog shows signs of distress, such as whining, barking, or trying to escape, they may not be ready for crate training. Take a step back, reassess your approach, and consult with a professional trainer if needed.

Gradually Increase Crate Time

As your Shih Tzu becomes more comfortable with the crate, gradually increase the amount of time they spend inside. Start with short intervals and gradually extend the duration. Make sure to provide your dog with plenty of mental and physical stimulation outside the crate to prevent boredom.

Practice Patience

Crate training takes time and patience, so don’t rush the process. Every dog is different, and some may take longer to adjust to the crate than others. Be patient with your Shih Tzu, offer plenty of encouragement, and celebrate small victories along the way.

Provide Regular Potty Breaks

When crate training your Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to provide regular potty breaks to prevent accidents and promote good bladder control. Take your dog outside to relieve themselves after they come out of the crate, after meals, and before bedtime. Establishing a potty routine will help your dog associate the crate with cleanliness.

Ignore Whining or Barking

While it may be tempting to let your Shih Tzu out of the crate when they whine or bark, it’s essential to ignore these behaviors. Responding to whining or barking can reinforce the behavior and make it more challenging to crate train your dog. Instead, wait for a moment of quiet before opening the crate door.

Gradually Increase Freedom

Once your Shih Tzu has become comfortable with the crate and can stay inside calmly, you can start giving them more freedom around the house. Begin by leaving the crate door open when you are home and supervising your dog. Gradually increase the time your dog spends outside the crate while ensuring they still have access to their safe space.

Teach Your Shih Tzu to Love Their Crate

Crate training is not just about confinement; it’s about creating a positive association with the crate for your Shih Tzu. Use the crate for meals, treats, and quiet time to reinforce the idea that the crate is a safe and comfortable space. With patience and consistency, your dog will learn to love their crate as their own special place.

If you’re looking for more information on crate training your Shih Tzu, be sure to check out our articles on crate training techniques, using treats in crate training, and potty training while crate training. Avoid these common mistakes and learn the top training commands for a well-behaved pup!


Crate training can be a beneficial experience for both you and your Shih Tzu when done correctly. By following these 10 tips, you can make the crate training process easier and more enjoyable for your furry friend. Remember to be patient, consistent, and positive throughout the training process, and soon your Shih Tzu will see their crate as a safe haven and a place of comfort.

Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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