5 Training Commands Every Shih Tzu Owner Should Know

Training a Shih Tzu can be a delightful experience. These dogs may be small in size, but their personalities are anything but. Known for their friendly demeanor and expressive eyes, Shih Tzus can be enthusiastic participants in their own training if approached correctly. Training not only helps in managing their behavior but also strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend. In this article, we’ll explore 5 essential training commands that every Shih Tzu owner should know.

Understanding Your Shih Tzu’s Learning Style

Before diving into the specific commands, it’s crucial to understand the learning style of Shih Tzus. They respond best to positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praises, or playtime. Punishments or harsh techniques can lead to fearfulness and stubbornness in these sensitive dogs. Keeping training sessions short, fun, and rewarding is the key to a successful training regimen for a Shih Tzu.

The “Sit” Command

The “Sit” command is foundational in dog training, acting as a building block for other commands. It’s particularly useful in managing your Shih Tzu’s excitement levels and teaching them patience.

How to Teach “Sit”

Start by holding a treat close to your Shih Tzu’s nose. Slowly move your hand up, allowing their head to follow the treat and causing their bottom to lower. Once they’re in the sitting position, say “Sit,” give them the treat, and share some affectionate praise. Repeat this several times a day until your Shih Tzu masters it.

Common Challenges

Some Shih Tzus may try to jump up for the treat rather than sit. If this happens, keep the treat closer to their nose and move your hand slower. Patience and consistency are key.

The “Come” Command

The “Come” command is crucial for your Shih Tzu’s safety, allowing you to recall them in potentially dangerous situations or when off-leash during walks.

How to Teach “Come”

Start in a quiet environment without distractions. Put a leash on your Shih Tzu. Gently tug on the leash while saying “Come” and reward them as they move towards you. Gradually increase the distance and introduce distractions as they become more reliable.

Common Challenges

Distractions in the environment can make this command more challenging to master. Ensure mastery in a quiet setting before introducing more complex environments.

The “Stay” Command

Teaching your Shih Tzu to “Stay” is another command that can significantly enhance their safety and your peace of mind. It’s useful in various situations, from preventing them from running out the door to keeping them still during grooming sessions.

How to Teach “Stay”

Command your Shih Tzu to “Sit.” Once seated, open the palm of your hand in front of you and say “Stay.” Take a few steps back. If they stay, reward them after a few seconds. Gradually increase the duration and distance.

Common Challenges

Impulse control can be difficult for Shih Tzus, especially with exciting stimuli around. Start in a controlled environment and slowly introduce distractions.

The “Down” Command

The “Down” command is useful for encouraging calm behavior and can be a precursor to other tricks or commands.

How to Teach “Down”

With your Shih Tzu in a sitting position, hold a treat in your hand and move it towards the ground, close to their body. Your dog’s nose should follow the treat, leading them to lie down. Once fully down, say “Down,” give them the treat, and praise them.

Common Challenges

Some Shih Tzus might try to cheat by not fully lying down or by standing up immediately after. Ensure they understand they only get the treat by fully lying down and staying for a moment.

The “Leave It” Command

“Leave It” teaches your Shih Tzu to ignore whatever they’re interested in, which can be invaluable in preventing them from picking up dangerous items or food.

How to Teach “Leave It”

Hold a treat in both hands. Show one closed fist with a treat inside to your Shih Tzu and say “Leave it.” Ignore their attempts to get the treat. Once they stop trying, give them the treat from the other hand. This teaches them that ignoring the first hand gets them a reward.

Common Challenges

Curiosity and stubbornness can make “Leave It” a challenging command. Consistency and patience, as with all training, are crucial.

Training Tips for Success

Training a Shih Tzu requires patience, consistency, and understanding. Always use positive reinforcement, keep training sessions short and engaging, and be prepared to practice regularly. Celebrate your Shih Tzu’s successes, no matter how small, and enjoy the bonding experience that training provides.

Are you looking for tips on training your Shih Tzu? Check out our articles on crate training, 10 tips for crate training, obedience training, potty training, and training tips to help you teach your furry friend essential commands!


Training your Shih Tzu not only helps in managing their behavior but also deepens your relationship with them. By mastering these five commands, you’ll ensure your Shih Tzu is well-behaved, safe, and even more lovable. Remember, patience and positivity are your best tools in this rewarding journey.

Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Dog Care Hacks