Train Your Shih Poo to Be a Pro

As a Shih Poo owner, you know that these adorable dogs are not just cute companions but also incredibly intelligent. If you’re looking for ways to challenge your Shih Poo’s mind and improve their physical fitness, agility training and tricks are the perfect solution. This advanced training will not only keep your furry friend mentally and physically stimulated, but it can also help you bond with your pet on a deeper level. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of training your Shih Poo in agility and tricks, including the benefits, equipment you’ll need, popular tricks, training tips, and safety precautions. Let’s get started!

What is Agility Training?

What Is Agility Training?
Agility training is a fun and stimulating activity that involves a variety of obstacles, jumps, and tunnels, which helps your Shih Poo build strength, stamina, coordination, and flexibility. Agility training for dogs is not only a great way to burn off excess energy, but it also helps improve their mental focus and problem-solving abilities. Training your Shih Poo in agility will allow them to develop new skills and enhance their natural instincts. To ensure that your Shih Poo is successful in agility training, it’s important to start with obedience training, socialization, and crate training. If you need help with any of these aspects, check out our Guide to Crate Training for Shih Poos, our Guide to Shih Poo Obedience Training, our Guide to Shih Poo Socialization Benefits, our Guide to House Training a Shih Poo, or our Guide to Leash Training a Shih Poo.

Benefits of Agility Training for Shih Poos

Agility training is a fun and rewarding way to keep your Shih Poo active and healthy. There are many advantages to agility training that go beyond just physical exercise. Here are some important benefits your Shih Poo can get from agility training:

  • Improved Physical Fitness: Agility training is a great way to keep your Shih Poo physically fit. It helps to build strength, stamina, and flexibility. It also improves cardiovascular health, which can lead to a longer lifespan for your furry friend.
  • Better Focus and Concentration: Agility training requires a lot of focus and concentration from your Shih Poo. Your dog has to pay attention to your commands and navigate through the obstacle course quickly and accurately. This type of mental stimulation can help your dog become more attentive and focused in other areas of life as well.
  • Stress Relief: Just like humans, dogs can also benefit from stress relief. Agility training can provide an outlet for your Shih Poo to release any pent-up energy and stress. The physical exercise and mental stimulation can leave your dog feeling calm and relaxed.
  • Bonding with the Owner: Agility training is an activity that requires teamwork and cooperation between the owner and the dog. It is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your Shih Poo. Working together to conquer the obstacles and achieve goals can be a rewarding experience for both of you.
  • Boost in Confidence: When your Shih Poo learns a new skill or overcomes a challenging obstacle, it can give them a sense of accomplishment and confidence. This boost in self-esteem can carry over to other areas of their life and help them become more confident and well-rounded dogs.

Agility training is just one way to keep your Shih Poo active and healthy. Other training aspects like obedience training, leash training, crate training, house training, and socialization are also important for your dog’s development. Check out our other articles to learn more about these training techniques and tips:

Remember to always prioritize your Shih Poo’s safety and well-being when engaging in any activities or training.

Getting Started with Agility

Before starting agility training with your Shih Poo, it’s important to understand the basics of what you’ll be doing. Agility training is a sport that involves guiding your dog through a challenging obstacle course as quickly and efficiently as possible. It requires physical and mental stamina from both you and your furry companion.

Here are the basic steps to getting started with agility training:

Assess your Shih Poo’s physical abilityBefore starting agility training, it’s important to ensure that your dog is physically fit and healthy enough to handle the strenuous activity. Consult with your veterinarian to check if your Shih Poo is up for the challenge.
Observe an agility classWatching an agility class can give you a better sense of what the sport entails and how your dog might react to it. You can also observe other types of classes, such as obedience or show dog training, to get a feel for different activities and training styles.
Choose a locationYou’ll need a large, open area to practice agility with your Shih Poo. A fenced-in yard, local park, or dog training facility are all good options. Consider the terrain and potential hazards in the area before starting.
Invest in proper equipmentAgility training requires special equipment, such as tunnels, jumps, and weave poles. You can purchase or rent equipment from a dog training facility. Be sure to choose equipment that is appropriate for your dog’s size and skill level.
Start with basic commandsBefore diving into agility obstacles, make sure your Shih Poo is familiar with basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” These commands will be the foundation for more complicated agility maneuvers.
Practice, practice, practiceThe key to success in agility training is consistent practice. Start with simple obstacles and gradually increase the difficulty level as your Shih Poo becomes more comfortable.

Remember, agility training is a physically and mentally stimulating activity for your Shih Poo, so it’s important to ensure they enjoy it. Keep a positive attitude and go at your dog’s pace to ensure they have fun while learning. With time, patience, and practice, your Shih Poo may even become an agility champion!

Agility Training Equipment

Agility training is a great way to keep your Shih Poo active and engaged. To get started, you will need the right equipment. Here is a list of essential equipment you will need for agility training:

Agility tunnelsThese are flexible, tubular structures that your Shih Poo can run through. They come in various sizes and lengths, and are typically made of durable materials like nylon.
Jump barsThese are adjustable bars that your Shih Poo can jump over. They can be adjusted to different heights, and are typically made of PVC or plastic.
Tire jumpThis is a suspended tire that your Shih Poo can jump through. It is typically made of PVC and can be adjusted to different heights.
Pause tableThis is a sturdy table designed for your Shih Poo to rest on. It is used to train your Shih Poo to pause in the middle of a race or course.
Weave polesThese are a series of poles your Shih Poo can weave in and out of. They are typically made of plastic or PVC and come in sets of six or twelve.
BarricadesThese are polyvinyl obstacles that your Shih Poo can run around, under or over. They come in various shapes and sizes and are perfect for agility courses that require different maneuvers.

Having the right equipment is essential for your Shih Poo’s safety and training. When purchasing agility equipment, make sure you choose durable, high-quality products that can stand up to your Shih Poo’s wear and tear. Additionally, always supervise your Shih Poo during agility training to ensure their safety.

Training Your Shih Poo with Tricks

Training Your Shih Poo With Tricks
Looking for a fun and engaging way to bond with your Shih Poo while also keeping them mentally stimulated? Teaching your furry friend new tricks is a fantastic way to do just that! With a little bit of patience and a lot of positive reinforcement, you can help your Shih Poo develop new skills and impress all of their furry friends. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most popular tricks for Shih Poos, as well as tips for teaching more advanced tricks to keep things interesting. So grab some treats and get ready to have some fun with your four-legged friend!

Popular Tricks for Shih Poos

Shih Poos are known for their playful and intelligent nature. This makes them great candidates for trick training. Here are some popular tricks that your Shih Poo might enjoy learning:

  • Roll Over: Rolling over is a classic dog trick that many Shih Poos can pick up quickly. Start by getting your Shih Poo to lie down, then lure them into rolling over onto their back using a treat. Once they can roll over on command, add the verbal cue “roll over”.
  • High Five: Training your Shih Poo to give a high five is a fun and interactive trick. Start by teaching your dog to shake paw, and then gradually move your hand up and say “high five” while giving them a chance to touch your hand with their paw.
  • Spin: Teaching your Shih Poo to spin on command is a visually impressive trick. Start by getting your dog’s attention with a treat, then encourage them to chase it in a circle. Gradually reduce the size of the circle while adding the verbal cue “spin”.
  • Jump Through Hoop: This trick requires some agility training but can be a fun challenge for your Shih Poo. Start by holding a hula hoop on the ground and encouraging your dog to walk through it with treats. Gradually raise the hoop until your dog can jump through it on command.
  • Bow: Shih Poos naturally love to stretch and bend, making bowing a great trick for them to learn. Start by getting your dog to stand up straight, then lure them down into a bow position using a treat. Add the verbal cue “bow” once they can do it reliably.

Keep in mind that each dog is unique and may have different interests and abilities. Be patient, stay positive and keep training sessions short and fun to prevent your Shih Poo from becoming bored or frustrated during training.

Teaching Your Shih Poo New Tricks

Teaching your Shih Poo new tricks can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. Here are some steps to follow when teaching your Shih Poo a new trick:

1. Start with Basic Commands: Before moving onto a new trick, make sure that your Shih Poo has mastered basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” This will make it easier for them to understand and follow your instructions.

2. Break the Trick Down: Break the trick down into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, if you want to teach your Shih Poo to roll over, start by getting them to lie down, then get them to roll onto their side, and finally get them to roll over onto their back.

3. Use Positive Reinforcement: Use treats, praise, and positive reinforcement to encourage your Shih Poo to perform the trick. Whenever they successfully complete a step, reward them with a treat or some praise to reinforce the behavior.

4. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat: Practice the trick with your Shih Poo over and over again until they have mastered it. Be patient and persistent, as some tricks may take longer for your furry friend to learn than others.

5. Keep it Fun: Make sure that your Shih Poo is enjoying the training process. If they seem disinterested or frustrated, take a break and come back to it later.

By following these steps, you can help your Shih Poo learn new tricks in a fun and positive way. Remember to always use positive reinforcement and keep the training process enjoyable for both you and your furry friend.

Challenging Your Shih Poo with Advanced Tricks

As your Shih Poo progresses in their training, you may want to challenge them with some more advanced tricks. These tricks will not only impress your friends and family but also help to further develop your pup’s cognitive abilities and physical agility.

Here are some impressive tricks that you can train your Shih Poo to do:

Roll Over and Play DeadTeach your Shih Poo to roll over and pretend to play dead, a fun and impressive trick that can be performed on cue.
Balance a Treat on the NoseThis is a challenging trick because it requires patience and focus. Teach your Shih Poo to balance a treat on their nose without dropping it, and only allow them to eat the treat once you’ve given the cue.
Jump Through a HoopCreate a hoop with your hands or purchase one of the hoops that are designed for this trick. Teach your Shih Poo to jump through the hoop on cue, and gradually raise the height of the hoop to increase the challenge.
Climb Up and Slide DownThis is a great trick for Shih Poos who love to climb. Teach your pup to climb up a small platform or ladder and then slide down a slide on cue.
DanceTrain your Shih Poo to dance with you in synchronicity. Teach them to dance on their hind legs, twirl, or even walk backwards.

Remember, the key to teaching your Shih Poo advanced tricks is to break down the trick into small, manageable steps, and to always use positive reinforcement. Patience and consistency are also key to success. Once your pup masters these advanced tricks, you’ll have a four-legged superstar on your hands!

Training Tips and Tricks

Training Tips And Tricks
As you embark on advanced training for your Shih Poo, there are some tips and tricks to keep in mind that can make the journey more effective and enjoyable. Consistency is key, as well as focusing on reward-based training and positive reinforcement. These techniques will not only help your furry friend learn new skills faster, but also strengthen your bond and create a positive training experience for both of you. In this section, we’ll explore some specific training tips and tricks that can be applied to both agility and trick training for Shih Poos.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is Key when it comes to training your Shih Poo. This means that you need to have a clear plan and stick to it, making sure to train your dog regularly.

PlanWhy it’s important
Set a regular training scheduleHelps your dog learn faster and remember commands better
Use the same commands for each trick or behaviorMakes it easier for your dog to understand and follow your instructions
Keep sessions short and funPrevents boredom and frustration, which can lead to lack of progress
Train in a quiet area with minimal distractionsHelps your dog focus and gives them a better chance of success

It’s important to note that consistency doesn’t just apply to your training schedule and methods. It also applies to how you interact with your Shih Poo outside of training sessions. For example, if you don’t allow your dog on the furniture during training, you shouldn’t allow them on the furniture at any other time. Inconsistencies like these can confuse your dog and make it harder for them to learn.

Consistency also means that everyone in the household should be on the same page when it comes to training. This means using the same commands, rewarding good behavior, and correcting bad behavior in the same way. If one person lets the dog get away with bad behavior while another person corrects it, the dog will become confused and won’t know what is expected of them.

By being consistent in your training methods and interactions with your Shih Poo, you can help them learn faster and be more successful in their agility training and trick performances.

Reward-Based Training

Reward-based training, also known as positive reinforcement, is a highly effective method for training your Shih Poo. This technique involves rewarding your dog for displaying the desired behavior. By doing so, you are reinforcing that particular behavior and encouraging your dog to repeat it.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when implementing reward-based training for your Shih Poo:

  • Timing: The timing of the reward is crucial. You want to reward your dog as soon as they exhibit the desired behavior.
  • Consistency: You should consistently reward your Shih Poo every time they exhibit the desired behavior. This helps your dog understand what behavior is expected of them.
  • Reinforcement: It’s important to use a variety of reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and playtime to keep your dog engaged and motivated during training.
  • Patience: Remember to be patient and understanding during the training process. Some dogs may pick up on new behaviors quickly, while others may take more time.
  • Progression: You can gradually increase the difficulty of the desired behavior and reward your Shih Poo as they progress. This helps your dog stay challenged and motivated.

Reward-based training is a more humane and gentle approach to training your Shih Poo, as it focuses on positive reinforcement rather than punishment for undesirable behavior. With patience and consistency, you can help your furry friend learn new behaviors and tricks and strengthen the bond between you both.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a crucial aspect of training your Shih Poo successfully. This approach involves rewarding your dog for good behavior, rather than punishing them for bad behavior. By using positive reinforcement, you’re encouraging your dog to repeat good behaviors, making it more likely that they’ll continue to improve over time. Here are some ways you can use positive reinforcement in your training:

  • Use treats: One of the most common forms of positive reinforcement is offering your dog a treat when they perform a desired behavior. Make sure to use healthy, bite-sized treats to avoid overfeeding your dog.
  • Offer verbal praise: Dogs love hearing their owners’ praise, so use a happy and enthusiastic tone to reward good behavior.
  • Give physical affection: Dogs also respond well to physical touch, so reward your Shih Poo with petting, belly rubs, or playtime as positive reinforcement.
  • Be consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to positive reinforcement. Always reward good behavior, and avoid rewarding bad behavior, even if it’s tempting in the moment.
  • Avoid punishment: Punishing your dog can lead to fear or anxiety, making them less likely to want to learn from you. Use positive reinforcement instead to build a strong bond with your Shih Poo.

By consistently using positive reinforcement in your training, you can strengthen your relationship with your Shih Poo while also helping them learn new behaviors and tricks. With patience and dedication, your dog can become an expert in agility and tricks, making them a fun and active addition to your household.

Agility Competitions and Tricks Performances

Agility Competitions And Tricks Performances
As your Shih Poo progresses in their agility and trick training, you may find yourself wanting to showcase their skills to others. One way to do this is by entering them into agility competitions, where they can compete against other dogs and show off their speed and agility. Alternatively, you may want to perform tricks with your Shih Poo in front of an audience at events or even just for friends and family. However, before you jump into this world of competition and performance, it’s important to know what to expect and how to prepare yourself and your furry friend for the spotlight. Let’s explore the exciting world of agility competitions and tricks performances for your Shih Poo.

Entering Your Shih Poo in Agility Competitions

Agility competitions are a great way to showcase the hard work you and your Shih Poo have put into training. If you’re interested in entering your furry friend into an agility competition, here are some steps to follow:

  • Find a competition: Look for agility competitions in your area. Check out organizations like the American Kennel Club or local agility clubs for information on upcoming competitions. Make sure to read the rules and regulations carefully and ensure that your Shih Poo meets any eligibility requirements.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Before entering a competition, make sure your Shih Poo is comfortable with all the obstacles and equipment they will encounter. Practice regularly and even consider taking classes with a professional trainer to fine-tune your Shih Poo’s skills.
  • Register: Once you’ve found a competition and feel confident in your Shih Poo’s abilities, register them for the event. Make sure to submit all required paperwork and fees on time to secure your spot.
  • Prepare for the big day: In the days leading up to the competition, make sure your Shih Poo is well-rested and mentally prepared. Bring any necessary equipment and treats for your pup, and be sure to arrive at the competition site early to get oriented and prepared.
  • Stay calm and have fun: Remember, agility competitions should be enjoyable for both you and your Shih Poo. Don’t let nerves get the best of you and remember to stay positive and patient with your pup throughout the competition.

Entering your Shih Poo into an agility competition can be an exhilarating experience for both of you. Make sure to follow the necessary steps and remember to enjoy the experience.

Showcasing Your Shih Poo’s Tricks

Once you have trained your Shih Poo in a variety of fun and impressive tricks, you may want to showcase their skills to others. Here are some tips for showcasing your Shih Poo’s tricks:

1. Create a performance routine: Choreograph a routine using your Shih Poo’s best tricks, set to music. This can be especially impressive if they can perform tricks to the beat of the music.

2. Choose appropriate performance venues: Look for dog-friendly events in your area, such as dog shows, fairs, and festivals. You can also consider nursing homes, schools, or community centers for demonstrating your dog’s tricks.

3. Dress your Shih Poo for the occasion: Depending on the venue, you may want to dress your Shih Poo in a costume or themed outfit. This can add an extra level of entertainment and showmanship to their performance.

4. Use props: Incorporating props into your dog’s performance can make it more visually appealing. For example, you can use a hula hoop for them to jump through, or a small agility tunnel for them to run through.

5. Practice and rehearse: Practice your Shih Poo’s tricks regularly, and rehearse their performance routine in the actual venue before the event. This will help your dog get used to performing in front of strangers, and can help them feel more comfortable and confident during their performance.

6. Film and share: Record your Shih Poo’s performance and share it on social media or other online platforms. This can help showcase their tricks to a wider audience, and can be a fun way to document their progress.

By following these tips, you can help your Shih Poo become a confident and impressive performer, and show off their impressive trick skills to the world.

Precautions and Safety

As much as we love to see our furry friends succeed in agility competitions or perform impressive tricks, it’s important to keep their safety in mind. Our Shih Poos are small dogs with delicate bodies, and any excessive physical activity can lead to injuries. While agility and trick training can provide physical and mental stimulation for our pups, it’s crucial to take necessary precautions to minimize the risk of harm. In this section of the article, we’ll discuss some health considerations and safety tips that every Shih Poo owner should keep in mind before starting agility and trick training. Let’s delve in to explore the topic further.

Health Considerations for Agility Training and Trick Performances

As much as agility training and trick performances are thrilling and exciting for Shih Poos and their owners, it is crucial to take their health into consideration before starting any kind of training. Shih Poos, like all dog breeds, have specific health concerns that need to be addressed before embarking on any physical activity.

Below is a table of some important health considerations to keep in mind before starting agility training and trick performances for your Shih Poo:

Orthopedic problemsShih Poos are prone to orthopedic problems like hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. These issues can affect their mobility and make them more prone to injuries during physical activities.
Breathing difficultiesShih Poos have short snouts which can cause breathing difficulties, especially during high-intensity physical activities like agility training. Avoiding this is important because it ensures dogs do not get overly exhausted, leading to injury or death.
WeightEnsure that your Shih Poo maintains an ideal weight throughout the training period. Agility training requires your dog to be agile, and weight control is a factor in reducing the risk of injuries and strain.
AgeAge is an important factor to consider before starting any physical activity with your dog. Shih Poos should not be enrolled for agility training until they are at least 18 months old, when their bones and muscles have developed strong enough to sustain such training. Similarly, avoid introducing new, complicated tricks to senior dogs since they may become too hard to learn.
VaccinationsEnsure your Shih Poo is fully vaccinated before starting any kind of training or competitions. This helps to minimize the risk of infections and illnesses that can be contacted amidst crowds.

By considering these health concerns and taking precautionary measures, trainers and owners can prevent injuries while helping their Shih Poos stay in good health during training and performances. Remember, your furry friend’s safety and health should always be a priority.

Safety Precautions to Take

When it comes to training your Shih Poo in agility and tricks, safety should be your top priority. Here are some important safety precautions to take:

Warm-up and Cool-downJust like humans, your Shih Poo’s muscles need to be warmed up before any physical activity. Take a few minutes to stretch their muscles and get their blood flowing before starting agility training or trick practice. Likewise, take the time to cool them down afterwards with some slow, gentle movements and stretches.
Use Proper EquipmentMake sure you are using safe, sturdy, and well-maintained equipment when training your Shih Poo in agility. This includes agility tunnels, weave poles, jumps, and balance beams. Always supervise your Shih Poo when they are using agility equipment and never force them to do something they are uncomfortable with.
Avoid OverexertionTake care not to overwork your Shih Poo during training sessions, especially in hot weather. Stick to shorter, more frequent training sessions rather than long, intense ones. Monitor your Shih Poo’s breathing and pulse rate during training and stop if they seem overly fatigued or overheated.
Watch Your Shih Poo’s WeightKeep your Shih Poo at a healthy weight to avoid putting excess strain on their joints and muscles. Obesity can increase the risk of injuries and other health problems. Consult with your veterinarian if you are unsure about your Shih Poo’s ideal weight or dietary needs.
Be Aware of Your SurroundingsMake sure your training area is free of obstacles and hazards that could cause your Shih Poo to trip, fall, or collide with something. Keep an eye out for other people, pets, or distractions that could interfere with your training session.
Know Your Shih Poo’s LimitsEvery Shih Poo is different and has their own limits and capabilities. Respect your Shih Poo’s individual needs and abilities and avoid pushing them too hard or too fast. Gradually increase the difficulty of agility training or trick practice over time as your Shih Poo becomes more confident and skilled.

By taking these safety precautions, you can help ensure that your Shih Poo has a safe and enjoyable training experience. Remember, agility and trick training should be a fun and rewarding activity for both you and your furry companion.


In conclusion, training your Shih Poo in agility and tricks can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. It provides mental and physical stimulation, as well as a great way to bond with your pet. By investing time and effort into training, you can unleash your dog’s full potential and show off their skills to others.

Remember, when starting out, it’s important to take things slow and to be patient with your dog. Consistency is key, but also ensure that the training sessions are short and enjoyable for your Shih Poo. Gradually, you can increase the level of difficulty and incorporate more challenging tricks and agility courses.

Using reward-based training and positive reinforcement techniques can motivate your dog and encourage them to achieve more. By showing them love and appreciation, they will become more eager and receptive to learning and training.

It’s important to always prioritize safety when training your Shih Poo. Make sure to educate yourself on proper equipment usage and always supervise your pet during training sessions.

Finally, whether you decide to compete in agility competitions or showcase your Shih Poo’s tricks to family and friends, always have fun and enjoy the experience. With the right training, your Shih Poo can become a true superstar!

Frequently Asked Questions

What age can a Shih Poo start agility training?

Shih Poos can start agility training at around 12 to 18 months old, after they have finished their basic obedience training.

Do Shih Poos make good agility dogs?

Yes, Shih Poos are usually quick learners and have a good level of energy to participate in agility training.

What are the benefits of agility training for Shih Poos?

Agility training provides Shih Poos with physical exercise and mental stimulation, which helps them to stay healthy and happy.

What equipment is needed for agility training?

You will need equipment such as jumps, weave poles, tunnels, and A-frames to set up an agility course for your Shih Poo.

Can Shih Poos learn advanced tricks?

Yes, Shih Poos are intelligent dogs and can learn many advanced tricks with consistent training and positive reinforcement.

What are some popular tricks for Shih Poos?

Popular tricks for Shih Poos include roll over, shake, spin, and play dead.

How can I keep my Shih Poo motivated during training?

Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, playtime, and verbal praise to keep your Shih Poo motivated and engaged during training.

What should I do if my Shih Poo gets injured during agility training?

Stop training immediately and seek veterinary care. Always prioritize the safety and well-being of your dog.

How do I enter my Shih Poo into an agility competition?

Search for local agility competitions, ensure your Shih Poo is up-to-date on all required vaccinations, and register your dog according to the competition’s guidelines.

What are some safety precautions to take during agility training?

Ensure all equipment is safe and secure, monitor your Shih Poo’s physical and emotional well-being, and always use positive reinforcement training techniques to prevent injuries.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DoggoLab, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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