Crate Training: The Secret to a Happy Shih Tzu

Bringing a new Shih Tzu puppy into your home is an exciting time, but it also comes with a number of challenges. One of the most important tasks for any new pet parent is training their furry friend, and crate training is an essential skill to teach your pup. Whether you’re looking to keep your Shih Tzu safe, house-train them or prevent separation anxiety, crate training is an effective and humane tool to help you achieve these goals. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of crate training, how to choose the right crate and provide tips and tricks to successfully train your Shih Tzu. So, let’s get started and help your Shih Tzu thrive in their new home!

Benefits of Crate Training

Benefits Of Crate Training
Why should you crate train your Shih Tzu? Crate training provides numerous benefits for both you and your furry companion. It can help create a safe space for your pup while also making house-training easier. Additionally, crate training can prevent your Shih Tzu from experiencing separation anxiety when you leave the house. Understanding the benefits of crate training is the first step towards a successful training process. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits.

Provides a Safe Space

Providing a safe space is one of the primary benefits of crate training for your Shih Tzu. Dogs naturally have a denning instinct, and a crate provides them with a secure and comfortable space to retreat to when they feel stressed or anxious. Additionally, a crate can protect your Shih Tzu from potential dangers around the home, such as electrical cords or hazardous substances.

Using a crate as a safe space can also help your Shih Tzu feel more secure when you need to leave them home alone. Without a designated area, a dog may become anxious and restless, which can lead to destructive behavior. However, with a crate, your Shih Tzu can relax in a secure environment and avoid potential injury or damage to your home.

It’s important to note that a crate should never be used as a form of punishment. Instead, it should be a positive space that your Shih Tzu associates with safety and comfort. By providing a safe and inviting environment, your Shih Tzu will be more likely to seek out the crate as their own personal space, making crate training a valuable tool in keeping your pup happy and healthy.

To learn more about crate sizing for your Shih Tzu, check out our article on finding the best crate size for your Shih Tzu. And for more tips on crate training, browse our guide on 10 helpful tips for crate training your Shih Tzu or learn about common mistakes to avoid in crate training your Shih Tzu.

Helps with House-training

Crate training is an essential tool for house-training your Shih Tzu. By using the crate, you can create a designated space for your furry friend for elimination purposes. Dogs are unlikely to eliminate in their immediate living area, and the crate can help in training your Shih Tzu to hold their bladder and bowels when inside the crate.

To properly use the crate for house-training purposes, have a set schedule for taking your Shih Tzu outside for potty breaks. Depending on the age of your Shih Tzu, they may need more frequent bathroom breaks throughout the day. Use the crate to create a routine for them to follow. For example, take them outside first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime.

When you are unable to supervise your Shih Tzu or cannot take them outside, place them in the crate with their favorite toy or treat. This will give them something to do while they wait for you to come back.

It’s important to remember that never leave your Shih Tzu in the crate for an extended period of time. This can cause them to hold their bladder or bowels for too long, which can lead to accidents in the crate or health problems for your furry friend.

Consistency is key when using the crate for house-training purposes. Stick to the schedule and routine you have established for your Shih Tzu to help them learn when it’s time to go outside. With time and patience, your Shih Tzu will become more comfortable with the crate as well as holding their bladder and bowels while inside it.

If your Shih Tzu has accidents in the crate, do not punish them. Instead, clean up the mess thoroughly and continue to stick to the scheduled potty breaks. Using the crate for house-training can take time and patience, but with a little effort, it can make a big difference in the overall house-training success for your Shih Tzu.

For more information about crate training your Shih Tzu, check out our article on Teaching Your Shih Tzu to Love the Crate.

Prevents Separation Anxiety

Crate training your Shih Tzu can prevent separation anxiety, a common problem among dogs who are left alone for extended periods of time. Separation anxiety is a psychological condition in which dogs become extremely attached to their owners and feel extreme distress when separated from them. Symptoms of separation anxiety can include excessive barking, destructive behavior, and even self-injury. Crate training can help prevent separation anxiety by providing a safe and secure environment for your Shih Tzu when you’re not at home.

Table: How Crate Training Prevents Separation Anxiety

ReasonsHow Crate Training Helps
Reduces Feelings of AbandonmentA crate creates a sense of security and helps your Shih Tzu feel more comfortable and less alone while you’re away.
Alleviates AnxietyA crate satisfies your dog’s natural desire for a cozy, secure space and can help them feel less anxious when left alone.
Prevents Destructive BehaviorWhen your Shih Tzu has a designated, safe space to stay while you’re gone, they’re much less likely to engage in destructive behavior out of anxiety or stress.
Teaches IndependenceBy crate training your Shih Tzu, you teach them vital life skills like independence and self-reliance that can help to prevent separation anxiety in the future.

It’s important to note that the crate should not be used as a long-term solution to separation anxiety. Rather, it is one tool that can be used in conjunction with other measures, such as ensuring your Shih Tzu gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, to help alleviate separation anxiety. By consistently using the crate, you create a routine that your Shih Tzu can rely on and feel comfortable with even when you’re not at home.

For more tips on crate training your Shih Tzu, check out our article on treat-based crate training.

Choosing the Right Crate

Choosing The Right Crate
As your Shih Tzu becomes more comfortable with the idea of crate training, it is essential to choose the right crate to maximize its benefits. The right crate should provide a safe and comfortable space where your furry friend can relax and feel at ease. Additionally, it should be large enough to keep your Shih Tzu comfortable and safe, but not too big to compromise its sense of security. While there are several types of crates to choose from, this section will help you decide on the most fitting one for your furry friend. Let’s explore the crucial factors you need to consider when selecting a crate for your Shih Tzu.

Size Matters

When it comes to crate training your Shih Tzu, size matters. You want to make sure that you choose a crate that is the right size for your pup. If the crate is too small, your dog won’t have enough room to move around or stretch. If it’s too large, your dog may not feel as secure and may be more likely to have accidents inside the crate.

To choose the right size crate for your Shih Tzu, consider their adult size and weight. Most adult Shih Tzus weigh between 9-16 pounds and stand about 9-10 inches tall at the shoulder. A good rule of thumb is to choose a crate that is at least one and a half times the length of your Shih Tzu and tall enough for your dog to stand up and turn around comfortably.

Here is a helpful chart to guide you in choosing the right crate size for your Shih Tzu:

BreedLength of DogCrate Size
Shih Tzuup to 12 inches18-24 inch crate

It’s important to note that you may need to purchase a larger crate as your Shih Tzu grows. As your pup gets bigger, they’ll need more space to feel comfortable and secure in their crate. Be sure to check out our guide to crate time for Shih Tzus for more information on how often your pup should spend time in their crate.

If you’re considering alternatives to crate training, check out our article on other options. Still, crate training is the most effective way to provide a secure and safe space for your furry friend. By choosing the right size crate, you’re setting your Shih Tzu up for a successful crate training experience.

Material Considerations

When it comes to selecting the right crate for your Shih Tzu, material considerations are important. The type of material the crate is made from can affect its durability and comfort for your furry friend. Here are some options to consider:

  • Plastic: Plastic crates are lightweight, durable, and easy to clean, making them a popular choice for many pet owners. They often come with a removable tray for easy cleaning, and many models also have ventilation to keep your dog comfortable. However, they may not be the most aesthetically pleasing option and may not blend in with your home décor.
  • Metal: Metal crates are durable and long-lasting. They often come with removable trays for easy cleaning and provide ample ventilation. They are also foldable, making them easy to store when not in use. However, metal crates may not be as comfortable for your Shih Tzu compared to other options, particularly during hot or cold weather.
  • Fabric: Fabric crates are lightweight and great for travel. They’re easy to set up and can be packed away for storage, making them a great option for pet owners who value portability. However, they may not be durable if your Shih Tzu has a habit of chewing or scratching.

When deciding between the different materials, it’s important to consider your Shih Tzu’s needs, including their comfort and behavior. If you plan on traveling frequently with your dog, a fabric crate may be the best option. If you need a durable, long-lasting option for daily use, a metal or plastic crate may be more suitable.

Remember: The crate should always be a comfortable, safe space for your Shih Tzu. Don’t forget to provide them with soft bedding and toys to keep them comfortable while in the crate.

If you want to learn more about crate training your Shih Tzu, check out our comprehensive guide. And if your Shih Tzu is crying in their crate, we have some tips to help you out here. Finally, if you’re planning to travel with your Shih Tzu and need advice on crate training for travel, take a look at our guide here.

Introducing the Crate to Your Shih Tzu

Introducing The Crate To Your Shih Tzu
Now that you’ve chosen the right crate for your Shih Tzu, the next step is introducing the crate to your furry friend. This is an essential part of the crate training process, as it sets the tone for your dog’s future relationship with the crate. If done correctly, your Shih Tzu will view their crate as a safe and comfortable space, while also learning to associate it with good things like treats and toys. However, introducing the crate can be a bit tricky, and it’s important to approach it with patience and positivity. In this section, we’ll provide you with some helpful tips on how to introduce the crate to your Shih Tzu successfully.

Positive Associations

Introducing the crate to your Shih Tzu can sometimes be a daunting task. However, creating a positive association with the crate is crucial in the crate training process.

One way to create a positive association is by placing treats inside the crate, enticing your Shih Tzu to go inside. This will help them view the crate as a place of reward rather than punishment.

Another way to create a positive association is by making the crate a cozy and comfortable space. Adding a soft blanket or bed, as well as toys, will make it a desirable place for your Shih Tzu to relax and feel safe.

Here are some other positive association techniques that you can try:

Feeding in the CratePlace your Shih Tzu’s food bowl inside the crate during meal times to associate the crate with positive and tasty experiences.
Playing in the CrateEncourage your Shih Tzu to play with toys or games inside the crate to associate the crate with fun and entertainment.
Using CommandsWhen your Shih Tzu enters the crate, use positive reinforcement commands such as “good boy/girl” or “well done” to associate the crate with positive actions.

Remember to be patient and persistent in the crate training process. By creating a positive association with the crate, you’ll be setting your Shih Tzu up for success and creating a safe and secure space for them to call their own.

Ease into It

When introducing your Shih Tzu to their new crate, it’s important to take it slow and let them adjust at their own pace. Here are some tips on how to effectively ease your Shih Tzu into their crate:

  • Start with short increments of time: Begin by having your Shih Tzu spend just a few minutes in their crate while you’re supervising them. Gradually increase the amount of time they spend in the crate as they become more comfortable.
  • Use treats and positive reinforcement: Encourage your Shih Tzu to enter the crate by placing treats, toys, or a favorite blanket inside. Praise them when they enter and reward them with a treat. This will create a positive association with their crate.
  • Don’t force them: Never force your Shih Tzu into their crate. This can create a negative association and make them fearful of the crate. Instead, encourage them gently and let them enter at their own pace.
  • Place the crate in a desirable location: Shih Tzus are social creatures and prefer to be near their owners. Place the crate in a location where your Shih Tzu can see and hear you. This will make them feel more comfortable and at ease.
  • Consider leaving the door open: Once your Shih Tzu is comfortable spending time inside their crate, leave the door open and let them explore on their own terms. This will allow them to acclimate to their crate and feel more comfortable entering and exiting as they please.

By easing your Shih Tzu into crate training, you’re ensuring a positive experience and setting them up for success in the long run. Remember to be patient, use positive reinforcement, and let your Shih Tzu adjust at their own pace.

Crate Training Tips and Tricks

Crate Training Tips And Tricks
Are you struggling with crate training your Shih Tzu? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Crate training can be a challenging process, but with the right tips and tricks, it can become a breeze. In this section, we’ll explore some effective methods to help you master crate training with your furry friend. From consistency to comfort, we’ve got you covered with useful insights and advice. So, let’s dive in and make crate training a positive experience for both you and your Shih Tzu!

Consistency is Key

When it comes to crate training your Shih Tzu, consistency is key. Your dog needs to know that the crate is a safe and reliable space that they can trust. Here are some tips for ensuring consistency in your crate training routine:

  • Establish a Routine: Stick to a consistent schedule for crate time, feeding, and potty breaks. This will help your dog understand what is expected of them and when.
  • Use the Same Commands: Use the same verbal cues and commands each time you put your dog in or take them out of the crate. For example, “Crate time” or “Go to bed.”
  • Be Patient: Crate training can take time and patience, so don’t give up if it doesn’t happen overnight. Stick with your routine and be consistent with the rules.
  • Avoid Exceptions: As much as possible, avoid making exceptions to the rules. If you let your dog out of the crate early one day, they may expect it the next day, causing confusion and disrupting the routine.

Following these consistency tips will help your Shih Tzu understand and feel comfortable with their crate, making the training process smoother and more successful. Remember, crate training is about creating a positive and safe space for your furry friend, so be patient and consistent to ensure their success.

Make It Comfortable

When it comes to crate training your Shih Tzu, making the crate a comfortable and inviting space is crucial for their success and wellbeing. Here are some tips on how to make the crate a space your furry friend will love:

  • Add a Comfortable Bed: A soft and supportive bed will make your Shih Tzu feel more at ease in their crate. Look for a bed that fits the size of the crate and is made from a material that is easy to clean in case of accidents.
  • Include Favorite Toys: Adding some of your Shih Tzu’s favorite toys to the crate can make them feel more at home. Just be sure to choose toys that are safe and won’t pose a choking hazard.
  • Keep the Crate in a Cozy Spot: Placing the crate in a cozy corner or against a wall can give your Shih Tzu a sense of security. Avoid placing it in high-traffic areas or areas with extreme temperatures or drafts.
  • Use Calming Scents: Spraying the crate with a calming scent, such as lavender or chamomile, can help soothe your Shih Tzu and make the crate a more inviting space. Just be sure to use a pet-safe scent and avoid any scents that may trigger allergies.
  • Provide Adequate Ventilation: Good ventilation is essential to a comfortable and safe crate. Make sure the crate has enough air flow to keep your Shih Tzu comfortable, but not so much that they are exposed to cold or drafts.

By making the crate a comfortable space for your Shih Tzu, they will be more likely to see it as a safe haven and willingly spend time inside. This is a crucial step in their training and will ultimately make life at home more pleasant for both you and your furry friend.

Don’t Use the Crate as Punishment

It’s important to remember that using the crate as a form of punishment is counterproductive and can actually be harmful to your Shih Tzu. Here are some reasons why you should avoid using the crate as punishment:

  • Increases anxiety: If your Shih Tzu associates the crate with negative experiences, it can lead to increased anxiety and fear of the crate. This can make future crate training much more difficult.
  • Harms your bond: Using the crate as punishment can damage your relationship with your furry friend. They will associate you with the negative experience, causing mistrust and fear.
  • Confuses your Shih Tzu: Your pet may not understand why they are being punished and this confusion can exacerbate negative behavior rather than prevent it.
  • Inhibits training progress: Consistency is key in successful crate training. If your Shih Tzu is afraid of the crate or associates it with punishment, they won’t be as likely to enter willingly, making training slower and less effective.

Instead of using the crate as punishment, use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. Reward your Shih Tzu when they enter the crate voluntarily and provide them with treats and toys to make it an inviting space. This will increase the likelihood that they will continue to use the crate properly and willingly. Remember that crate training is a process and requires patience and consistency.

Mastering Crate Training

Once your Shih Tzu has been introduced to their crate and has become comfortable with it, you can start working on mastering crate training. This means using the crate as a tool to promote positive behavior and reinforce good habits.

Gradually Increase Time Spent in Crate
Start out by leaving your Shih Tzu in the crate for short periods of time, gradually increasing the duration as they become more comfortable. This will help them learn to self-soothe and relax while in their safe space.

Create a Routine
Establishing a routine around crate time can also help with mastering crate training. Try using a command such as “crate time” or “kennel up” to signal that it’s time to go in the crate. Also, be sure to take your Shih Tzu out for regular potty breaks and exercise, and don’t leave them in the crate for extended periods of time.

Use Treats and Positive Reinforcement
Rewarding your Shih Tzu with treats and positive reinforcement for good behavior in the crate can also assist with mastering crate training. For example, when they go into the crate on their own, give them a treat and praise them. This will encourage them to repeat the behavior in the future.

Gradually Phase Out Treats
As your Shih Tzu becomes more comfortable and familiar with being in the crate, you can start to phase out the use of treats. This way they won’t become dependent on receiving a treat every time they go in their crate, but will still understand that it’s a positive place to be.

Don’t Rush the Process
It’s important to remember that mastering crate training takes time and patience. Don’t rush the process, and be willing to take a step back if your Shih Tzu seems uncomfortable or anxious. With consistency and positive reinforcement, your furry friend will become a master of crate training in no time.


In conclusion, crate training is an important aspect of owning a Shih Tzu that should not be overlooked. It provides a safe space for your furry friend, helps with house-training, and prevents separation anxiety.

By choosing the right crate based on size and material, you can ensure your Shih Tzu is comfortable and secure. It’s important to introduce the crate to your dog in a positive way and ease into the training process.

Consistency is key when it comes to crate training. By making the crate comfortable and avoiding using it as punishment, your Shih Tzu will begin to see it as a familiar and positive space.

With patience and effort, you can master crate training and enjoy the benefits for both you and your Shih Tzu. Whether it’s for use during travel, at night or while you’re busy during the day, a well-trained dog can make life much easier and happier.

Remember to always approach crate training with a positive mindset and a willingness to learn alongside your furry friend. By doing so, you’ll create a meaningful bond that you’ll cherish for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is crate training?

Crate training is a process of teaching your Shih Tzu to feel comfortable and secure in a crate or a kennel.

Is crate training necessary for Shih Tzus?

Crate training can be extremely beneficial for Shih Tzus, especially when it comes to house-training and preventing separation anxiety.

What are the benefits of crate training?

Crate training gives your Shih Tzu a safe space, helps with house-training, and prevents separation anxiety.

What size crate is best for a Shih Tzu?

The crate should be big enough for your Shih Tzu to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Generally, a 24-inch crate is a good size for adult Shih Tzus.

Do I need to buy a specific type of crate for my Shih Tzu?

There are many different types of crates available, including plastic, wire, and soft-sided crates. You should choose the type of crate that will work best for your particular situation.

How do I introduce the crate to my Shih Tzu?

You should introduce the crate gradually, using positive associations and offering treats or toys inside. Start with short periods of time and gradually increase the duration.

What if my Shih Tzu cries or barks in the crate?

It’s normal for a Shih Tzu to whine or cry when first introduced to the crate. However, you should not let your Shih Tzu out of the crate while they are crying, as this will reinforce the behavior and make it more difficult to crate train them in the future.

Can I use the crate as punishment?

No, you should never use the crate as punishment. This will only make your Shih Tzu associate the crate with negative experiences and it will hinder the crate training process.

How long does it take to fully crate train a Shih Tzu?

It varies from dog to dog, but crate training can take several weeks or even months to fully master. Consistency is key when it comes to crate training.

Do I need to continue using the crate once my Shih Tzu is fully trained?

Once your Shih Tzu is fully trained, you can start leaving the crate open and eventually phase it out if you’d like. However, many dogs continue to enjoy having their own safe space and will continue to use the crate even when not necessary.


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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