10 Helpful Tips for Obedience Training Your Shih Tzu

Bringing home a furry little Shih Tzu can be one of the most joyous experiences in life, but as with any pet, it comes with its own set of challenges. One of the most crucial aspects of dog ownership is obedience training, and it is especially important for the Shih Tzu breed. These adorable little pooches may be small in size, but their personalities are massive, and without proper training, they can quickly become stubborn and difficult to manage. Fortunately, with the right tools and techniques, obedience training your Shih Tzu can be a fun and fulfilling experience for both you and your furry friend. In this article, we’ll cover 10 useful tips for obedience training your Shih Tzu from dog psychology to training sessions.

Understanding Your Shih Tzu

Understanding Your Shih Tzu
As you embark on your obedience training journey, it’s important to start by gaining a deeper understanding of your furry friend. Your Shih Tzu is a unique individual with their own personality, temperament, and behavioral tendencies. By understanding their quirks and tendencies, you’ll be better equipped to tailor your training approach to their specific needs. In this section, we’ll cover the basics of dog psychology and take a closer look at common Shih Tzu temperament traits and behavioral issues. Let’s dive in and start getting to know your furry companion on a deeper level.

1. Dog Psychology 101

To successfully train your Shih Tzu, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of dog psychology. Dogs learn through observations and associations, so it’s vital to use the right tools and techniques to teach your Shih Tzu obedience.

Positive Reinforcement: Dogs naturally repeat behaviours that result in a positive experience. It’s essential to use positive reinforcement techniques when training your Shih Tzu. This includes praising and rewarding your dog for good behaviour, rather than punishing them for bad behaviour.

Leash and Collar: Leash and collar training is one of the most basic and fundamental aspects of dog training. Ensure that your Shih Tzu is comfortable with wearing a collar and leash before starting obedience training. This will help prevent any distractions, such as scratching or trying to remove the collar during the training session.

Clicker Training: Clicker training is a sound-based form of training that is very effective at teaching dogs new behaviours. The sound of the clicker is associated with a reward, and over time, your dog will learn to associate the click with good behaviour.

By understanding how your Shih Tzu thinks and learns, you can create an effective training plan that is both enjoyable and effective. Remember to use positive reinforcement, leash and collar training, and clicker training when working with your Shih Tzu. These tools and techniques can help build a strong bond between you and your furry friend, making obedience training a fun and rewarding experience for both of you.

If you’d like to learn more about the importance of consistency in Shih Tzu obedience training, check out our article on Shih Tzu Obedience and Consistency. You can also read our article on the benefits of Positive Reinforcement Shih Tzu Obedience. And if you’re looking for more professional guidance, consider signing up for Pro Shih Tzu Obedience Training.

2. Shih Tzu Temperament

Before beginning obedience training with your Shih Tzu, it’s important to understand their temperament. Shih Tzus are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities, making them great family pets. Here are some key traits to keep in mind while training your Shih Tzu:

– Stubborn: Shih Tzus can be stubborn and may require extra patience and persistence during training sessions.
– People-Oriented: Shih Tzus thrive on human attention and interaction. Training sessions should involve plenty of positive interactions with their trainer.
– Sensitive: Shih Tzus can be sensitive to harsh tones and punishments. Positive reinforcement is the best approach to set them up for success.
– Short Attention Span: Due to their small size and high energy, Shih Tzus have a shorter attention span. Keeping training sessions short and sweet will help them stay focused.

Keeping these traits in mind will help tailor your training approach to your Shih Tzu. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key to a successful Obedience Training. Before jump straight into training it’s important to know how to bond with your furry friend. That way you get to know each other, build trust and enjoy each other’s company before you start even the simple exercises. Learn more about bonding with your Shih Tzu in the preparation for training section.

3. Common Behavioral Issues

Shih Tzus are an adorable breed that make great companions, but like any breed, they can have some common behavioral issues. As an owner, it’s important to understand these issues so you can address them during obedience training.

Here are some typical behavioral issues you may encounter with your Shih Tzu:

Behavioral IssueDescription
BarkingShih Tzus are known to bark excessively, whether it’s out of boredom, anxiety, or just to get attention.
Separation AnxietyShih Tzus are prone to separation anxiety and may become destructive or anxious when left home alone.
AggressionShih Tzus may become aggressive towards other dogs or people if they are not socialized properly.
House TrainingShih Tzus can be difficult to house train due to their small bladders and tendency to have accidents indoors.
ChewingShih Tzus may chew on furniture or household items out of boredom or anxiety.
JumpingShih Tzus may have a tendency to jump up on people, especially if they are excited or seeking attention.
StubbornnessShih Tzus are known for their stubborn personalities and may be resistant to obedience training at times.

When addressing these issues during obedience training, it’s important to be patient and consistent in your approach. Use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behavior and avoid punishment-based methods that can cause anxiety or aggression. With time and effort, your Shih Tzu can overcome these behavioral issues and become a well-trained, happy companion.

Preparation for Training

Preparation For Training
Preparing for obedience training is essential for both you and your Shih Tzu. Training a dog requires time, patience, and consistency, but the rewards of a well-trained dog are worth the effort. Before you begin training, there are a few things you can do to set yourself and your furry friend up for success. In this section, we’ll explore some key steps to prepare for training your Shih Tzu effectively. With these tips, you’ll be ready to tackle any training challenge that comes your way!

4. Bonding Activities

Bonding with your Shih Tzu is an important aspect of obedience training. It builds trust and strengthens your relationship, making your dog more receptive to learning from you. Below are some bonding activities that you can do with your Shih Tzu:

  • Playtime: Spending time playing with your Shih Tzu helps establish a bond between you two. Engage in activities that your dog enjoys, such as tug of war or fetch. These will not only strengthen your relationship but also provide exercise for your furry friend.
  • Grooming: Grooming your Shih Tzu is a great way to bond with them. Use a soft brush to gently groom your dog, talking to them in a calm tone. Make sure to praise and reward your dog during the process, as this makes it a positive experience for them.
  • Training: Training sessions can also be a great way to bond with your dog. This is a time where you can work together towards a common goal. Use positive reinforcement techniques to make the training enjoyable for both you and your Shih Tzu.
  • Walking: Taking your Shih Tzu for daily walks not only provides exercise and mental stimulation but also strengthens your bond. Use this time to interact with your dog, let them sniff around, and explore their environment under your guidance.
  • Cuddling: Shih Tzus love to cuddle and be close to their owners. Take time to snuggle up with your furry friend while watching TV or reading a book. This will help your Shih Tzu feel loved and secure, which can positively impact their obedience training.

Incorporating these bonding activities into your daily routine will help to establish trust and a strong bond between you and your Shih Tzu. This, in turn, will make obedience training more effective as your dog will be more willing to learn from you. Remember to always use positive reinforcement and consistency when training your Shih Tzu.

5. Create a Training Plan

Training your Shih Tzu for obedience requires a well-structured training plan. Without a clear plan, it may be difficult for you to keep track of your pup’s progress, and it may also be hard for your pet to understand what is expected of them. Here are some tips for creating an effective training plan for your Shih Tzu:

  • Identify your goals: Before you begin training, determine the specific behaviors that you want your Shih Tzu to learn. For example, do you want your pup to learn basic commands like “sit” and “stay,” or do you want to work on more advanced tricks?
  • Break it down: Once you have identified your goals, break them down into smaller, achievable steps. This will make the training process more manageable and help your pet better understand what is expected of them.
  • Set a timeline: Determine how long you want the training process to take and set a timeline accordingly. Keep in mind that training should be a gradual process, and you may need to adjust your timeline along the way.
  • Choose the right rewards: Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in dog training. As you create your training plan, decide what types of rewards will motivate your Shih Tzu and help them learn.
  • Test and adjust: As you begin training your Shih Tzu, pay close attention to their responses and adjust your plan as needed. Some dogs may respond better to certain types of rewards, for example, or may take longer to learn certain behaviors.

By following these steps, you can create a clear and effective training plan that will help your Shih Tzu become a well-behaved and obedient companion. Remember, patience and consistency are key when it comes to dog training, so don’t get discouraged if progress seems slow at first. With time and practice, your pup will become an expert in obedience.

Tools and Techniques

Tools And Techniques
Now that you have a better understanding of your Shih Tzu and have prepared for the training process, it’s time to explore the various tools and techniques you can use to effectively train your furry friend. From positive reinforcements to leash and collar training, incorporating these techniques will assist you in creating a successful obedience training plan. Let’s dive into some of the most useful methods for training a Shih Tzu.

6. Use Positive Reinforcements

Positive reinforcement is a crucial aspect of obedience training for Shih Tzus. By rewarding good behavior, you can create a positive association in your dog’s mind about obeying commands.

Here are some tips for using positive reinforcement in your training sessions:

  • Choose the Right Treats: Use small, bite-sized treats that your Shih Tzu loves. This could be anything from commercial dog treats to small pieces of cooked chicken or cheese.
  • Timing is Everything: Timing is crucial when it comes to positive reinforcement. Deliver the treat as soon as your dog performs the desired behavior, so they learn to associate the behavior with the reward.
  • Be Generous with Praise: Positive reinforcement isn’t just about treats. Offering praise and affection is just as important. Whenever your Shih Tzu performs a desired behavior, use a cheerful voice and lots of petting to show your dog that they’ve done well.
  • Gradual Progression: Gradually make the task harder as your Shih Tzu becomes more accustomed to performing the task. This allows your dog to learn more complex behaviors over time.

One important thing to keep in mind is that positive reinforcement should be used consistently. If your Shih Tzu only receives treats or praise occasionally, they may become confused about what behaviors are expected of them.

Also, remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one dog may not work for another. Pay attention to your Shih Tzu’s behavior during training sessions and adjust your approach as needed to keep them motivated and engaged. With patience and persistence, positive reinforcement can be an effective training tool for your beloved Shih Tzu.

7. Clicker Training

Clicker training is a highly effective technique that uses a sound-emitting device called a clicker to communicate with your Shih Tzu during obedience training. With clicker training, your dog will associate the sound of the clicker with positive reinforcement such as treats or praise.
Here are some techniques used in effective clicker training:

  • Load the clicker: Before you start your training session, it’s important to “load” the clicker by clicking it and immediately offering your dog a treat. This will help your dog to establish the connection between the click sound and positive reinforcement.
  • Timing: Proper timing is key in clicker training. You must click immediately after the desired behavior is exhibited to reinforce that specific behavior.
  • Targeting: This refers to using the clicker to teach your Shih Tzu a specific command, such as “sit” or “stay”. You can use the clicker to signal your dog when it has performed the desired action and follow up with a treat.
  • Shaping: This technique involves breaking down a complex behavior into smaller steps and reinforcing each step with a click and a treat. Gradually, you will build up to the full behavior you desire.

When using the clicker in training sessions, it’s important to maintain consistency in the sound and clarity of the clicks. Remember to keep your sessions short and sweet, and always end on a positive note. With patience and diligence, your Shih Tzu will become a well-behaved and obedient companion using the trusty clicker training technique.

8. Leash and Collar Training

One crucial aspect of obedience training for a Shih Tzu is leash and collar training. This training teaches your fur baby to walk beside you without pulling and to obey simple commands like “heel” and “stop.”

To start, choose a sturdy and well-fitting collar before introducing the leash. It’s essential to ensure that the collar isn’t too loose or too tight for your dog’s neck, as it could lead to choking or slipping out.

Table: Tips for Leash and Collar Training

#Training Tips
1Introduce your dog to the collar gradually. Let them smell and examine it before putting it on.
2Teach your Shih Tzu to associate the collar with positive experiences by offering treats and praise while they wear it.
3Attach the leash to the collar while indoors, so your dog can get used to the feel of the leash without the distractions of being outside.
4Begin by walking your dog indoors with the leash on to establish ‘heel’ training. Gently guide your dog to your side and encourage them to walk alongside you.
5Once your dog is comfortable with indoors walks and appropriate leash behavior, move the training outdoors. Start in a quiet area with few distractions.
6Continue to reinforce the ‘heel’ behavior by offering treats and praise whenever your Shih Tzu walks beside you without pulling on the leash.
7If your dog does pull, stop walking and wait for them to relax before continuing. Don’t yank or pull on the leash, as this can cause harm to your pet.

Remember to be patient and consistent during leash and collar training, as it may take time for your Shih Tzu to learn appropriate behavior. Always keep training sessions short and positive, so your dog associates training with pleasing experiences.

Training Sessions

Now that you have laid the groundwork and equipped yourself with the necessary knowledge and tools, it’s time to dive into the actual training sessions with your Shih Tzu. This is where the rubber meets the road, and where you’ll put all of your preparation and planning into action. However, the process can be overwhelming at times, which is why it’s important to approach it with a degree of perplexity and a willingness to adapt as needed. In this section, we’ll outline some key tips for conducting effective training sessions with your furry friend. So, let’s get started!

9. Consistency is Key

One of the most important factors in obedience training your Shih Tzu is consistency. Consistency is key when it comes to creating a training routine that your dog can follow and adopt as a habit. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Use the same commands: Use the same verbal commands consistently so your Shih Tzu can understand what you want. For example, if you say “Sit” one day and “Take a seat” the next, your dog will get confused.
  • Be consistent with rewards: When training with positive reinforcement, make sure you reward your Shih Tzu with the same treats every time. This helps your dog understand that good behavior leads to a reward.
  • Consistent timing: Timing is everything in obedience training. Try to keep your training sessions consistent in length and timing so your Shih Tzu can get into a routine. For example, if you train your dog for 15 minutes every day after breakfast, keep doing that every day so your pup will anticipate that training time.
  • Everyone in the family should be consistent: If you have multiple people training your Shih Tzu, make sure everyone is using the same commands and rewarding the same way. If one person is inconsistent, it can throw off your dog’s training.

Overall, consistency is key in obedience training your Shih Tzu. By creating a consistent routine with clear commands and rewards, your furry friend will have a better understanding of what is expected of them and will be more likely to follow your lead.

10. Keep it Short and Sweet

When it comes to dog training, it’s important to remember that their attention span is limited. This is especially true for Shih Tzus. As a small breed, they tend to have a shorter attention span compared to larger breeds. This means that you should keep your training sessions short and sweet.

The Benefits of Short Training Sessions

There are several benefits to keeping your training sessions short:

VarietyShort sessions allow you to switch up the type of training and keep it interesting for your Shih Tzu. This helps prevent boredom and keeps them engaged.
Avoid OvertrainingOvertraining can be counterproductive and can actually lead to your Shih Tzu forgetting what they’ve learned. Keeping the sessions short ensures that they don’t get overwhelmed.
Retain FocusShort sessions help your Shih Tzu retain their focus throughout the entire session. This means that they’re more likely to learn and retain what they’ve learned.

Tips for Short Training Sessions

When planning your training sessions, try to keep them around 10-15 minutes. This is a good amount of time to work on one or two commands without causing your Shih Tzu to lose focus. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

Start with Easy CommandsStart your session with easy commands that your Shih Tzu already knows. This will help build their confidence and get them in the right mindset.
End on a Positive NoteEnd the session with a command that your Shih Tzu is confident with and is likely to perform correctly. This will help ensure that they end the session feeling positive about their training.
Offer RewardsRemember to offer rewards throughout the session to keep your Shih Tzu motivated. This can be treats, verbal praise, or a favorite toy.

Keeping your training sessions short and sweet is a great way to make sure your Shih Tzu retains their focus and enjoys the training process. With consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement, your Shih Tzu will be a well-trained companion in no time.


In conclusion, obedience training for your Shih Tzu is a rewarding and necessary process that can help establish a strong bond between you and your furry friend. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques, you can successfully teach your Shih Tzu new commands and correct any behavioral issues they may have.

Remember to always approach training sessions with a positive attitude and to keep sessions short and sweet. Utilizing tools such as bonding activities, a solid training plan, clicker training, and leash and collar training can also aid in your Shih Tzu’s progress.

It’s important to understand that every dog is unique, and the training process may vary for each individual Shih Tzu. Understanding your dog’s temperament and psychology is crucial in order to tailor a training plan that works best for them.

By taking the time to train your Shih Tzu, not only will you have a well-behaved companion, but you’ll also be providing them with mental stimulation and fulfillment. So, put in the effort, and watch your furry friend’s behavior improve right before your eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a Shih Tzu be trained to do tricks?

Yes, Shih Tzus are highly trainable and can learn a variety of tricks with consistent training and positive reinforcement.

2. What is positive reinforcement training?

Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding your Shih Tzu for good behavior with treats, praise, and playtime to encourage them to repeat the behavior.

3. How long should a training session be?

Training sessions should typically be no longer than 15-20 minutes to prevent your Shih Tzu from becoming bored or frustrated.

4. What is clicker training?

Clicker training is a training technique that involves using a clicker to mark and reward good behavior with treats or praise.

5. Can you train an adult Shih Tzu?

Yes, adult Shih Tzus can still be trained with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement.

6. How do you correct bad behavior?

Instead of punishing bad behavior, redirect your Shih Tzu towards good behavior and reward them for making the right choice.

7. Should you train your Shih Tzu indoors or outdoors?

It’s best to initially train your Shih Tzu indoors in a quiet, distraction-free environment before moving on to outdoor training with more distractions.

8. How do you bond with your Shih Tzu?

You can bond with your Shih Tzu through grooming, playing, walking, and positive reinforcement training.

9. Can you train a Shih Tzu to walk on a leash?

Yes, using a harness and positive reinforcement training, you can train your Shih Tzu to walk on a leash.

10. What are common behavioral issues in Shih Tzus?

Common behavioral issues in Shih Tzus include barking, separation anxiety, and aggression towards other dogs or people.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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