Mastering Shih Tzu Obedience with Positive Reinforcement

Shih Tzus are adorable little dogs known for their playful personalities and affectionate nature. However, like any other dog breed, they require proper training to ensure they behave well and respond to commands. Positive reinforcement is a popular training method that can be highly effective in shaping a Shih Tzu’s obedience. In this article, we will explore how positive reinforcement can be used to train and reinforce good behavior in Shih Tzus.

The Power of Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a training technique that involves rewarding desired behaviors to encourage their repetition. This method focuses on praising or rewarding a dog when they exhibit the behavior you want to reinforce. With Shih Tzus, who are known for their sensitive and affectionate nature, positive reinforcement can be particularly effective in building a strong bond between the owner and the dog.

Setting the Stage for Training

Before you begin training your Shih Tzu using positive reinforcement, it is essential to create a conducive environment. Choose a quiet and distraction-free area for training sessions. Keep training sessions short and engaging to hold your Shih Tzu’s attention. Have plenty of treats on hand as rewards for good behavior.

Establishing a Routine

Consistency is key when training your Shih Tzu. Establish a regular training schedule and stick to it. Dogs, including Shih Tzus, thrive on routine and repetition. By consistently reinforcing desired behaviors, your Shih Tzu will learn what is expected of them.

Choosing the Right Rewards

When using positive reinforcement, it is crucial to select appropriate rewards for your Shih Tzu. Treats that are small, tasty, and easily consumable work best for training purposes. Additionally, you can also use verbal praise, petting, or playtime as rewards to keep your Shih Tzu motivated and engaged during training sessions.

Training Basic Commands


The “sit” command is one of the foundational commands that all dogs should learn. To teach your Shih Tzu to sit using positive reinforcement, hold a treat close to their nose and slowly move it upwards. As your dog follows the treat with their nose, their bottom will naturally lower into a sitting position. Once they are sitting, praise them and give them the treat. Repeat this process several times until your Shih Tzu associates the action with the command.


The “come” command is essential for ensuring your Shih Tzu’s safety and control. To train your Shih Tzu to come when called, start in a low-distraction environment. Call your dog’s name followed by the command “come” in an enthusiastic tone. When your Shih Tzu responds and comes to you, reward them with a treat and praise. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog when practicing the “come” command.


The “stay” command is valuable for teaching your Shih Tzu self-control and obedience. Begin by asking your dog to sit. Once they are in a sitting position, give the command “stay” while holding your hand out in a stop gesture. Take a step back and then immediately return to your dog. Reward them for staying in place. Gradually increase the duration of the stay as your Shih Tzu becomes more proficient at the command.

Addressing Behavioral Challenges

Handling Separation Anxiety

Shih Tzus are known for forming strong bonds with their owners and can sometimes experience separation anxiety when left alone. Positive reinforcement techniques can help alleviate separation anxiety in Shih Tzus. Start by desensitizing your dog to your departure cues by practicing short departures and gradually increasing the duration. Reward your Shih Tzu for calm behavior when you leave and return.

Curbing Excessive Barking

Shih Tzus have a tendency to bark, especially when they are bored or seeking attention. To address excessive barking using positive reinforcement, teach your Shih Tzu the “quiet” command. When your dog barks, use a cue word like “quiet” and wait for them to stop barking. Once they are quiet, reward them with a treat. Practice this command consistently to teach your Shih Tzu to control their barking.

Managing Leash Pulling

Walking a Shih Tzu that constantly pulls on the leash can be frustrating. Positive reinforcement can help teach your Shih Tzu to walk politely on a leash. When your dog walks without pulling, reward them with treats and praise. If they start pulling, stop walking and wait for them to relax the tension on the leash before continuing. Consistency and patience are key to teaching your Shih Tzu proper leash manners.

Building a Strong Bond

Positive reinforcement not only helps in training your Shih Tzu but also strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion. By using rewards and praise to communicate with your dog, you create a positive and trusting relationship. Regular training sessions provide mental stimulation for your Shih Tzu and foster a sense of teamwork between you and your pet.

Ensuring Long-Term Success

Consistent training and positive reinforcement are essential for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s obedience in the long run. Continue to practice commands regularly, even after your dog has mastered them, to reinforce good behavior. Remember to be patient, kind, and persistent in your training efforts to ensure that your Shih Tzu remains well-behaved and obedient.

Looking to enhance your Shih Tzu’s obedience skills? Explore our articles on obedience training for Shih Tzus, professional Shih Tzu obedience training, maintaining consistency in Shih Tzu obedience, starting Shih Tzu obedience training, and potty training for Shih Tzus for valuable tips and techniques!


Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in shaping a Shih Tzu’s obedience and behavior. By using rewards, praise, and consistency in training, you can effectively teach your Shih Tzu basic commands, address behavioral challenges, and strengthen your bond with your furry companion. Remember that every dog is unique, so tailor your training approach to suit your Shih Tzu’s personality and needs. With patience, dedication, and positive reinforcement, you can help your Shih Tzu become a well-behaved and happy member of your family.

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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