Shih Poos, a delightful crossbreed between a Shih Tzu and a Poodle, are known for their playful and affectionate nature. However, like all dogs, they require proper training to ensure they are well-behaved and safe in various situations. Leash training is an essential aspect of their overall training regimen, helping them learn how to walk calmly and confidently on a leash. In this article, we will explore some effective leash training tips specifically tailored for Shih Poos, to help both new and experienced dog owners achieve success in this area.

Understanding Your Shih Poo

Before diving into leash training techniques, it’s crucial to understand the characteristics of Shih Poos that may impact their behavior on a leash. Shih Poos are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively receptive to training. However, they can also exhibit a stubborn streak inherited from their Shih Tzu lineage. This means that leash training may require patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement to yield the best results.

Setting the Stage for Success

Start Early

Early exposure is key to successful leash training. Introduce your Shih Poo puppy to a collar and leash as soon as you bring them home. Allow them to become familiar with wearing the collar indoors before attaching the leash. This gradual introduction will help prevent any initial discomfort or resistance to the leash.

Choose the Right Equipment

Selecting the appropriate leash and collar is essential for effective training. Opt for a lightweight, adjustable leash that is comfortable for your Shih Poo to wear. A harness may also be a good option, especially if your dog tends to pull on the leash. Ensure the collar or harness fits securely but not too tight to avoid any discomfort.

Create a Positive Association

Associate the leash and collar with positive experiences to encourage your Shih Poo’s cooperation. Offer treats, praise, and rewards whenever they willingly approach the leash or collar. This positive reinforcement will help your dog associate the leash with fun and rewards, making the training process more enjoyable for both of you.

Basic Leash Training Techniques

Practice Indoors First

Begin leash training in a familiar and controlled environment, such as indoors or in your backyard. Attach the leash to your Shih Poo’s collar or harness and allow them to drag it around while supervised. This will help them get accustomed to the sensation of being on a leash without the added distraction of new surroundings.

Short and Sweet Sessions

Keep training sessions short and frequent to prevent your Shih Poo from becoming bored or overwhelmed. Aim for multiple 5-10 minute sessions throughout the day, focusing on positive reinforcement and gentle guidance. Gradually increase the duration of the sessions as your dog becomes more comfortable with walking on the leash.

Practice Loose Leash Walking

Teach your Shih Poo the concept of loose leash walking by rewarding them for walking calmly beside you without pulling. Use treats or toys to lure them to your side and maintain a relaxed leash. If your dog begins to pull, stop walking and wait for them to relax before continuing. Consistency is key to reinforcing this behavior.

Introduce Distractions Gradually

As your Shih Poo becomes more proficient at walking on a leash, gradually introduce distractions such as other dogs, people, or new environments. Start with low-level distractions and reward your dog for maintaining focus and walking calmly. Over time, increase the level of distractions to challenge and reinforce their training.

Advanced Training Techniques

Practice Recall Commands

Incorporate recall commands into your leash training routine to improve your Shih Poo’s responsiveness and obedience. Practice calling your dog back to you while on the leash, rewarding them for prompt and enthusiastic responses. This skill is essential for situations where you may need to quickly regain control of your dog.

Work on Heel Training

Teach your Shih Poo to walk politely on a leash by your side, known as the heel position. Use treats and verbal cues to encourage your dog to stay close to you while walking. Reward them for maintaining the heel position and redirect their focus if they become distracted. Consistent practice will help reinforce this behavior over time.

Practice Leash Etiquette in Public

Once your Shih Poo has mastered basic leash training techniques, take them out for walks in public settings to practice good leash etiquette. Encourage polite greetings with other dogs and people, and reinforce positive behaviors such as sitting calmly at crosswalks or when meeting new friends. Consistent exposure to different environments will help solidify their training.

Addressing Leash Reactivity

If your Shih Poo exhibits leash reactivity, such as barking, lunging, or pulling towards other dogs or stimuli, it’s important to address this behavior promptly. Work with a professional trainer to implement desensitization and counterconditioning techniques to help your dog remain calm and focused on walks. Consistent training and positive reinforcement can help reduce leash reactivity over time.

Maintaining Consistent Training

Consistency is key when it comes to leash training your Shih Poo. Make sure to incorporate training into your daily routine to reinforce good behaviors and prevent regression. Stay patient and positive throughout the training process, celebrating small victories and progress along the way. Remember that every dog learns at their own pace, so be flexible and adapt your approach as needed.

Looking for tips on Shih Poo leash training? Check out our articles on Shih Poo leash training, fixes for common issues, and general tips to help you and your furry friend enjoy walks together! Need more training advice? Explore our articles on crate training and the benefits it can bring to your Shih Poo’s routine!


Leash training is a fundamental skill that all Shih Poos should learn to ensure their safety and well-being during walks and outings. By understanding your dog’s personality and using positive reinforcement techniques, you can successfully teach your Shih Poo to walk calmly on a leash and exhibit good leash manners. Remember to start early, choose the right equipment, and maintain consistency in your training efforts. With patience, practice, and a lot of love, you can enjoy many enjoyable walks with your well-trained Shih Poo companion.

Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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