Stop Shih Tzu Leash Pulling with These Proven Training Methods

Shih Tzus are adorable and affectionate companions, known for their friendly demeanor and beautiful flowing coats. However, one common challenge that Shih Tzu owners often face is leash pulling. Leash pulling can turn a pleasant walk into a frustrating experience for both the dog and the owner. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind leash pulling in Shih Tzus and provide practical tips and strategies to help you address this behavior effectively.

The Root of the Issue: Why Do Shih Tzus Pull on the Leash?

Shih Tzus are a breed that is known for their independent and stubborn nature. While these traits can make them charming companions, they can also contribute to leash pulling behavior. There are several reasons why Shih Tzus may pull on the leash:

1. Excitement

Shih Tzus are naturally curious and energetic dogs. When they see something that excites them, such as another dog, a squirrel, or even just a new environment, they may pull on the leash out of enthusiasm. This behavior is often driven by their desire to explore and interact with the world around them.

2. Lack of Training

Proper leash training is essential for all dogs, including Shih Tzus. If a Shih Tzu has not been taught how to walk politely on a leash, they may resort to pulling as a way to move forward and satisfy their curiosity. Without consistent training and reinforcement, leash pulling can become a persistent habit.

Effective Strategies to Address Leash Pulling in Shih Tzus

1. Start with Basic Training

Begin by teaching your Shih Tzu basic leash manners. Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and rewards to encourage good behavior. Start in a quiet, distraction-free environment and gradually introduce more challenging situations as your dog becomes more comfortable walking on a leash.

2. Use a Properly Fitted Harness

Consider using a harness instead of a collar when walking your Shih Tzu. A harness distributes the pressure more evenly across your dog’s body, reducing the risk of injury and discomfort. Choose a harness that fits well and is comfortable for your dog to wear.

3. Practice Loose Leash Walking

Teach your Shih Tzu to walk on a loose leash by rewarding them for staying by your side without pulling. If your dog starts to pull, stop walking and wait for them to relax the tension on the leash before moving forward again. Consistency is key to reinforcing good leash manners.

4. Address the Root Cause

Identify what triggers your Shih Tzu’s leash pulling behavior and work on desensitizing them to those stimuli. For example, if your dog pulls when they see another dog, practice controlled introductions and reward calm behavior. By addressing the underlying cause of the pulling, you can help your Shih Tzu overcome this behavior.

Building a Strong Relationship with Your Shih Tzu

1. Bond Through Training

Training sessions provide an excellent opportunity to bond with your Shih Tzu and strengthen your relationship. Use training as a way to communicate and connect with your dog, building trust and mutual respect in the process.

2. Be Patient and Consistent

Changing a behavior like leash pulling takes time and patience. Be consistent in your training efforts and avoid resorting to punishment or harsh corrections. Positive reinforcement and encouragement will help your Shih Tzu learn and grow in a supportive environment.

3. Incorporate Mental Stimulation

In addition to physical exercise, provide your Shih Tzu with mental stimulation to keep their mind engaged and prevent boredom. Interactive toys, puzzle games, and training exercises can help satisfy your dog’s mental needs and reduce excess energy that may contribute to leash pulling.

4. Seek Professional Help if Needed

If you are struggling to address your Shih Tzu’s leash pulling behavior on your own, consider seeking the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide personalized guidance and support to help you overcome this challenge and build a stronger bond with your furry friend.

Creating Positive Walking Experiences

1. Choose the Right Walking Environment

Select walking routes that are safe and relatively quiet, especially when you are working on training your Shih Tzu to walk on a loose leash. Minimize distractions and gradually introduce more stimulating environments as your dog becomes more proficient in their leash manners.

2. Stay Calm and Positive

Maintain a calm and positive demeanor during walks with your Shih Tzu. Dogs are highly attuned to their owner’s emotions, so remaining composed and encouraging can help your dog feel relaxed and secure. Use a cheerful tone of voice and offer praise for good behavior.

3. Practice Patience

Remember that training takes time and that setbacks are normal. Stay patient and consistent in your efforts, focusing on the progress your Shih Tzu is making rather than dwelling on any challenges you encounter. Celebrate small victories along the way to keep both you and your dog motivated.

4. Enjoy Quality Time Together

Walking your Shih Tzu is not just about physical exercise—it’s also an opportunity to bond and enjoy quality time together. Take moments to appreciate the companionship of your furry friend and the joy of exploring the world side by side.

Struggling with your Shih Tzu’s leash pulling behavior? Check out our articles on training your Shih Tzu to walk on a leash, teaching your Shih Tzu to walk without pulling, and a comprehensive guide to leash training for Shih Tzus for helpful tips and techniques. Don’t forget to also read our guides on brushing your Shih Tzu’s teeth and cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears to ensure your furry friend is happy and healthy!


In conclusion, leash pulling is a common behavior concern in Shih Tzus, but with patience, training, and consistency, it can be effectively managed. By understanding the reasons behind leash pulling and implementing positive reinforcement techniques, you can help your Shih Tzu learn to walk politely on a leash and enjoy peaceful outings together. Remember to focus on building a strong relationship with your dog and creating positive walking experiences to make the most of your time together. With dedication and love, you and your Shih Tzu can conquer leash pulling and strengthen your bond in the process.

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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