Shih Tzu Leash Training Guide

Shih Tzus are adorable little dogs known for their playful and friendly nature. However, like all dogs, they need to be properly trained to ensure they are well-behaved and safe in various situations. Leash training is an essential aspect of a Shih Tzu’s training regimen, as it helps them learn to walk calmly and obediently on a leash. In this guide, we will explore the best practices and techniques for leash training your Shih Tzu effectively.

Understanding Shih Tzu Behavior

Before diving into leash training, it’s important to understand the behavior of Shih Tzus. These dogs are known to be independent and can sometimes exhibit stubbornness, which can pose challenges during training sessions. However, Shih Tzus are also intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement techniques.

Setting the Foundation

Choosing the Right Leash and Collar

When it comes to leash training your Shih Tzu, selecting the right leash and collar is crucial. Opt for a lightweight leash that is comfortable for both you and your dog. A harness can also be a good option, especially for small breeds like Shih Tzus, as it reduces strain on their neck and prevents choking.

Introducing the Leash

Before you start training your Shih Tzu on the leash, allow them to get acquainted with it. Let your dog sniff and explore the leash in a positive and calm environment. This helps in creating a positive association with the leash and reduces any fear or anxiety they may have towards it.

Basic Leash Training Techniques

Start Indoors

Begin the leash training process indoors where there are fewer distractions. Attach the leash to your dog’s collar or harness and let them drag it around while supervised. This helps your Shih Tzu get used to the feeling of having something attached to them.

Practice Positive Reinforcement

During leash training sessions, always use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and encouragement. When your Shih Tzu walks calmly on the leash or follows your commands, reward them with a treat or verbal praise. This helps reinforce good behavior and makes the training experience enjoyable for your dog.

Short and Consistent Sessions

Keep the training sessions short and consistent to prevent your Shih Tzu from getting bored or overwhelmed. Aim for multiple short sessions throughout the day rather than one long session. This keeps the training engaging and allows your dog to retain information better.

Advanced Leash Training Tips

Teaching Proper Walking Etiquette

Once your Shih Tzu is comfortable with the basic leash training, focus on teaching them proper walking etiquette. Encourage your dog to walk beside you without pulling on the leash. If your Shih Tzu starts pulling, stop walking and wait for them to calm down before continuing.

Handling Distractions

Shih Tzus can easily get distracted by their surroundings, so it’s important to teach them how to stay focused during walks. Gradually introduce distractions such as other dogs or noises during training sessions and reward your dog for staying focused on you.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is crucial when it comes to leash training your Shih Tzu. Make sure to use the same commands and gestures consistently so that your dog understands what is expected of them. Repetition and consistency help reinforce good behavior and create a strong bond between you and your Shih Tzu.

Patience and Persistence

Leash training takes time and patience, especially with a breed like the Shih Tzu. Be patient with your dog and avoid getting frustrated if progress is slow. Remember that every dog learns at their own pace, and with persistence, your Shih Tzu will eventually master leash walking.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Leash Pulling

If your Shih Tzu tends to pull on the leash, stop walking immediately and wait for them to calm down. Avoid yanking on the leash or dragging your dog, as this can cause discomfort and create negative associations with the leash. Instead, use positive reinforcement to encourage loose leash walking.

Fear of the Leash

If your Shih Tzu shows fear or anxiety towards the leash, go back to the basics and desensitize them to it gradually. Start by rewarding your dog for simply being near the leash without any pressure to wear it. Over time, your dog will become more comfortable with the leash.

Excessive Excitement

Shih Tzus are known for their playful and excitable nature, which can make leash training challenging. To address excessive excitement, engage in activities that help your dog release excess energy before training sessions. This can include playtime or a short walk to help your Shih Tzu focus during training.

Ensuring Safety and Comfort

Looking to master leash training for your Shih Tzu? Explore the importance of leash training in our article on the importance of leash training, common mistakes to avoid in leash training mistakes, and tips for training your Shih Poo in Shih Poo leash training. For more training tips, don’t miss our guide on teaching Shih Tzu crate training and expert advice on Shih Poo leash training tips!


In conclusion, leash training is an essential aspect of ensuring your Shih Tzu’s safety and behavior during walks. By understanding your dog’s behavior, setting a solid foundation, and using positive reinforcement techniques, you can effectively train your Shih Tzu to walk calmly and obediently on a leash. Remember to be patient, consistent, and persistent throughout the training process, and always prioritize your dog’s safety and comfort. With time and effort, your Shih Tzu will become a well-trained and well-behaved companion on walks.

Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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