Shih Tzu Training Tips: How to Train Your Shih Tzu Like a Pro

Shih Tzus are adorable, affectionate, and intelligent dogs that make wonderful companions. However, like any breed, they require proper training to ensure they grow into well-behaved and obedient pets. Training a Shih Tzu can be a rewarding experience, but it also requires patience, consistency, and a positive approach. In this article, we’ll explore some effective Shih Tzu training tips to help you navigate the process successfully.

Understanding the Shih Tzu Breed

Before diving into training techniques, it’s essential to understand the unique characteristics of the Shih Tzu breed. These dogs are known for their playful and loving nature, but they can also be stubborn and sensitive. They thrive on human companionship and may develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. Additionally, Shih Tzus are intelligent and eager to please, making them generally responsive to training when approached correctly.

Establishing a Positive Reinforcement Approach

Positive reinforcement is the foundation of effective Shih Tzu training. This method involves rewarding desired behaviors with treats, praise, or other positive reinforcements. Shih Tzus respond well to this approach as they are highly food-motivated and crave attention and affection from their owners.

Using Treats Effectively

Treats are a powerful tool in positive reinforcement training. Choose small, high-value treats that your Shih Tzu finds irresistible, and use them judiciously to reward good behavior. Be sure to adjust your Shih Tzu’s regular meal portions to account for the extra calories from treats.

Praise and Affection

In addition to treats, verbal praise and physical affection can be highly effective reinforcements for Shih Tzus. These dogs thrive on attention and love, so be generous with your praise and petting when they perform well during training sessions.

Socialization and Confidence Building

Shih Tzus can be prone to shyness and fear if not properly socialized from an early age. Exposing your Shih Tzu to various sights, sounds, and experiences in a positive and controlled manner can help build their confidence and prevent behavioral issues.

Puppy Socialization

The critical socialization period for puppies is between 3 and 12 weeks of age. During this time, it’s essential to introduce your Shih Tzu puppy to different environments, people, and animals in a positive and gradual manner. Puppy socialization classes can be an excellent way to facilitate this process.

Ongoing Socialization

Socialization should continue throughout your Shih Tzu’s life. Regularly exposing them to new experiences and environments can help maintain their confidence and prevent fear or aggression from developing.

Building Confidence

In addition to socialization, confidence-building exercises can be beneficial for Shih Tzus. This may include teaching them to navigate obstacles, perform tricks, or engage in activities that challenge them in a positive way.

Basic Obedience Training

Mastering basic obedience commands is crucial for a well-behaved and well-mannered Shih Tzu. These commands not only establish a strong foundation for further training but also help strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

House Training

House training is one of the most important aspects of Shih Tzu training. These dogs are known for their ability to be trained to use a litter box or pee pads, making them suitable for apartment living. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key to successful house training.

Grooming and Handling

Shih Tzus have a long, luxurious coat that requires regular grooming. It’s essential to introduce grooming and handling from an early age to ensure your Shih Tzu becomes comfortable with these necessary routines. Positive reinforcement and gradual exposure can help make grooming sessions a pleasant experience for both you and your dog.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

While Shih Tzus are relatively low-energy dogs, they still require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Providing opportunities for playtime, walks, and interactive toys can help prevent boredom and unwanted behaviors.

Consistency and Patience

Training a Shih Tzu requires consistency and patience. These dogs can be stubborn at times, and it’s essential to remain calm and persistent throughout the training process. Consistency in commands, rewards, and routines will help your Shih Tzu understand what is expected of them and reinforce desired behaviors.

Looking for more tips on caring for your Shih Tzu? Check out our articles on house training, potty training, exercise for senior Shih Tzus, brushing techniques, and feeding tips to ensure your furry friend is happy and healthy!


Training a Shih Tzu can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience when approached with patience, consistency, and a positive reinforcement mindset. By understanding the breed’s unique characteristics, establishing a strong foundation through socialization and basic obedience training, and providing ongoing mental and physical stimulation, you can help your Shih Tzu grow into a well-behaved and confident companion. Remember, training is an ongoing process, and consistency and patience are key to success. With dedication and a loving approach, you can unlock your Shih Tzu’s full potential and enjoy a lifetime of companionship with your furry friend.

Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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