Teaching Obedience to Your Shih Tzu

As a dog owner, bringing a new furry friend into your home can be an exciting experience. However, as much as you may love your Shih Tzu, it’s important to ensure they’re well-trained to behave in the way you want them to. Luckily, obedience training can help you build a strong bond with your pet and establish good behavior habits. In this guide, we’ll discuss the steps you can take to start obedience training for your Shih Tzu, from preparing your training space to teaching basic and advanced commands. Let’s dive in and explore the world of training your furry companion!

Why Train Your Shih Tzu?

Why Train Your Shih Tzu?
It’s natural for many Shih Tzu owners to wonder if training their furry friend is worth the time and effort. However, the benefits that come with obedience training are invaluable. Training your Shih Tzu ensures that they have better behavior, builds their confidence, and helps establish trust between you and your pet. Not only will obedience training deepen your bond, but it will also make your life as a pet owner much easier. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of obedience training for your Shih Tzu, including techniques, tips, and common challenges to overcome. So, let’s get started!

Better Behavior

When it comes to training your Shih Tzu, one of the biggest benefits is achieving better behavior from your furry companion. With consistent training and positive reinforcement, you can see a noticeable improvement in your dog’s obedience and manners at home and out in public.

Improving behavior at home: One of the primary reasons why owners opt for Shih Tzu obedience training is to manage undesirable behavior at home. Perhaps your dog is jumping up on guests, barking excessively, or chewing on furniture. Through training and positive reinforcement, you can replace these negative behaviors with positive ones. For example, teaching your dog to “sit” or “stay” can eliminate jumping while redirecting your dog’s natural chewing tendencies with appropriate chew toys can preserve your furniture.

Better behavior in public: Consistent obedience training can also lead to more pleasant experiences outside the home. For example, teaching your dog to walk without pulling on a leash or remaining quiet in noisy crowds can make trips to the park or pet store more enjoyable for everyone involved. Additionally, training can help prevent aggressive behavior towards other dogs or people, making socialization an easier and safer experience.

Reduces stress: Improving your Shih Tzu’s behavior can also lead to reduced stress for both you and your furry friend. When your dog understands which behaviors are expected of them, they are less likely to become anxious or stressed, leading to fewer temper tantrums and negative incidents.

Obedience training for your Shih Tzu can be a great way to establish a healthy and happy relationship between you and your furry companion. By addressing negative behaviors and replacing them with positive ones, you can create a more harmonious home environment and enjoy a higher quality of life with your dog. Remember, consistency is key to success, so be sure to have regular training sessions and stick to established rules and boundaries.

For more tips on Shih Tzu obedience training, check out our article on the importance of consistency or visit our professional obedience training services page. Positive reinforcement is particularly effective when it comes to Shih Tzu obedience, so be sure to read up on its benefits in our article on positive reinforcement techniques.

Build Confidence in Your Pet

One of the key reasons to train your Shih Tzu is to help build their confidence. A confident dog is typically happier, more resilient, and better able to handle new situations. Here are some ways to help your Shih Tzu build their confidence during obedience training:

  • Start with easy commands: Make sure you start with commands that are easy for your Shih Tzu to understand and execute, such as “sit” or “stay.” This will help them succeed and feel more confident in their ability to learn.
  • Be positive and encouraging: Use lots of praise and treats to reinforce good behavior. Celebrating small wins, such as a successful “sit” or “stay,” can go a long way in boosting your dog’s confidence.
  • Stick to a routine: Dogs thrive on routine, so try to have a consistent training schedule. This will help your Shih Tzu feel more comfortable and confident during training sessions.
  • Provide a safe environment: Make sure your training space is safe and free from potential hazards. Dogs are more confident when they feel secure, so creating a safe and positive training environment can help boost their confidence.
  • Gradually move up to more difficult commands: Once your Shih Tzu has mastered the basic commands, you can gradually move up to more complex tasks. This will help their confidence grow as they tackle new challenges and learn new skills.

By following these tips, you can help your Shih Tzu build their confidence and become a more well-behaved, happy, and confident companion. To learn more about obedience training for Shih Tzu, you can check out our comprehensive guide on the topic.

Establishing Trust

When it comes to obedience training, trust is a key factor in creating a positive and successful experience for both you and your Shih Tzu. Establishing trust involves building a strong bond with your dog, and demonstrating that you are a consistent and reliable leader. This means being patient, kind, and showing your Shih Tzu that you are their protector and provider.

One way to build trust is through socialization. By exposing your dog to new people, places, and experiences, you help them develop confidence and trust in their surroundings. This can be especially important for Shih Tzus, who can be prone to anxiety and timidity in new situations.

Another important aspect of trust is communication. Dogs are incredibly sensitive to body language and tone of voice, so it’s important to be clear and consistent in your interactions. Avoid using harsh or punitive methods, as this can damage your dog’s trust in you and erode your relationship.

Instead, focus on creating positive associations with training. Through reward-based methods, you can encourage good behavior and reinforce the trust between you and your dog. Additionally, be sure to use clear and simple commands, and avoid confusing or contradictory language.

By taking the time to build trust with your Shih Tzu, you set the foundation for a successful training experience. Below are some tips for establishing trust:

Be patient:Take your time and allow your dog to adjust to new situations at their own pace.
Be consistent:Use the same commands and training methods each time you work with your dog.
Use positive reinforcement:Encourage good behavior with treats, praise, and affection.
Avoid punishment:Never use physical or verbal punishment, as this can damage your dog’s trust in you.
Communicate clearly:Use a clear and confident tone of voice, and avoid confusing or contradictory language.

Building trust with your Shih Tzu takes time and effort, but the rewards are well worth it. By establishing trust and building a strong bond with your dog, you lay the foundation for a happy and well-behaved companion.

Setting Up Your Training Space

Setting Up Your Training Space
Preparing a suitable training space for your Shih Tzu is the first step towards a successful obedience training. It is important to create an environment that allows for focus and concentration, free from distractions or discomfort. To ensure your pup is comfortable and receptive to the training, you need to gather some essential tools, choose a quiet place, and remove any unnecessary distractions. Here are some tips on how to set up your training area like a professional trainer.

Gather Tools

Before starting obedience training for your Shih Tzu, it’s important to have the right tools to help you achieve success. Here are some of the tools you should consider gathering before beginning:

Leash:A leash is essential for controlling your Shih Tzu during training sessions.
Collar:Choose a collar that fits your Shih Tzu comfortably and safely. Avoid collars that are too tight or too loose.
Treats:High-value treats like small pieces of chicken or cheese will motivate your Shih Tzu to obey commands.
Clicker:A clicker is an effective training tool that can be used to mark desired behaviors and reinforce positive actions.
Training mat:A training mat may help your Shih Tzu understand where they should stand or perform certain commands.
Training books or videos:There are a variety of training resources available that can provide you with helpful tips and tricks to improve your Shih Tzu’s training.

Having these tools on hand will make your training sessions more productive and enjoyable for both you and your Shih Tzu. Remember to always use positive reinforcement, and keep in mind that training should be a fun bonding experience for you and your furry friend.

Choose a Quiet Place

When choosing a location for your Shih Tzu’s obedience training, it is important to find a quiet and low-distraction place where you and your furry friend can focus without interruptions. This will help your Shih Tzu stay engaged and avoid any distractions that might interfere with their learning. Here are some tips on how to choose the best spot for your training sessions:

Indoor or OutdoorYour choice of location will depend on personal preference and what is available in your home. Indoor locations may be more convenient, but outdoor locations can provide more space for your Shih Tzu to move around.
Avoid Crowded AreasAvoid places where there is a lot of foot traffic, as this can be a distraction for your furry friend. For example, choose a location away from busy streets or parks.
Comfortable SpaceMake sure the location is comfortable for your Shih Tzu. Avoid areas that are too hot or cold and make sure there is enough space for your dog to move around without feeling confined.
Good LightingChoose an area with good lighting so you and your furry friend can see each other clearly. This will help with communication and ensure that your Shih Tzu can see any signals or hand gestures you are making.

By following these tips, you can choose a location that is best suited for your Shih Tzu’s obedience training needs. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to training, so it’s essential that you find a location that you can use every time you conduct a training session with your furry friend.

Remove Distractions

When it comes to obedience training for your Shih Tzu, it’s important to remove any potential distractions that could disrupt your training session. By doing this, you can ensure that your furry friend is fully focused on you and the task at hand.

To eliminate distractions:

1Turn off all electronics: Before you begin your training session, make sure to turn off your TV, radio, and any other electronics that could create noise or distraction. By having a quiet environment, you will be able to command your Shih Tzu’s full attention and make the training sessions more productive.
2Remove toys and other items: During the training session, ensure that there are no toys or other items lying around that could cause distraction to your Shih Tzu. They should be able to focus on you and the commands that you are giving, without any other stimuli around.
3Secure doors and windows: If you are training your Shih Tzu outside, it’s important to make sure that all doors and windows are closed, and there are no loud noises nearby. This will prevent any potential distractions from disrupting the session.

By following these simple steps, you can create the perfect training environment, free of distractions, to ensure that your Shih Tzu is fully engaged and ready to learn. Remember, patience and consistency are key in obedience training, and removing potential distractions is a great way to set you and your furry friend on the path to success.

Reward-Based Training

Reward-Based Training
Are you looking for a training method that will help your Shih Tzu learn quickly and happily? Look no further than reward-based training. Also known as positive reinforcement, this training method utilizes treats and praise to encourage good behavior, rather than punishment for bad behavior. Reward-based training is both effective and humane, and can help establish a strong bond of trust between you and your furry friend. But how exactly does it work? Let’s dive in and explore the ins and outs of reward-based training.

Choosing the Right Treats

When it comes to obedience training for your Shih Tzu, choosing the right treats can make or break your training sessions. Treats serve as a reward for your dog’s good behavior and can help reinforce positive behavior.

When choosing treats, it’s important to opt for small, bite-sized pieces that your Shih Tzu can easily consume without getting too full or distracted. Additionally, you’ll want to choose treats that are high-value, meaning they are extra tasty and exciting for your dog. High-value treats can help keep your Shih Tzu engaged and focused during training.

Here’s a helpful table outlining some great treat options for your furry friend:

Treat TypeBenefits
Liver TreatsHighly palatable and packed with nutrients, making them a great option for training sessions.
Freeze-Dried Meat TreatsHigh protein content and a great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs or allergies.
Cheese TreatsSoft and easy to break into small pieces, making them perfect for training. Just be sure to opt for low-fat options.
Peanut Butter TreatsA staple for many dog owners, peanut butter treats are delicious and high in protein. Look for options without added sugar or salt.

It’s important to keep in mind that treats should be used in moderation and not as a replacement for a balanced diet. Too many treats can lead to weight gain and potential health issues. As a rule of thumb, treats should only make up about 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

In addition to choosing the right treats, it’s important to rotate your treat options to keep your Shih Tzu interested and engaged during training sessions. Offering a variety of treats can also help prevent your dog from getting bored with the same rewards over time.

Remember, every dog is different, so it may take some experimentation to figure out what treats work best for your Shih Tzu. Keep an open mind and be willing to try different options until you find what works best for you and your four-legged friend.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a vital part of obedience training for your Shih Tzu. The approach involves rewarding your dog for good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. This method is more effective and improves the bond between you and your pet. Here are some tips for effective positive reinforcement training:

  • Timing is critical: When your pet behaves correctly, offer immediate praise or a reward to reinforce the good behavior. This reinforces the association between the behavior and the reward.
  • Use treats: Food treats are an excellent way to reward your Shih Tzu. Use small, soft and smelly treats that your dog can eat quickly. Store-bought treats or small pieces of cooked meat or cheese are excellent options.
  • Be consistent: Consistency is key when using positive reinforcement. Your pet should receive a reward every time they behave correctly. This consistency helps to reinforce good behavior and encourages repetition.
  • Avoid punishment: Punishing your pet for misbehaving can be counterproductive. It can damage your relationship with your pet and make them nervous or anxious. Negative reinforcement can also reinforce bad behavior as your pet may associate the punishment with the action they were performing at the time.
  • Offer verbal praise: Petting, cuddling, and positive verbal feedback are also excellent ways to reinforce good behavior. Use a happy tone of voice and say something like “Good boy/girl!” to encourage your pet.

By using positive reinforcement techniques, you can effectively train your Shih Tzu to behave in the way you want them to. With patience, consistency and plenty of rewards, your pet will become well-behaved and obedient over time. Remember that every pet is unique, so be sure to adjust the rewards and training methods to suit your pet’s individual needs.

Shaping Behaviors with Clicker Training

Clicker training is a popular method of obedience training that uses a small handheld tool and a distinct sound to indicate when a desired behavior has been performed. This is known as operant conditioning, where your Shih Tzu will learn to associate a particular action with a specific outcome, such as receiving a treat.

What is clicker training?

Clicker training is a type of positive reinforcement training that involves using a clicker to mark the exact moment your Shih Tzu performs the desired behavior. A clicker is a small device that makes a distinct clicking sound when pressed. This sound serves as a signal to your Shih Tzu that they have done something right and a treat is on the way.

How to use clicker training to shape behaviors?

The key to clicker training is to use it to shape your Shih Tzu’s behavior in small steps. This means breaking down the desired behavior into a series of smaller steps, and rewarding each step along the way. For example, if you want your Shih Tzu to learn to sit on command, you would start by rewarding them for simply looking up at you when you say “sit”. Once they have mastered this, you would reward them for bending their knees slightly. The next step would be to reward them for lowering their hips, and so on.

Benefits of clicker training

One of the main benefits of clicker training is that it is a very precise method of training. The clicking sound is a very clear signal to your Shih Tzu that they have done something right. This means that they are more likely to repeat the behavior in the future. Additionally, clicker training is a great way to bond with your pet and build trust.

When to use clicker training

Clicker training can be used in a variety of situations, from teaching basic obedience commands to more advanced tricks or agility training. However, it is important to keep in mind that different training methods may be more effective for different dogs. Some dogs may respond better to more traditional obedience training methods, while others may find clicker training to be more effective.

Shaping behaviors with clicker training is a fun and effective way to teach your Shih Tzu new tricks and behaviors. However, it is important to be patient, persistent and consistent when using this method. With time, your Shih Tzu will learn to associate the clicker with positive outcomes and will become more eager to perform the desired behaviors.

Importance of Timing and Consistency

Effective dog training requires a combination of patience, persistence, and consistency. The timing of the rewards and reinforcements is crucial to your Shih Tzu’s learning process.

Timing is important because it enables your dog to associate the correct behavior with the reward. Timing allows you to reinforce the exact moment when your dog performs the desired behavior. This helps your dog make the connection between the behavior and the reward, and learn faster.

It’s important to provide immediate feedback for good behavior. Dogs have short attention spans, so it’s necessary to catch them in the act and praise them in a timely manner. If you wait too long, your Shih Tzu may not understand why they are getting a reward or what behavior you are reinforcing.

Consistency is equally important because it helps your Shih Tzu know what is expected of them. This means applying the same rules and expectations in every training session. Inconsistency will only confuse your dog and make the training process more difficult.

Creating a set routine and keeping expectations consistent will help your Shih Tzu understand what is expected of them over time. This consistency will help your dog become more confident and improve overall behavior.

To help track your training progress, consider creating a table to write down the behaviors you are working on, the corresponding rewards, and the progress you are making. This will help you stay consistent, and adjust your training plan as needed.

SitTreatSits on command consistently
StayVerbal praiseWorks on short distances, still practicing longer distances
ComeTreatNeeds more practice staying focused outside

Remember, dog training requires persistence and consistency. With time, patience, and a solid training plan, your Shih Tzu can learn good behavior and become a well-trained companion.

Basic Commands to Teach Your Shih Tzu

Basic Commands To Teach Your Shih Tzu
Teaching your Shih Tzu basic commands is an essential part of obedience training. These commands not only help to establish a foundation for discipline and good behavior, but they also contribute to a deeper understanding and bond between you and your furry companion. In this section, we will explore some simple yet effective commands that you can teach your Shih Tzu using positive reinforcement techniques. By the end of this section, your pooch will be well on their way to becoming a well-behaved and obedient pet.


Teaching your Shih Tzu to sit is often one of the first commands that many pet owners will teach their dogs as it is a very important foundation behavior. Not only is it a great way to establish yourself as the leader of the pack, but it can also be used as a way to prevent your dog from doing something that he shouldn’t be doing.

Step 1: Begin by gathering a handful of small, tasty treats and picking a quiet spot with few distractions.

Step 2: With your Shih Tzu standing in front of you, take one of the treats and hold it above his head.

Step 3: As your dog follows the treat with his eyes, slowly raise it towards the top of his head. As he lifts his nose up to follow the treat, his butt will naturally lower into a sitting position.

Step 4: As soon as your Shih Tzu’s bottom touches the ground, say the word “sit” in a clear, upbeat tone.

Tip:Be sure to use the same word each time your Shih Tzu performs the behavior; consistency is key.

Step 5: Once your Shih Tzu is sitting, give him the treat immediately and offer praise using a happy, enthusiastic voice.

Step 6: Practice this exercise for a few minutes each day until your Shih Tzu sits as soon as he sees the treat.

Pro Tip:Gradually phase out the use of the treat by slowly replacing it with a verbal cue such as “Good boy!” or “That’s it!” to help your Shih Tzu learn that sitting is an expected behavior.

Remember that the key to success with any training exercise, including teaching your Shih Tzu how to sit, is to be patient and consistent. With enough time and practice, your Shih Tzu will soon understand what you want from him, and you’ll be rewarded with a well-trained and obedient companion.


One of the most important commands to teach your Shih Tzu is the “stay” command. This command is used to keep your dog in one place for an extended period of time, providing you with the opportunity to go about your daily duties without interruption. Here are the steps to follow when teaching your Shih Tzu to “stay”:

  • Start with the “sit” command, as this is the prerequisite for the “stay” command. Make sure your Shih Tzu is sitting in front of you, and praise them for sitting.
  • Next, use the verbal command “stay” while holding your hand out in front of you, palm facing your dog.
  • Taking a step backwards, say “stay” again and hold up your hand in a stop gesture. Use a firm voice to show your Shih Tzu that you mean business.
  • If your Shih Tzu stays in place, reward with a treat and praise them enthusiastically. If not, quickly redirect them with a “no” command and start over again.
  • Practice this sequence with your Shih Tzu over and over again, gradually decreasing your proximity to your dog until they can hold the “stay” command for longer periods of time.

Remember, patience and persistence are key when it comes to obedience training for your Shih Tzu. Celebrate small successes and do not become discouraged by setbacks; your dog is learning at their own pace, and with enough practice and encouragement, they will master the “stay” command in no time.


Teaching your Shih Tzu to come when called is an essential command that can keep them safe and allow you to have more control over their behavior. Follow these steps to effectively train your pup to come:

Step 1Choose a quiet area.
Step 2Put your Shih Tzu on a leash and allow them to wander a bit.
Step 3Once they have wandered a bit, use the strong command “Come” and give a tug on the leash to get them to come to you.
Step 4Praise them and give them a treat when they come to you.
Step 5Repeat this process several times while gradually increasing the distance between you and your Shih Tzu.
Step 6Practice this command in different locations and with different distractions to ensure that it sticks.

Remember to keep training sessions short, fun, and engaging to keep your Shih Tzu interested and motivated to learn. Consistency and patience are key, so keep practicing and rewarding good behavior to build a strong foundation for obedience training.

Leave It

Teaching your Shih Tzu the “Leave It” command is a vital part of obedience training. This command teaches your Shih Tzu to avoid eating or touching anything they shouldn’t. Here are the steps you should follow to teach your Shih Tzu the “Leave It” command:

1. Start by showing your Shih Tzu a piece of food or toy

Hold the object in front of your Shih Tzu but don’t let them touch it. Allow them to sniff it and investigate it from a safe distance.

2. Give the command

As your Shih Tzu shows interest in the object, say “Leave It” in a firm but calm tone.

3. Offer a treat

As soon as you give the command, offer a treat that your Shih Tzu likes. This rewards your dog for paying attention to you, rather than the object.

4. Repeat the process

Repeat the process several times until your Shih Tzu can recognize the command and chooses to ignore the object.

5. Add challenges

Once your Shih Tzu has understood the basics, add in challenges. Put the object a little closer and see if they will still obey. Gradually increase the difficulty by putting treats or toys in their reach.

Remember, consistency is key with this command. Always praise your Shih Tzu for obeying and never punish them for not understanding. By following these steps, you can teach your Shih Tzu the “Leave It” command and keep them safe from harm.

Advanced Training Techniques

Advanced Training Techniques
Now that your Shih Tzu has mastered the basic commands, it’s time to take their training to the next level with advanced techniques. These techniques will challenge your furry friend and help them grow both mentally and physically. From agility training to fun tricks, there are plenty of ways to keep your Shih Tzu engaged and entertained during training sessions. In this section, we’ll explore some exciting training methods that will strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion.


Teaching your Shih Tzu to walk on a loose leash and heel can be a challenging but essential part of obedience training. Proper leash manners are important for both your dog’s safety and your own. Here are some steps you can follow to teach your Shih Tzu to heel.

1Start by walking your dog on a leash and holding it firmly in your hand. Make sure your dog is standing to your left, and the leash is hanging loose.
2Begin walking forward and say “heel” in a firm and clear voice. Walk at a moderate pace, keeping your arm low and close to your body, with the leash slack.
3When your dog starts pulling or walking ahead of you, stop in your tracks and say “no” calmly but firmly. Stand still and wait for your dog to return to your side, then continue walking.
4Add in the “sit” command when you stop. This will help your dog learn to sit and stay by your side, ready to walk again when you give the “heel” command.
5Practice this routine for short periods each day. As your dog gets better, gradually increase the amount of time you work on heeling. Try to vary the speeds and include turns so your dog learns to focus on you at all times, regardless of the direction or speed.
6Reward your Shih Tzu when he is successfully walking by your side without pulling. Use treats and verbal praise to reinforce the behavior, and give him plenty of love and attention afterward to show him he did a good job.

Remember, patience and consistency are key when training your Shih Tzu to heel. With time and effort, you will have a well-behaved, obedient dog that you can take on walks with confidence.


Teaching your Shih Tzu to jump on command can be a fun and impressive trick that will show off your pet’s agility and obedience. Here are some steps to follow when training your Shih Tzu to jump:

Step 1:Start with a low obstacle such as a pole or a broomstick laid across two objects. Place your Shih Tzu on one side and show them a treat on the other side to encourage them to jump over.
Step 2:Once your Shih Tzu successfully jumps over the low obstacle, gradually increase the height of the obstacle as they become more confident and skilled.
Step 3:Use positive reinforcement and give treats and praise when your Shih Tzu successfully completes the task.
Step 4:Consistently use the same command, such as “jump” or “over”, when giving the instruction to jump.
Step 5:Introduce different obstacles, such as hoops or small jumps, to make the training more varied and challenging for your Shih Tzu.

It is important to approach this training with patience and a positive attitude. If your Shih Tzu is hesitant or struggles to jump, try breaking the task down into smaller steps and rewarding any progress made. With consistent training, your Shih Tzu will soon be jumping with ease and confidence. Remember to always prioritize your pet’s safety, and never force them to jump higher than they are comfortable with.


Teaching your Shih Tzu to “speak” on command can be a fun trick that impresses your friends and family. However, it’s important to do it in a way that doesn’t encourage excessive barking. Here’s how to do it:

1. Choose a Cue Word
Decide on a specific word or phrase that you will use as the cue for your dog to speak. Common choices include “speak”, “talk”, or “say something”. Be consistent in using the same cue word every time to avoid confusing your dog.

2. Wait for the Bark
Ask your Shih Tzu to speak by using the cue word, and then wait for them to bark. Some dogs will bark right away, while others may take a few seconds. When they do bark, immediately give them a treat and positive reinforcement.

3. Repeat and Refine
Practice this command for short periods several times a day, gradually working on getting your Shih Tzu to bark more quickly when asked. If your dog doesn’t bark, try making a noise or knocking on something to encourage them. As your Shih Tzu gets better at the trick, you can start delaying the treat and only rewarding them for barking once or twice.

4. Avoid Excessive Barking
Once your Shih Tzu has mastered the “speak” command, it’s important to also teach them a “quiet” command. This will help you control excessive barking and keep your neighbors happy. Use a different cue word, such as “quiet” or “enough”, and reward your dog when they stop barking. With practice, your Shih Tzu will learn to associate the “quiet” command with stopping barking.

Remember to always train your Shih Tzu with patience and consistency, and avoid punishing or scolding them for not getting it right. With time and practice, you’ll have a furry friend who can “speak” on command without being a nuisance.

Tricks & Fun Commands

Adding in some fun tricks and commands during your obedience training sessions can make it a more enjoyable experience for both you and your Shih Tzu. These tricks not only strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion but also provide some mental stimulation.

Here are some tricks and fun commands you can teach your Shih Tzu:

Roll overHave your Shih Tzu lie down and then lure them into rolling over onto their back. Give them a treat as soon as they complete the trick.
High fiveHold a treat in your hand and raise it above your Shih Tzu’s head. As your pup reaches up to get the treat, gently tap their paw and say “high five”. Repeat until your dog understands the command.
SpinUse a treat to lure your Shih Tzu around in a circle. Once they have completed a full turn, say “spin” and reward them with the treat.
Play deadStart with your Shih Tzu lying down. Then, hold a treat near their nose and slowly move it towards the ground. As your pup lies flat on their side, say “play dead” and give them the treat.
Take a bowStarting from a standing position, hold a treat in front of your Shih Tzu and slowly lower it towards the ground. As your dog lowers their head and front legs, say “take a bow” and give them the treat.
SpeakHold a treat in front of your Shih Tzu but don’t give it to them yet. As they start to bark or whine, say “speak” and give them the treat. Keep practicing until your pup can bark on command.
DanceStart with your Shih Tzu in a standing position. Hold a treat above their nose and slowly move it back and forth. As your dog follows the treat and lifts their front paws off the ground, say “dance” and give them the treat.

Remember to keep training sessions short, fun, and engaging. Use positive reinforcement and lots of praise to encourage your Shih Tzu to learn new tricks and commands. And always be patient in the process as all dogs learn at their own pace.

Common Training Challenges & How to Overcome Them

Common Training Challenges & How To Overcome Them
Training your Shih Tzu can come with a variety of challenges, from potty training to excessive barking. Despite your best efforts, your furry companion may struggle to grasp certain obedience commands or exhibit behavior issues that make training seem impossible. However, don’t worry! With the proper tools and techniques, you can overcome any obstacle, and ensure a happy, well-behaved Shih Tzu. In this section of the article, we will discuss some of the common training challenges that Shih Tzu owners face, and provide you with effective solutions to tackle them head-on.

Potty Training

Potty training can be a tricky challenge for any pet owner, especially if you’re a first-time dog owner. However, with a little bit of patience and consistency, you can teach your Shih Tzu to do their business outside in no time. Below are some tips for successful potty training:

Establish a RoutineTake your Shih Tzu outside first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime to establish a routine for potty breaks.
Watch for SignsKeep an eye out for signs that your Shih Tzu needs to go outside, such as sniffing around or circling. Take them outside immediately when you notice these signs.
Use Reward-Based TrainingWhen your Shih Tzu goes potty outside, praise and reward them with a treat. This will help them associate going outside with good things.
Limit Indoor AccessLimit your Shih Tzu’s access to indoor spaces until they are fully potty trained to prevent accidents inside. You can use baby gates to block off certain areas.
Be PatientRemember that accidents will happen, especially in the beginning. Stay patient and consistent with your training efforts, and avoid punishing your Shih Tzu for accidents.

By following these tips, you can successfully potty train your Shih Tzu and avoid any indoor accidents. Remember, consistency and positive reinforcement is key when it comes to potty training your furry friend.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is one of the most common behavior problems in Shih Tzus. It occurs when dogs become distressed and anxious when they are separated from their owners or left alone for long periods of time. Some common signs of separation anxiety in Shih Tzus include excessive barking, howling, destructive behavior, and even self-injury.

So, how can you deal with this issue during obedience training? Here are some tips to overcome separation anxiety in your Shih Tzu:

  • Gradual Separation: One way to deal with separation anxiety is to gradually get your Shih Tzu used to being alone. Begin by leaving the room for short periods while your dog is occupied with a treat or toy. Increase the duration of separation gradually over time.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Provide positive reinforcement when your dog remains calm during separation. Start with short separations and gradually increase the duration. Reward your Shih Tzu with a treat or praise when they remain calm during separation.
  • Crate Training: Using a crate can provide your Shih Tzu with a sense of security and comfort. However, it is important to introduce the crate slowly and carefully, using positive reinforcement to teach your dog to view the crate as a positive space.
  • Avoid Punishment: Never punish your Shih Tzu for displaying separation anxiety. This will only increase their anxiety and make the problem worse. Instead, use positive reinforcement and gradual separation to teach your pet to remain calm and relaxed during periods of separation.
  • Exercise: Make sure your Shih Tzu gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation every day. A tired and contented dog is less likely to suffer from separation anxiety than a bored and under-stimulated one.
  • Consult a Professional: If your Shih Tzu’s separation anxiety is severe, consult a professional trainer or veterinary behaviorist for assistance. They can help you create a customized training plan that is tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

With patience and persistence, it is possible to overcome separation anxiety and help your Shih Tzu feel more comfortable and relaxed when left alone.


Barking is a common issue in dogs, including Shih Tzus. While barking is a normal behavior for dogs, excessive barking can be a problem for pet owners and neighbors. Here are some common reasons why Shih Tzus bark excessively and how to address them.

Reason for BarkingHow to Address
Attention-seekingIf your Shih Tzu barks for attention, ignore them until they stop. Once they stop barking, give them the attention they desire. This will teach them that barking won’t get them what they want, but being quiet will.
Anxiety or FearIf your Shih Tzu barks due to anxiety or fear, comfort them with soothing words and calm physical touch. You can also try desensitization techniques by gradually exposing them to the source of their fear or anxiety until they become more comfortable and less reactive.
ProtectivenessIf your Shih Tzu barks to protect their territory or family, teach them the “quiet” command. When they bark, say “quiet” and wait for them to stop barking. Once they do, reward them with treats and praise. With consistent practice, they will learn to stop barking on command.
BoredomIf your Shih Tzu barks out of boredom, provide them with physical and mental stimulation. Take them for walks, play with them, and give them interactive toys that challenge their minds. This will keep their minds and bodies engaged, reducing the need to bark out of boredom.

Remember, addressing your Shih Tzu’s barking behavior requires patience and consistency. With positive reinforcement techniques and a bit of time, you can help them learn to bark less and be a quieter, happier companion.


Aggression is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately. If not addressed properly, it can lead to dangerous situations and even injury. It’s important to note that aggression can have various causes, so it’s crucial to pinpoint the underlying issue before attempting to correct it. Here are some potential causes and solutions:

Potential CauseSolution
Fear or anxiety: Your Shih Tzu may be displaying aggressive behavior as a result of being fearful or anxious, particularly in new situations or around new people or animals.Desensitization and counter-conditioning: This involves gradually exposing your pup to the trigger of their fear or anxiety, in controlled situations, and pairing it with something positive, like treats, to change their emotional response.
Protection: Dogs are naturally protective, and some Shih Tzus may become aggressive if they feel that their owner or territory is under threat.Establish dominance: Make it clear to your pup that you are the alpha and that you are able to protect the both of you. This can be achieved through obedience training, as well as physical cues like standing tall and using a firm tone of voice when necessary.
Territorial behavior: Similar to protection, your Shih Tzu may be displaying aggression if they feel that their territory or possessions are being infringed upon.Establish boundaries: Clearly mark out the areas that are off-limits, and provide your pup with their own designated space and toys. Reinforce that these are theirs and that they don’t need to be protective of them.
Medical issues: Sometimes aggression can be caused by underlying medical issues that are causing your pup pain or discomfort.Consult a vet: If you suspect that your Shih Tzu’s aggression may be due to a medical issue, it’s important to consult a vet, who will be able to diagnose and treat any underlying conditions.

It’s important to note that correcting aggressive behavior can be a lengthy and challenging process, so it’s important to be patient and consistent in your training efforts. If you feel that you are not making progress or are unsure how to proceed, consider seeking the advice of a professional trainer or behaviorist.

Tips for Successful Obedience Training

Embarking on obedience training with your Shih Tzu can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both you and your furry companion. It takes dedication and perseverance, but with the right approach and mindset, you can successfully train your Shih Tzu to be a well-behaved and obedient pet. Here are several tips to help you make the most of your obedience training sessions and achieve the best results possible. From understanding your dog’s personality to creating a positive and consistent training environment, these tips will lay the foundation for a successful training journey.

Patience and Persistence

When it comes to obedience training for your Shih Tzu, patience and persistence are key. Your furry friend may not obey your commands perfectly from the start, and they may make mistakes, but it’s important to remain calm and patient.

Patience is crucial to successful obedience training because every dog has their own personality and learning pace. Some Shih Tzus may learn quickly, while others may take more time to grasp the concept of certain commands. This is where persistence comes in.

Persistence means staying committed to training your Shih Tzu, even when things don’t go as planned. Don’t give up if your pup doesn’t respond to a certain command immediately. Consistent training and repetition can help your dog learn what is expected of them.

Here are some tips to help you develop patience and persistence in your obedience training sessions with your Shih Tzu:

Tip #1Keep training sessions short and engaging to maintain your dog’s interest and energy levels.
Tip #2Take breaks when you or your dog are feeling frustrated to avoid negative associations with training.
Tip #3Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to encourage good behavior.
Tip #4Stay consistent in your training methods and rules to avoid confusion for your dog.
Tip #5Understand that progress takes time, and celebrate small successes along the way.

By incorporating these tips into your obedience training routine, you can develop patience and persistence to help your Shih Tzu learn good behavior and follow your commands. Remember, every dog is unique and may require different levels of patience and persistence, so take the time to get to know your furry friend and work together to achieve your training goals.

Short and Engaging Training Sessions

When it comes to obedience training your Shih Tzu, it’s important to keep the training sessions short and engaging. This will help to keep your dog’s attention and prevent boredom or frustration. Short and engaging training sessions will also make it easier for your Shih Tzu to learn and retain the information.

Here are some tips for making your training sessions short and engaging:

Vary the exercisesIt’s important to keep your Shih Tzu interested and engaged by varying the types of exercises you do during your training sessions. Mix up the commands you’re practicing, and try different exercises to keep your dog from getting bored.
Break it upDon’t try to train your Shih Tzu for long stretches of time. Instead, break up your training into multiple short sessions throughout the day. This will help to keep your dog’s attention and prevent boredom.
Use positive reinforcementUse treats and verbal praise to reinforce good behavior during training. This will help to motivate your Shih Tzu to continue learning and performing the desired behaviors.
Play gamesPlaying games with your Shih Tzu can be a great way to incorporate training into your dog’s daily routine. Try games like “find it” or “hide and seek” to reinforce obedience commands in a fun and engaging way.
Keep it funTraining should be a fun activity for both you and your Shih Tzu. Keep the mood light, and avoid getting frustrated or angry if your dog isn’t catching on to a certain command. Remember to have patience and keep the training sessions positive and enjoyable.

By following these tips and making your training sessions short and engaging, you’ll be able to effectively teach your Shih Tzu the obedience commands they need to become a well-behaved and confident companion.

Consistency in Rules and Boundaries

One of the most important aspects of obedience training for your Shih Tzu is consistency in rules and boundaries. This means that once you establish a rule or boundary, you need to consistently enforce it so that your Shih Tzu understands what is expected of them. One way to maintain consistency is by creating a daily training routine that focuses on reinforcing the rules and boundaries that you have set.

To maintain consistency, it’s also important to have all members of the household on the same page. This means that everyone should be familiar with the rules and boundaries that have been established and should work towards reinforcing them. Consistency can be especially difficult if there are children in the household, but it’s important to teach them how to interact with your Shih Tzu in a consistent manner and enforce the same rules and boundaries that you have established.

Here is a table that highlights some rules and boundaries you may want to consider incorporating into your Shih Tzu’s training:

No jumpingYour Shih Tzu should not jump on people or furniture without permission.
Wait at the doorYour Shih Tzu should wait at the door until you give the okay to go outside.
No beggingYour Shih Tzu should not beg for food or treats during meal times.
No biting/nippingYour Shih Tzu should not be allowed to bite or nip at people, even in play.

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to obedience training for your Shih Tzu. By establishing clear rules and boundaries and consistently enforcing them, you’ll help your Shih Tzu learn what is expected of them and become a well-behaved member of your household.

Understanding Your Shih Tzu’s Personality and Behavior

Understanding your Shih Tzu’s personality and behavior is crucial when it comes to obedience training. Just like humans, dogs have their own unique personality traits that need to be considered during training. Here are some personality traits commonly found in Shih Tzus:

Stubbornness: Shih Tzus can be stubborn, making it challenging to train them at times. They have a mind of their own and can be difficult to convince to do things they do not want to do. However, with patience and persistence, you can work through their stubbornness.

Playfulness: Shih Tzus are known for their playful nature, which makes training a fun and engaging experience for them. Incorporating play into training sessions can make it more enjoyable and help them learn faster.

Attention-seeking: They love attention and can be demanding of it. During training, it is essential to give them adequate attention to keep them engaged and motivated.

Anxiety: Shih Tzus have a tendency to develop separation anxiety, which can make it difficult to train them. Slowly introducing them to short periods of separation and gradually increasing the time can help ease their anxiety.

Curiosity: As curious dogs, Shih Tzus tend to explore their environment. Supervising them during training and keeping them away from distractions can help them focus on the task at hand.

By understanding your Shih Tzu’s personality and behavior, you can tailor your training approach to suit their needs. It is essential to be patient, consistent, and understanding of their unique traits to achieve the best training results. In the next section, we’ll provide some tips to help you succeed during obedience training.

Personality TraitsTraining Considerations
StubbornnessBe patient and persistent
PlayfulnessIncorporate play into training
Attention-seekingGive them adequate attention
AnxietyStart with short separation periods and gradually increase time
CuriositySupervise them and keep them away from distractions


In conclusion, training your Shih Tzu is an important task that comes with countless benefits for both you and your furry friend. By implementing reward-based training techniques and consistently working on basic commands and advanced tricks, you’ll be able to build a strong bond with your pup, establish trust and respect, and improve their behavior and confidence. However, keep in mind that training a Shih Tzu can be challenging at times, and it’s important to remain patient and persistent throughout the process.

Remember to always choose the right treats for positive reinforcement, use clicker training to shape behaviors, and be mindful of timing and consistency. Additionally, be prepared to face common training challenges such as potty training, separation anxiety, barking, and aggression, and overcome them by understanding your Shih Tzu’s personality and behavior.

Overall, successful obedience training requires dedication, time, and effort, but the rewards are well worth it. Watching your Shih Tzu master new skills and commands is incredibly fulfilling and will deepen the bond you share. With the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you are equipped to start obedience training for your Shih Tzu and enjoy the benefits that come with a well-trained and obedient furry companion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What age can I start obedience training my Shih Tzu?

Typically, it is recommended to start obedience training with your Shih Tzu around the age of three months.

How long should training sessions be?

Training sessions should be kept short, around 10-15 minutes each. It’s important not to over-exert your Shih Tzu.

What kind of treats should I use to reward my Shih Tzu?

You should choose treats that are small and soft, such as pieces of cooked chicken or cheese. These treats will be more appealing to your Shih Tzu and will be easier for them to chew quickly.

What is clicker training?

Clicker training is a reward-based training method that uses a clicking noise to reinforce good behavior. The clicking noise is paired with a treat, so your Shih Tzu learns to associate the sound with a positive experience.

Can I train my Shih Tzu to do tricks?

Yes! Shih Tzus are intelligent and love to learn new things. You can teach them tricks such as “spin,” “fetch,” and “roll over.”

What if my Shih Tzu is too distracted during training sessions?

You may need to move your training sessions to a quieter area, away from distractions such as other people and pets. You could also try to increase the value of the treats you are using as a reward to help keep your Shih Tzu focused.

What is the best way to house-train my Shih Tzu?

Consistency is key when it comes to house-training your Shih Tzu. Take them outside frequently, praise them when they go potty outside, and establish a routine so they can anticipate when it’s time to go outside.

How can I overcome my Shih Tzu’s separation anxiety?

Start with short periods of separation and gradually increase the time they are left alone. You can also provide them with a special toy or blanket that they associate with you, to soothe them when you’re not around.

What should I do if my Shih Tzu shows aggression towards other dogs?

Seek the help of a professional dog trainer, who can help identify the root of the aggression and work with your Shih Tzu to correct the behavior.

Is it possible to over-train my Shih Tzu?

Yes, it’s important not to overwork your Shih Tzu during training. Training sessions should be kept short and you should always be sure to give your pet plenty of rest and playtime.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make Doggolab a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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