Top 3 Training Mistakes to Avoid with Your Shih Tzu

Bringing home a Shih Tzu can be an exciting and fulfilling experience for any new pet owner, but it also comes with the responsibility of training your furry friend. While training your Shih Tzu is essential to ensure good behavior, it’s crucial to avoid certain mistakes that can hinder their learning process. Making the right training decisions from the start can help set your Shih Tzu up for success and improve your relationship with them. In this article, we’ll take a close look at the top three training mistakes to avoid with your Shih Tzu, so you can make the most out of your training sessions and enjoy a well-behaved and happy companion.

Understanding Your Shih Tzu’s Personality

Understanding Your Shih Tzu'S Personality
As a Shih Tzu owner, it’s important to understand your furry friend’s unique personality. Shih Tzus are known for their loving and affectionate nature, but like all dogs, they have their quirks and behaviors that can be challenging to deal with. By understanding your Shih Tzu’s personality, you’ll be better equipped to train them and avoid common mistakes. It’s crucial to remember that Shih Tzus are not humans, and treating them as such can lead to confusion and miscommunication. In the following sections, we’ll explore some of the most common training mistakes and how to avoid them. But before we do, let’s take a closer look at some key aspects of a Shih Tzu’s personality. If you’re interested in learning five essential training commands for your Shih Tzu, check out our article on basic Shih Tzu training commands.

1. Treating Your Shih Tzu Like a Human

Treating your Shih Tzu like a human may seem like a good idea. After all, they are cute and cuddly, and it’s easy to give in to those big, puppy-dog eyes. However, it is important to remember that your Shih Tzu is a dog, and not a human.

Humanizing your Shih Tzu can lead to many problems. Firstly, it can lead to behavior issues, such as separation anxiety, if you treat your dog like a baby and never leave them alone. Secondly, it can lead to a lack of respect from your dog towards you as their owner, which can make training much more difficult.

Here are some examples of treating your Shih Tzu like a human:

Humanizing Your Shih TzuAppropriate Behavior
Dressing your Shih Tzu up in clothes and accessoriesProviding appropriate and comfortable dog clothing for outdoor adventures
Sharing human food with your Shih Tzu from your plateProviding your Shih Tzu with appropriate dog treats and food in their own bowl
Carrying your Shih Tzu everywhere because you think they are too small to walkTeaching your Shih Tzu to walk on a leash and giving them plenty of exercise

Remember, a Shih Tzu has specific needs and desires that are different from humans. By treating them like a dog, you can provide them with a nurturing and structured environment that will make them happy and well-adjusted.

If you want more information on house training your Shih Tzu, be sure to check out our article on Shih Tzu House Training Tips, or for more on the importance of socialization, read our article on the Importance of Socialization for Shih Tzu. For tips on how to train your Shih Tzu to walk on a leash, check out our article on How to Train a Shih Tzu to Walk on a Leash.

2. Consistency is Key

Consistency is one of the most important aspects of training your Shih Tzu. Dogs learn through repetition and routine, so it’s crucial to establish a consistent training schedule and stick with it. Here are some ways to ensure consistency in your Shih Tzu’s training:

  • Establish a routine: Dogs thrive on routine, so it’s important to create a consistent schedule for your Shih Tzu’s training sessions. Set specific times each day for training, feeding, and exercise, and stick to them as closely as possible.
  • Use the same commands: When training your Shih Tzu, be sure to use the same commands each time. For example, if you want your dog to sit, always use the command “sit.” Using different commands, such as “take a seat” or “park it,” can be confusing for your Shih Tzu and make it harder for them to learn.
  • Be consistent in your rewards: When your Shih Tzu does something correctly during training, be consistent in your rewards. Give them the same treat or praise each time to help reinforce the behavior. This consistency will help your dog understand what is expected of them and motivate them to continue to comply with your commands.
  • Stay patient and positive: Consistency also means being patient and positive during training sessions. Dogs can sense frustration and negativity, which can hinder their learning process. Instead, stay calm, patient, and positive to help your Shih Tzu feel relaxed and motivated to learn.

By establishing a consistent routine, using the same commands, being consistent in your rewards, and maintaining a patient and positive attitude, you’ll be able to effectively train your Shih Tzu and avoid confusion or frustration. Stick with it for the best results!

Training Your Shih Tzu

Once you have a solid understanding of your Shih Tzu’s personality and their unique needs, the next step is to begin training. Training your Shih Tzu is essential for their overall well-being and your own sanity as a pet owner. However, it’s important to know what mistakes to avoid to make the training process effective and stress-free. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most common training mistakes Shih Tzu owners make and how to avoid them, so you can train your furry friend successfully.

1. Lack of Training

One of the biggest mistakes that many Shih Tzu owners make while training their furry friend is the lack of training altogether. It’s important to remember that training your Shih Tzu is not an option but it’s a necessity for their well-being and your own peace of mind. Not training your Shih Tzu can lead to several behavioral issues that can affect their overall quality of life, such as excessive barking, chewing, and even aggression.

Here are some of the consequences of not training your Shih Tzu:

  • Your Shih Tzu is more likely to engage in destructive behavioral patterns such as chewing, digging, and destroying furniture.
  • Your Shih Tzu is more likely to develop anxiety and stress-related health problems.
  • Not training your Shih Tzu properly can lead to aggression towards other dogs and humans.
  • Your Shih Tzu may not be well-behaved in social situations, such as being around other dogs or people.

It’s crucial to understand that training your Shih Tzu is an ongoing process throughout their life. The more you train them, the better they become at adapting to different environments and situations. Lack of training can also lead to a feeling of insecurity and confusion in your furry companion.

So, if you want your Shih Tzu to lead a happy and healthy life, make sure to take training seriously and start early on in their life. Regular training sessions using positive reinforcement techniques can go a long way in ensuring your Shih Tzu’s well-being and happiness. Remember, your furry friend depends on you for their training, so don’t let them down by neglecting this important aspect of their life.

2. Punishing Your Shih Tzu

Punishing your Shih Tzu for making a mistake during training can be counterproductive and may even cause harm to your pet’s mental wellbeing. Instead of punishing, positive reinforcement is the key to training your furry friend. Here are some common punishing techniques that you should avoid:

  • Physical punishment: Hitting, spanking, or physically harming your Shih Tzu when they do something wrong is not an effective training method. It can create fear and aggression in your pet, which can result in a breakdown of the owner-pet relationship.
  • Verbal punishment: Yelling or screaming at your Shih Tzu when they fail to follow commands can also lead to fear and anxiety. It’s important to remember that they are just animals and do not understand human language like we do.
  • Ignoring your pet: Ignoring your Shih Tzu when they do something wrong may seem like a subtle form of punishment, but it can cause confusion in your pet. They may not understand why they are being ignored, and it can make the training process more difficult.

Instead of punishing your Shih Tzu, focus on positive reinforcement. Reward your pet with treats, praise, or playtime when they successfully follow a command. This will encourage them to repeat the desired behavior and make the training process more enjoyable. Remember, patience and consistency are key to successfully training your Shih Tzu without causing harm or frustration.

3. Using the Wrong Training Techniques

When it comes to training your Shih Tzu, using the wrong techniques can be counterproductive and even harmful to your pet’s well-being. It’s essential to be aware of the training methods that may cause physical or psychological harm to your Shih Tzu. Here are some training techniques you should avoid:

  • Physical punishment: Using physical punishment as a means of discipline can cause harm and distress to your Shih Tzu. Physical punishment involves hitting, spanking or slapping your pet, and it can lead to anxiety, aggression or fearfulness in your furry friend. Besides, physical punishment can damage the trust and bond you have developed with your Shih Tzu.
  • Lack of positive reinforcement: Failing to reward or praise your Shih Tzu during training can make it difficult for your pet to understand the desired behavior. Your Shih Tzu needs to be motivated and encouraged during training. So, use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, verbal praise, and petting, to reinforce desirable behavior.
  • Using complex commands: Using complex and confusing commands can overwhelm your Shih Tzu and make training harder. Simple commands like “come”, “sit”, and “stay” are easier to understand for your pet. So, keep it simple and make sure your commands are clear and consistent throughout the training.
  • Overtraining: Overtraining your Shih Tzu can be exhausting and frustrating for both you and your pet. Training sessions should be short and frequent, and you should always end on a positive note. Otherwise, your Shih Tzu may become bored and frustrated, and training may have the opposite effect, rather than improving your pet’s behavior.

By avoiding these wrong training techniques, you can ensure a positive, safe, and effective training experience for your Shih Tzu. Remember to be patient, consistent and use positive reinforcement to reinforce desirable behaviors.


After learning about the common training mistakes to avoid with your Shih Tzu, it’s important to recognize that training your furry friend is not an easy task. It requires patience, consistency, and proper techniques to ensure that your Shih Tzu behaves well and is happy. Remember, your dog doesn’t think like a human and therefore, it’s crucial to understand your dog’s personality and motivations.

One of the most common mistakes is treating your Shih Tzu like a human. While it’s tempting to anthropomorphize our furry friends, it’s important to remember that dogs have a different thought process and behavioral patterns than humans. Avoid using human emotions to explain your dog’s behavior.

Consistency is key when it comes to training. If you’re inconsistent in your commands or training sessions, it can confuse your Shih Tzu and slow down the training process. Make sure everyone in your household is using the same commands and training techniques, so your Shih Tzu doesn’t become confused.

When it comes to actual training, punishing your Shih Tzu isn’t helpful. It can create fear and anxiety which can lead to even more behavioral problems. Additionally, make sure to use positive reinforcement and the right training techniques. Using the wrong technique can either not get results or harm your Shih Tzu.

In conclusion, taking the time to understand your Shih Tzu’s personality, being consistent in your training, and using positive reinforcement techniques are key to a well-trained Shih Tzu. With patience and time, you can ensure that your furry friend is happy and well-behaved.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should I train my Shih Tzu?

Consistency is key when training your Shih Tzu. It is recommended to train your Shih Tzu for at least 15-20 minutes a day, every day.

2. Is it okay to punish my Shih Tzu during training?

No, it is not recommended to punish your Shih Tzu during training. Positive reinforcement is the most effective way to train your Shih Tzu.

3. How can I make training sessions more enjoyable for my Shih Tzu?

Make training sessions more enjoyable for your Shih Tzu by incorporating treats, toys, and praise. This will help keep your Shih Tzu motivated and engaged during training.

4. What are some common training mistakes to avoid with my Shih Tzu?

Some common training mistakes to avoid with your Shih Tzu include punishing your dog, using the wrong training techniques, and not being consistent with training.

5. Can I train my Shih Tzu to do tricks?

Yes, you can train your Shih Tzu to do tricks. Start with basic commands such as sit, stay, and come, and then move on to more advanced tricks like roll over or shake.

6. Can I train my older Shih Tzu?

Yes, you can train your older Shih Tzu, but keep in mind that it may take them longer to learn due to age and decreased energy levels. Be patient and consistent with training.

7. Should I use a crate to train my Shih Tzu?

Using a crate can be an effective tool for training your Shih Tzu, but it is important to use the crate properly and not use it as a form of punishment.

8. Can I train my Shih Tzu to stop barking excessively?

Yes, with consistent training, you can train your Shih Tzu to stop barking excessively. Use positive reinforcement and redirect their attention to a toy or treat when they start barking.

9. How long does it take to train a Shih Tzu?

The time it takes to train a Shih Tzu depends on the individual dog and their personality. Consistent training can lead to quicker results, but some dogs may take longer to learn certain commands or tricks.

10. Should I hire a professional dog trainer to train my Shih Tzu?

Hiring a professional dog trainer can be a good option if you are struggling with training your Shih Tzu or if you want to teach them more advanced techniques. However, with consistency and patience, you can train your Shih Tzu on your own.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DoggoLab, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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