The Shih Tzu exhibits a rather regal attitude as a result of their history. They were initially bred to please Chinese emperors and live in the palace.
Shih Tzu Characteristics
The Shih Tzu is a proud, alert, lively and rather stubborn type of dog. It is a small but sturdy bodied dog of about 8 – 11 inches long with a weight between 9-16 pounds.
- Easily spoiled
- Self assured
- Tends to be jealous
These personality traits will direct the type of training method that will be most effective. It is important to remember the Shih Tzu has the expectation he should receive treatment fit for a king. If you happen to forget this little tidbit of information, never fear the dog will have no problem in giving you a reminder.
The intelligence of the Shih Tzu opens the door for them to be trained and prepared for obedience competition and lends to excellent manners in the home.
Consistency and persistence will be necessary during training as a result of their tendency to be stubborn
Training with a focus of motivation rather than punishment will be most beneficial due to the fact these dogs will shut down when punishment is handed out.
Behavioral training is required to change any unwanted habits the Shih Tzu may have such as
- Biting furniture
- Begging or stealing food
- Chewing on things including shoes
Consistency is very important when it comes to behavioral training. If you want your dog to stop begging for food at the table, then you must stop giving the dog food from the table. Having a double standard in this manner will only serve to confuse your dog.
Obedience training is rather difficult with a Shih Tzu and may even need to be provided professionally in certain situations. This training will probably take a lot of time and can be very frustrating to both you and your dog.
Tips for Obedience Training
- Limits sessions to 10-15 minutes
- Constant Praise and petting
- Positive reinforcement
- Treats for a reward
Obedience training should be limited to 10-15 minutes to retain the attention of your dog. Sessions beyond these limits will become frustrating to both you and your dog.
Your dog will need to receive praise and petting after following a command or for providing good behavior.
Positive reinforcement is a great incentive for the Shih Tzu dog. Your dog needs to be reassured his behavior and actions have been what you expected or wanted. He will be more likely to repeat these behaviors when he receives positive reinforcement. This can be in the method of verbal praise and petting. This will let your dog know you are pleased with the behavior.
Providing treats are a great way to reward your Shih Tzu for positive behavior. They love treats and you can use this to even get him to learn another new command when he has just had success. Instead of giving him a treat right away, go ahead and teach him something new and then give him the treat. He gets the treat and he has also accomplished something new.
You may actually be surprised to learn that your behavior has the ability to teach your dog good behavior and encourages success with obedience training. Your Shih Tzu will actually desire your approval even more than his delectable treats. When you exhibit a certain behavior showing appreciation and your approval for your dogs good behavior or learning a new command provides your dog with the greatest motivation needed during training.
As with other small dogs, potty training can be very difficult and with the added stubborn trait of the Shih Tzu this can even be more intense. If you have been successful with the Obedience Training you will probably find the potty training will go much better.
Following these training guidelines and tips should help you accomplish training your Shih Tzu with success.