How to Leash Train a Shih Tzu Puppy

How to Leash Train a Shih Tzu Puppy
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon4-6 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Your Shih Tzu puppy might be small and easily managed on a leash, but leash training him will keep you both safe and give you a lifetime of stress-free leash walks. Even a small dog who pulls on a leash can injure their larynx and throat. 

When you train your Shih Tzu puppy to walk on a leash with leash manners with you, he won't pull on the leash tugging your arm, potentially cause an injury to his neck, or chase after dogs, bunnies, or butterflies. Your Shih Tzu puppy comes with an incredible personality. He is a spunky little fella who is happy to please you. Your pup will be a loyal, playful companion. He is outgoing and friendly to people he meets along your walks. When you are walking your Shih Tzu puppy on a leash, he should be able to portray all of his great traits without being rude or pulling on his leash.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Defining Tasks

Starting fairly early with your Shih Tzu puppy teaching him leash manners will help with additional training as well. You might want to make sure your Shih Tzu puppy is at least eight weeks old before you introduce a leash. If your Shih Tzu puppy pulls at all on a leash, consider a harness and attach the leash to the harness rather than his collar. This will always keep his neck protected and give you better control should he pull and run after something while on your walk together. Leash training your Shih Tzu puppy will also give him lots of exercise, so avoid putting your Shih Tzu puppy in a doggy stroller or carrying him around. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Getting Started

Training your Shih Tzu to walk on a leash will require some repetitive actions and lots of tasty treats. You will, of course, need a leash appropriate for your Shih Tzu’s size and weight as an adult as well as a harness, should you choose to use one. Schedule leash training sessions with your Shih Tzu puppy and stick to your training schedules. Anytime you take your adorable Shih Tzu puppy out for a walk, people are going to want to stop and pet him. It's pretty hard to train any puppy who is distracted by affection so at first, it might be helpful to leash train your Shih Tzu puppy in your house or even in your backyard away from the distractions of the outside world. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

The Command Word Method

Most Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon

Most Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon
1

Let’s go

Train your Shih Tzu to know a command when you two walk together. This command can be something as simple as 'let's go for a walk' or 'let's go.' Whichever command you use, be sure it's the same command you use each time you take your puppy for a walk on a leash.

2

Attach the leash

Attach your Shih Tzu puppy's leash to his collar or to a harness. Let him walk around the house with the leash on getting used to how it feels, the weight of it, the sound it makes. As soon as you attach the leash, give your pup a treat and the command 'let's go' letting him know it's time to go for a walk using his leash.

3

Begin walking

Start walking with your Shih Tzu next to you on a fairly tight leash. You don't want to pull your puppy and you don't want him pulling you, so make sure the leash is loose enough that's not happening but not so loose that your puppy can get away from you, pull on you, or get wrapped around your feet.

4

Treat and praise

As you and your Shih Tzu puppy walk together, every now and then offer him a treat and tell him what a good boy he is. Try to use the same words each time you offer him verbal praise such as "yes" or "good boy".

5

Pulling

If your Shih Tzu puppy pulls on the leash, stop walking and wait for him to stop as well. When he stops, give the command 'let's go' again and begin walking.

6

Continue

Continue your walks together using this method of walking and treating for good behavior and stopping when your Shih Tzu pulls or uses poor leash manners. As long as your pup is doing well on the leash you can slowly loosen the leash a bit more, giving him more space for loose leash walking.

7

Rewards

Be sure you are rewarding your puppy along the way as well as at the end of your walk together. As soon as you return home and take off his leash, give him a treat and let him know What a good boy he is.

8

Schedule walks

Once you have practiced short walks rewarding good behavior with treats and praise, begin to schedule longer walks together. Try to take at least one walk a day with your Shih Tzu puppy.

The Change Direction Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Collar and leash

Attach a collar and a leash to your Shih Tzu puppy before leaving the house. You may want to practice on the leash inside your house until your puppy gets used to how the collar or even a harness feels around his neck or body. Some little dogs have no idea what to do with the leash and could use some indoor practice before they go out into the world.

2

Treat

As your Shih Tzu is getting used to his leash and collar or harness and collar, give him a treat. Set your training up to reward your puppy for positive behaviors.

3

Walk

Start a short walk together with your puppy on the leash. As you are walking, say the word "yes" often as your Shih Tzu walks with you. As you say the word "yes", also give him a treat. This will condition him to understand the word "yes" is positive and positive means he gets a treat.

4

Redirect

Anytime your Shih Tzu pulls on his leash, stop walking, turn around, and start walking in the opposite direction. At some point, he will be tugged on by your walking in the opposite direction and he will have to stop or catch up.

5

Practice

You want your puppy to learn to walk next to you on a fairly loose leash. Leash manners will include not pulling on the leash, not walking in front of you or behind you or crossing your path, and certainly not chasing after anything along your walk. Anytime your Shih Tzu is practicing leash manners, say the word "yes" and give him a treat.

6

Poor manners

Anytime your Shih Tzu chooses poor leash manners and does not do as you are practicing together, stop and walk in the opposite direction. Only reward your puppy with a treat and the word "yes" in the form of verbal praise when he is doing well.

The Click to Heel Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Leash

Place your Shih Tzu on a leash. You may consider a harness as well, but as long as neither you nor your puppy are pulling on the leash, a leash and collar should be fine. Click and treat once the leash is on. This sets your puppy up for training mode.

2

Left side

Position your Shih Tzu on your left side and ask him to sit. Once he sits, click and treat for a job well done.

3

Go for a walk

Take your Shih Tzu puppy for a walk. If this is your first time putting a leash on your Shih Tzu, give him a few minutes to get used to the feel and weight of it before walking with him. If he needs to get used to a leash, you can stay in the house and practice walking together for the first few training sessions.

4

Treat in hand

Place a treat in your left hand and start walking forward. While walking, use the command ‘heel.’

5

Click and treat

Every few yards, click and treat as long as he is walking with you and staying by your side. You will want your Shih Tzu to stay next to you on your left side, not pulling on the leash and not going too far ahead or lagging behind.

6

Redirect

If your Shih Tzu is no longer staying with you on your left side, stop walking and wait for him to stop as well. Once he has stopped walking, start your training session again. Do not click and treat until you have walked a few yards.

7

Rewards

Be sure to reward your puppy along the walk as long as he is doing well. Also, reward him with a tasty treat once you are finished walking and the leash is off.

By Stephanie Plummer

Published: 02/14/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

Have a question?

Training Questions and Answers

Dog nametag icon

Sochy

Dog breed icon

Shihpoo

Dog age icon

4 Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

She is a 5.8lbs girl pup who is hyper once on leash to go potty outside. she is scent driven only pulls on right side refuses to walk on left. when on left its like im dragging her; on the right she pulls and stop turn around but will go back i hear her sniffing so strong and then takes forever to potty because her scent drives her crazy. she is also bowing for people's attention. right now im embarrassed and i havent own a pup since my last pup died back in 2015. i must also retrain myself but she is making it extremely difficult for me. i cannot afford classes so I am doing my best to correct this bad leash behavior because if it gets worse I am not sure i would want to keep her. please help! im desperate!

Jan. 11, 2022

Sochy's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amarilys, I would start by teaching pup how to respond to leash pressure. Check out the Pressure method from the article I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash Once pup understands leash pressure better, check out the Turns method to practice walking around without pup going in every direction or stopping so much. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel It also sounds like pup needs to be desensitized to the outside world. I would spend more time outside with pup when not taking pup potty, just playing games, sitting and reading a book, or rewarding pup for reacting to new things with calmness and a happy attitude, you can tell pup something like "Say Hi" when they go to sniff something they are unsure of - which can look like hiding, running away, freezing, or barking and pulling, and trying to "attack" it over-excitedly. You want new things to become boring and normal for pup. Carry pup's kibble or small soft treats, with you, to use to reward focus on you and calm, happy responses to new things. With pup in a secure harness or collar, they won't slip out of, spending extra time taking trips slow to leave time for socialization and encountering new things in a fun way, when pup stops and you need them to continue, give quick tug and releases with the leash over and over - not continuously pulling but making stopping a little uncomfortable with a quick little tug then release, then tug and release, ect...- continuous pulling will cause pup to pull in the opposite direction, and you don't want the tugs to be really harsh, just annoying. Act really excited and goofy when pup stops and you want them to continue, doing a little dance or running a couple feet away (while on a six foot leash, don't drop the leash), calling pup in a silly, excited voice. Know that when pup is stopping they are probably nervous or unsure for some reason, even just not sure what you want them to do, so you want to get your energy up and help them refocus on you, making the situation fun while also insisting pup keep walking with you. You should be enthusiastic enough that you feel silly - all good puppy trainers look pretty silly at times because that's what works best. Check out this videos to see how people interact with the puppies using their body language and energy, how the trainer adjusts what they are doing with them, shows them how to do it, and how the puppies respond to different things the class mates try and what works. Puppy Class videos: Week 1, pt 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnhJGU2NO5k Week 1, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-1-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 1 https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-2-home-jasper-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1-0 Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Jan. 12, 2022

Dog nametag icon

Frankie

Dog breed icon

Shih Tzu

Dog age icon

8 Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Nipping at children and nipping at ankles, pulling on leash. We have started the leave it command and he has mastered it. This is helping with the nipping we walk everyday. He pull so hard on his harness he is worn out by half a block. He also begs loudly for food from the table at dinner time. I have tried a kong with peanut butter and a chew toy to distract. We also have trouble with him not going potty unless someone is outside at all times with him. this is understandable at this age but would like to move to him being more independant at potty time.

Aug. 2, 2021

Frankie's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katie, For the potty training, I would take pup potty outside on a leash. Tell pup Go Potty and walk around slowly on the leash for 10-15 minute until pup goes. When pup goes potty, give a treat. Once pup has gotten to the point where he will go quickly when told Go Potty, then take pup outside off the leash if you have a fenced yard. Tell pup to Go Potty, staying with pup, and give the treat after. After pup gets good at that, do the same thing but this time stand about a foot away from pup after instructing pup to go potty, rewarding when he goes. As pup improves and is quick at going even with you further away, add distance between you and pup, standing one foot further away than before as pup improves, until you can stand all the way at the door entrance, tell pup from there to go potty, then reward pup after he goes out into the yard, goes potty, then returns to you for his treat, without you having to go with him. Expect this to take a few weeks to train with consistency, not a couple days. For the begging, I would start by crating pup during meals in the next room. First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below with pup in the next room while you are eating. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. Once pup can stay quiet in the crate during the entire meal, I would also practice Place. Once pup is good at Place, you can put the Place bed where the crate was instead, sending pup to place whenever you eat, then reward pup for staying quietly on Place, correct for barking, and returning pup to Place if they try to get off it. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden When pup cries in the crate for food, I would correct. I would also

Aug. 2, 2021


Training assistant
Need training help?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.