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Your Shih Tzu puppy is soft cuddly and cute. They are also incredibly little and easy to train to go potty indoors. Even when your Shih Tzu puppy is an adult, he's not going to be very large so he can be litter box trained to go potty inside your house. Litter box training your dog is easy to do and is ideal for situations such as living in a high-rise apartment or in an area where winter weather can be extremely harsh. Your Shih Tzu puppy is so little, taking him outside during winter conditions can be so uncomfortable he could forget to go potty. Your Shih Tzu puppy is eager to please you. He will be your loyal companion and will likely want to participate in all of the training you provide for him.
When you decide to litter box train your Shih Tzu puppy, be prepared for him to spend a lifetime using a litter box inside your home instead of going outdoors to go potty. Litter box training your Shih Tzu puppy is not much different than house training your puppy. It will require lots of patience and commitment to watching the signs that your puppy needs to go. When litter box training, you will need to pay attention and be around to acknowledge when he typically needs to go potty. Remember, your Shih Tzu puppy can hold it for about an hour for every month he is old. During these early days of potty training, be available to get your pup to the litter box on time to avoid accidents in the house.
Your Shih Tzu puppy can be litter box trained with the right size litter box, lots of treats for rewards, and positive behavior training. Be prepared for repetitive training, acknowledging good behavior with treats, and verbal praise. Scheduling meals for your Shih Tzu puppy rather than letting him free feed will make after mealtime potty sessions easier to recognize.
The Small Dog, Small Box Method
Choose a box
Choose a box perfect for your little Shih Tzu. You’ll want to keep the walls low enough at least on one side so your little guy can step inside with no problem. For a Shih Tzu, a cat box with a low side might be a perfect size.
You can purchase dog litter. Some dog owners use cat litter, but it isn’t necessarily the best thing to use for dogs. You can also line the box with newspaper or even pee pads. Your Shih Tzu might also enjoy litter pellets.
Take your Shih Tzu puppy to the littler box and show him around. Let him explore and sniff. Do not expect him to go potty right away, but show him where it is. At this point, you can start with commands he will learn as he is litter box training letting him know to go potty there. Give him a treat once you have introduced the box to him.
Start paying attention to signs your Shih Tzu will show letting you know he has to go potty. These signs might be sniffing around or circling in a room or area. If your puppy does these things, take him to his litter box and use the command to go potty.
About five to ten minutes after meals, take your Shih Tzu puppy to his litter box and use the command to go potty.
After and during play
After your 'puppy has had some extended playtime, take him to the litter box. Use the 'go potty' command to encourage him to go. While your Shih Tzu is playing, watch him closely, as he may pause quickly to squat or start circling. If you see these things during playtime, stop him and take him to the potty.
Be sure to reward your Shih Tzu puppy with some excitement and a treat each time he uses the litter box.
Pay attention to the signs your puppy needs to go potty and be sure to take him to the litter box any time he shows these signs. Also, be sure to take him to the box to go potty after meals and playtime, before bed, and upon waking from any sleep.
The Click Command Method
If you are clicker training your Shih Tzu puppy, use the clicker to litter box train him as well. Clicker training marks good behaviors. Prepare yourself with treats and your clicker handy any time your Shih Tzu needs to go to the box.
Introduce the box
Introduce a small litter box to your puppy. Make sure this box is large enough for your Shih Tzu to turn around in while standing and not too big for him to want to play. Plan the material you will place inside well in advance. You can use litter, newspapers, pee pads, or even litter pellets. Once he sees the box, click and treat.
Your Shih Tzu puppy will need to go potty about five to ten minutes after he has eaten a meal. Watch him after meals and take him to the box to go potty soon after. If he is successful or not, once he’s in the box and not playing, click and treat. When he gets to the point of going potty when you take him, save the click and treat for going potty.
Each time your Shih Tzu puppy is taken to the box to go potty, give him a click and treat once he is done. Even if he doesn’t go potty, he is trying by showing interest in the box.
As soon as your puppy wakes, take him to the litter box to go potty. For most puppies, the urge to go is what wakes them, so he will be looking for a place to go rather quickly. When he is successful, click and treat. Waking from sleep is one time he should have to go immediately, so this should almost always be an immediate success worth celebrating.
Use keywords with your puppy to tell him to go potty each time you take him to the box. Be consistent and take him often. Be sure to click and treat your Shih Tzu when he is successful.
Any time your puppy goes potty in the litter box, give him a special treat. Don’t forget to mark the positive behavior with the click and treat. You can celebrate with verbal praise as well.
The Crate Tray Method
Set up the tray
Use the tray for a crate or a small litter box tray to train your Shih Tzu to go potty in a litter box. Line the tray with litter, litter pellets, or newspaper. You can keep the crate structure in place or only use the tray, but do not also use the crate for a sleeping place for your puppy if you are using it as a litter box.
Show the tray
Take your Shih Tzu to the litter box and show it to him. Get excited and start using words he will connect with going potty. Let him walk around in the tray. If he’s interested in going potty, he’ll sniff and go. If he starts to play, remove him and try again later.
Once your Shih Tzu puppy goes potty in the tray, give him a reward in the form of a treat and verbal praise.
Take to the tray
Take your puppy to his litter box tray after every meal until he goes, as soon as he wakes from sleep, after playtime, and throughout the day and night. If you see your Shih Tzu sniffing around or circling, take him to the litter tray immediately to go potty.
Your Shih Tzu puppy will likely have accidents. Avoid scolding him. When you catch him in an accident, take him to the tray. If it’s too late, try to pay more attention to how long he can hold it and get him to the tray earlier next time.
Litter box training your Shih Tzu puppy will be successful as long as you and your puppy are dedicated. You will need to show him or take him to the box often, pay attention to any signs he needs to go potty, and offer lots of rewards when he is successful. Eventually, your pup will go on his own.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 02/14/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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