Of all of the smaller breeds, the Shih Tzu has proven to be one of the more social and outgoing little dogs. They’re less yappy and more likely to enjoy the company of multiple people within the home. But like all small dogs, they can develop some poor manners if left to their own devices. Shih Tzus can be stubborn and easily distracted on top of that, so it’s important to be consistent when it comes time to teach these little dogs how to behave.
Small dogs can get a bad reputation for being excitable, aggressive, or not being housebroken. It can take time to realize that even a Shih Tzu will respond to normal training techniques with enough consistency and patience. Though they may be tougher to break of bad habits, you’ll be surprised as to what some good motivation and rewards will do.
Teaching a dog to behave consists of a few key aspects that work together in tandem to create a well-rounded canine companion to share a home with. First is socialization, to prevent your Shih Tzu from developing fears around other dogs and people. Following that, you’ll need to figure out basic obedience commands and combine these with other activities to build focus and trust. Finally, you’ll need to figure out how to continue to reinforce these manners in your day to day life.
Starting your Shih Tzu with this training as soon as possible is the key to creating good habits to last a lifetime. However, training an adult who has never learned before may present some challenges, but it is not impossible. Either way, you’ll want to be ready to train for two to four months to get down these basics for good behavior.
Shih Tzus, like many other breeds, can easily be motivated by toys or treats. Have these on hand during your training session to act as effective rewards. In public, you’ll want to have a mid-sized leash for appropriate handling during walks or socialization exercises. Besides these two items, you will want to have plenty of patience, especially for adult Shih Tzus who may take longer to pick up on new concepts. Your persistence will be rewarded in the end!