How to Train a Shih Tzu to Do Tricks

Easy
2-12 Weeks
Fun

Introduction

Shih Tzus are happy, easy-going little dogs who love their people above all else. Your Shih Tzu probably has a lively little trot, like she is very pleased with herself all of the time. Whether short and sweet in puppy cut or with long, flowing, locks, your Shih Tzu is a beautiful, adorable little dog. 

Shih Ttzus are extremely loyal and affectionate with their family, and friendly with strangers. While they can be a bit stubborn about training, they are willing to work for the right motivation. Shih Tzus are pleasant to be around and good with children and guests.

With their lively gait and beautiful, colorful coat, your Shih Tzu looks like she is just waiting to put on a show for you and your guests. You can teach your Shih Tzu all kinds of fun tricks, as long as you take advantage of her natural propensities and offer good motivation.

Defining Tasks

Your Shih Tzu is full of fun, playful, adorable behaviors just waiting to be turned into tricks. Does your pup ike standing on her hind legs? Teach her to dance on her hind legs or wave while standing on her hind legs to take advantage of her preferences. Is your Shih Tzu a complete spaz, jumping around all of the time? Train her to jump through a hoop or over some obstacle in order to give her a cute, fun outlet for her energy. 

Maybe your Shih Tzu is more of a couch potato. You can teach her to roll over for a belly rub when you say "bang", or teach her to lay her head down like she's pouting when you ask her something. The options are limitless when it comes to the cute things you can teach your Shih Tzu.

Getting Started

Your Shih Tzu may be motivated to learn tricks from you just for something fun to do and a way to spend time with you, but many Shih Tzus can be a bit on the stubborn side and like to do their own thing around you rather than do something for you.

If your pooch is not motivated to learn tricks for fun, see if she will gain enthusiasm if you offer treats or toys. Since your Shih Tzu is a little dog who can gain weight easily, it is best that you are careful not to overfeed her. Use low-calorie treats or your pup's own kibble for training motivation.

Remember that trick time should be fun and that your Shih Tzu is known for having a mind of her own. Keep training sessions short so that your dog remains motivated and so that you don't get frustrated. If your little buddy suddenly seems to forget her training, it is more likely that she is bored. Try moving onto something else for awhile and see if she remembers later. 

The Mark the Behavior Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Sound means treat
Make a distinct sound, either a sound with your mouth or with a noisemaker. Each time you make the sound, give your Shih Tzu a treat. Do this until she is looking at you every time you make the sound.
Step
2
Mark behavior
Mark a desirable behavior, like your pup jumping up on her hind legs, by making the sound and giving the treat.
Step
3
Name behavior
Once your dog has repeated the behavior for a treat several times, name the behavior every time she does it.
Step
4
Ask for behavior
Ask your Shih Tzu to perform the behavior by saying the word for it and reward her well when she does the behavior. Practice until she is performing the behavior most of the time when asked.
Step
5
Build behavior
Once your dog has mastered a basic behavior, build on it by asking for it, but then withholding reward while asking for a little more. For instance, walk on hind legs or spin in a circle on hind legs. This additional behavior will then be added to the first one. Don't ever ask your Shih Tzu to do something she wouldn't do naturally.
Recommend training method?

The Practical Tricks Method

Effective
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Step
1
Give her a job
If your pup seems bored by traditional tricks, give her a job to do. Shih Tzus want to feel like part of the family. Have her clean up socks or drag a dust rag around .
Step
2
Ask for help
Toss a sock or rag and pretend you can't reach it. Ask your Shih Tzu for help.
Step
3
Wait through the confusion
Your pup will be confused at first, and may bark or jump up on you. Keep indicating what you want her to do.
Step
4
Reward immediately
The moment that your Shih Tzu begins to do what you want or even pays attention to what you are referring to, reward her with treats, toys, and praise.
Step
5
Work together
Keep working with your dog, encouraging her to pursue a goal with you. Soon you will easily translate this to having her jump through a hoop or do some other cute trick.
Recommend training method?

The Mirror Me Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Fun loving pup
If your Shih Tzu loves having fun and being part of the family, you can teach her fun tricks by having her mirror you and your family
Step
2
Start simple
You and whoever among your family who is willing to participate can model a simple behavior in sync. Jumping or backing up are good examples.
Step
3
Repeat
Keep repeating the behavior until your Shih Tzu makes a movement similar to what you are doing.
Step
4
Reward enthusiastically
Reward your dog with treats, toys, and lots of praise for copying your behavior.
Step
5
Practice
Keep practicing, using increasingly complicated behaviors. Your Shih Tzu will love participating with the family.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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