Training

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2 min read

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How to Train a Shih Tzu to Do Tricks

Training

|

2 min read

|

1

Comments

How to Train a Shih Tzu to Do Tricks
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon2-12 Weeks
Fun training category iconFun

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.

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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.

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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. 

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The Mark the Behavior Method

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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.

2

Mark behavior

Mark a desirable behavior, like your pup jumping up on her hind legs, by making the sound and giving the treat.

3

Name behavior

Once your dog has repeated the behavior for a treat several times, name the behavior every time she does it.

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.

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.

The Practical Tricks Method

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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 .

2

Ask for help

Toss a sock or rag and pretend you can't reach it. Ask your Shih Tzu for help.

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.

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.

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.

The Mirror Me Method

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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

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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.

3

Repeat

Keep repeating the behavior until your Shih Tzu makes a movement similar to what you are doing.

4

Reward enthusiastically

Reward your dog with treats, toys, and lots of praise for copying your behavior.

5

Practice

Keep practicing, using increasingly complicated behaviors. Your Shih Tzu will love participating with the family.

By Coral Drake

Published: 03/09/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Mickey

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Shih Tzu

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2 Months

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Question

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When should I feed my dogo? When will it poop(specific time) and when will it pee?

May 3, 2021

Mickey's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rachael, Check out the article I have linked below to give you an idea of a puppy' potty schedule. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside As far as when to feed, I would check with your vet about whether pup needs two meals a day or three still at this age. If two meals, I would generally just feed pup in the mornings after you get up, right after you take them outside to pee, when you normally eat breakfast. After pup eats, pup will need to go back outside again to poop 15-40 minutes after eating (eating tends to trigger the need to poop, but it's a bit delayed). I would follow a similar schedule for dinner, feeding pup dinner whenever you normally eat, as long as it's at least two hours before they will be going to bed for the night, so pup won't need to poop during the night. If pup needs a third meal, you can simply choose a time that's convenient for you in the middle of the day, such as your lunchtime. Most dogs can be a bit flexible on times. At this age I would try to choose times that you can make pretty consistent for pup, and not wait too long after pup wakes up for the day to feed them then. My own dog eats at 8:00am and 7:00pm for example, since that time is right after I tend to feed my family, so convenient for us all. When she was a young puppy, so also ate a third meal around 1pm. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 3, 2021


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