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Your Shih Tzu fits neatly in your hands. They were so small when they landed in your life and they’re not much bigger now! Life simply wouldn’t be as bright without them. But while taking them for walks and watching them explore is great fun, there are some issues at home. The major one is that they go to the toilet whenever and wherever they want. That means expensive couches, new floors, and favorite shoes are all in danger of being urinated on at some point, or worse.
Training your Shih Tzu to pee on a pad is important, therefore, if only to save those shiny shoes! But this training also means you’re not constantly cleaning up urine in your evenings. Instead, you can go back to drinks with friends or a family film and even take your pooch to friends’ houses without worrying about accidents.
You will use a ‘toilet’ command to help train your Shih Tzu to pee on a pad. Make it into a game and going to the toilet suddenly becomes fun and stress-free. Another major component of training will be getting the dog into a routine. All dogs need a schedule to lead a stable life, and Shih Tzus are no different. And although they’re small, Shih Tzus are like most dogs in their love for food. So a few yummy treats will definitely help training along.
Luckily, this is training that takes just a little practice, rather than intense doggie school. So you just need to commit a few weeks of getting your pup into their new pad routine. But if they’re older and been peeing wherever they like for many years, then it may take a couple of months before you put the lid on accidents.
You will probably see the quickest results if you incorporate food into training. Choose their favorite food or some yummy treats. You’ll need to take some with you each time they go for a pee. You’ll need a pee pad at the ready.
You’ll probably also want a secure leash to fit them to when you take them to go to the toilet. It’s probably a good idea to have some poo bags too in case a wee isn’t enough. Make sure you have some cleaning products to clean up any accidents as well!
Now you’ve got all you need, let’s dive in!
The Routine Method
The trick with this training is getting your pup to the pad whenever they need to go for a pee. They’re likely to need to go first thing in the morning, so secure them to a leash and take them there as soon as they're up.
Throughout the day
You’ll then need to take them back to the pad numerous times throughout the day. If your Shih Tzu is just a puppy, they will need to go even more often. The idea is that if they’re always at the pad when they need to go, then they soon won’t know any different but to go there.
Make sure your Shih Tzu gets to go for a pee at the pad before bed. If they know they’ll get to go there each evening, then the chances of them having an accident overnight is much less likely.
Your Shih Tzu will get into the habit of peeing on the pad much quicker if they associate it with positive things. So give them a yummy treat or a piece of food after they have finished going for a pee in the right spot.
Clean up accidents
It’s important you clean up any accidents inside promptly. Use cleaning equipment because if your dog can smell they have been for a pee there before, they will be more likely to have an accident there again.
The Attitude Method
Lots of owners are so keen to train their dog to pee in a specific space that they stare intensely waiting for them to go. This won’t help your Shih Tzu relax. So turn around and give them some privacy as they pee.
Accidents are inevitable. But how you deal with them is important. If you shout at your dog or punish them, then may start peeing out of submission. You must avoid this, as then you’ll have an even bigger issue to tackle.
A previous visit
If your dog doesn’t seem eager to use the pad, try wiping some previous pee on it. If your Shih Tzu can smell they have been there before, this will relax them and they’ll be much more likely to go.
It can be tempting to not take the dog to the pad if you’ve had a long day or are busy. But this is a mistake. You need to make sure you take them every time. Breaking the routine will only push back the end result.
Each time your Shih Tzu goes for a pee on the pad, you need to give them a reward. You can use some food or you can play around with a toy for a minute. Also, if you use a clicker when you train, click after each successful pad visit, this will tell them they have done something right.
The Verbal Command Method
Get into the habit of taking your Shih Tzu to the pad regularly throughout the day. You can even secure them to a leash and take them there. The more often the pup is there, the more relaxed they will feel around it.
Whenever your dog is going or about to go, give a ‘toilet’ instruction. Give it in a high-pitched playful voice. Your Shih Tzu will respond best if they think they are playing a game. So really keep it lighthearted.
Once they have finished going for a pee, make sure give them a reward. Some people like to use treats, but if you don’t want to risk your Shih Tzu putting on weight, you can always just play around with a toy.
Lose the rewards
Now you simply need to repeat these steps each day. Soon enough your dog will be in the habit of only going for a pee on the pad. This means your work is done and you can start to cut out the rewards!
Keep it clean
Although a pee pad will inevitably get pee on, it’s important you still replace it regularly. You don’t want to risk the spread of bacteria. You don’t want your Shih Tzu lying around in it and then walking it all over the house.
By Olivia Draper
Published: 04/17/2018, edited: 01/08/2021