Sweet, affectionate and full of personality, Shih Tzus are readily trainable with positive training methods that focus on rewards. Training your Shih Tzu to stay is no exception. Teaching the basics is easy! Just be consistent and practice often to make sure this behavior is there when you need it.
In addition to being a great behavior to have on tap during an emergency, 'stay' is also a skill that helps your Shih Tzu learn that being patient is rewarding. If you want a dog that is not so pushy, training and practicing stay can help with that!
Our guide to training your Shih Tzu to stay includes three different methods. Use the 'Clicker' or 'Mat' methods to start your training and move on to 'Proofing' to give her some more advanced skills and a much stronger stay.
This lovable and social breed is very sensitive to tone. Make sure to keep your Shih Tzu excited about training by keeping the tone playful and positive. Particularly early on, focus on just rewarding the correct behavior, and ignoring failure. Remember, if your Shih Tzu is failing more than 20% of the time when learning a new behavior, you are setting the bar too high. Slow down and advance at a pace she can handle.
Since Shih Tzus are a small breed, they can be prone to gaining weight. We still recommend using food rewards for training, however, you can use part of her regular kibble portion for training. If she needs a little extra motivation, cut just a few pieces of cooked chicken or cold cuts up into pea-size nuggets and mix in with the kibble. This adds a lot of taste, without much additional fat or calories.
Our methods assume you want a 'sit' for your 'stay'. However, you can alternatively ask for a 'down' or even a 'stand' to be associated with your 'stay' command. If you want your Shih Tzu to just hold her position when you give the stay command, make sure you only reward those instances where she holds her position, and practice the 'stay' from a variety of stances right from the start.
If you find that when you are training your Shih Tzu to stay, she is consistently unable to meet your criteria, be sure to lower the bar and make things easier for her. When you give her lots of success and reward, she will learn faster and stay motivated about learning. If she fails, ignore and try again.
When you are ready to take your training outside, you can use a long line – a long leash or rope about 25-50’ in length. Just let it drag on the ground. This will give her the feeling that she has the option to not pay attention, giving her a chance to choose to follow your lead. Moreover, it gives you the power to gather her back up under control in an instant to keep her out of danger.
You will notice that one of our methods is the 'Clicker' method. If you do not have a clicker, you can still use the basic technique. Instead of making a clicking sound, just use another noise or word that you use exclusively for training. Be sure to use this “marking” sound the instant you get the right behavior and always follow up with a reward.