Shih Tzus are one of the most beloved and popular dog breeds in the world. They are known for their small size and playful personalities, but as many Shih Tzu owners know, they can be difficult to train. Donna Lea Jones is a professional sales representative and proud Shih Tzu owner from Orlando, Florida. She loves spending time with her pet but recognizes that training a Shih Tzu puppy is no easy task. Below, Donna Lea Jones offers her top five tips for training your Shih Tzu.
- Establish Firm Rules
First and foremost, Donna Lea Jones asserts that it is imperative you establish rules for your Shih Tzu to follow. Your puppy’s adorable face is going to be hard to resist, but you have to always remember that you are the one in charge. If you live with a partner, children, or roommate, make sure that they are also on board with the rules you’ve set out. In order to train your Shih Tzu puppy successfully, you will need everyone in the household to enforce the same rules. Examples of rules you could set include whether or not to allow your dog on furniture, where they will sleep at night, and whether or not your dog is allowed scraps from the dinner table. Creating a clear set of rules is a critical first step when it comes to the implementation of a training plan.
- Offer Praise When it is Deserved
According to Jones, Shih Tzus thrive on approval. It is in their nature. Thus, when your dog does something right, you should not hesitate to offer them praise. Rewarding good behavior with a treat or a pat on the head, is one of the best ways to recognize that your dog has done something good. The goal of positive reinforcement is for your puppy to start to associate certain good behaviors with rewards.
- Issue Time Outs When Necessary
Shih Tzus are extremely friendly dogs who love to cuddle and spend time with their owners. That is what makes a time out an extremely effective training tool, shares Donna Lea Jones. Although it might be difficult to do, if the dog has exhibited extremely bad behavior you may want to consider issuing a time out by putting them in a separate, enclosed space, such as the laundry room. It is important to note that such a punishment should be used sparingly. In addition, you should make sure to say the word “time out” aloud so the dog begins to understand the term and associate it with the negative behavior they exhibited.
- Stick to a Strict Eating Schedule
Donna Lea Jones claims that one common mistake people make with a new Shih Tzu is to leave dog food down all day. Dogs, especially new puppies, should have designated eating times, rather than simply allowing them to eat their meals at their leisure throughout the day. The trick is to take your pet’s food bowl away after mealtime whether they have finished eating or not. The puppy will slowly learn to consume their food on a more regular schedule and at a better pace, so that within a few weeks’ time, there will likely be no food left in the bowl when you pick it up after mealtime. The benefits of sticking to a strict eating schedule are two-fold. First, this will keep your Shih Tzu at a healthy weight. And second, this practice will make housetraining simpler as it will be easier to predict when they need to go outside and relieve themselves on a daily basis.
- Practice Noise Control
Many owners are under the misconception that barking is something out of their control. Donna Lea Jones claims that this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you begin noise control training at a young age, it is possible to train your dog to be quiet on command. The best method of doing this is to reward your dog when they stop barking. Do not give them a treat the moment they stop, but rather start by waiting 30 seconds before rewarding them with a treat. Each time they start and then stop barking, increase the amount of time you wait before giving them a treat. Couple this with voice commands like “hush” or “stop” and your Shih Tzu will eventually begin to understand that keeping quiet is a positive behavior that will be rewarded.