You can train a Shih Tzu in many different ways.
Different Shih Tzu training instructors teach different methods, and many of them work just fine.
But some methods work better for teaching certain cues, while other methods work better for other things.
The next few sections fill you in on some of the more popular shih tzu training techniques, how they work, and what they work best for. Consider this your Shih Tzu training methods smorgasbord.
Best Shih Tzu Training Methods
It is important to find a method that works best for both the dog and the trainer, as well as the specific situation that is being trained for.
One of the most popular methods of dog training is positive reinforcement. This involves rewarding the dog for good behavior in order to encourage that behavior. For example, if a dog sits when asked, the trainer may give the dog a treat. This method can be used for a variety of different behaviors, including housebreaking, obedience, and tricks.
Another popular method is called clicker training. This involves using a small hand-held device that makes a clicking sound when the dog does something correct. The dog is then rewarded with a treat. This method can be used to train a variety of different behaviors.
Luring and Rewarding
This classic and easy training method really is simple. Using a treat or a toy, you lure your dog into the position you want while saying “Sit” or “Down.” When the dog is in place, you reward the dog.
Lure-and-reward training is the easiest way to teach cues like Sit and Down. Dogs follow a treat with their noses, so you just have to move the treat in a way that coaxes the dog into the right position, such as holding the treat in front of the dog’s nose, then moving it slowly up and back so the dog follows the treat with his nose and automatically sits down.
The word “Sit” and the reward seal the deal, and the position and the word into your dog’s memory
Clicker training is a popular training technique first used by people who trained marine mammals like dolphins and killer whales. But clicker training works for dogs, too. Clicker training uses a small plastic device, called a clicker, to precisely mark a desirable behavior.
The clicker has a button and when you press it, it makes a clicking sound.
Using a clicker Incorporating a clicker into your dog’s training isn’t too difficult. In fact, follow these steps and click away.
1. Load or charge the clicker by clicking it and then giving the dog a treat. Do this step a few times, several times a day. Dogs catch on quickly and soon understand that a click means a treat.
2. Carry the clicker with you and use it often. Don’t just reserve the clicker for training sessions. Make clicking a part of everyday life.
3. Every time your dog does something good, click the clicker at the exact moment the dog is doing the behavior, and then give the dog a treat.
A clicker can mark a behavior faster than a word and definitely faster than the clumsy ritual of giving a treat. Sit-click! The click means the reward is coming, and your dog knows it.
To mark small behaviors as part of training for complex work, tricks, or sports, you have to be quick and observant, but if you do it right, you get immediate results. Click, and then give the dog a treat. This direct communication tells the dog that the particular behavior is something you like a lot — something that gets a reward. And the dog remembers.
Clicker training isn’t for everyone. Not everybody enjoys it or feels the need for it. Some people like to rely on a well-placed verbal cue like “Good!” or “Yes!”
Sometimes Shih Tzu seem to grasp good behavior with hardly any training because they’re so good at knowing what you want. But if you want to teach more advanced behaviors for competitive obedience, agility, or other dog sports or for training a dog for the show ring, the clicker may just be the key.
Clicker Training At Home
If you’re interested in pursuing clicker training at home, the best way to understand the basics is to take a class with a clicker training instructor.
The teacher can show you how to use this method to teach all kinds of cool and complex tricks and useful behaviors, such as turning a light switch on and off, ringing a bell to ask to go out, or even doing choreographed dance routines.
Many dog training instructors offer classes on clicker training, so you can get professional guidance. You can also read more about clicker training online, and purchase a clicker.
Catching the good stuff One of the very easiest ways to train a Shih Tzu to do things you like is to catch her in the act of doing something useful, interesting, or good, and mark that behavior, either with the click of a clicker or with praise or some other reward like a treat or a toy.
More Shih Tzu Training Tips
For example, say your Shih Tzu has a really cute little yawn. Every time she yawns, say “Yawn!” or click the clicker, and then reward her with a treat or a “good dog!” Before long,
Lola will figure out that you like the yawn. Then, she’ll figure out that the word “Yawn” refers to that thing she does. Pretty soon, she’ll do it for you, on cue. This takes some patience and a lot of repetition — she won’t understand what you want the very first time — but with persistence, it works. (And don’t be surprised if she comes up to you and starts yawning, just to get the reward!)
Shih Tzu do a lot of cute, comical things so if you can catch them with a reward and mark them with a cue, you may soon have a whole arsenal of cute behaviors and tricks that your Shih Tzu came up with all by herself. You can impress your friends with fun tricks.
Read Next: Teaching Shih Tzu Sit Command