How to Train a Shih Tzu Puppy: A Comprehensive Guide to Success

by Lisa

Training a Shih Tzu puppy encompasses various crucial aspects, from housetraining to grooming and transitioning their diet. This comprehensive guide will take you through essential steps in Shih Tzu puppy training, addressing specific stages of their development, and offering valuable tips to foster a well-behaved and happy companion.


Housetraining is a fundamental aspect of Shih Tzu puppy training. Start by establishing a consistent routine for bathroom breaks, taking your puppy outside first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime. Praise and reward your Shih Tzu when they eliminate outdoors to reinforce the desired behavior. Be patient during accidents and avoid punishment, as positive reinforcement creates a better learning environment. Consistency is key to housetraining success.



Shih Tzus have a luxurious coat that requires regular grooming. Introduce your puppy to brushing and bathing early to make these activities enjoyable for them. Use a soft brush to prevent matting and tangles, paying special attention to their facial hair. Bathe your Shih Tzu every 3-4 weeks or as needed, using a dog-friendly shampoo. Incorporate positive reinforcement during grooming sessions to create a positive association and make grooming a pleasant experience.


Puppy Classes

Enrolling your Shih Tzu puppy in puppy classes provides valuable opportunities for socialization and learning basic commands. Puppy classes expose your puppy to other dogs and people, helping them develop good social skills. Basic commands such as sit, stay, and come are taught in a structured environment. Trained instructors can provide guidance on common behavioral issues and offer tailored advice for Shih Tzu puppies. Consistent attendance at puppy classes contributes to a well-rounded and obedient companion.


Food Transition

As your Shih Tzu puppy grows, a gradual transition to adult dog food becomes necessary. Start by mixing a small amount of adult dog food with their puppy food, gradually increasing the proportion over a week or two. This gradual transition helps prevent digestive upset and allows your Shih Tzu to adjust to the new food. Choose high-quality dog food suitable for their age, size, and specific dietary needs to ensure optimal nutrition.


Walking on a Leash

Teaching your Shih Tzu puppy to walk on a leash is a crucial part of their training. Start with short and positive leash experiences, allowing your puppy to become accustomed to the sensation. Use a lightweight harness to prevent strain on their delicate neck. Encourage your Shih Tzu to walk beside you without pulling by offering treats and praise for good behavior. Consistent and positive leash training ensures that your Shih Tzu grows into a well-behaved and enjoyable walking companion.

Adult Teeth

Shih Tzu puppies go through a teething phase, during which their baby teeth fall out, and adult teeth emerge. Provide appropriate chew toys to alleviate discomfort and discourage destructive chewing on household items. Regularly check your puppy’s mouth for retained baby teeth, as these can cause dental issues. If retained teeth are observed, consult your veterinarian for guidance. Maintain good dental hygiene by introducing tooth brushing early and using dental chews or toys.


Adolescence in Shih Tzus typically occurs between six months to a year. This stage may bring about changes in behavior, including increased independence and testing boundaries. Continue training sessions to reinforce commands and maintain consistency in expectations. Be patient and understanding during this phase, as positive reinforcement remains crucial. Providing mental stimulation through interactive toys and activities helps channel your Shih Tzu’s energy in a positive direction.

Behavioral Challenges

Shih Tzus, like any breed, may exhibit behavioral challenges during training. Common issues include stubbornness, excessive barking, or territorial behavior. Address these challenges with patience, positive reinforcement, and redirection. Consistent training sessions and clear communication are essential to overcome behavioral challenges. Seek professional assistance if needed, as a qualified trainer can provide guidance tailored to the specific needs of Shih Tzus.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a cornerstone of successful Shih Tzu puppy training. Use treats, praise, and playtime to motivate and reward good behavior. Positive reinforcement not only strengthens the bond between you and your Shih Tzu but also makes training enjoyable for both parties. Celebrate successes, no matter how small, to create a positive learning environment. The more your Shih Tzu associates training with positive experiences, the more willing they will be to learn and obey.


In conclusion, training a Shih Tzu puppy involves a holistic approach that addresses various aspects of their development. From housetraining and grooming to attending puppy classes, transitioning their diet, leash training, managing teething, navigating adolescence, addressing behavioral challenges, and embracing positive reinforcement – each step contributes to fostering a well-behaved and happy Shih Tzu companion. Patience, consistency, and a positive mindset are the keys to success in training your Shih Tzu puppy into a delightful and obedient member of your family.


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