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Shih Tzu Training & Breed Information

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Shih Tzus are the ultimate family companion dog. They are a small toy breed but are full of spunk and character. They love to strut around the house, head held high and tail wagging like they own the place!

Shih Tzus thrive on the companionship of their human family and they especially enjoy being pampered and spoiled by them!

Shih Tzu training and puppy socialization should commence as soon as your puppy arrives at his/her new home (your Shih Tzu breeder needs to begin the puppy socialization process). You'll find your Shih Tzu to be an intelligent and capable student. They relish the stimulation and challenge which obedience training provides, plus it's time spent with you which is a bonus. House training a Shih Tzu (potty training) can prove to be frustrating and time consuming, but is quickly achievable if you stick to a good potty training schedule.


shih tzu puppy for sale

Shih Tzu Information & Appearance

Shih Tzus are sturdy, lively, somewhat cheeky and outgoing dogs - they're not the delicate little dog that some people would have you believe.

The Shih Tzu was developed in Tibet, they are recognized as one of the oldest dog breeds. Back then they were the breed of choice for many Chinese Emperors who appreciated the affectionate nature and keen watchdog abilities of the Shih Tzu. Today they are one of the most popular of all the toy dog breeds right around the world.

Over the years the Shih Tzu has been know as the Chinese Lion Dog (for their lion like appearance) and Chrysanthemum Dog (for the way their hair grows on the face).

They are a solid and compact little package with a short snout and big dark, expressive round eyes. Probably their most attractive and distinctive feature is their beautiful long flowing coat. It's a thick double coat which sheds very little which is great. Shih Tzu grooming (daily brushing) is required to keep the hair in good shape and free from becoming matted. If you give your Shih Tzu a haircut every couple of months their coat requires very little maintenance.

Shih Tzu Temperament

The temperament of a Shih Tzu can vary widely from dog to dog. There's no such thing as a typical Shih Tzu - some are calm, gentle and quiet while a puppy from the very same litter could be feisty, dominant and partial to zooming all about the house! When given proper socialization and Shih Tzu training they are excellent with other dogs, animals and friendly to all people. They are extremely playful company and when the day is done love nothing more than to curl up and fall asleep on your lap.

  • One common trait of the breed is that they believe everybody should pay them attention, make a fuss over them and be their close friend - even if they have just met them!

  • Even though the Shih Tzu is said to have an independant streak about them, they do crave human attention. Therefore the breed is susceptible to separation anxiety when left alone and bored for long periods.

  • Many books discussing the Shih Tzu suggest that they can be a bit snappy if provoked by small children. This is something to keep in mind if you have a young family - generally, and in my experience they are a fantastic breed for kids.

  • Shih Tzus are very active and alert - they make good little watchdogs.

Locating reputable Shih Tzu breeders is probably the most important step involved in finding yourself a well balanced Shih Tzu puppy. Good Shih Tzu breeders are dedicated to the breed and strive to produce pups which are both physically and mentally sound - they have the best interests of the breed at heart.

shih tzu picture

Shih Tzu Health Care

Shih Tzus are generally very healthy specimens who commonly live happy long lives. Once again, locating a reputable Shih Tzu breeder is a crucial step towards finding a healthy puppy. Some health problems which you should at least be aware of in the Shih Tzu are:

  • Shih Tzus have big protruding eyes which can be highly sensitive. Any mess or build up around the eyes should be wiped clean whenever you spot it.

  • The short snub nose of the Shih Tzu can lead to various breathing difficulties. People fortunate enough to live with a Shih Tzu are well aware of their wheezing, snorting, snuffling and snoring!

  • Over the years renal dysplasia has been a concern for Shih Tzu breeders. This is a genetic defect of the kidneys - your breeder or Veterinarian can provide you with more detailed information.

  • If you live in a hot climate ensure that you do everything in your power to keep your Shih Tzu at a comfortable temperature. Shih Tzus are well known for their dislike of extreme heat.

  • One of the biggest health concerns is brought on when a Shih Tzu is allowed to become overweight. This opens them up to a wide range of related diseases and health problems. They do put weight on easily - be especially careful with your Shih Tzu training to not go overboard with the treats!

  • Coprophagia (poop eating) is an unpleasant habit which the Shih Tzu is pretty good at. You can read an article I wrote about this subject here - stop dogs eating dog poop.

Shih Tzu Training -
How To Train A Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are intelligent, willing and generally good students who are eager to please.

With consistency, patience, repetition and positive reinforcement your Shih Tzu puppy can be easily trained in all the basic obedience training commands such as sit, down, come, stay etc...

From my experience with training our Shih Tzu puppy "Macy" I have found that some training sessions are more fruitful than others. At times she can be a little stubborn and can become easily distracted - I simply stop the training session on such occasions and start again a little later.

Many people report that house training a Shih Tzu can be a real challenge. This is probably true but as with any breed if you follow a good potty training schedule, and stick to it you will achieve the desired result.

Shih Tzus respond best to positive non violent dog training methods. Try to keep your training sessions fun, full of enthusiasm, encouragement, rewards and praise. You'll find food to be a great motivator to your Shih Tzu! Harsh "old school" training methods based on punishment or corrections are not received well by Shih Tzus - they're not necessary anyway.

If you plan to train your Shih Tzu yourself at home I would recommend you study and follow this comprehensive Shih Tzu training membership site. This is the best and most helpful community of dog lovers on the internet run by professional dog trainer, Daniel Stevens.

House Training A Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu Puppy Pictures

Some other pages you may be interested in:

How to choose a puppy out of a litter.

How to train your puppy - puppy training tips and tricks.

Puppy house training tips - works great with Shih-Tzu's!

Go from Shih Tzu Training to How To Train A Dog

Please consult the services of a Professional Dog Trainer, Behaviorist or Veterinarian before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.