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10 Troubleshooting Common Training Challenges in Shih Tzus

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Shih Tzu traning

Welcome, fellow Shih Tzu enthusiasts, to a guide that delves into the intricate world of training these lovable lion-like companions. Shih Tzus, with their endearing personalities and adorable faces, often come with their own set of training challenges. But fear not! In this article, we’ll tackle 10 common hurdles that many Shih Tzu owners face during training sessions. From potty training mishaps to stubborn behaviors, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s embark on this journey together and pave the way for a well-behaved and happy Shih Tzu.

Understanding Your Shih Tzu’s Temperament

Potty Training Predicaments

Potty training can be a daunting task for many Shih Tzu owners. Their small bladders and independent nature can lead to accidents indoors. To tackle this challenge, establish a consistent schedule for potty breaks and use positive reinforcement techniques when they go in the right place.

Leash Reactivity and Pulling

Shih Tzus, despite their small size, can be quite strong-willed when it comes to walking on a leash. If your Shih Tzu exhibits leash reactivity or pulls excessively, try using a harness instead of a collar for better control. Additionally, incorporate short training sessions to teach loose leash walking and reward them for walking calmly by your side.

Curbing Excessive Barking

Shih Tzus are known for their vocal nature, but excessive barking can become problematic, especially in urban environments. Address this behavior by identifying the triggers and providing distractions or alternative behaviors to redirect their attention. Consistency is key in teaching them when it’s appropriate to bark and when silence is golden.

Socialization Snags

Due to their small stature, Shih Tzus may develop fear or aggression towards unfamiliar people or dogs if not properly socialized. Gradually expose them to various environments, people, and animals from a young age, using positive reinforcement to associate these encounters with positive experiences. Patience and gentle encouragement are vital in building their confidence.

Nipping and Mouthing

Shih Tzus, like many breeds, may exhibit playful nipping or mouthing behaviors, which can escalate if not addressed early on. When your Shih Tzu engages in inappropriate biting, redirect their attention to a suitable chew toy or offer a firm “no” paired with a gentle correction. Consistent reinforcement of acceptable chewing habits is essential for curbing this behavior.

Establishing Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries is crucial for a well-behaved Shih Tzu. Whether it’s keeping them off furniture or teaching them to respect personal space, consistency and positive reinforcement are key. Use verbal cues and physical barriers to communicate boundaries effectively, and reward them for respecting your rules.

Overcoming Separation Anxiety

Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate nature and may develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. To alleviate this anxiety, gradually acclimate them to being alone through short absences, and provide comforting toys or puzzles to keep them occupied. Building their confidence and independence through positive reinforcement can help ease their distress.

Dealing with Distractions

Shih Tzus can easily become distracted during training sessions, making it challenging to maintain their focus. Minimize distractions by choosing a quiet training environment and gradually increasing the level of difficulty as they progress. Short, engaging sessions with plenty of rewards will help keep their attention on the task at hand.

Motivating a Stubborn Shih Tzu

Stubbornness is a common trait among Shih Tzus, making training sessions frustrating at times. Instead of resorting to punishment, which can damage your bond with your furry friend, employ positive reinforcement techniques to motivate them. Find out what makes them tick – whether it’s treats, toys, or praise – and use it to your advantage during training.

Consistency is Key

No matter the training challenge you’re facing with your Shih Tzu, consistency is paramount. Stick to a regular training schedule, use clear and concise commands, and always follow through with rewards or corrections. With patience, perseverance, and plenty of love, you can overcome any obstacle together.


In the journey of training a Shih Tzu, challenges are inevitable, but with the right approach and mindset, they can be conquered. By understanding their temperament, addressing common hurdles with patience and consistency, and fostering a strong bond built on trust and positive reinforcement, you can help your Shih Tzu become the well-behaved companion you’ve always dreamed of.


My Shih Tzu keeps barking at strangers. How can I teach them to be more welcoming?

Gradually expose your Shih Tzu to new people, using treats and positive reinforcement to create positive associations. Consistency and patience are key in helping them overcome their fear or apprehension.

How do I stop my Shih Tzu from chewing on everything in sight?

Provide plenty of appropriate chew toys and redirect their attention whenever they engage in inappropriate chewing. Consistently reinforce acceptable chewing habits through praise and rewards.

My Shih Tzu pulls excessively on the leash during walks. What can I do to prevent this?

Consider using a harness instead of a collar for better control, and incorporate leash training exercises to teach them to walk calmly by your side. Reward them for walking nicely and redirect their attention when they pull.

Is it normal for my Shih Tzu to be hesitant around other dogs?

Shih Tzus can be wary of unfamiliar dogs if they haven’t been properly socialized. Gradually expose them to other dogs in controlled environments, using positive reinforcement to build their confidence and promote positive interactions.

How can I prevent my Shih Tzu from becoming anxious when left alone?

Gradually acclimate your Shih Tzu to being alone by leaving them for short periods and gradually increasing the duration. Provide comforting toys or puzzles to keep them occupied, and avoid making a big deal out of departures and arrivals to minimize stress.

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