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Beyond Basics: 10 Advanced Training Techniques for Shih Tzu

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So, you’ve mastered the basics of training your adorable Shih Tzu, and now you’re ready to take it up a notch. Congratulations! In this article, we’ll dive into 10 advanced training techniques that will help you deepen the bond with your furry friend while unlocking their full potential. From refining obedience commands to introducing more complex tricks, let’s explore how you can elevate your Shih Tzu’s training experience.

1. Target Training: Precision and Focus

One advanced technique that can greatly enhance your Shih Tzu’s training is target training. Using a designated object, such as a stick or a specific spot on the ground, teach your pup to touch it with their nose or paw on command. This helps improve focus, precision, and can even lay the foundation for more advanced tricks like weaving through obstacles.

2. Shaping Behavior: Sculpting Success

Shaping behavior involves rewarding incremental steps toward a desired behavior. Break down complex actions into smaller, achievable tasks, and gradually shape your Shih Tzu’s behavior through positive reinforcement. This technique fosters problem-solving skills and encourages creativity in your pup’s learning process.

3. Clicker Training: Instant Feedback

Clicker training is a powerful tool for refining behaviors with precision timing. Pairing a distinct click sound with treats allows for immediate feedback, reinforcing desired actions effectively. Whether you’re teaching advanced commands or shaping intricate tricks, the clicker becomes a valuable communication tool between you and your Shih Tzu.

4. Distraction Training: Focus Amidst Chaos

In real-world scenarios, your Shih Tzu will encounter various distractions. Train them to maintain focus and respond to commands even in the presence of distractions. Start with low-level distractions and gradually increase the difficulty level. This technique cultivates self-control and reliability in your pup’s behavior.

5. Backward Chaining: Building Confidence

Backward chaining is a training method where you teach the last step of a behavior first, then gradually add preceding steps. This approach builds confidence as your Shih Tzu experiences success early in the training process. By working backward from the final behavior, you create a clear path to success while minimizing frustration.

6. Fluency Training: Smooth Transitions

Fluency training focuses on achieving smooth, fluent transitions between behaviors. By reinforcing rapid, accurate responses to commands, you can shape your Shih Tzu’s behavior into a seamless sequence of actions. This technique enhances overall performance and creates a polished, well-trained pup.

7. Duration Training: Patience and Persistence

Teaching your Shih Tzu to maintain behaviors for extended periods requires patience and persistence. Start with short durations and gradually increase the time as your pup becomes more proficient. Whether it’s sitting, staying, or performing tricks, duration training instills patience and self-control in your furry companion.

8. Variable Reinforcement: Keeping It Interesting

Incorporating variable reinforcement into your training sessions adds an element of unpredictability, keeping your Shih Tzu engaged and motivated. Mix up the types and schedules of rewards to prevent predictability and encourage consistent performance. This technique promotes resilience and adaptability in your pup’s training regimen.

9. Proofing Behaviors: Solidifying Reliability

To ensure your Shih Tzu’s obedience is rock-solid in any situation, it’s essential to proof their behaviors. Practice commands in different environments, with varying levels of distractions and temptations. This technique reinforces reliability and strengthens your pup’s ability to perform commands under any circumstances.

10. Advanced Trick Training: Unleashing Creativity

Once your Shih Tzu has mastered the basics, why not explore the world of advanced trick training? From agility courses to complex tricks like weaving through legs or playing dead, the possibilities are endless. Advanced trick training not only challenges your pup’s physical abilities but also stimulates their mental prowess and strengthens your bond through shared accomplishments.


Congratulations on completing the journey from basic obedience to advanced training techniques for your beloved Shih Tzu! By incorporating these strategies into your training regimen, you’re not only shaping a well-behaved companion but also fostering a deeper connection based on trust, communication, and mutual understanding.


Is it possible to train an older Shih Tzu using these advanced techniques?

Absolutely! While it may take a bit more patience and consistency, older Shih Tzus can still learn and benefit from advanced training techniques.

How often should I incorporate these advanced techniques into my Shih Tzu’s training routine?

Aim for short, frequent training sessions several times a week to keep your Shih Tzu engaged and motivated without overwhelming them.

What if my Shih Tzu seems resistant or uninterested in advanced training?

It’s essential to tailor your training approach to your Shih Tzu’s individual personality and preferences. Experiment with different techniques and find what resonates best with your furry friend.

Can I combine multiple advanced training techniques in a single session?

While it’s possible, it’s generally more effective to focus on one or two techniques per session to avoid overwhelming your Shih Tzu and ensure clarity in your training objectives.

Are there any specific safety considerations I should keep in mind when practicing advanced training techniques with my Shih Tzu?

Always prioritize your Shih Tzu’s safety and well-being during training sessions. Use positive reinforcement, avoid physical punishment, and supervise your pup closely, especially when introducing new or challenging exercises.

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