Playing a game of retrieve is a wonderful way to build a relationship with your dog. It can be used in many ways, from extra physical exercise right through to brain games. Shih Tzu are not natural retrievers though so read on to learn how to train a Shih Tzu to fetch.
Many dogs are natural retrievers and very good at it, this is often the case for spaniels, Labradors and of course retrievers. They are so good at playing fetch because it’s in their genes. They were bred for it by humans. Though it’s harder training a Shih Tzu to fetch because he is bred to do something else completely.
Targeting the Shih Tzu is a great way to begin the skill of fetching and here are the steps to do it:
- Have plenty of tiny, super tasty treats to hand.
- Decide on the thing you would like your Shih Tzu to fetch and have that to hand too.
- Sit on the ground with your Shih Tzu, in an area where there are no distractions, and place a treat on the item you want him to learn to fetch.
- When your Shih Tzu takes the treat say the name of the item and repeat this many times.
- Next pretend to put the treat on the item and when your Shih Tzu touches it say the word in the same way but this time give your Shih Tzu the treat directly from your hand. Continue this step until your Shih Tzu is nose nudging the item then looking to you for a treat.
- After that increase the distance between your Shih Tzu and the item by taking him away from it and then saying the word and allowing him to run back and touch the item. Then quickly say the name of the item again and give your Shih Tzu a treat.
- Keep practicing this until you are certain your dog knows the name of the item.
The above steps will take numerous Shih Tzu training sessions of ten minutes a time. Don’t be tempted to go beyond a ten-minute session or your Shih Tzu will lose confidence or interest. Pushing a Shih Tzu too far will have an adverse effect on Shih Tzu Training.
Train a Shih Tzu to Fetch – Retrieve
When your Shih Tzu knows the name of the item go back to sitting with him in close proximity to it and start to withhold your reward gradually until your Shih Tzu begins to pick up the item in his mouth.
For this you may need to reward small steps towards picking up the item, such as opening his mouth around it or picking it up for a split second. Each time he does something close to picking it up lavish him with reward and gradually your Shih Tzu will get the idea. This is a process called shaping, where you are rewarding smaller steps in order to create a bigger end result.
Eventually you can teach your dog to bring the item and swap it for a treat, by careful shaping for a successful retrieve.