Are you wondering how to train a Shih Tzu but need something that maintains his interest throughout? Perhaps your dog gets bored of the session very quickly and simply wanders away into the distance? Because this little dog has a general attitude of ‘what’s in it for me’ it’s important to overlook advice on general dog training and go directly for advice that shows you exactly how to train a Shih Tzu.
If lack of concentration and motivation is the case with your own Shih Tzu then there is something you can do about it. You can embrace a positive treat training method called variable reward.
How to Train a Shih Tzu using Variable Reward
Now this type of training will cater to your dog’s natural way of thinking. It will keep his interest and focus directly on you and motivate him to try that little bit harder for longer. Variable reward works perfectly with the Shih Tzu because he needs that extra motivation to put effort into learning.
The learning theory behind variable reward is much the same as human learning when playing on a slot machine; which is why variable reward is also known as the slot machine method. When we play slot machines we are always compelled to throw in one more coin. We do this in the hope that our extra effort will bring forth a jackpot. The hope and expectation is exactly what gets us hooked.
The same hope and expectation works perfectly on your dog after you have learned how to train a Shih Tzu with variable reward.
Shih Tzu Training – Intermittent Treat Time
How do you make it work for you? This is the fun bit. Take a look at the stages below when working out how to train a Shih Tzu to do anything at all. These stages should be followed with everything that you teach and remember variable reward needs to be just that, to work best. No time patterns, no habitual interval treats, it works because it keeps your dog guessing.
1. Teach the dog to follow a command in an area of low distraction
2. When the dog has learned the command and responds 90% of the time start to miss out the treat sometimes when you give him the command. It is best to do this on the times that he hesitates or thinks about not following your request
3. Practice rewarding and not rewarding your dog for following the command at variable intervals
4. When your dog responds 100% of the time begin to move into areas of higher distractions and up the reward ratio to keep his attention
5. If your dog responds particularly well to the command then give him a few rewards at once and finish the session on this good note – this is known as a Jackpot and will have a great effect on the motivation of your Shih Tzu
6. Gradually increase the distractions whilst still giving random rewards to your dog by following stages two to four until your dog will respond to the command every time that he is asked
This is a wonderful method of training for this little dog and, even if you have been working out how to train a Shih Tzu for some time now, we can guarantee that you will see a difference by using variable reward.
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