Shih Tzu training is a fun game that can easily get you into a tangle. It’s all about timing, treats and careful reinforcement, yet Shih Tzu training like a pro takes time and effort. Read on to find out how the professional trainers do it.
There are very few truly natural dog trainers, we are all awkward in the beginning.
It’s certainly a skill that takes some learning but these 5 Shih Tzu training steps are a good way to get started.
- Work out what food motivates your Shih Tzu. Motivation is vital and should be used carefully and skillfully to get the best from Shih Tzu training. Break motivational and tiny treats up into taste sized pieces and use then regularly to keep your dog’s interest.
- Shovel those treats in. In the beginning your Shih Tzu needs to learn that he’s getting it right. He can’t learn that on his own but if you keep on rewarding him swiftly he will soon get the idea. Withhold a treat from the dog for just a second too long and he will think that he is getting this new trick wrong and you will lose that perfectly engineered desired behavior.
- Make your dog right every time. If you allow your Shih Tzu to be right every time without allowing him to get it wrong then he will learn much more quickly, simply because his confidence is high. Do this by rewarding him regularly and not withholding a treat long enough for your dog to change his action of being right into one of being wrong! Confidence creates great Shih Tzu training sessions.
- Slow those treats down. When your Shih Tzu training is going well you can start to slow treat delivery down. This is where skilled timing comes in. If you slow delivery too much the dog can break the behavior (because he is trying to get the treat and will think the original behavior isn’t working). If you keep delivering fast then your Shih Tzu training won’t progress.
- Intermittent treat delivery. When your Shih Tzu knows exactly what he is doing you can move to intermittent treat delivery. Dog learn and strengthen any learned behavior by the delivery of intermittent treats. Eventually you can drop the treats away altogether, because the perfect learning process is completed.
Let’s take a quick look at this in action whilst teaching a Shih Tzu to heel off leash.
Theory to Practical
- Lure the dog into the heel position and quickly deliver 10 treats one after the other, saying the word “heel” with every treat.
- Turn a half circle and repeat.
- Start to walk and with every step deliver one or two treats and say the word “heel”. Practice in all directions and at all paces.
- When your Shih Tzu gets the idea slow the treats down by starting to deliver ever 2 steps then every three. Always deliver before the dog breaks the position. This is a good place to end the session by giving your dog a last treat and telling him he is free to break the position then giving him lots of love and praise.
- Practice this over a few sessions then begin intermittent reward.
It’s that Simple, Shih Tzu training with treats will always work if you carefully take your dog through the steps shown in this article, at the pace he naturally learns.