The first thing that any successful animal trainer must do is win the confidence and respect of the animal to be trained. This important piece of advice definitely applies to the training of Shih Tzu. As social pack animals, dogs have a natural need to follow a strong leader. Setting yourself, the owner or handler, up as this leadership figure is the basis of any successful Shih Tzu training program.
Until your shih tzu has learned to trust and respect you, it will be difficult for any training program to be successful. Trust and respect are not things that can be forced, they must be earned through positive interaction with your four legged companion. After the Shih Tzu has learned to trust and respect the owner, he or she may be amazed at how quickly the training sessions progress.
Many new Shih Tzu owners mistake love and affection for trust and respect. While it is of course good to shower your new Shih Tzu or Shih Tzu puppy with love and affection, it is also important to gain its confidence and respect. It is also important to not allow the Shih Tzu puppy or Shih Tzu dog to get away with everything it wants to. It is easy to let a Shih Tzu take advantage of you, particularly when it is so cute and adorable. It is important, however, to set boundaries, and to establish acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.
Shih Tzu actually appreciate these types of boundaries, since they are similar to the rules that the pack leader establishes in nature. Every dog in the pack knows what is expected of it, and knows its place in the pecking order. This kind of structured hierarchy allows the pack to function, hunt and survive as a single entity. Your Shih Tzu is actually seeking this type of leadership. If he or she does not get leadership from you, he or she may be frightened or confused.
In addition, failure to gain the respect of the Shih Tzu is very important to the well being of both the human and the Shih Tzu. A Shih Tzu that lacks respect for its human owner can be dangerous as well as hard to live with. It is important to establish firm boundaries of good and bad behavior, and to consistently, effectively enforce those boundaries.
When dealing with a Shih Tzu puppy, it is important to start gaining his respect and trust as soon as possible. Establishing an early bond is the best way to move the training and socialization process forward.
It is also important to make the initial training sessions short. Shih Tzu puppies have a notoriously short attention span, and even older untrained Shih Tzu may be unable to focus for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. It is best to make the lesson short and positive than to stretch it out and create a negative experience.
It is also a good idea to start and end each session with a period of play. Starting and ending the training sessions on a high note is important. Shih Tzu make quick associations, and creating a positive association with obedience training will help to create a happy, healthy and well adjusted Shih Tzu. A happy Shih Tzu will be easier to train, and more willing to please.
It is also important to keep the Shih Tzu from becoming bored during the training sessions. Many Shih Tzu owners make the mistake of drilling the Shih Tzu on things like basic obedience skills, heeling, sitting, etc. While these obedience skills are important, and it is true that they will form the basis of more advanced skills, it is important to mix things up and make things fun for both yourself and your Shih Tzu. The more variety you provide the better your Shih Tzu, and you, will enjoy the training sessions.
Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Sign up at: http://www.stainglassshihtzus.com