Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by The Puppy Mag
Are Shih Tzus as stubborn as many make them out to be?
It’s an interesting question and I’ll explain everything you need to know about their stubborn behavior and obedience levels below.
I’ll also run through some important tips to avoid stubborness and ensure you raise an obedient Shih Tzu from the start.
In this article:
- Are Shih Tzus Stubborn by Nature?
- Understanding the Shih Tzu Personality
- How to Train a Shih Tzu: Tips for Success
- Common Shih Tzu Training Challenges and Solutions
- How to Keep Your Shih Tzu Motivated
- Shih Tzu Experts Weigh In
- Final Thoughts
Are Shih Tzus Stubborn by Nature?
The first question we need to address is whether or not Shih Tzus are inherently stubborn. While it’s true that some breeds are more independent and strong-willed than others, it’s important to remember that each dog is an individual with its own personality.
➡️ That being said, Shih Tzus are generally known for being a bit stubborn at times.
According to Dogtime, Shih Tzus are intelligent, affectionate, and outgoing dogs, but they can be quite headstrong.
This means that while they’re not impossible to train, it might take some extra patience and persistence on your part.
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Understanding the Shih Tzu Personality
Before we dive into training tips, it’s important to understand what makes Shih Tzus tick. As mentioned earlier, they’re intelligent and affectionate, which means they can be eager to please their owners.
However, they also have a tendency to be somewhat independent, which can sometimes come across as stubbornness.
Key personality traits of Shih Tzus:
- Friendly and outgoing
- Affectionate and loyal
- Playful and energetic
- Independent and sometimes stubborn
By understanding these traits, you’ll be better prepared to approach training in a way that works best for your Shih Tzu.
How to Train a Shih Tzu: Tips for Success
Now that we have a better understanding of the Shih Tzu personality, let’s discuss some effective training tips that can help you manage their stubborn tendencies.
1. Start early: It’s never too early to start training your Shih Tzu. In fact, the earlier you begin, the better. Puppies are naturally curious and eager to learn, so take advantage of this by starting basic obedience training as soon as possible.
2. Use positive reinforcement: Shih Tzus respond best to positive reinforcement training methods, such as using praise, treats, and play as rewards for good behavior. Avoid punishment-based techniques, as they can be counterproductive and lead to fear or aggression.
3. Be consistent: Consistency is key when training any dog, but it’s especially important for stubborn breeds like the Shih Tzu. Make sure that everyone in your household is using the same commands and enforcing the same rules to avoid confusing your dog.
4. Be patient: Remember that Shih Tzus can be stubborn, so be prepared for some challenges along the way. Stay patient, and don’t get frustrated if your dog doesn’t immediately catch on to a new command or behavior.
5. Socialize your dog: Shih Tzus are naturally friendly and outgoing, so it’s important to expose them to a variety of people, other dogs, and environments early on. This will help them become well-rounded and confident, which can make training easier in the long run.
6. Keep sessions short and fun: Shih Tzus have a relatively short attention span, so keep training sessions brief and engaging. Aim for 10-15 minute sessions, and always end on a positive note.
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Common Shih Tzu Training Challenges and Solutions
As we’ve established, Shih Tzus can sometimes be stubborn, which can lead to some unique training challenges. Here are a few common issues and some solutions to help you overcome them:
Shih Tzus can be notoriously difficult to housebreak, but with consistency and patience, it can be achieved.
Solution: Establish a regular potty schedule and stick to it. Take your Shih Tzu out first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime. Reward them with praise and treats when they successfully go potty outside. If accidents happen, clean them up immediately and avoid scolding your dog, as this can create fear and anxiety.
Shih Tzus can be quite vocal, which can become a nuisance if not addressed early on.
Solution: Teach your Shih Tzu the “quiet” command by rewarding them for being silent after they’ve barked. You can also use the “quiet” command when your dog starts barking unnecessarily. Be sure to provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom, which can lead to excessive barking.
Challenge: Separation anxiety
Shih Tzus are known to be prone to separation anxiety due to their strong attachment to their owners.
Solution: Gradually increase the amount of time you spend away from your Shih Tzu to help them become more comfortable with your absence. Provide a safe, comfortable space for them when you’re gone, and consider using puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys to keep them occupied.
How to Keep Your Shih Tzu Motivated
One of the key factors in successful training is keeping your Shih Tzu motivated and engaged. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
- Rotate treats and rewards: To prevent boredom, switch up the treats and rewards you use during training sessions. This will keep your Shih Tzu interested and eager to earn their reward.
- Use high-value treats: When working on a particularly challenging command or behavior, consider using high-value treats like small pieces of cooked chicken or cheese. These can provide extra motivation for your Shih Tzu.
- Incorporate play and praise: Not all rewards have to be food-based. Incorporate play and praise into your training sessions to keep your Shih Tzu engaged and motivated.
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Shih Tzu Experts Weigh In
Several experts have shared their thoughts on training Shih Tzus and dealing with their stubbornness.
For instance, in an interview with PetGuide, Shih Tzu breeder and trainer Carol Davies recommends using “gentle, consistent training methods with plenty of praise and rewards” when working with Shih Tzus.
She also emphasizes the importance of socialization and early training for this breed.
While Shih Tzus can indeed be stubborn at times, with patience, consistency, and the right training techniques, you can help your dog become a well-behaved and obedient companion.
Remember to always use positive reinforcement, keep sessions short and engaging, and be prepared for some challenges along the way. With dedication and understanding, you and your Shih Tzu.