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Shih Tzu Puppy Training: The Surprising Truth About When to Start

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on August 19, 2023

The Shih Tzu, often dubbed the “Lion Dog”, is a toy breed known for its regal appearance and spirited character. These little bundles of joy make for excellent companions, and while they might appear pampered, training is just as vital for them as it is for any other dog breed. But when should one commence this essential phase of pet parenting?

 The Ideal Beginning for Shih Tzu Puppy Training 

For the best results, training for your Shih Tzu puppy should kick off around 7 to 8 weeks of age. At this early stage, puppies are remarkably perceptive and can begin grasping basic commands and house rules. This period, stretching from 8 to 16 weeks is the ‘critical period of socialization’ when puppies are especially responsive to stimuli and training.

Even at such a tender age, Shih Tzus can be taught rudimentary commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” To hold their short attention spans, sessions should be kept brief, around 5-10 minutes, and always end with positive reinforcement – be it a treat, praise, or a toy. This ensures that training is associated with pleasant experiences for the pup.

Possible Behavioral Issues with Delayed Training for a Shih Tzu Puppy

Delaying or neglecting training for a Shih Tzu puppy can lead to various behavioral challenges:

  1. Stubbornness: Shih Tzus are known for their strong-willed nature. Without early training, this can transform into sheer stubbornness, making them more resistant to training efforts as they grow.
  2. Toilet Training Delays: One common challenge with Shih Tzus is housebreaking. Starting early can set clear boundaries, helping them understand where it’s appropriate to go.
  3. Excessive Barking: While they are not particularly yappy, Shih Tzus can become excessive barkers if not trained on when it’s okay to bark and when it’s not.
  4. Nipping or Biting: These dogs might develop a nipping habit, especially when playing. Early intervention can help curb this behavior.
  5. Socialization Issues: Shih Tzus are generally friendly, but if not socialized early, they can be wary of strangers, other dogs, or new environments.

Beginning training in their puppy phase can mitigate these issues, ensuring a well-adjusted Shih Tzu adult that’s a joy to be around.

Perks of Online Dog Training for Your Shih Tzu Puppy

With the rise of technology, online dog training has blossomed into a convenient option for many dog parents. For Shih Tzu owners, this modality offers distinct advantages:

  1. Personalized Pacing: Online dog training resources usually allow you to move at your own pace, ensuring neither you nor your Shih Tzu feel rushed or overwhelmed. This self-paced approach ensures that your pup thoroughly grasps each lesson before moving on to the next, thereby reinforcing learning.
  2. Diverse Expert Access: One of the main draws of online platforms is the vast access to global dog training experts. You’re not confined to local trainers. You can benefit from varied methodologies, get answers tailored for Shih Tzus, and tap into specialized techniques that might not be widely available in your area.

Furthermore, many online platforms have cultivated communities of dog lovers. Engaging in these communities can offer camaraderie, a platform to share milestones, seek advice, and get encouragement from fellow Shih Tzu parents. Such collective wisdom can be particularly invaluable during those initial challenging weeks of training.

The Only 2 Online Puppy Training Courses We Recommend

1. SpiritDog’s Ultimate Puppy Bundle (BEST BUDGET FRIENDLY OPTION)

This comprehensive online puppy training program, designed by experienced trainer Steffi Trott, aims to help dog owners raise a well-behaved, social, and friendly puppy. The course provides lifetime access to over 70 lessons, including videos and an exclusive eBook, with a focus on critical behaviors like biting, potty training, and chewing. Participants can learn at their own pace from home, with the ability to ask unlimited questions to professional trainers. The program promises noticeable improvements in puppy behavior with just 10 minutes of practice per day. It comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee, lifetime personal support, and seven bonus mini-courses covering specific issues like hyperactivity and separation anxiety.

2. K9 Training Institute’s “Dog Masterclass” (BEST OVERALL)

In addition to basic puppy training, this more comprehensive training class tackles any behavior problem you might face with your dog. It’s made in a very easy-to-follow video format.

Related: K9 Training Institute Online Dog Training Review


In conclusion, while the Shih Tzu’s royal demeanor and small size might deceive some into thinking they don’t require training, starting early – around 7-8 weeks – can ensure they grow into well-behaved and delightful companions. Leveraging the unique benefits of online training resources can further enhance the training journey, making it more effective and enjoyable for both the pet and the owner.

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