The Shih Tzu breed has a reputation for being stubborn, but with a few tips, basic Shih Tzu obedience training for your strong-willed pup or adult dog is closer than you think.

Shih Tzu obedience training is fairly straightforward on paper, or even when you take a group obedience class, but sometimes applying what you’ve learned to your Shih Tzu is an entirely different story.

While they are nowhere near impossible to train, when their stubborn agendas don’t match your own, it doesn’t feel that way.

With some knowledge and a little bit of patience of your own, you can get your Shih Tzu pup doing basic obedience commands in no time.


While these tips will help for any breed or skill level, they are extra important when it comes to working with a Shih Tzu and their determined personalities.


Positive training is based on the concept of reinforcing or rewarding the behaviours you want your dog to do in hopes that they will do it again.

Some people believe that their fur baby isn’t food motivated, but often times they just haven’t found the right treat yet.

Experiment with several treats to see what really keeps them motivated.

Store bought training treats, freeze dried beef, cooked shredded chicken, cream cheese, Liver or even baby foods are all good places to start.

Practice obedience before your Shih Tzu has eaten their meals to ensure they are extra motivated.

Shih Tzu Obedience Training Steps

Protect the command

Often people introduce the word for a command, like “Sit”, too soon or too frequently.

Start by teaching hand signals whenever possible, and wait to use the verbal cue until you’re sure he / she understands the behaviour required.

Once you introduce the vocal command, don’t say the command twice.  Use the hand signal or a treat to remind your Shih Tzu what it is you are asking.


When it comes to Shih Tzu obedience training, consistency is key to remind them of the rules of the game you’re playing namely “if you do the behaviour I ask, you’ll get your favourite treat.”

Whether your use a clicker or a marker word, you want to find a consistent marker to inform your Shih Tzu of the exact moment they have done what you ask.

It is a good idea to invest in a [easyazon_link identifier=”B004ZCI44I” locale=”UK” tag=”hynl-21″]treat pouch[/easyazon_link] so that during walks and other training times treats are always at easy access and commands can be rewarded every time you ask for them

Setting up for Success

Training should be broken up into small chunks throughout the day.

Work with him at times you already interact with him like before feeding, before and during walks, and throughout playtime.

It will help make basic obedience a more natural habit.

Work at their pace

One of the biggest challenges in basic dog obedience training is that you and your Shih Tzu are not working at the same pace.

The easiest way is to ask them a behavior 10 times. If they respond properly 8-10 times, then they get it, you can move on and make it harder.

If they respond correctly 4-7 times, they kind of get it. Work at this
level a while longer.

If they are able to perform the task 0-3 times, they probably don’t

Make it a little easier and try again.