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6 commands every Shih Tzu should know

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Training Tip #1: You want to make your dog want to perform the target behavior rather than you forcing him to do it. Make it sound like the two of you are about to have some fun by using your voice, playful body language, a treat, a toy, etc. Use whatever will draw him into the "game." 1. Sit Give the "sit" command. Hold a treat in front of your dog just above his nose. Pull the treat toward the back of your dog's head (his hindquarters will naturally fall into a sit position.) Praise him when he does it or give him a small treat.

If your dog is not responding to this method, try using his leash. Pull sharply and release on the leash with your right hand while pushing down on his rear end with your left. At the same time, say very firmly, “Sit.” Praise him when he does it or give him a small treat.

2. Heel Start in a sit position. Use a “heel” command every time you start moving. Look at your dog and get his attention. Look directly at the dog, say the dog’s name and follow that with “heel” such as “Fido, heel.” Say his name brightly (smile as you say it) followed by the word ‘heel’ and step off on your left foot. If you need to, sharply pull forward and release the tension on his leash as you start to move. Continue walking for several steps.

Stop or turn frequently. After 8-12 steps, stop by putting your left foot down firmly and say ‘sit.’ Give your dog a chance to sit, but if he does not, remind him how to sit sharply pulling and releasing his leash and giving a push on his rear as you say “sit.” Praise him when he does it or give him a small treat. Vary the number of steps you take.

Use your dog’s name and the word ‘heel’ every time his attention wanders or if he lags or pulls. At the same time pull quickly but gently on the leash to remind him. Praise him each time he does it right.

Training Tip #2: Find a familiar spot that presents little distraction for your dog. Keep him focused on you by standing directly in front of him. Give him your full attention and look him in the eye.

3. Come

Use a long training lead that is at least 10-30 ft long. Start with your puppy on the leash standing next to you. Allow your puppy to wander a few feet away from you, then say the "Come" command. If your puppy does not come back on her own, use the leash to gently guide her back to you. Then reward her with lots of praise and a super tasty treat. Continue repeating this process.

Find a treat your dog will love. Cut it up small and put it in a plastic bag in your pocket. Now you have your dog’s attention! Hold most of your dog's leash in your right hand and have your dog to heel. Say “Fido, heel” and start walking. As you walk, suddenly start backing up and call “Fido, come” and pull her right in front of you. At first you will have to straighten up your dog and make her sit, looking straight up at you. You can use a treat to encourage her. Hold the treat a little higher than her nose. When she sits and looks up, give her the treat and praise her.

Start off heeling again, saying “Fido, heel.” Then stop and make her sit normally. Praise your dog. Start heeling again and this time, call her to come. “Fido, heel……..Fido, come……..good girl.” Use the treat and lots of praise.

Once your dog is doing this really well each time, at random times as you are in the house call your dog to come. Make sure to keep treats in your pocket! “Fido, Come.” When your dog comes, immediately give her a treat. Then straighten her to sit right in front of you and give her another treat.

As the last step, don’t give a treat EVERY time your dog comes, but don’t use a pattern your dog will learn. Once you believe your Dog understands the command, begin to reinforce it. Put a lead on the dog's collar and allow the dog to run around the house with the lead dragging behind. Gently pick up the lead, without the dog noticing and say "Fido COME." If your Dog does not come, then gently pull the lead forcing him to come. Give praise and a treat! Repeat this test often.

When your dog is doing this really well on leash and off leash in the house, try it in a fenced area. If your yard is not fenced, go to a fenced dog park or borrow a neighbor’s fenced yard for practicing.

4. Down Have your dog sit. Hold a treat in front of him and slowly pull it forward so he slides to the floor. Use the "Down" command. Praise him when he does it or give him a small treat.

5. Leave it

Find a treat your dog will love. Cut it up small and put it in a plastic bag in your pocket. Start by putting your dog on a leash. Hold onto the leash and throw 3-4 treats on the floor. When your dog goes to get or eat a treat, say firmly “leave it” and pull the dog back. Give him a treat he really likes such as a tiny piece of chicken from your hand. Then relax the leash and let him start after the treats again. Pull him back and say firmly, “leave it.” Do this 2-3 times a day.

6. Bring It/Give It/Drop It Playing fetch is a good way to train your dog to these commands. Throw a toy and ask your dog to "Bring it." When he does give him the "Give it" command and have him place it in your hand. Alternatively you can give the "Drop it" command and have him drop it at your feet.

Training Tip #3: Use treats you can cut up into small pieces. You will be repeating your commands many times and if you use large treats your puppy will be full. Complete training before your puppy eats so they are more food motivated. Make sure your puppy has exercised so it can focus on training.

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