How to Housebreak a Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are stubborn enough to resist house-training if you don't make it fun.

Shih Tzus are stubborn enough to resist house-training if you don't make it fun.

Housebreaking a Shih Tzu can be a tricky task, but if you're patient and consistent in your training schedule, your pup will catch on. Shih Tzus are a compassionate breed of dogs who crave human attention, so keep your training sessions fun and positive for the quickest housebreaking results.

Start socializing, obedience-training and house-training your Shih Tzu the day you bring her home. Training a Shih Tzu takes a lot of time and patience, so starting immediately with a whole training approach will yield the best results. Your stubborn and impatient Shih Tzu will catch on quicker to obedience training than house-training, but she will quickly learn that you are dominant and to follow your commands -- or she won't get any treats. Shih Tzus sometimes resist the training you've taught them just because they don't like orders, so remain firm and consistent, and don't give up.

Take your Shih Tzu outside often. Shih Tzus are small dogs, so they have small bladders and need to go out more often than bigger breeds. Always take your Shih Tzu out first thing in the morning and before bed at night, as well as after meals and when she wakes up from naps. Create a consistent house-training schedule and stick to it.

Reward your Shih Tzu every time she relieves herself in the proper spot outside. Shih Tzus crave human attention, so give your pup a treat, extra affection and some playtime every time she goes potty outside. Playtime shows her that training sessions are fun; it serves as a reward. Once she's properly housebroken, you can remove the treats and praise your pet with affection instead.

Stay calm when your pet relieves herself inside the house. If you catch your Shih Tzu about to eliminate or if you catch her in the act, remain calm but firm and take her immediately outside to finish. Never yell at or punish your pet for making a mistake inside the house. If your Shih Tzu is not enjoying the training, she will simply ignore it and continue to relieve herself inside the house. Punishment will cause her to view housebreaking as a stressful and negative activity, and she will resist the training entirely.


  • Barking, sniffing, squatting or scratching the door can all be signs that your Shih Tzu needs to go outside to relieve herself.

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About the Author

Courtney McCaffrey graduated from the College of Charleston in 2008 with a B.A. in media studies. She has served as an editor for Blooming Twig Books and the MADA Writing Services publishing company. She is now a writer on various outdoor sports such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing and bodysurfing.

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