If you’re the proud owner of a Shih Tzu puppy, you know that they can be a bit of a challenge to train. They are very independent and often have minds of their own. However, leash training is an essential skill for Shih Tzu puppies, and it’s not as hard as you might think!
Today, we will take a look at how to leash train your Shih Tzu puppy in 10 steps.
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1. Choose the Right Collar and Leash for your Puppy
A Shih Tzu puppy should wear a comfortable collar that is not too tight. You will also need a leash that is the appropriate length for your puppy.
Do not use a retractable leash for training as it can be confusing for your puppy.
Start with a short leash, about four feet long, and gradually increase the length as your puppy gets used to walking on a leash.
You will also need a treat pouch or belt to keep treats close at hand while you are training.
If your Shih Tzu puppy is less than four months old, you may want to use a harness instead of a collar. This can help prevent neck injuries.
2. Have Your Puppy Get Used to Wearing the Collar and Leash
The first step in leash training is to get your Shih Tzu puppy used to wearing a collar and leash.
Put the collar on your puppy and let them wear it around the house for a few minutes at a time.
Gradually increase the amount of time that your puppy wears the collar until they are comfortable with it.
Next, attach the leash to the collar and let your puppy drag it around behind them.
Do not try to walk your puppy on the leash yet. Just let them get used to the feel of the leash while they are walking around and playing.
When your Shih Tzu puppy is comfortable wearing the collar and leash, you can move on to the next step.
If your puppy seems uncomfortable or resistant to wearing the collar and leash, take a break and try again later.
Do not force your puppy to wear the collar and leash if they are not ready. Take your time and let them get used to it at their own pace.
Remember, the goal is to make this a positive experience for your puppy so they will be more likely to cooperate in the future.
Puppies have short attention spans so keep training sessions short, about five minutes at a time. If you try to do too much at once, your puppy will become overwhelmed and may become resistant to training.
End on a positive note so your puppy will be looking forward to the next session.
3. Make Sure Your Puppy Has Mastered Basic Obedience Commands
Shih Tzu puppies should learn basic obedience commands before they can start leash training.
Commands such as sit, stay, come, down, and off are essential for leash training.
If your puppy does not yet know these commands, take the time to teach them before you begin leash training.
If you try to leash train before your puppy has mastered basic obedience, they will be more likely to pull on the leash and be difficult to control.
When your Shih Tzu puppy knows basic obedience commands, you can move on to the next step.
4. Start Taking Them on Short Walks
Once your Shih Tzu puppy is comfortable wearing a collar and leash, you can start taking them on short walks around the block.
Start with walks of just a few minutes and gradually increase the time as your puppy gets used to walking on a leash.
Let them stop and sniff things along the way so they don’t get too frustrated.
5. Stop Walking If Your Puppy Begins to Pull
One of the most important things to remember when leash training is that you should never allow your puppy to pull on the leash.
If they start to pull, stop walking and make them sit until they calm down.
Then start walking again.
Repeat this process until your puppy learns that pulling on the leash will not get them where they want to go.
It may take some time, but eventually, your puppy will learn that walking calmly by your side is more rewarding than pulling on the leash.
6. Don’t Scold Your Puppy
If your Shih Tzu puppy does happen to pull on the leash or run ahead, don’t punish them harshly. This will only make them afraid of walking on a leash and afraid of you.
Simply give a gentle tug on the leash and say “no” in a firm voice. Then, take a break from walking and try again later when they’re calmer.
7. Reward Good Behavior
Whenever your puppy walks calmly by your side, be sure to give them lots of praise and rewards.
Treats are a great way to reward good behavior and motivate your puppy to keep up the good work.
Eventually, they will learn that walking calmly on a leash is its own reward.
8. Practice Walking in Different Environments
Once your Shih Tzu puppy is doing well with walking on a leash in your neighborhood, you can start taking them to different environments.
This could include parks, nature trails, or even busy downtown streets.
The goal is to help your puppy get used to different sights, sounds, and smells while remaining calm and focused on you.
Take things slowly at first and gradually increase the difficulty of the environments as your puppy gets more comfortable.
9. Remember to Be Patient and Consistent
Leash training a Shih Tzu puppy takes time, patience, and consistency.
If you are patient and consistent with your training, your puppy will eventually learn to walk calmly on a leash by your side.
It may take weeks or even months, but eventually, they will get it and once they do, you’ll be able to enjoy walks together for many years to come.
10. Consider Getting a Trainer
If all else fails and you’re having difficulty leash training your Shih Tzu puppy, consider getting a trainer’s help.
A professional trainer can give you tips and advice on how to best train your puppy and they can also help you troubleshoot any problems you may be having.
Remember, leash training takes time, patience, and consistency. But if you are all of those things, you will eventually have a Shih Tzu puppy that walks calmly by your side on a leash.
Just enjoy the journey and the time you spend bonding with your new furry friend. Before you know it, they’ll be leash trained in no time.