A Shih Tzu is a really cute animal, until it starts peeing on your carpets and wrecks your furniture.
So you really need to housetrain it, even if you don’t see the reason for it. It helps to understand some basics about dogs. Like what drives it, and why is one dog a social and sweet animal, while another can’t be handled?
The truth is that most people (even trainers) make mistakes in the training of dogs, often without realizing it. Because of this, it is most important to understand how dogs live in their own world.
A dog is an animal that lives in group. Thousands of years ago, when dog lived in the wild, their behavior was the same as it is now. In these groups, rules have to be followed. They are social rules that dogs never break.
The dog sees you and your family as his group and you have to know that you are one station above it. It the dog doesn’t know that, he’ll misbehave. He’ll pull at its lead, he’ll keep barking, he’ll jump up to your legs, etc.
You can best start to housebreak your Shih Tzu when it’s still a puppy. My recommendation is to follow a course at a dog school, but if you don’t want to do that, here are some basic rules:
1. Teach your dog where to potty. There should be an appropriate place where it uses the potty, otherwise your house will get dirty. A puppy needs to be taken out frequently (once an hour is not too much) and especially after waking up and after meals. When you think it’s time for it, give the dog a gentle command like ‘go potty’ and lead it to the place you have chosen for it. When the dog does what you ask, reward it. This will teach the dog that it is ok to potty at that place.
2. Your Shih Tzu needs its own place in the house. That can be a kennel, or a crate, or just a quiet spot with the dog’s bed and its toys. You’ll have to teach it that this is its place, with commands such as ‘house’ or ‘bed’. When giving this command, lead the dog to the destined area and, again, reward is when it stays there and is calm. When he is not obedient, learn him to stay away from certain places with the command ‘off’. Take the dog in your arms, and put it back in the spot that is its own.
3. Once the dog feels comfortable at its place, you can teach simple commands as ‘sit’ or ‘stay’. Once comfortable with these, you can learn it to come to you. Tell it first to sit, go somewhat further and then ask the dog to come. When the dog does as is asked, again reward it. You can widen the distance in stages. This command is extremely helpful when the dog gets loose from its lead.