I have read and continue to read books on training. At this point, I feel like whichever method (without cruelty, of course) you use that works for your shih tzu is the type of training to stick with. Not every method works for every shih tzu. We just all have to continue to read and research and find what works best for our unique situations. As we learn what works for our shih tzu and we practice the lessons with the shih tzu consistently, we are creating a much needed emotional bond with them as well that is just as valuable as the actual behavior we want our shih tzu to learn. Shih tzu want nothing more than to please and hang out with their human friends.
In this article I would like to speak about teaching your shih tzu what "sit" actually means. Try it. If it works for you, then you have solved a problem for yourself. I believe you can use this same method with any behavior you want your shih tzu to learn.
You want to teach your dog to "sit" on cue. You will need to have a bowlful of small treats your shih tzu just loves. You can use a clicker if you desire. You will need lots of time and patience.
First hold the delicious treat in front of your shih tzu's nose. Move the treat slowly back over the top of the shih tzu's head. As the dog moves up to follow the treat, her rump will begin to move down. And....wa-la......your shih tzu is sitting without you laying a hand on her.
As soon as your shih tzu's rump is on the ground, use your clicker and click, or say your "command" word or "phrase" you want the shih tzu to associate with this behavior (teaching your shih tzu what "sit" actually means). Now give the treat. Start playing with your shih tzu again to get her out of the sitting position. Now do the exercise again. If your shih tzu jumps up to get the treat, you are holding it too high. You don't want the shih tzu to think she is suppose to "jump" to get the treat. Use a word or phrase you have chosen to use consistently for behavior that is not reward-worthy if the shih tzu jumps up for the treat (decide upon this word and use it consistently with all your training sessions for behaviors that do not deserve a treat). You want the shih tzu to learn to "sit" for her treat.
When the shih tzu folds into a sit as soon as you hold your hand out, add the word you want the shih tzu to connect with this action (say "sit" or whatever keyword/command you have chosen), hold your hand out in the same motion as before, but DO NOT give a treat. Click or say your keyword when the shih tzu sits. Now come forth with the treat (when the shih tzu is in the sitting position).
The shih tzu will appreciate the time you spend and will feel as though you have paid attention to her, which the shih tzu absolutely adores from its human friends, and you have paid attention to your shih tzu. You have not only taught the shih tzu a valuable lesson for her and yourself, but you have created an extra emotional bond as well.
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