Shih Tzu - A Method of Housebreaking

By: Connie Limon

House training is one of the most important parts of training your shih tzu to be a valued part of the family. As with many other aspects of shih tzu training, the best way to house train a shih tzu is to use the dogís own nature to your benefit.
The great thing about dogs, and the thing that can make house training much easier, is that shih tzu are instinctively very clean animals. Shih tzu would rather not soil the areas where they sleep and eat. In addition, shih tzu are very good at developing habits regarding where they like to urinate and defecate. For example, shih tzu that are used to eliminating on concrete or gravel will prefer to eliminate there rather than on grass or dirt. It is possible to use these natural canine habits when house training your shih tzu.
Setting up the training area
The first step in house training your shih tzu is to set up your training area. A small, confined space such as a bathroom, or part of a kitchen or garage, works best as a training area. This method of training differs from crate training. Crate training is great for shih tzu puppies and other small dogs, but many larger dogs find a crate too confining.

It is important for the owner to spend as much time in the training area with his or her shih tzu as possible. It is important for the owner to play with the shih tzu in the training area, and to let the shih tzu eat and sleep in that area. The shih tzu should be provided with a special bed in the training area, anything from a store bought bed to a large towel to a large box. At first, the shih tzu may eliminate in this area, but once the shih tzu has recognized it as his or her own space, he or she will be reluctant to soil it.

After the shih tzu has gotten used to sleeping in the bed, the owner can move it around the house, relocating it from room to room. When you are not with your shih tzu, the shih tzu should be confined to the training area.

Setting up the toilet area
The second part of house training is to set up the toilet area for the shih tzu. It is important for the shih tzu to have access to this place every time he or she needs to eliminate. It is also important for the owner to accompany the shih tzu each time until he or she gets into the habit of eliminating in the toilet area. This will ensure that the shih tzu uses only the established toilet area.

A set feeding schedule makes the house training process a lot easier for both the owner and the shih tzu. Feeding the shih tzu on a regular basis will also create a regular schedule for the shih tzuís toilet habits. Once you know when your shih tzu is likely to need to eliminate, it will be simple to guide the shih tzu to the established toilet area.

Once the shih tzu has established a toilet area and is using it on a regular basis, it is very important to not confine the shih tzu without access to the toilet area for long periods of time. That is because if the shih tzu is unable to hold it, he or she may be forced to eliminate in the training area. This habit can make house training much more difficult.

Continuing the house training process
After the shih tzu is consistently eliminating in the toilet area and not soiling the training area, it is time to extend that training area to the rest of the home. This process should be done slowly, starting with one room and slowly expanding to the rest of the house. The area should only be extended once you are sure of the shih tzuís ability to control its bladder and bowels.

When you first expand the training area to a single room, let the shih tzu eat, play and sleep in that room, but only when supervised. When it is not possible to supervise the shih tzu, place it back in the original training area. Then, after the shih tzu has accepted the room as an extension of the original training area, the area can be extended.

Speeding up the process
If this process is too lengthy for your needs, it can be speeded up, but it is important to proceed cautiously. It is easier to take your time up front than to retrain a problem dog later. One way to successfully speed up house training is to praise and reward the shih tzu each and every time it uses the established toilet area. It is also important not to punish the shih tzu for mistakes. Punishment will only confuse the shih tzu and slow down the house training process.

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Connie Limon is a professional shih tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts on shih tzu puppies are offered to subscribers. Sign up at:

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