A Blog For All Things Shih Tzu
Does this sound familiar? You are relaxing at home, following your favorite TV show, then your Shih Tzu walks in front of you and does their thing right in the corner of the living room.
You may be scratching your head trying to figure out how you are going to potty-train your Shih Tzu effectively. The good news is that it is quite an easy thing to achieve. The Shih Tzu is not just a cute dog breed but they are also smart, and this means that they are highly trainable.
However, you’ll still need to be patient and committed. Yes, your Shih Tzu might be smart and highly trainable, but they will need enough time to learn the new behavior.
So, how long will it take for your Shih Tzu to learn to be potty trained? That depends – some would take between 3 to 6 weeks, while others would take up to six months to learn. Regardless of that, you need to be patient enough until they master the training. It will happen, I promise!
If you ask a dog owner why they are potty training their dog, you would get different reasons. Some do it for the good of the dog and others to keep their home clean but regardless of the reason, it is always beneficial to potty train your Shih Tzu. Here are some of the benefits of doing so:
No Dog Mess/Odor In Undesirable Places
This is the most obvious reason. Some dogs tend to find a hidden section in the house and do their business there. If you cannot find where your dog relives themselves, you might have a difficult time keeping your house smelling fresh. But if you potty train them well, you can eliminate that bad smell.
They Can Stay In The House When Unwell Or Injured
When your Shih Tzu has an injury or an illness, it might not be safe to take them outside. This means that they might do their mess in the house causing bad smells and a lot of cleaning up after them.But if they are potty trained they would be able to stay indoors and relieve themselves in the right place?
It Gives You Peace Of Mind
Not only does potty training your Shih Tzu help to keep your house free from the odor and mess, but it also gives you peace of mind. Have you ever come across a pet owner who always rushes home from work to take their dog out? When your puppy is potty trained you wouldn’t have to worry about rushing home when you are out and about.
Now let’s explore the strategies for potty training your Shih Tzu.
Start As Soon As Possible
First things first, you need to start the potty training as soon as the puppy gets home. If you just got them from the breeder, don’t wait!
The earlier you start, the better your success. Too many new pet owners make the mistake of ignoring the mess the puppy leaves around the house for the first few weeks.
They presume that the puppy will learn when he grows up. This is a very big mistake.
Instead, start the potty training straight away!
Also, keep in mind that puppies have a small bladder so this means that the puppy will poop and pee whenever they want to.
They cannot hold it for a long time. When potty training a puppy take it as though you were handling your 2-year old child. Remember to be patient!
Observe Your Shih Tzu Puppy
After you understand that they have a small bladder and can do their thing almost anywhere and whenever they feel like it, you will need to keep an eye on them. Make sure that you observe them to see if they are showing any signs of ‘wanting to go.’
You will need to watch out for common signs like sniffing, squatting, or circling. Always be keen to notice any body language that indicates they want to relieve themselves.
Decide On The Location (And Stick To It!)
Another important thing you need to consider is whether you want to train the dog in the house or outside.
Do you want to train them to ‘go’ on a specific spot outside or do you prefer using a litter box or pad in the house? Which of the two is the best option? That depends on some factors.
If you live in an apartment with multiple floors, you might want to consider potty training indoors. But if you live in a home with a yard, the outside option would also be a good idea.
All in all, choose one option and stick to it. Do not train your dog to use the litter box inside one day then take them outside the next day. Doing this will confuse them and be counter-productive.
Follow A Regular Feeding Schedule
If you feed your Shih Tzu at specific times throughout the day it will help you predict when they will want to go. It’s a good idea to establish a routine for both you and your dog.
Feed them the same times every day so that they can also use the bathroom at regular times. Your dog will most likely want to go about 30 minutes after feeding.
Remember to give them enough water. Some owners deny their dog water so that they don’t urinate overnight. Just because the same approach works with your kids doesn’t mean you should apply the same to the dog.
The dog needs plenty of water throughout the day so ensure that there is fresh water available for your dog at all times. We want them well trained but we don’t want to be cruel or punish them in any way.
Designate A Potty Spot
For those living in a home with a yard, you should consider designating a spot for your Shih Tzu to use whenever they want to relieve themselves.
Doing this is the simplest approach if you prefer the dog to go outside. The dog can easily sniff his pee and poop, which then encourages them to go in the same area again and again.
One way of making the process easy is to pick a specific corner in the yard. The corner should be specifically dedicated to your Shih Tzu’s potty business.
Choosing a corner is a good idea because the pee and poop smell rarely vanishes. For those that don’t have a backyard, you can opt for a specific tree or grass patch where they can do their thing.
Introduce A Litter Box
The litter box is the best friend for any dog owner that wants to potty train them.
One thing about the litter box is that it is suitable for any house. Whether you live in a home with a backyard or a condo/apartment, a litter box will serve you perfectly.
You will need to use positive behavior when training your dog. Here are some helpful things to follow when potty training your dog with a litter box:
I don’t agree with scolding or negative commands when they go in a place you don’t want them to go, just ignore them and reinforce the positive command when they go in the right place.
Positive reinforcement is the key here.
If you would like to see some reviews on the best litter trays for dogs then please read our article – Litter Trays For Dogs.
As you’ve recently welcomed a Shih Tzu into your home I’m sure you will be interested in what other training is possible for your new puppy.
We would highly recommend Adrienne Farricel’s training course for unleashing your dog’s hidden intelligence and eliminating bad behaviours including:
You can see Adrienne’s training skills and results in the video below:
Adrienne is a professional CPDT-KA certified dog trainer with over 10 years experience in helping people to eliminate bad behaviors in their dogs.
Her course comes highly recommended and has received great reviews from other dog owners so we would very much like to share this with you.
I do not recommend the crate option. This is another way of ‘locking up’ your dog. Although it may be effective I believe it to be cruel and think you can achieve the same results with a more loving approach. Remember your dog is a sentient being with feelings and should be treated with the respect they deserve.
Don’t punish or scold them – Your Shih Tzu will not respond positively to punishment. You should not yell at them or hit them in any way. They are not intentionally relieving themselves in the wrong place and you need to be understanding and patient.
Ensure that you clean the mess properly, especially in the unwanted areas around the house. If you fail to clean thoroughly, the smell will remain and they will go to the same place again.
Be patient and committed – it may take some time but you will get there eventually!
So that’s how you should potty train your Shih Tzu. Quite easy, right?
Just remember that you need to have enough patience with your dog during the potty-training period. If they are still a puppy, be as gentle as you would be to your 2-year old child.
Don’t rush your dog and keep in mind that the earlier you start the training process, the quicker and easier it will be for both of you.