There are many different styles of dog training, and finding the one that works best for you is important for creating a Shih Tzu that is a talented, loyal and faithful member of the family. All successful methods of dog training work to reinforce the relationship between dog and handler, and the foundation of any successful training program is getting the respect of the Shih Tzu. Fortunately, dogs are wired by nature to seek out leaders, and to follow the direction of those leaders.
This article focuses on one of the most popular methods of dog training - the so called leash/collar style of training. Other articles will focus on the other popular style of training dogs, often called reward training or positive reinforcement.
Both leash/collar training and reward training have been around for a very long time, and they have proven their effectiveness over time. The type of training that works best will vary from Shih Tzu to Shih Tzu. It is important to remember that each breed of dog has its own unique qualities, reinforced by hundreds of years of selective breeding.
Of course personalities of individual Shih Tzu vary quite a bit. You, as the owner of the Shih Tzu, know better than anyone which style of dog training will work best, so it is important to work with the trainer you choose to achieve your goal of a willing, obedient and friendly Shih Tzu.
Leash and collar training is the best way to accomplish many types of dog training, particularly in situations where the Shih Tzu must have a high level of reliability. For instance, Shih Tzu that have an important job to do, such as therapy Shih Tzu dogs, generally benefit from leash and collar training. If trained properly, almost any Shih Tzu can work as a therapy dog.
In leash and collar training, varying degrees of force can be used, ranging from slight prompts with the lead to very harsh corrections. The amount of correction used should be appropriate to the situation, since using too much correction, or too little, will be ineffective.
In a collar and leash based dog training program, first the Shih Tzu is taught a particular behavior, generally with the leash. After the Shih Tzu has demonstrated that it understands the command, the leash is then used to correct the Shih Tzu if it disobeys, or when it makes a mistake. The leash is the main form of controlling and communicating with the Shih Tzu in leash and collar training.
When using leash and collar training, the Shih Tzu must be trained to trust the handler and accept his or her directions without question. In order for the Shih Tzu to be fully trained, the handler must demonstrate the ability to place the Shih Tzu into a posture or position he or she does not want to take. This does not mean using force, but it does generally require some level of physical manipulation. This manipulation is most easily and safely done using the main tool of leash and collar training - the leash.
It is important for every would be Shih Tzu trainer to understand that the leash is simply a tool. While the leash is an important tool in this form of training, it is important for the Shih Tzu trainer to be able to eventually achieve the same results using whatever tools are at hand.
Even when the only tools at hand are the owner's body and skill, the Shih Tzu should be willing to obey. Creating a leader/follower relationship between handler and Shih Tzu is still very important, and it is important to use the leash as a tool and not a crutch. A properly trained Shih Tzu should be willing to obey whether the leash is present or not.
Shih Tzu - Leash and Collar Training
by Connie Limon
Connie Limon, breeder of the Shih Tzu Austin, Indiana Stain Glass Shih Tzus www.stainglassshihtzus.com.