One of the biggest frustrations of Shihpoo owners is the worry over the proper way to train your puppy. We have been there, and we still are. While some commands take weeks or longer to master, you can teach your Shihpoo these five commands in a matter of just a few minutes a day for three or four days each.
So, what are the five easiest commands to teach a Shihpoo?
Although many important commands will require several weeks of persistent interactions with your puppy, you can train your Shihpoo to follow these five basic commands in just a few minutes a day over just a few days each:
1. The Watch Me command
2. The Bed command
3. The Sit command
4. The Stay command
5. The Come command
Your Shihpoo will Learn these Five Commands more Quickly than Others
Watch Me, Bed, Sit, Stay and Come are relatively easy and quick commands your Shihpoo will learn. If you try to teach your Shihpoo the Heel, Stand, Speak, Quiet or Leave It commands before the following five basic commands, both you and your puppy will encounter learning roadblocks and experience frustration. Teach your Shihpoo puppy (or Shihpoo adult) these five basic commands early, and you will never regret it.
Your Shihpoo Should Learn the “Watch Me” Command before All Others
Shihpoos are naturally curious puppies. Although this can be said about pretty much every puppy, Shihpoos can have a bit more mental endurance than many other breeds that might be more interested in tail wagging, slobbering on your cheek or rolling over for a belly rub.
The “Watch Me” command is the most basic of all commands. It establishes a literal visual connection between you and your puppy so that you can provide additional guidance or proceed to addition commands.
To get your puppy’s attention, hold a treat in your hand in front of your eyes, making a direct line of sight from your eyes through the treat to your puppy’s eyes. Repeat, “Watch me” each time you hold the treat there, holding it longer each time and from different distances before you give him or her the reward.
You can also use a reward such as your puppy’s favorite current toy. Eventually, you can begin to say “Watch Me” without a treat or reward from time to time to accustom your puppy to looking up at you at the command. If you and your Shihpoo are both well rested and in a good mood, you may be able to master this command in just a few minutes, after which you repeat the training just two or three times a day for a few days.
As will all commands, you need to use this command consistently throughout your dog’s lifetime if you want him or her to obey it consistently.
Training Your Shihpoo to Obey the “Bed” Command Is Critical for Everyone’s Sanity
Now that you can get your Shihpoo’s attention with the “Watch Me” command, you are ready to work on the “Bed” command. NOTE: You may also substitute “Bed” with “Sleep” or “Kennel” or another similar word, but just be consistent.
Before you teach this command, habituate your Shihpoo to his or her kennel by using a training treat or favorite toy and placing it nearer and nearer the kennel’s door, eventually moving it inside the open kennel. Do not lock the kennel door during this phase with your puppy inside. You need first to get your puppy used to entering and leaving the kennel without the stress of being locked in.
You will also have crate trained or be crate training your Shihpoo before teaching him or her the Bed command.
To train your Shihpoo to run into its kennel on its own at bedtime, a simple bedtime treat will suffice. Say “bed” as you lead or even initially carry your puppy to the kennel. Place a once-a-day special treat in the kennel to entice your dog in. After a couple of experiences, you can then send the puppy in with the command Bed and feed the treat through the kennel door.
We have had excellent success with Pedegree’s Dentastix original flavor, although you can find multiple flavors at any pet store or online. When your Shihpoo is small (under 8-10 lbs), you can easily get away with just half a Dentastix.
Teaching Your Shihpoo to “Sit” Must Come before All Other Behavioral Commands
The most common command known to dogdom is the Sit command. Once your Shihpoo has mastered the Watch Me command, he or she is ready to learn to sit.
To teach your Shihpoo to sit, start with the Watch Me command. Then hold a treat in your closed hand just below puppy’s nose (so he or she can smell it but not see it yet).
Slowly raise your hand holding the treat so that your puppy begins to raise his or her head. Your Shihpoo may naturally sit as follows your hand upward. If this is the case, clearly say “Sit.”
Avoid pushing down on your puppy’s back. If the puppy does not naturally sit, place him or her with his or her back toward a nearby corner wall. As you raise the treat in your hand, your puppy will not be able to back up to see and will naturally sit to get a better view of the treat hand. You can also accomplish this by placing your other hand gently behind or on your puppy’s tail to keep it from backing up.
Training Your Shihpoo to “Stay” Creates Order out of Puppy Chaos
Once you have taught your Shihpoo to sit without the need for a reward, you can move on to the next natural command: Stay.
First, ask your puppy to Sit and use the Watch Me command if needed. Next, kneeling on one knee in front of your Shihpoo, hold your open hand out, palm front, fingers up, like a traffic policeman indicating “stop.” Do this and say, “Stay,” holding the hand up for just a couple of seconds and then reward your dog with a treat.
Next, do the same with your hand and say, “Stay,” but increase the duration of your hand signal by one count before rewarding your puppy. Continue to repeat this process, until your Shihpoo stays seated for five or six seconds without getting up.
The key to training your puppy with the Stay command is not to ask them to Come at the end of each few seconds of staying but to come back to the Shihpoo yourself with the reward. Otherwise, the puppy will be more likely to come to you early because they automatically associate Stay with running moving toward you afterward to get a treat.
At this point, you can begin to stand and work on moving a short distance away from your puppy each time you give the Stay command. Mix it up by moving one step, then two, then three, then two, then four, then three, etc.
Do not expect perfection each time and on the first day. Focus your daily practice with the Stay command until your puppy will obey even with distractions nearby (other dogs, other people, etc.)
After the Stay Command, Teaching Your Shihpoo the “Come” Will Be a Piece of Cake
The Come command will be the easiest command of all after training your Shihpoo to Watch Me, Sit and Stay. Still, be prepared to use lot of rewards initially.
If you can, work with a partner during the initial Come training sessions. In a comfortable environment for your puppy (e.g. kitchen or living room), each partner takes turns asking the dog to Come in a happy and playful voice, offering the treat, and moving further and further away each time.
Next, begin asking your Shihpoo to come at moments and in the middle of activities when he or she may not be expecting it, such as while you have your back to the puppy or when you are on the couch.
Finally, begin working on the Come command in scenarios with a few distractions, from your back yard to your front porch to the front lawn to the neighborhood park.
At some point, you can begin to replace the treat with your Shihpoo’s favorite toy and let him or her chew on it for a few moments as the reward.
The key to the Come command is to always use your happy voice. If you yell or use a stern voice, your puppy will naturally want to avoid you. Keep your commands positive in tone, even if you are varying the pitch and intensity of your voice.
Are Shih-poos easy to Train?
Shihpoos typically inherit a high level of intelligence from their Poodle parent to go with the strong social intelligence of their Shih Tzu parent. Such intelligence typically leads to the Shihpoo quickly learning common commands with appropriate and persistent training.
What is the Shih-poo’s temperament like?
Shih-poos are typically very eager to please their people. This includes trying to learn common commands they are taught each day and with significant levels of praise. Shih-poos love making their people smile and will earnestly try to determine what you are trying to teach him or her.