S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
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S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
Each puppy from AmaDandi Shih Tzu leaves with a puppy packet full of information. Here are the guidelines that we have put together to help new owners start a puppy off in the right pawprints to success as a great companion. This page of the puppy packet is written with Shih Tzu in mind, but the ideas are solid for all new puppies. Some of you may find this information suitable for your own puppy packets. New Shih Tzu owners may find some ideas here to help you enjoy your new companion just a little more.

Remember that those really GOOD, extra-SPECIAL dogs do not “just happen.” It takes a lot of time, patience, LOVE, and work toward what you want them to be. Shih Tzu are “willing to please” by nature which is a definite plus. They also have a bit of an “attitude” that you need to work with gently. You will need to show them that all of the things that you want to teach them are just what they want to do in the first place. Many of the stages and behaviors that puppies go through are similar to those of human children growing up. You may find that some of the things that parents and teachers do to help children learn can be applied to these “canine kids” also.


*SET LIMITS. Do NOT give the puppy any more freedom than it has the maturity to handle. Example: Do not let it run unsupervised throughout the house until potty training is complete. It is not cruel to limit access to the house. It is sensible. Limits keep a puppy safe.

*KEEP THINGS SIMPLE. Teach step-by-step. Use simple words to give directions. Example: When you take puppy out to potty, choose a key word or two (maybe it is, “GO POTTY.”) Take her outside to the specified area, put her down. Say, “Go potty.” PERIOD. Do not say “c’mon, honey baby, hurry up!

*BE BRIEF. Puppies have a very short attention span. Training a new skill should be worked on for just a few minutes several times a day, rather than in one, long session. (Concerning a short attention span–they do not remember when they have done something wrong for longer than the moment. You have to catch them in the act to be able to correct for it.)

*BUILD CONFIDENCE. Smile! They read faces! Use a happy voice. (Save the stern one for quick corrections only. “NO!”, not “no honey baby cutie.”) A confident puppy grows into a confident dog and family member. It accepts visitors easily, is adaptable in many situations that would frighten other dogs. This includes those routine visits to the vet. (And maybe a show puppy hopefuls
first match or show!) Remember that it is most often the shy, unconfident dog that is more likely to bite or have a problem with people outside its own family.

*USE WORDS. Dogs have the capability to understand a large vocabulary. Teach one word or phrase at a time, slowly, and with purpose. This will not come overnight, but as the bond between you grows, through time and training, you may be surprised at how much “they just seem to know.”

*USE REWARDS. Food, touch, voice, all work well. DO use all three. Food is a great motivator, but a gentle touch as a guide, and the sound of praise in your voice are also rewarding. Each has its place in the plan of teach/learn.

*DON’T RUSH. Take your time to teach a new skill. It may take 40 repetitions of an exercise before it is reliable and routine. (And that is NOT 40 in a row either!) It may take days or weeks. Be patient. It will happen.

*BE CONSISTENT. Your puppy is trying hard to learn what you want. It is pretty hard to learn if you change the rules all of the time! Example: if the couch is off limits today, then it must be tomorrow, also. If it is GOOD to sleep on the bed today, then you had better be prepared to have her there tomorrow (and the next night...) Set up a good, consistent plan to start out with.

*PRAISE! PRAISE! PRAISE!!!!! You just can’t do it too much. Puppies need this feedback from you. And remember, that sometimes you have to look for even the smallest effort toward your goal. (O.K., maybe you did “stay” for only a fraction of a second—BUT YOU DID “STAY”. Good puppy!!!)

*REMEMBER THAT PUPPIES CAN BE FRUSTRATING SOMETIMES. But they do grow up, and it happens so fast that there will be a day that you wish for puppyhood again, even for just an hour or so. Puppyhood is a tender, fleeting time that precedes the rest of his life. ( Frustrating? Yes....especially after the fourth poopy pile on the floor today!) But, before you know it, if you have worked together, you have a friend for life.

*DON’T TRY TO TEACH EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE. It will be overwhelming for a puppy and you. Try to set up good guidelines from Day 1. Try to look ahead and prepare for a situation, thereby, setting you and your puppy up for success.

*LOOK! —FOR A GENTLE METHOD OBEDIENCE CLASS. Nothing rough–only motivational, gentle means of education. If you try one and it isn’t what you want, find another one. Classes should fun for both puppy and owner.
Training helps to build the bond between you, is a place to meet people with similar interest (dog people are good people!), and of course, provide a place to show off your wonderful Shih Tzu!

*REMEMBER–it is BECAUSE you LOVE your puppy that you teach obedience and give discipline. (It is never to be a punishment.)


Early Obedience