​​AKC SHIH TZU OF CALIFORNIA

  
Training

Training a puppy to go outside is easier than you think.  From the time a puppy is born they are cleaned up after their mother and then when they are older and mommy is not cleaning them anymore the breeder cleans ups after them and makes sure their “den” is always clean.  This conditions the puppy to always want a clean “den”.  As puppies grow they begin to go outside learning that going away from the “den” is a good thing.  When you get puppy home you start out with a very small area being his den and make it larger as he earns your trust.  Eventually being trustworthy to have run of the house.  The goal being, your home will be his “den”.


A puppy cannot understand the concept of housetraining if you let him roam the whole house or even an entire room.  He must be confined to a space he understands.   Keep an eye on him all the time.  If you can’t, put him in his crate or an exercise pen where he is likely to let you know if he needs to potty.  You can also tie a 6’ leash to your waist so he’s hanging out with you but can’t run over to a corner for a potty break.  This also teaches him to follow you.


As part of potty training process we have taught the puppies to go outside on the grass and to use the pads in the playpen.  They have also had some exposure to crate training and have also learned to use the doggie doors.  Below are some training methods you can use to continue training your puppy in your home.      
Under NO circumstances spank the puppy for an accident, or rub the puppy’s nose in the elimination.  This will NOT help in the housetraining process, it will only cause the puppy to become afraid of you.  If the puppy is not caught in the act of an elimination, do NOT discipline the puppy for it i.e. upon entering the kitchen an elimination is seen across the room, but the puppy is at your feet – remember the puppy’s memory span of 30 seconds.
  
  
Play/Exercise Pen Training
Playpen training is the simplest method to train small indoor puppies and the least stressful for the family when the puppy will not have regular access outside your home.  Training your puppy to potty on pads inside a small confined area is by far the easiest method of housebreaking, especially since it will come naturally to them not to potty in their bed.  This leaves very little room for error when the puppy is in its playpen when left unsupervised for an extended period of time.  Our puppies are partially housebroken to go on potty pads inside their playpen.   The only training necessary is to train her with lots of praise to potty on the potty pads outside their playpen as well in their new home.  Make sure that for the first few weeks your puppy spends most of their time in their playpen (their home), otherwise the puppy will be accustomed to being outside its playpen and will not want to go back.  The best time for training is after the puppy eats or wakes up from a nap.  They usually will potty within 10-15 minutes.  Keep on eye on your puppy and when he looks like is about to potty take her to the nearest pad.  If they get anything on the pad give lots of praise.  If the puppy makes a mistake, it is best to just clean up the mess and avoid any type of punishment.   Often when a puppy is punished they tend to hide usually under beds and furniture in fear of being punished again and they potty there.  As long as you are consistent with the training, you should be able to leave your puppy with the playpen open when you are not home.  This process could take a few weeks or months, like with any other training method have patience.

  
Crate Training Your Puppy
Crate training your dog or puppy may take some time and patience. The effort you put into this process can be useful and safe for your pet in a many ways. The crate is handy for limiting your dog’s access to things you don’t want them to have and is a place that they can feel safe. If the crate training process is done properly and not abused by the owner as somewhere to “stick the dog”, it is an excellent method. There are some guidelines to follow when crate training however. On this page you will find basic puppy crate training methods that have been tested and proven to work.

Crates come in many different shapes and sizes and may be plastic or even collapsible. Metal crates seem to work the best for larger breeds.  Crates or “kennels” can be purchased at most any pet supply stores. The crate should be just big enough for the dog to be able to stand up and turn around in.

Crate training can take weeks and perhaps even months. Your dog's age and their temperament play a big role in this type of training.  It is very important to remember two things while crate training. The crate should always be associated with something good, and the training should always take place in very small steps.

Place the crate in a part of your home that you spend time in. The family room or recreation room works the best. Place something soft in the bottom of the crate. You and your puppy should go over to the crate and play by it a little. Be sure to place the door to the crate open. You may want to put something to prop the door to the crate or kennel open so the dog doesn’t get sacred by the door swinging open and closed.

Next put some treats inside the crate. If your puppy refuses to go all the way in, it is okay. Do not force your dog in. You may want to put several treats into the crate until your dog will walk peacefully all the way in. If your puppy is not into the treats, you can use a toy or a “chewie” instead. It can take some time for your dog to warm up to the crate. Be patient. Some dogs develop dog crate hate, but this can be solved as well.

After introducing the crate you can start to feed meals near the crate. This will create an enjoyable connection with the crate or kennel. If your dog is entering the crate comfortably when you begin this step, put their dish all the way to the back of the crate. If your dog still won’t enter the crate, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without getting scared. Each time you feed them, place the food further to the back of the kennel.

Once your dog has become comfortable enough to eat meals in the crate, close the door while they are eating. Open the door as soon as they finish the food. With each feeding you can leave the door to the kennel closed for a few minutes longer. If your dog begins to cry to be let out go a little slower with the time spent with the door closed. If the puppy whines or cries to get out, it's very important that you do not let them out until they stop. If you let the dog out when they cry they think this is the way to get out of the crate.

After your dog is eating meals in the crate with no fear or nervousness, you can leave them there for short periods of time while you are at home. After your dog enters the crate comfortably give them a treat and close the door. Sit near the crate for about ten minutes or so. Go into another room of the house for a little while. When you return, sit by the crate again for a few minutes. Let the puppy out of the crate and repeat the process several times. Gradually increase the time you leave them in the crate and the time you are out of sight.

Once your dog will stay calmly in the crate for about 30 minutes at a time with you out of their sight the greater part of the time, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone. You may even let them sleep there at night if you wish. This process is intense and may take a long time to accomplish. One thing with this type of training is that you must not get overwhelmed. The training, if repeated enough, will come in time. 
  
Crating Duration Guidelines
  9-10 Weeks  Approx. 30-60 minutes
11-14 Weeks   Approx. 1-3 hours
15-16 Weeks  Approx. 3-4 hours
17 + Weeks    Approx. 4+ (6 hours maximum)

*NOTE: Except for overnight, neither puppies nor dogs should be crated for more than 5 hours at a time. (6 hours maximum!)


SCHEDULE
There are four times a puppy typically eliminates:
1. A puppy usually eliminates when it awakens.  For example, a pup will urinate after a nap.  It is important to remember that puppy’s sleep several times a day, and thus have several waking periods.
2. After eating, the gastrolic response produces a bowel movement.  With several feedings each day, young puppies require considerable number of trips outside.
3. Intense activity by the pup stimulates elimination.
4. Dogs normally eliminate before bedding down for the night.

Strict schedules and a regular routine of resting, eating and playing regulate the elimination process.