House Training a Shih Tzu

I have a one year old male Shih Tzu. He is really sweet and he goes really well outside, but we have a problem. At times he will just go to the bathroom in the house. I have tried to break him of this habit, but I never can get through to him that his paper or outside is the only place to go.

We don't put paper down until at night when he is put up in his room (which is our guest bath), it has hard flooring in there. Also, when we try to allow him to stay out of his area all day he will go to the bathroom on the carpet. Even if we have just taken him out. My husband wants me to just sell him but I would feel guilty. I love my dog and I feel that there is still something that I can do.

S. Hudgins from Jacksonville, AL


House Training a Shih Tzu

Please don't sell your baby, there is hope. It is not one hundred percent perfect but, it will help.

Use "piddle pads" during the day and get a small crate to put him in at night. When he has an accident put him in the crate as a "time out". Then take him out in the mornings. Monitor his water intake and if there is anyway you can, have a pet door put in so he can go outside. I have three small dogs and they have a doggie door that goes out into their pet yard. They still have accidents from time to time, but as a rule they use the pet door and I crate them at night. Come mornings they are ready to go out side!


I hope this helps! Let me know, you can email me; jonnie AT heynickfixmycar DOT com (remove spaces)


House Training a Shih Tzu

You didn't say how long you have owned your dog, but even if he isn't a puppy any longer, you still have to treat housebreaking as if he were.

You must buy a crate. The crate should be small enough so he won't potty in it, but big enough for him to stand up and turn around. A dog won't potty in his 'den' and even if you have negative feelings about putting your dog in a crate, it's one of the best things you can do for him. Not only will it speed up the housebreaking process, dogs are den animals and he needs his own 'room' to get away from everyone from time to time. Never use the crate as a place for punishment. The crate should be a good place to be for your dog. Crate training should begin when your dog has been exercised and he's tired and a little hungry. Remove the door of the crate and toss in a treat. He will go in, eat the treat. Praise him and allow him to walk out of the crate. Every time he goes in on his own or even gets near it, give him a little bit of a treat and praise him.


At night, the crate should be the place where he sleeps and it should be in your bedroom, not in the guest bathroom. Dogs are pack animals and need to be with their pack which is you and your family. No dog wants to be alone even when they sleep.

His feeding and watering schedule should be strict and consistent. He is a year old so he can 'hold it' all day long, but he doesn't know that right now. He's been unwittingly 'trained' to potty when he wants and where he wants. Start the feeding and watering schedule right away. After he's finished his meal and has had some water, take him outside right away. Always take him out the same door every time so he gets the idea that when he goes out that door, he should potty. Also, take him to the same area on a leash and tell him "go potty" or whatever phrase you want to use. If he goes, praise him lavishly. If he doesn't, don't be upset and don't get angry. Don't allow him to play, just take him back inside. Watch him closely and if he starts to sniff the floor or walk around in circles, immediately take him back outside to that potty area. This will take some patience on your part but believe me, it is well worth it.

I have a nine week old puppy and I work all day. I get up two hours early just to get her accustomed to a schedule. She sleeps in a plastic crate next to my bed and in the morning I take her outside to potty. I bring her back in, put her in an Ex pen and feed and water her. Sometimes she eats, sometimes she doesn't. I give her about ten minutes then take her outside again. I have an adult dog also and I let them play outside for awhile then we go back in. We do a little training for about ten-fifteen minutes then I let the puppy follow me around all the while on a leash. I have to watch her to make sure she doesn't have any accidents. Before I go to work, both dogs go out on the back porch in separate wire crates. In the puppy's crate I put a potty pad down and she has used these pads since I got her at eight weeks old. The food and water bowls are attached to the door of the crate and I leave water, no food. I put in a rubber Kong filled with treats for her, do the same for the big dog and they are fine until my husband and I get home in the afternoon.

Remember, consistency is the key for housebreaking. If your dog has an 'accident' in the house, don't scold him. If you catch him in the act, just scoop him up and take him outside to the potty area and let him finish then praise him. My pup has had a couple of accidents in the house, but it was my fault for not watching her. Every time your dog makes a 'mistake', go back to kindergarten.

If your dog is having accidents even after you are sure he is housebroken, take him to the vet. He might have a urinary problem.
Good luck! (03/12/2006)

By Anonymous

RE: House Training a Shih Tzu

House Training a Shih Tzu

We have a 3-yr old female Shih Tzu who we put in a kennel at night. We did this ever since she was a few months old and she loves it. I bought a medium size kennel and put a pillow in the bottom. The pillow fits perfectly and it's her little sanctuary. She also had problems with accidents in the house, but I don't notice it so much anymore. I wonder if it's something they outgrow. (03/13/2006)

By Kathy

House Training a Shih Tzu

I have the same problem, my dog is only just over 20 weeks home, but he still does his business in the house. We let him out, but minutes later he does it in the house. (04/04/2006)


House Training a Shih Tzu

I have an 8 mo. old Shih Tzu who is mostly trained when I take her outside or watch her closer. She still has accidents in the house and will sometimes go on a rug in our bathroom. She confuses it with her potty pads that we use when we are not at home. I get frustrated too. We have had her since she was 8 weeks old and she should be trained by now. So, I feel your pain.

I think they are just really stubborn and hard to train, so you really have to put them on a strict schedule and do not let them wander freely around the house until they are 100% house broken (meaning no accidents for 30 days straight). We crate her when we cannot watch her. During the day she goes to her day room, which is the laundry room and we put a pee pad in there since we are gone for 8 hours. When we get home, she goes outside immediately. Remember to use the same commands and go in the same spot. Give her lots of praise and a doggie treat immediately after she goes outside. It takes patience, but we can do it. Don't give her away. She will learn. Good luck! (07/15/2007)

By Ruby

House Training a Shih Tzu

If you love him, then don't sell him. I highly recommend a crate at night. We put our little 12 week old pudgy in his crate at bed time and he holds it all night. And the first thing in the morning you have to take him out. No matter how cold it is outside. We got our Shih-Tzu at 8 weeks old and have done it this way from the beginning. And it's working very well, so don't give up. You have to watch him when he's in the house too. Don't let him out of the crate unless he's eating, out to potty, or playing for a few minutes. Do this until you see that he's getting it. And don't forget to treat him for all his good work. Praise him. Play with him. After that, then take him back to his pen. Soon you will see that he loves his crate and that's where he'll run when he's afraid, nervous, or just tired and needs a nap. Warning, there will sometimes still be that accident though. No scolding. (11/28/2007)

By michellec.

House Training a Shih Tzu

Hey! I just got an 11 week old Shih Tzu and he wasn't house trained. He had accidents here and there, but he knows where the puppy pad is and the majority of the time that's where he does his business. I reward him every time, that is a big must! You have to work with them night and day. Give it time and they will learn where to do it at. Good luck guys.

By Brittiay

House Training a Shih Tzu

Crate him while you are gone or sleeping, and while you are awake use your leash and attach him to you so you are always close to him. When you see him sniff, bring him outside and treat him when he does his business outside. He might still have accidents, but it will get better with time. Shih Tzus are the sweetest dog who will bring you years of enjoyment. I have 3 and even when they mess in the house I could never imagine not having them! (07/11/2008)

By Toby

House Training a Shih Tzu

We have a 7 month old Shih Tzu who is the love of our lives. Patience is the key word when you own this breed. At 7 months, we still are in the house training mold with her, which was never a problem with our America Staffordshire Terrier. There are times when she potties in the house, but she is getting better.

I noticed she had fewer accidents in the house when I changed her food. But what we found to be most interesting, when company is over, she doesn't have accidents. Go figure right! The breed is stubborn, but with time (long walks and training) and patience (never scold), she or he will get better. Oh, did I forget to mention her name; Bella aka "the Princess" White. (12/31/2008)

By Salyn


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