How To Crate Train A Shih Tzu?

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Just like us humans, Shih Tzus should have their own private, snug little space.

Regardless of your dog’s age, a crate will bring decorum into your life and theirs.

Not only will crate training help with house training, but it will also be useful whenever you have to travel.

So it is important to learn how to crate train a Shih Tzu from a young age.

When you stay overnight with friends or family or in a hotel, having a trained puppy will make your trip a lot more enjoyable.

Another added benefit of crate training is that your Shih Tzu learns to spend time alone in their tiny “bedrooms.” It will save them from going through bouts of separation anxiety or any such phobias.

Although the process of crate training has to be executed gradually, similar to how we train babies to sleep in cots and use playpens, we have to put the puppy in the crate for some quiet time.

The premise is for your Shih Tzu to let go of the habit of consistent human attention and learn to live more independently.

You want to be careful and push the little guy into accepting only a few changes at a time.

At the end of the day, the goal is for your adult dog to have a secure and balanced personality.

You want your furry friend to be pleasant company. In order to develop a love for the crate in your Shih Tzu, she needs to feel safe, comfortable, and at peace.

how to crate train a shih tzu
Should you crate train?

Guide for Choosing The Right Crate For Your Shih Tzu

The crate should be her connection to positive feelings and experiences, rather than seeming like a punishment. Selecting the right crate for a tiny puppy like the Shih Tzu is an art form.

A summary of the core factors you need to consider includes the following.

Size Of Your Shih Tzu In Comparison To The Size Of The Crate

The area of the crate is an important factor when purchasing one for your dog. The Shih Tzu is still a dog and should be able to perform all her little dog tricks within the crate. Make sure you opt for a spacious crate for her to stand up, turn around, and lie down conveniently inside.

However, also make sure that the crate is manageable. You Shih Tzu might divide it into 2 portions; one for his/her potty and the other for eating and sleeping.

Sturdiness and Design Of The Crate

Another core aspect of the crate should be proper ventilation. Your dog should not feel suffocated when inside that space.

Furthermore, the build of the crate must be durable to withstand any horsing around the Shih Tzu might engage in when inside.

Buying the perfect crate can take a lot of work to make. You can contact the local shelters, your vet, or a breeder to get better insights. You might have to gradually shift from a smaller to a bigger crate if you train a puppy, especially from a giant breed.

Multiple factors determine the environment within the crate, and you must adjust accordingly.

  • Where you live
  • In which area of the house is the crate located
  • The dog’s tendency to overheat

Consider these things and invest in a crate or floor fan. The fan and good ventilation will help keep your dog cool.

Prepping The Crate For Training Your Shih Tzu

Prepping The Crate For Training Your Shih Tzu

Purchasing the right crate is half of the journey. When you bring the new crate home, make sure that you keep it in a room where the family spends most of their time.

You want to avoid making your Shih Tzu feel alone and isolated. Therefore, keeping the crate outside, in high-traffic spaces, or where it should avoid the temperature.

Another necessary step before you start using the crate is to disinfect it. You can use a mild soap or baking soda to rinse it vigorously. We want to ensure our little furry friend feels at home inside the crate.

You can convert this crate into a playful den for your doggy by making slight changes.

Simply placing a comfy bed or blanket inside the crate will augment the cozy vibes. Although if your dog is habitual of shredding, then you will need to engage her in vigorous or frequent exercise.

You can also put some toys or treats to keep your Shih Tzu amused. Food-stuffed or treat-release toys are amazing gadgets to have on hand to keep her occupied while she’s by herself at home.

In the beginning, you can keep your Shih Tzu In the crate for a few minutes and then slowly increase the time she spends in there every day.

Maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of the crate has to be done regularly. Add these chores to your list, as a dirty crate will not only smell but also become a health hazard for your dog.

Also, be mindful that your Shih Tzu has a supply of fresh filtered water in the crate.

A stainless-steel bowl will make cleaning up extremely easy, and it can also be attached to the front of the crate!

Effective Techniques For Crate Training

Patience is a crucial virtue to have when crate training your Shih Tzu.

You have to move forward step by step. Place food as rewards around the outside of the crate and inside as well.

This way your Shih Tzu will feel more secure going in and out of the crate without the fear of being “trapped” inside.

Plan A:

There will be a moment when you feel he is at ease inside the crate, and you can begin feeding him in there with the door open.

However, you can close the door once you feel your Shih Tzu is perfectly fine having his food within the crate.

Plan B

Another strategy that works well in training your Shih Tzu to stay in the crate is to sit outside the crate for a while as your dog gets used to it.

Quietly, stay near the crate for around 5 – 10 minutes and then go to the next room for a while.

Return and sit again without making any sounds. Stay for a short time and then let them out. Keep repeating these steps a few times a day. Slowly expand the length of time you let them be in the crate and the time you stay out of sight.

Positive reinforcement and obedience training go hand in hand and will set you on a path to success. With support and understanding, there will come a time when your Shih Tzu will want to enter the crate on their own.

An outcome you want to avoid at all costs is letting your Shih Tzu feel neglected, alone, and afraid at any point in the process. Circumvent any instinct to use the crate as punishment or confinement.

You shouldn’t keep her in there for extended periods either, as it begins to feel forced.

Remember, we want to achieve a mutual understanding of where the Shih Tzu wants to spend time in the crate. Never place your Shih Tzu in there by abuse of power.

Challenges Of Crate Training A Shih Tzu?

Challenges Of Crate Training A Shih Tzu?
A couple of Shih Tzu’s from our shihtzuadvice.com facebook page

It is in your hands to make the crate your dog’s favorite place by properly introducing it to them. Most owners work with the assumption that their puppy will become used to the crate. However, there are some obstacles along the way.

Separation Anxiety

Even though owning a dog is one of the most joyous experiences in life. There could be instances when your dog loses their mind if you leave them on its own. You can control this form of separation anxiety with crate training.

The solution to resolving this problem is to use a crate with a cover so you can create a den-like surrounding. Furthermore, give your Shih Tzu access to plenty of mentally and physically stimulating activities to distract them while you have to be away.

We have a specific guide on this, read more here.

Barking or Whining

Incessant barking may signify that your dog must attend to nature’s call.

However, it is also vital that you do not succumb to crate barking.

The solution is to address the underlying cause of this sort of behavior.

If you think the barking and whining is a temporary act for attention. You can try using a white noise machine or music to tune out the noise. After a while, she will settle down on her own.

Refusing To Go Inside The Crate

Before immediately reacting in frustration, you should take a step back and consider why your Shih Tzu might not want to enter her crate.

If your dog has never been crate trained before this or their crating process was abusive in some way, they will avoid going inside. A bad experience can put the Shih Tzu back many steps.

Regardless of the reason, the solution to this issue is for you to counter-condition.

Desensitize your Shih Tzu’s negative connection from the crate and retain the crating behavior. You can begin by placing tasty stuff around the crate outside and putting some inside.

It will entice the dog to go inside little by little. You can also use toys as a reward for your Shih Tzu entering the crate on their own.

If your dog refuses to enter the crate, purchase one that comes apart. Take the top off, then start the counter-conditioning process.

Common Crate Training Mistakes

Common Crate Training Mistakes
Luna and Yuri with their owner.

People lose their cool when it comes to training dogs. Crate training on its own is difficult to execute. With a dog’s shaky temperament, it can become a challenge.

However, you must practice tolerance and restrain yourself from pushing too hard.

If you overstep and resort to coercion, it could destroy your connection with your Shih Tzu. Some issues come into light regularly when owners fail to be patient and do not put in effort for their dogs.

It will create negative results if you start forcing your puppy into a crate, particularly when they are unwilling. Furthermore, having a crate too small for a big puppy will physically make them feel restricted.

A bleak interior with no toys treats, or blankets will only depress your little Shih Tzu. Also, leaving your puppy in the crate for over a 24-hour day can alienate the little guy and give them anxiety.

Our Recommendation crate for Shih Tzu’s – The iCrate Starter Kit

The iCrate Starter Kit is the best all-around product we have found online as it includes everything you need for your Shih Tzu puppy to begin crate training.

It’s great value as it includes a pet bed, cover (really important), crate, and even a couple of dog bowls for great measure. It’s the best value crate package on the market!

Click here to view online

Joel – Shihtzuadvice.com

Final Words: Making Crate Training Easy for your Shih Tzu

When crate training, we reap the benefits of the instincts of dogs to find a secure, peaceful, quiet place for themselves.

Instead of your dog resorting to chewing on household items during housetraining, they will have a place to relax.

Traveling anywhere with a dog can be a hassle, and a crate makes the entire endeavor a lot easier.

Stay calm with the entire process of crate training your dog. Take it one step at a time, and your dog will follow.

Start small and let your dog stay within the crate for short intervals each day.

After a while, your Shih Tzu will get used to staying in the crate even in your absence, and they will become self-sufficient.

It is one habit that you cannot rush. Be empathetic towards your little friend and try to put yourself in their shoes.

The tiny pup has to adjust to being completely alone, which can be daunting for anyone. Adopting a methodical and pragmatic approach for crate training will be worth your while.

Consistency is key here. You must follow the process every day so that your Shih Tzu can get used to staying inside for a while.

A routine consists of actions performed each day which is what we are trying to develop for your Shih Tzu.

Let us know how you went with training your Shih Tzu in the comments below:

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I am the owner of Shihtzuadvice.com and the proud parent of two black and one gold Shih Tzu's. I belive that the Shih Tzu is the best all-around dog for anyone and want to share with you as much valuable knowledge as possible about this great breed!

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