shih tzu crate training

Shih Tzu Crate Training: 2023 Guide to Make Your Pup Feel at Home

Creating a cozy den for your pet? Let’s chat about shih tzu crate training, its benefits, and how to do it right.


Are you a proud owner of a Shih Tzu puppy or planning to adopt one in the near future? Then, this article is for you.

The Shih Tzu breed is known for its affectionate and loyal nature, making it an ideal family pet. However, as with any other dog breed, it requires proper training to ensure that it becomes well-behaved, obedient and comfortable in its surroundings.

One of the most important aspects of training your Shih Tzu puppy is crate training. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about crate training your furry friend successfully.

Brief Overview of Shih Tzu Breed and Their Characteristics

The Shih Tzu breed is a small-sized dog weighing between 9-16 pounds and stands up to 10 inches tall at the shoulder. They have long hair that requires daily grooming to prevent matting. These adorable dogs have a playful and friendly disposition and love spending time with their owners.

Shih Tzus are known for their independent nature, which can make them challenging pets to train without proper guidance. They are also prone to separation anxiety if not adequately socialized as puppies.

In addition to their happy-go-lucky attitude, Shih Tzus are intelligent dogs that can learn commands quickly when trained effectively. Thus crate training is an essential aspect of raising a well-behaved shih tzu.

The Importance of Crate Training for Shih Tzu Puppies

While some people might think that using crates for dogs is cruel or inhumane, it’s quite the opposite when done correctly. A crate provides a safe space for your pup where they can retreat when they want privacy or need some alone time.

Crate training is especially important for Shih Tzu puppies as they are small and fragile, making them susceptible to injuries. Keeping your puppy in a crate when you’re not around prevents them from chewing on electrical cords, ingesting toxic substances and hurting themselves.

Moreover, crate training aids in housebreaking your Shih Tzu puppy. Since dogs are naturally den animals, they will avoid soiling their sleeping space.

Therefore, by confining your pup to a crate at night or when you’re not home, you’re teaching them to hold their bladder and bowel movements until you let them out. Crate training is not only essential for house training but also for keeping your furry friend safe and secure.

It provides a comfortable spot where they can rest while feeling secure at the same time. In the next section of this guide, we will explore what crate training entails and how to choose the best crate for your Shih Tzu puppy.

Understanding Crate Training

Definition of Crate Training

Crate training is a method of teaching your Shih Tzu puppy to view their crate as a safe and comfortable space. The crate is often used for short-term confinement while the puppy is not supervised, such as when you need to leave the house or at night when you’re sleeping. By using the crate as a positive tool, your Shih Tzu will feel secure and protected in their own space.

Benefits of Crate Training for Shih Tzu Puppies

One of the biggest benefits of crate training for Shih Tzu puppies is that it provides them with a sense of security and comfort. It can also be an important tool in potty training your puppy, as dogs generally avoid going to the bathroom where they sleep.

Additionally, crate training can help reduce destructive behaviors such as chewing or digging, which can occur when puppies are left unsupervised for long periods of time. Another benefit is that it helps with socialization by exposing your Shih Tzu puppy to different people and situations without overwhelming them.

This can build confidence and reduce anxiety in new environments. It also makes traveling easier because your puppy will have a familiar space wherever they go.

Common Misconceptions about Crate Training

Many people believe that using a crate is cruel or that it’s like putting their dog in jail. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth – if done correctly, crate training can actually improve your dog’s quality of life by giving them a safe and secure place to call their own. It’s also important to note that excessive confinement isn’t healthy for any animal – puppies included.

While crates are effective tools for short-term confinement during training sessions or while you’re away from home, they should never be used as a substitute for proper exercise or socialization. It’s important to remember that crate training is not a punishment.

It’s a positive experience that teaches your puppy to love their crate and see it as their own personal space. With the right approach, your Shih Tzu will learn to view their crate as a safe haven and happily go inside on their own.

Understanding the definition of crate training, the benefits for Shih Tzu puppies, and common misconceptions can help you make an informed decision about whether or not this method is right for you and your furry friend. In the following sections, we’ll explore how to choose the right crate for your Shih Tzu puppy and how to introduce them to it in a way that makes them feel comfortable and secure.

Choosing the Right Crate for Your Shih Tzu

Types of crates available in the market

When it comes to choosing a crate for your Shih Tzu puppy, there are several types of crates available in the market. The most common types of crates are wire, plastic, and soft-sided crates. Wire crates are the most popular type of crate because they provide good ventilation and visibility for your puppy.

They’re also relatively easy to clean and transport. Plastic crates, on the other hand, are more durable and secure.

They’re ideal for travel or when you need to confine your puppy in a car or airplane. Soft-sided crates are lightweight and easy to transport, but they offer less protection than wire or plastic crates.

Factors to consider when choosing a crate for your Shih Tzu puppy

When choosing a crate for your Shih Tzu puppy, there are several factors you should consider. Size: Choose a crate that’s big enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. The size will depend on the height and weight of your puppy.

Material: Consider what material will be best suited for your needs – whether it’s portability or durability you require. Durability: Make sure the crate is sturdy enough to withstand chewing or scratching from an active pup.

Ventilation: Ensure that the chosen crate has good ventilation so as not to restrict airflow within it. Safety:The safety features like latches should be sturdy so that they don’t accidentally open on their own

Tips on how to make the crate comfortable and inviting

Once you’ve chosen the right type and size of crate for your Shih Tzu pup, it’s important to make it comfortable and inviting. Here are some tips to help you achieve that: Padding: Line the bottom of the crate with a soft and comfortable pad or blanket.

This will provide a cozy space for your puppy to relax. Toys: Add some toys and chewable items to keep your puppy entertained while inside the crate.

Treats: Reward good behavior with treats, and this can also be used as a positive reinforcement technique. Covering: If your pup seems anxious about being in the crate, consider covering it with a light blanket or sheet to provide a sense of security.

Location: The location of the crate is an important factor to consider. Place it in an area where your puppy can still see and hear you but also has access to fresh air & sunlight!

When choosing a crate for your Shih Tzu puppy, it’s important to consider factors such as size, material, durability and ventilation. In addition, making sure that their new home is comfortable will be key in encouraging their use of it!

Introducing Your Shih Tzu Puppy to the Crate

A Step-by-Step Guide

Introducing your Shih Tzu puppy to their crate can take time and patience, but it is essential for successful crate training. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to introduce your puppy to their new home:

1. Start by placing the crate in an area of your home that is calm and quiet. You want to avoid placing the crate in a high-traffic area or near any loud noises.

2. Make the crate comfortable and inviting by adding soft blankets, toys, and treats inside. This will help your puppy associate the crate with positive experiences.

3. Encourage your puppy to explore the crate by using treats and positive reinforcement techniques such as praise or petting when they show interest in it. 4. Once your puppy starts showing interest in the crate, begin feeding them their meals near it so they start associating good things with being around it.

5. Once your puppy seems comfortable around the crate, lure them inside using treats and give them praise when they go inside on their own. Gradually increase how long you keep them inside while ensuring that they are happy and relaxed.

Using Treats and Positive Reinforcement

The use of treats and positive reinforcement is key when introducing your Shih Tzu puppy to their new home – their crate! When introducing your puppy, ensure that you always have plenty of treats handy as well as other things that they love like toys or soft blankets. Start by leaving small bits of food just outside of the entrance of the cage so that there’s something tempting for them just outside where they may feel more comfortable at first.

When you see signs that he/she is ready for a quick exploration (sniffing, curious glances etc), put the treat just inside entrance so he has to go in a little to get it. If your puppy does go inside, say “good boy/girl” and give the treat.

Gradually increase the distance that your Shih Tzu puppy has to go inside the crate for a treat so they get used to going all the way inside. Always be sure to show positive reinforcement and offer praise when they do, even if it’s just taking one step inside.

Gradually Increasing Time Spent in the Crate

Once your puppy is comfortable entering their crate and getting treats while being there, gradually begin increasing how much time they spend inside of it. Start with just a few minutes at a time and slowly work up from there. When you have somewhere you need to be or will not be around for an extended period, this is a good opportunity for training them in staying longer in their crates.

If your Shih Tzu starts crying or whining while in the crate, resist letting them out immediately as this could reinforce any negative behavior patterns around being left alone. Instead, wait until they are calm and then reward them with treats or praise.

Building a Routine Around the Crate

Building a routine around your Shih Tzu’s crate can help reinforce positive associations with it as well as make life easier for both you and your puppy. Use similar cues every day such as feeding before putting them into their crates, making sure that blankets are cleaned every week etc. Another effective technique is teaching them verbal commands such as “crate” or “kennel”, so they recognize what you want when you say it thus associating the command with going into their crate.

Remember that consistency is key when building routines – aim for feeding times, walk times etc at consistent intervals each day so that everything flows smoothly and predictably. This will foster trust in his/her new home!

Tips for Successful Crate Training with Your Shih Tzu Puppy

Consistency and Patience are Key

When it comes to crate training your Shih Tzu puppy, consistency is vital. Establish a routine and stick to it.

This means that you should feed your puppy at the same time each day, take them out for potty breaks on a regular schedule, and follow the same crate training schedule each day. If you’re consistent, your puppy will learn what to expect and will feel more comfortable in their new environment.

Additionally, patience is important when it comes to crate training. Your puppy may struggle with the idea of being confined at first, but with time and patience, they will learn to see their crate as a safe space.

Avoid getting frustrated or angry if your puppy doesn’t immediately take to the crate. Instead, try different training techniques until you find what works best for them.

Avoid Using the Crate as Punishment

It’s important that your Shih Tzu puppy sees their crate as a positive environment rather than something negative associated with punishment. Never use the crate as a form of punishment or disciplinary action.

Doing so can cause anxiety in your puppy, which can lead to other behavioral problems down the line. If you need to discipline your pup for an unwanted behavior, use a different method like verbal correction or even taking away privileges like toys or treats.

Gradually Increase Time Spent in the Crate

When first starting out with crate training your Shih Tzu puppy, you’ll want to start with short periods of time in the crate (10-15 minutes) while gradually building up longer periods throughout the day (30 minutes – 1 hour). It’s important not to rush this process as overwhelming your pup by leaving them alone for too long too soon can lead to negative associations with the crate. If your puppy seems to be adjusting well to the crate, you can gradually increase the amount of time they spend in it.

However, always be mindful of your puppy’s behavior and body language. If they seem anxious or uncomfortable, shorten their time in the crate until they become more comfortable.

Provide Plenty of Exercise and Mental Stimulation Outside of the Crate

Crate training is not a substitute for exercise or socialization. Make sure your Shih Tzu puppy gets plenty of playtime outside of their crate so they can burn off energy and socialize with other dogs and people.

Providing mental stimulation through toys like puzzle feeders can also help prevent boredom and anxiety which could lead to negative associations with their crate. If you have to leave your pup alone for extended periods, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to come take them out for potty breaks, walks, and playtime during the day.

Crate Training Takes Time

Crate training does require time, patience, and dedication on your part as a pet owner. Don’t expect overnight success when it comes to crate training your Shih Tzu puppy. It’s important that you remain consistent in your training efforts and avoid getting frustrated if progress seems slow at first.

Remember that every puppy is unique in their personality and temperament – some may take longer than others to adjust to their new environment. By following these tips for successful crate training with your Shih Tzu puppy, you’ll set them up for success by providing them with a safe space while also maintaining discipline when needed.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Crate Training Your Shih Tzu Puppy

The Puppy Whines or Barks in the Crate

It is common for puppies to express their discomfort or frustration by whining or barking while in the crate. To address this issue, it is important to resist the urge to let them out of the crate immediately. Doing so will teach your puppy that making noise will get them what they want.

Instead, wait until your puppy has stopped making noise for a few seconds before letting them out of the crate. You can also help reduce whining and barking by increasing your puppy’s physical and mental stimulation outside of their crate.

Make sure they have plenty of exercise and interactive playtime with you throughout the day. Additionally, providing toys and puzzle feeders can help keep their minds occupied while in the crate.

The Puppy Refuses to Enter or Stay in the Crate

If your Shih Tzu puppy is hesitant to enter or stay in their crate, it may be because they do not feel comfortable or safe inside it. To address this issue, try offering treats and feeding meals inside the crate. This will help your puppy associate positive experiences with being inside their crate.

You can also try placing a piece of clothing with your scent on it inside the crate to make it feel more familiar and comforting to your puppy. Gradually increase the amount of time your puppy spends in their crate each day, starting with just a few minutes at a time.

The Puppy Has Accidents Inside Their Crate

Accidents are bound to happen during crate training, but if they become a frequent problem there may be an underlying issue that needs addressing. Make sure that you are not leaving your Shih Tzu puppy in their crate for too long without a potty break.

Additionally, double-check that you are providing ample opportunities for your puppy to relieve themselves outside of the crate. If accidents continue to occur, consider adjusting your puppy’s feeding and watering schedule to reduce the likelihood of accidents.


Crate training can be a challenging process, but with patience and consistency, it can also be a highly effective tool for both you and your Shih Tzu puppy. By choosing the right crate, introducing your puppy gradually, and providing plenty of positive reinforcement, you can help your puppy feel safe and secure in their crate. Remember to avoid using the crate as a form of punishment or leaving your puppy in their crate for extended periods without breaks.

Troubleshooting common issues such as whining or barking, reluctance to enter or stay in the crate, and accidents inside the crate requires understanding that this is all part of the process. With time and effort invested into properly crate training your Shih Tzu puppy, you can help ensure that they grow into happy, well-adjusted adult dogs that view their crate as a comfortable and safe space where they can relax when necessary.

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