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My wife and I have two labs, a black (15 months old) and a yellow (9 months old). Potty training was relatively easy. Take the dog out regularly after eating and say "go potty", then reward them. They were both trained within a week of adoption.

Then we got a shih-tzu.

We've had this dog for a month and I'm getting frustrated. First off, the dog seems impossible to potty train. Spend a while outside playing, dog comes right in the house and pees on the rug. She just doesn't seem to get it. We take her out often. We reward her for going outside. We've tried taking the rug outside, letting her sniff it to see that pee belongs outside. She doesn't get it. She goes in and pees on the hard floor.

So I did some research online and found a dog intelligence chart. Labs scored #7, Shih-tzus ranked #70.

Does anybody have any ideas about how to potty train this dog?
 

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when you bring her back into the house watch her very carefully at all times and when she starts sniffing or going to squat immediately take her outside and whae she does go outside praise or treat like crazy. My Berner took til she was 6 months old to housebreak! but she did have bladder infection and other times I think she really didn't care! She would look right at me and pee in the house! Do you have a link to that intelligence chart?
 

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If she has not pee's when outside, crate her the minute you come in and then in 15 minutes take her out again. Keep up the praise (food reward and high happy "good Doggy" stuff) when she does go outside. Take her out the same door every time for pee/poo time. Have her walk out the door. Everytime she goes out say the exact same word (like "Outside?") and when she does go outside, say something (same thing every time) like "Hurry Up!" (You are doing this with the Labs and may be doing this with her too).

Indoors, keep her tethered to you or crated. Clean up spots with Nature's miracle or other enzyme cleaner to eliminate smell that can attract her back to that spot. If she goes, interrupt her and take her out.. as she finishes up outside, praise and reward with food. Watch her like a HAWK and prevent accidents as much as humanly possible.

When I say praise her outside for going, I mean make it a BIG reward.. six tiny pieces of hot dog or Spam.. and act like she just pee'd or poo'd GOLD. I have been known to put food in my dog's mouth as she has poo'd (neighbors think I am nutz.. but I am not cleaning up dog poo inside either).

There are those here who would argue with me on this, but I think the dog needs to go out on her own 4 feet. With little dogs, many people pick them up and take them out. Some dogs cannot associate the act of going out with being picked up and taken out. So, IMO, the dog needs to walk out on a leash on her own 4 feet.

I don't think housebreaking is an intelligence issue. A lot of small dogs from BYB's or pet stores are/were caged when they were puppies and did not learn that pee and poo is not to be done where you sleep.

I wonder where GSD's and Standard Poodles ranked on the list you mention and if they put ppl on there somewhere... probably below both but likely below poodles... :p (Just kidding).
 

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The Shih-tzu was a puppy born from a friend of a friend's dog, so it wasn't ever really crated.

Our labs were different. If you saw them squatting (which was easier to spot because they are bigger and there's a farther distance to squat) I could shout "NO" and the dog's pee/poo function would seize up the dog would hold it until we could get them out of the house. The Shih-tzu looks as if she would stick her tongue out at me if she could.

The Nature's thingy method may work. We'll have to try that.

Here's the link for the dog intelligence. It's wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt, though I have noticed quite a difference between the lab and the shihtzu. Poodles rank #2 after Border Collies. The Pekingese ranked 78 out of 78, just after Elected Officials.
 

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Here's the link for the dog intelligence. It's wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt, though I have noticed quite a difference between the lab and the shihtzu. Poodles rank #2 after Border Collies. The Pekingese ranked 78 out of 78, just after Elected Officials.
Stanley Coren explains very well what issues he uses in measuring intelligence. However, I think he does a disservice to dogs by attempting to rank them. People don't read him carefully and I've read many writers who have interpreted the rankings improperly.

For one, comparative psychologists look at the dog not in the environment it is adapted to, but rather in artificial, contrived environments. How does one breed compare with another in the *wrong* environment? I think is the *wrong* question to ask.

Dr. Raymond Coppinger writes this in Dogs - A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution.

Implicit in the claims that breeds can be ranked according to intelligence, or temperament, is the assumption that intelligence and temperament are genetic traits, and breed specific, and are measurable. It implies that intelligence exists more or less along some continuum. To say that border collies are smarter than Afghan hounds is to assert that the genetic configuration of the border collie's brain enables it to learn more, or more quickly, or perhaps to be able to solve more problems, than an Afghan hound. And it is just not true. A classic experiment that selected for maze-bright (smart) and maze-dull (stupid) rats concluded that within several generations, strains of rats had evolved with different intelligence quotients. Later investigations, however, determined that the rats had actually been selected for their shyness about entering the maze ("stupid"), or willingness to enter ("smart"). The observed results had nothing to do with intelligence.
Dr. Coppinger goes on to say...
I believe that thinking about the learning abilities of dogs in terms of intelligence is to miss the essence of dogs. No breed is more or less intelligent in any general sense. They are all just different in what they are capable of learning. The innate motor patterns are the qualities of each dog that the trainer is shaping. And displaying innate motor patterns is what makes the dog feel good.
More times than not I hear of people claiming that their dog is "stupid" or "dumb". And usually what follows such claims is frustration on the owners part and possible punitive measures applied to the dog's parts. This isn't fair to dogs, and anyone making such claims is speaking a foreign language to me.

Plus, anyone who is a guardian to a mini schnauzer knows that mini's are the brightest breed of all.
 

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Here's the link for the dog intelligence. It's wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt, though I have noticed quite a difference between the lab and the shihtzu. Poodles rank #2 after Border Collies. The Pekingese ranked 78 out of 78, just after Elected Officials.
Heh, I can't imagine a Pekingese as a working dog - so I guess they would have a low working intelligence. :)

And while I don't know if you can make an accurate tier list of dog intelligence, I wouldn't be surprised if there ARE differences between breeds. I would imagine a Border Collie probably could learn more things and/or learn more easily than a Pekingese. While it's probably not 100% gospel, there's probably some measure of truth in the idea that some dogs are more intelligent than others. I don't think all living things of any species have the same exact level of ability beyond the absolute basics for survival. Otherwise, why would there be differences between dogs even of the same breed given the same environment?

Anyway, Cotons aren't ranked so the list is bogus already :D
 

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I don't think obedience and intelligence are necessarily the same. Many dogs that are consider average to below are dogs that were bred to do their jobs independent of human direction. Does that make them dumb if they don't want to obey a command on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd try? Maybe they are trying to figure out why they should obey that particular command which in my book would make them highly intelligent.
 

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Shih tzus, although adorable and wonderful to have... Are pretty dumb. I've had mine for almost two months and he still has accidents inside the house although we've been training him since we got here. It can take 40-50 repeats of a command for them to understand it, and my boy doesn't really listen to me unless there's a treat involved. He really doesn't know that outside is for peeing yet, he'll go to the door sometimes, but most of the time he'll just act normal and then just pee or poop. I took him outside one time, and when we came back inside after he peed, I went to the bathroom real quick, and when i came out there was a pile of poop on the floor x.x They take a lot of patience, I'm the most impatient person you'll ever meet but I love him so much that I don't mind making this extra effort to be calm when he makes a mess. Of course I want him to learn, but it's gonna take time. It may take another month or two, but when you have a dog for years, it's really not that much time.
 

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I never really paid much mind to these things. They are misleading.

A dog that can learn what we teach it easily is often considered "intelligent" while a dog that ignores us is considered "stupid."

Some breeds that are difficult to train to do OUR wishes are actually very intelligent. They have simply been trained to think independently (like coon hounds). Are coon hounds more difficult to train than Poodles? Yes. But that is a measure of trainability.

Meanwhile, I would put elected Officials behind ALL the dogs on that list. Dogs are typically honest and they do learn.
 

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I don't think obedience and intelligence are necessarily the same. Many dogs that are consider average to below are dogs that were bred to do their jobs independent of human direction. Does that make them dumb if they don't want to obey a command on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd try? Maybe they are trying to figure out why they should obey that particular command which in my book would make them highly intelligent.
True - and even if they aren't trying to decide to obey or not - maybe they are also trying to understand the "other" information. I know sometimes if Wally's paws aren't in a certain position he has to do a bit of "figuring" on how to get his paws aligned - or how to do it anyway.

Likewise if I want him to stand up on his back paws, sometimes he's trying to figure out if he can reach whatever I'm holding up (certainly intelligent, he's showing reasoning about position in relation to himself and an idea of how high he can reach up) - or he'll walk around, trying to orient himself on how to get it.

Also, what qualifies as "learned"? Is it the first time he completes a behavior or chain? Is it X successes out of Y tries? Is the command/behavior trained for any length of time before telling the dog what to do?
 

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Shih tzus, although adorable and wonderful to have... Are pretty dumb. I've had mine for almost two months and he still has accidents inside the house although we've been training him since we got here. It can take 40-50 repeats of a command for them to understand it, and my boy doesn't really listen to me unless there's a treat involved. He really doesn't know that outside is for peeing yet, he'll go to the door sometimes, but most of the time he'll just act normal and then just pee or poop. I took him outside one time, and when we came back inside after he peed, I went to the bathroom real quick, and when i came out there was a pile of poop on the floor x.x They take a lot of patience, I'm the most impatient person you'll ever meet but I love him so much that I don't mind making this extra effort to be calm when he makes a mess. Of course I want him to learn, but it's gonna take time. It may take another month or two, but when you have a dog for years, it's really not that much time.
The fact that your dog only does something for a reward shows intelligence. I suspect operator error here and not a dumb dog.
 

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looked at this and I have to say DO NOT agree!!! My mother inlaw has a Shih-tzu [sp?] and she is a very bright little thing!! Easy to housebreak, a little yappy, okay ALOT yappy but very smart!
I always say a dog is as smart as their owners:D:D
 

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I'm far from being an expert but I've heard that in general smaller dogs are more difficult to house break.

As far as that intelligence list goes - there's no way australian shepherds should be way down at 42!
 

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Housetraining success, IMO, has more to do with the handler/owner than anything else, including the dog's intelligence rank on some chart. I've housetrained many a dog over the years, and some were dumb as a box of rocks! ALL of them were easily housetrained. Small breeds will need to be taken out more frequently than larger breeds, and housetraining goes well when you do not allow freedom of the house until the dog IS housetrained. Every time the dog pees in the house, the behavior is being reinforced, so it becomes harder to to achieve the end goal.

First off, crate this dog, or at least contain her (baby gates or ex-pen) whenever you can't supervise. No playing outside when it's time to potty, and no more than 10 min. outside, then back inside, and into the crate. Then try again. Don't give her the opportunity to pee inside, but, do not yell NO should you happen to catch her in the act. All you will do is make her afraid to potty in front of you, so she'll sneak away somewhere in the house to pee.

Supervision, repetition, and being persistent, consistent, and above all, patient with her, will result in your success. Hang in there!
 

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I don't think obedience and intelligence are necessarily the same. Many dogs that are consider average to below are dogs that were bred to do their jobs independent of human direction. Does that make them dumb if they don't want to obey a command on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd try? Maybe they are trying to figure out why they should obey that particular command which in my book would make them highly intelligent.
Also, some breeds have very low 'working drive' (desire to obey humans). For instance, toy breeds would tend to be less driven to please you for the sheer joy of it (they prefer you to please THEM, lol) than a Poodle or Border Collie, who were bred to work for people. It's not about intelligence, it's that with some breeds, they really have no in-born desire to do what you say. For those cases, you have to find out what motivates that individual dog (food, toys, etc) and use that to get them to do what you want.
 

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Pai, that's what my wife noticed. She said "this dog is more like a cat trapped in a dogs body."

Our labs seem to take pleasure and pride in doing what was order them to do. They're just two different kinds of dogs.
 

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This article showed up on yahoo just before I got to my email inbox.. Thought I'd share. It gives a bit more info- the study was done by PETMD, but only lists the top 10..
 
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