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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have always trained big dogs (50+pounds).

I have been tasked to help train a tiny year old Shih Tzu. Smart kittle energetic dog but no boundaries and no training.

Last week we worked on markers ("yes!") and recall.. and teaching the dog her name. Today I am introducing the clicker (unless they have YES down really well) and we are going to work on "go to matt/bed."

All of you with well trained little dogs have any insights as to training these small dogs? Any Tips specific to little dogs? Using food this little thing fills up quick even when the food is small morsels!

We are doing mostly R+ at this point because it is all teaching.

Thanks!
 

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My dog is 19lbs. We trained him as a puppy with treats so it was easier to not fill him up as much. Maybe use a portion of his daily meal for training? We were always advised to adjust food allowances for training purposes (incorporate daily portions for treats). His breeder suggested using Cheerios for general training.

I use toys for training what I can like jumping over my legs (while I'm seated on the floor), weaving through my legs, things that require a lure or target. I know you are at a primal stage with training, so harder to use toys as training methods and it really only happens when a dog knows how to play with toys and is into them. Also once the dog gains a better relationship with trainer/handler IME. But I threw it out anyway in case you can make it work as a reward or lure.

And IME my small breed dogs have never responded well to anything but R+ so I agree to keep it positive ☺ I treat them very gently and be cute with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Today we got a sit and a down.. and started got to Bed and lie down. Recall is the biggest thing. She has a ball she loves so we use that as a distraction.

We were working recalls with the ball. We tossed the ball and called her off (used a flexi so he could not reach the ball and self reward by getting it and running around with it on her own).

We finished with tossing the ball and recalling her just as she got to the ball and she voluntarily and immediately came leaving the ball. Ended on that one!
 

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My only suggestion is to spend time on two things that people often overlook with toy dogs, as it's easy enough to just manhandle them - positioning on command and grooming. People tend to just scoop up little dogs, stuff them in their carrying bag, move them off a spot on the sofa, etc. I personally think it's much better for little dogs psychologically - and reduces the risk of anyone getting nipped - if the dog has commands for things like positioning itself to be picked up, for hopping up on to a surface, going in to a carrying bag, changing position, etc. Also, as a shih tzu, that dog has a lifetime of primping in its future, so teaching to stand on a grooming table and cooperate with all the procedures will save both the dog and whomever will be grooming it a lot of stress in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@parus TY fir this insight. She seems to enjoy the pampering and the owners regularly do the primping, although she does go to a groomer regularly as well.

Right now Recall is #1 and we have started "off" (couch and so forth) and (go to) "Bed" and "Down" (lie down) when she gets to "bed."

If I can get the owners trained (yes! Lol) for these things, then we can work on positioning.

They regularly have company who LOVE the dog. The dog loves back by jumping on the couch and getting in their face. A little of THAT goes a long way, so they have the dog drag a leash and redirect her.. rewarding her for "off." Next we get "bed" and "down" and build duration.

Dog is SMART. Owners are harder to train! I have given them homework... 🤞
 
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