Okay, Let's Now Dive into Training to Heel
Heeling is when your Shih Tzu walks on your left with his head next to your left foot. Heeling also means when your dog follows along at your pace.
When your Shih Tzu is fully trained to heel to you, your dog will properly follow along whether you are walking, jogging or suddenly stop. A dog that heels always walks beside you and does not run ahead or stop to investigate things along the way.
There will be plenty of times that you do not mind when your Shih Tzu takes his time to explore the world. However, training a dog to heel is one of the most frustrating training for dog owners. The reason may be that owners expect the dog to naturally walk beside them. A Shih Tzu has absolutely no idea that he is expected to do that.
When first brought out on a leash, dogs will naturally try and do as they wish. They will chase a butterfly, stop to smell flowers, try to run ahead and explore the world before them.
It is the owner that must show the puppy what is expected.
Age to Begin
Your Shih Tzu should be 4 months old before you begin any outside training. Once your puppy is up-to-date on all vaccinations, you may then feel free to go ahead and venture outside.
1.To begin, you will want to put a harness on your Shih Tzu. Walking your untrained Tzu on a leash and collar can be very dangerous. If your dog lunges forward or if you pull too hard on the leash, the fragile trachea can collapse; this is a very serious injury.
In addition, you will find that you have more control over your Shih Tzu when training your dog to heel.
2.You will want to give your dog a few minutes to get used to the harness
that you put onto him. Before you know it, your Tzu will accept the harness and put up any fuss.
3. You will now begin to walk. Have your dog on your left side.
4. Any time that your dog tries to walk ahead of you, stand in place and do not move. Using a harness, this will not cause injury. Your Shih Tzu may try several times to keep walking. Do not pull on the leash. Simply remain standing and do not move. While you are remaining standing in 1 spot, any time that your Tzu comes very close to you, talk to your dog and pat him. This shows that staying near you = the leash will not frustrate him or her.
5. As soon as your Shih Tzu stops trying to walk ahead by themselves and is remaining near you, give the leash a quick, moderate tug, continue walking and make sure to say “Good Boy!” or “Good Girl !”
6. Hold the leash with 2 hands. With your Shih Tzu
on your left, you should be holding the leash very tightly with your right hand and very loosely with your left hand.
7. Anytime that your Shih Tzu walks beside you, keep repeating the command word of “Heel” in a happy yet firm tone of voice. Also, offer words of praise as you go along.
8. Change your pace; take turns walking slower and then faster. Do not just walk in a straight path; make this fun and challenging for your dog by zigzagging around signs, making turns, etc.
9. You may need to tug and then say “Heel” over and over; however at any time that your Tzu is doing well, offer great words of praise. Do not stop to pat or hug your dog; but keep saying “Good Boy” or “Good Girl” in a very happy tone to show how proud you are of him or her.
10. The first time that you take a turn and he does not, he will quickly realize that he must heel to you. Of course, be very careful, as stepping on your Shih Tzu can cause extreme injuries or worse. But, walk confidently and show your dog that you are in control.
11. These training sessions should be done each day, for 20 minutes. If you do not give up and you do this each and every day, your Shih Tzu will learn what they must do to hear your happy “Good Boy” or “Good Girl” remarks. When the walk is finished, be sure to give tons of hugs, kisses, praise, attention and a small doggie treat.
It usually takes about 2 weeks for your Tzu to be successful at this. Even when it seems that they are well trained, do keep offering the words of praise as you walk along. Eventually, whenever you give the command word, your Tzu will immediately go over to your left side and stay beside you.