How to Train Your Chihuahua
You’ve probably heard that Chihuahuas are “aggressive, stubborn, and disobedient”. While it’s true that Chihuahuas suffer from the so-called small dog syndrome, they aren’t the destructive, unmanageable breed everyone makes them out to be.
In order to avoid any unwanted personality traits, it’s important to train your Chihuahua properly. Whether your Chi is a puppy or an adult, there are steps you can take to make your Chi obedient, gracious and respectful.
Training a Chihuahua Puppy
Training a puppy, no matter which breed it is, requires a lot of patience and time. While Chis are fairly intelligent dogs, they are strong-willed and may not respond to commands well. As a result, your approach to training your puppy is crucial.
On the other hand, training a Chi puppy is easier than training an adult. As long as you start early, your pup will grow up to be a happy, obedient Chi.
Habits are very hard to break even in humans, much less in dogs. Consequently, it’s important to set the rules in your home as soon as the Chi enters, and stick to them. Make sure your Chi knows what it can or can’t touch in the home, as well as where it can or can’t go.
Additionally, it’s important for the pup to have its own territory. This means having a place to eat, sleep, and drink. As a result, make sure to separate special areas in your home for your Chi’s dog bed and bowls.
Finally, the most important step in training a Chihuahua is to establish yourself as their alpha. This way, you will earn respect from your Chi, and it will be easier to train. However, that doesn’t mean you should be aggressive to your dog – be positive when giving commands to your Chi. If your pup is doing something bad, never shout at it, respond with a firm “no”.
-Housebreak your Chi.
Chihuahuas are notorious for being difficult to housebreak. As a result, it’s important to potty train your pup as early as you can. In order to do this, you need to set a place in your home (or outside) where your pup can do its business. Do not switch the place when you feel like it, as your Chi will be confused and difficult to train.
Once you’ve done that, put a pad or newspapers if you want to keep your floors clean. Now, the question is – when do you take your Chi to the designated toilet?
- When it’s sniffling areas in your home a few minutes after eating/drinking
- Every time your Chi wakes up from a nap
- Whenever you wake up in the morning
- Before you go to sleep
- Every 2-3 hours
At these intervals, take your puppy to the designated area. You have to do this every time your Chi needs to go, so it can learn to go on its own after a while.
Keep in mind that there’s no way to know how long it’s going to take to potty train your Chi. It depends on many factors, including the pup’s personality. Be patient and consistent and your Chihuahua will be housebroken in no time!
-Teach Your Chihuahua Basic Commands.
First, it’s vital that your Chi responds to its name. After naming your pup, teach it to come whenever it’s called. It’s important to make the pup excited to come, so clap your hands or tap your lap when calling your pup. Naturally, always encourage your Chi by giving it rewards for a job well done.
Now, let’s learn how to teach your Chihuahua to sit. Whenever you want to teach your puppy a new command, it’s important to have Chihuahua treats in hand. To teach your pup to sit, show that you have a reward in hand – let it smell and focus on the treat. Now slightly lower its butt to the ground while saying a firm “SIT”. Then praise the pup and give it a treat.
However, teaching your Chi other commands like “STAY” and “LAY DOWN” is a bit more tricky. You can’t force your Chi to stand up, which is why it’s important to have treats on your person all the time. Once your pup “accidentally” does something you consider admirable, always give it an immediate reward. In turn, your pup will learn that this is desirable behavior.
-Socialize your Chi.
It’s crucial to socialize your Chi from an early age! You should begin socialization training with your Chi at around 3-4 months because puppies can be quite oblivious to the world around them when they are younger.
When it comes to training your pup, never assume that it's naturally friendly and social. While it may seem that way when your Chi is young, it may turn into a fearful and aggressive dog if not taken seriously.
To socialize your pup and teach him to stay calm around other dogs and people, take him for a walk in a park where it can see a lot of dogs of various sizes and breeds. Don’t let your pup get close to them yet! Once your Chi is perfectly fine with walking around, slowly let it meet other pooches (within reason! Never let your Chihuahua be around dogs who seem aggressive). Finally, don’t let your Chi spend too much time with very large breeds, it’s best to socialize it with smaller dogs.
- If your pup is barking in the middle of the night, try to ignore it. Usually, it’s just a cry for attention. If you bend over backward for your Chi when it’s barking, you will teach it that barking will help it achieve its goal. Unless your pup is in distress, DO NOT engage when it’s barking.
- Be very consistent when training a puppy. While teaching your pooch different commands and trying to housebreak it can be a very frustrating experience, it’s vital to be patient and tolerant. It may take some time, but you will save yourself a lot of stress and frustration in the future, as trying to break an adult Chi’s habits can be borderline impossible.
- Prepare your pup to wear a Chihuahua harness from a very early age. Harnesses are a great training tool and let you keep your Chi under control without applying pressure and injuring it.
Training An Adult Chihuahua
We’ve discussed the various ways of training your Chihuahua while it’s still a puppy. However, if your Chihuahua is an adult, it requires a different approach. Maybe you have adopted an older Chi, or you didn’t train it properly when it was a pup, either way – there are steps you can take to improve your dog's behavior.
However, before we begin, it’s important to note that things will not always go as planned, as the Chi may have already developed certain personality traits and will not give them up easily. If you thought that you need to be patient with a puppy, adults will take that patience to a whole other level.
Nonetheless, we’re sure you will succeed in properly training your Chihuahua. Here are some tips to get you started.
-Potty training an adult Chihuahua.
Housebreaking an adult is not much different than housebreaking a puppy, meaning you will need a lot of patience and consistency. In the same manner, the first step is to choose a designated area where you want your Chi to do its business.
As the Chihuahua is an adult, you can probably notice slight changes in behavior when it needs to go. You will quickly learn its behavior patterns. When you notice your Chi exhibiting the familiar behavior, take him to the area you have previously prepared. It is going to take a lot of time, nerves, and treats, but eventually, your adult Chi will start accepting your rules.
-Socializing an adult Chihuahua.
When it comes to socializing an adult Chihuahua, it's absolutely crucial to not overstimulate your Chi immediately. Additionally, accept that your Chi may have deeply-rooted issues and phobias that can’t be overcome. Finally, don’t force your dog to change its personality. If your Chi is shy, you can’t turn it into an outgoing dog and vice-versa.
During the process of socialization training, it’s important to ignore the negative behavior your Chi exhibits. If you give your dog attention while it’s acting out, you will reinforce the idea that its fears are justified. Consequently, don’t be afraid to shower your Chi with praise and rewards for staying calm in a stressful environment.
Make sure to socialize your adult Chi in very short intervals and increase them as you go along. Gradually expose your furry friend to other dogs and people, making sure you have full control of the situation (your Chi is on a harness and isn’t too close to other dogs).
- Consider signing up your Chihuahua for an obedience class or hiring a professional trainer to help out.
- Choose your battles. While a perfectly obedient Chi may be your dream, in reality, some of the training will not bear fruit. Decide on what’s important, and focus on that!
- When you are taking your Chihuahua for a walk, never let it dictate the pace or stride in front of/behind you.
To sum up, training a Chihuahua is not as hard as it may seem. Whether your pooch is just a puppy or a full-grown adult, there are steps you can take to make the process easier for both you and the Chi. It requires a lot of time and patience, however, with our help – your Chi will be perfectly trained in no time.