They are so cute! And yet you hear yourself saying: “I don’t know how to do this….he’s too small. How To Train My Chihuahua? Help!” Let’s take a look at some Chihuahua training tips to get you rolling.
Of course due to its tiny size, you must treat your little guy differently than if he was a larger breed. Also, due to it’s smaller size some Chihuahuas startle very easily, and you might startle too if a gigantic human was looming over you in a threatening manor. Since we can be a bit intimidating to such a tiny guy, maybe just putting yourself down on the ground with your student might be the best way to begin. Once he is comfortable with you, and your different tones of voice, you’ll find it’s an easy segue way to more vertical training standing up. Although, since you are training a Chi, there will always lots of bending over to reward and praise your baby.
Chihuahuas are very intelligent and they want to please their owners. Nevertheless, if you are trying to train a dog that is timid, or perhaps previously mishandled, you may be required to be a bit more patient with your Chi.
I have personally tried a technique called “Clicker Training” with my little puppy, Frisco. Clicker training, just as it sounds, uses a little plastic “clicker” as a signal to your dog of positive reinforcement. There are many books which claim it is very effective. It is said to be more effective than providing tasty treats. However, to me it was just a replacement for saying “good dog” and a nice pat on the head. Also, if I didn’t happen to have the clicker in my pocket, Frisco, would look at me like, “Well, where’s my “good dog” click sound/”. So, for me, I just use regular old verbal reinforcement, and the occasional treat in my pocket as a surprise.
One of the areas where a Chi dog needs to receive training that is frequently overlooked is socialization. A Chihuahua must be exposed to other dogs and people as early as possible. It is best to teach your pet how to socialize when he is still very young. They may be timid, but it’s important. When socializing your pet to mingle with other dogs, please always be nearby, because your little Chi may be socialized, but the other dog may not. And take it slow, you want this process to be a good experience for your dog.
Here are some ideas on ways to begin to socialize your Chi:
• Ask your friends to come over and meet your pet.
• Bring your pet to crowded places.
• Get him used to being bathed and brushed regularly.
• Expose your little guy to any experience that you might want him to feel comfortable being surrounded by.
Gentle training is necessary if you want your Chiwawa dog to grow up as a well-balanced pet. You can still and should discipline your dog of course, but you must show a lot of gentleness, patience and love. Obviously, never do anything that can hurt your puppy such as slapping, kicking or pinching. Being so small, these dogs are fragile with tiny bones. He may act tough, but if you treat him rough, he might even develop anxiety or aggression. You don’t want that.
Look for opportunities to say “Good Dog!” and reward your dog for his good behavior. He will enjoy small treats and praise. If you start your training early, before 3 months, with consistency and care you will soon see a well behaved Chiwawa dog looking back at you very soon!