How To Train A Chihuahua
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Are you tired of your chihuahua dog not paying attention to you when you give him/her an order? If your little companion still does not understand the meaning of the command "NO", there is no way that it will learn to urinate in the correct place or stay calm when you try to cut its nails or put its collar on.
Chihuahuas are known to be a little more difficult to train than other breeds, so do not worry. This is why here at AnimalWised we aim to give you some tips on how to train a chihuahua correctly. Despite Chihuahuas being one of the most possessive and dominant breeds, training to teach basic commands is not as complicated as it may seem.
Characteristics of a Chihuahua
To be able to get begin some training techniques for Chihuahuas, it is essential to know the characteristics of this breed's temperament. Thus, a Chihuahua is characterized by having a dominant and possessive character, so it is not in his nature to be submissive. Chihuahuas are also known to be born leaders. They are: capricious, energetic, intelligent and very active, always willing to play with their owners and other dogs of their own breed.
Knowing this, what attitude should we take on to properly educate our chihuahua?
- We must show a somewhat authoritarian attitude, without being aggressive but always remaining firm. If we decide that we do not want our little companion to get up on the couch, we must keep strong in that decision and not let them. Remember: the leader of the pack must be you.
- Authority must always be accompanied by security. Even if you remain firm in your decision, if your Chihuahua perceives that you are insecure, it will continue to believe it is still the leader.
- Do not indulge your Chihuahua or provide it will all the whims it desires. If you want that your dog is well educated and listens to you, you must teach it that it cannot do or have everything it wants.
Having authority is not synonymous with being aggressive. This means that you should never: shout at your dog, hit him/her or educate them through negative conditioning. This aggressive punishment will only result in a scared Chihuahua, that will react defensively and aggressively. Small and toy dogs are highly sensitive to this type of behavior and can quickly become distrustful, pairing people to negative association.
Socializing a Chihuahua
Now that we know how we should address the education of a Chihuahua, how do we begin? Without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of the training of any dog, is socialization. Although all breeds require correct training on how to maintain relationships with other dogs, people and environment, there are some dogs who are more predisposed to this than others. These dogs therefore require more attention when it comes to this type of training.
As we discussed in the previous section, Chihuahuas are dogs that prefer to interact with dogs of the same breed and, therefore, if they are not socialized correctly, they can become aggressive with other dogs. To prevent this from happening, the socialization process of a Chihuahua needs to begin from a very young age.
Dogs are more receptive during their puppy stage. This is the stage when they begin to create their personalities and adopt a series of behaviors which we must help guide. If we want to obtain a happy, healthy and, above all, balanced dog: we need to train our dog from a young age. To socialize a Chihuahua correctly, one must take the following factors into consideration:
- When training a chihuahua to be social, you need to make sure that the receiving end is a; calm, well-educated and calm dog. A bad encounter can trigger serious behavioral consequences that can mark a Chihuahua for life.
- Don't let your Chihuahua's size fool you. Although they are consider one of the smallest dog breeds in the world, Chihuahuas are perfectly capable of interacting with larger dogs. Denying them relationships with bigger dogs, will only cause a Chihuahua to adopt an aggressive stance if they were to come across an unfamiliar larger breed.
- Prepare the first couple of dog meetings in a pleasant place, where your Chihuahua will feel comfortable and safe.
- Although small, the Chihuahua is not a toy. This is very important to remember when socializing a Chihuahua with small children. When it comes to dogs and children, it is essential that we make sure that our children understand that they should not treat little dogs like toys.
Establishing dog rules
In order to educate a dog correctly it is fundamental that all the members of a family are going to use the same commands and techniques, so as not to confuse the dog. For example, if one person uses the word "sit" and another "sits" , the dog will never internalize the order. Likewise, you must decide where in the home your dog is allowed to go.
Remember that dogs are routine animals and require fixed schedules in order to achieve inner stability. On the other hand, with a Chihuahua being a possessive and territorial breed, it is essential that you provide it with its own designated space. This space should be a space where your Chihuahua can eat, drink, sleep and play in peace. If this territory is not marked, your Chihuahua will believe that it has free access to the whole house and, again, assume that it is the leader of the herd.
Correct bad behavior
Whenever your Chihuahua does not comply with the established rules or norms, do not shout or scold him/her, simply say NO with a strong voice. Make sure you follow this strong No, with correction. If you do not correct your dog, it will do the same thing again. You can establish a sanction according to the misbehavior, such as: the withdrawal of a toy, stooping of a game etc. This sanction, however, should not last an unfair amount of time.
Potty train your Chihuahua
Teaching your Chihuahua grooming habits is very important. This is necessary to both, keep your home clean and make sure that your dog is well-educated. If your Chihuahua puppy has not yet been vaccinated, you should teach him/her to do their business on newspaper or sanitary dog pads. Here are some recommendations:
- Select a space in your home. Then, place several sheets of newspaper or large sheets of sanitary napkins in this area.
- A few minutes after eating or drinking water, take your puppy to that corner and place it on the paper.
- Wait for the necessary time until it urinates or defecates and congratulate him/her with enthusiasm. If your veterinarian allows you, offer him a prize as a reward for good behavior.
- You should also take your puppy to the newspaper to relieve itself after a long sleep.
- Remove dirty newspapers and replace them. However, when changing these sheets, you should rub the dirty ones with the new ones. The reason for this is that a puppy needs to be able to smell where it needs to go.
Chihuahuas have a much smaller bladder and excretory system than larger breeds, so the waiting time between the act of eating or drinking and urinating or defecating is much shorter. During its first months of life, they need to be constantly monitored, specifically in terms of potty training.
If, for example, you catch your Chihuahua urinating in a place where it shouldn't, gently take it to the chosen potty area. Remember to properly disinfect this rejected area, so that they puppy doesn't return due to the smell.
Once your Chihuahua puppy is vaccinated, you can start teaching him/her to do their business outside the house:
- As with the newspaper, ten or fifteen minutes after eating or drinking water, take your Chihuahua out for a walk to relieve themselves.
- Every time it urinates or defecates during the walk, congratulate it and present a reward for good behavior.
- If your puppy does not want to urinate during its first walks, do not worry. One way of dealing with this is taking your Chihuahua to an area where another dog has urinated. As they are very territorial, their instinct will be to to remark that area as their own.
- Remember to also take your Chihuahua outside after it has slept.
During the first couple of months you will have to take your chihuahua for a walk four to five times a day. After some time, you can reduce these walks to around twice a day,once your Chihuahua has accustomed itself to urinating and defecating at specific times.
How to train a Chihuahua: basic orders
Now comes the education process. You should start with basic commands: "come", "together" and "still". To better educate a chihuahua, professionals recommend using a clicker.
Teach my Chihuahua to "come here"
This is, without a doubt, one of the first orders that one must teach their dog, regardless of breed. If you do not have a clicker, you can use dog treats. To begin,consider the following points:
- It is better to practice this order outside, in a fenced but wide space; a home is too full of distractions, like: toys and food.
- We will place our dog at one point, and walk away from it. Once there is space between the two of you, place a treat on our feet and firmly voice the word "come".
- If successful, congratulate your dog enthusiastically and give it its deserved reward.
- Next, repeat the process but without treats. If it doesn't work this way, repeat it with a treat, and be patient.
- Little by little, increase the distance and reduces the treat amount.
Teach my Chihuahua to walk next to me
This order consists of two parts that we must carry out in order for it to become internalized. Before teaching your Chihuahua to walk with you, you need to make sure that they do not pull at their lead;
- Every time your Chihuahua pulls on the lead, stop. Without saying NO or scolding it. just stop walking for a minute before carrying on.
When the Chihuahua stops pulling, congratulate him and resume your walk. It's that simple.
Once your dog has understood that you do not want him to pull the leash, you can make way for the second part of the training. Take your clicker or treats and walk very slowly, monitoring your dog. Every time time the dog approaches you, say the word "together", click the clicker and give your dog a treat. Repeat this process as much as your Chihuahua needs until it is fully internalized.
Teach my chihuahua to stand still
This order consists of practically the same steps as for the previous orders:
- Take your dog for a walk.
- From time to time, stop walking. When we see that our chihuahua stops, say "quiet", click, congratulate him/her and give them a treat as a reward.
- Repeat this process until your dog associates the word "quiet" with the act of standing still, slowly reducing the sweets.
- Test this order in different contexts so that your Chihuahua can internalize this order as efficiently as possible.
To teach your Chihuahua these orders you must be incredibly patience. Some of these orders might take weeks for your dog to internalize, do not get angry with your Chihuahua, remain calm at all times.
Teaching my Chihuahua orders
Once the previous orders have been learnt, you can start teaching your chihuahua to: sit down, give, play dead, bring the ball, etc. Remember that positive conditioning and patience is essential to obtain a happy and balanced pup.
If you want to read similar articles to How To Train A Chihuahua, we recommend you visit our Basic education category.