Imagine how nice it is living with a dog that always comes when you call, sits and lies down on command, stays in place when told to, and respects the words No and Enough. Well, obedience training is easier than you may think.
Teaching Words that all good dogs obey
Conditioning Chihuahua puppies (or adult dogs) requires a trainer with an upbeat attitude, one who gives plenty of praise and positive reinforcement, with absolutely no punishment. If that’s you, go ahead and get going! When teaching the meaning of the following commands, praise or reward your Chi every time he gives you the correct response, and simply ignore him when he doesn’t. Dogs will do virtually anything for attention, so yours should quickly learn the lingo.
How often do you and your Chihuahua need to practice simple commands such as Sit, Down, And Come? Every day. But you don’t need to set aside a special time for it. Instead, you can use the commands during daily life: Sit, for the dinner dish. Come, for a treat. Down for petting. You get the picture.
Training a puppy to come
Use bribery to teach your Chi what Comes means. For instance, you can follow these simple steps:
- Introduce the word at feeding time by saying his name and then the word “Come” in a happy voice (Pepe, come!”)
- Show him his dinner dish.
- Walk backward a few steps while holding it.
- When your pup follows, praise him and then let him eat.
- Repeat the process every time you feed him.
When training a puppy to come, call him only when you know he wants to come- not when he’s sleepy or busy with food, a toy, or another person. Later, when your Chihuahua is older, you may want to attend obedience school. There you discover how to teach him to come no matter what the distraction. In the meantime, practice often. Call him for all the good stuff-dinner, treats, and cuddles-and he’ll soon respond happily.
How soon should you start to training a puppy to Come? As soon as he settles in. He loves attention, but keep the training sessions short (like puppy attention spans) and always be cheerful and upbeat.
Puppies love to chase, and chasing games help them learn what Come means. Touch your Chihuahua on his rump playful, say his name followed by the word ” Come”, and then run away a few steps while clapping and talking happily. Let him catch you and then play with him for a few seconds before giving him another playful tap and starting over. Three time is plenty for one session.
Training a puppy to sit
To teach your Chihuahua what Sit means, follow these simple steps:
- Hold a treat in front of his nose, say “Sit”, and then move the treat upward and back over his head. When his eyes follow the goodie upward, his head will tilt back and his rear end will lower until it reaches the floor.
- Give the treat immediately while he’s still sitting and praise him.
- Try it three or four more times, but be sure to quit while he’s still having fun.
A soft treat, such as a nibble of cheese, makes a good training tool. It’s healthy, and a Chihuahua can eat it fast so you can continue training. Tiny pieces of soft, moist dog treats also work well.
Read more about how to train your dog to sit
Training a puppy to stay
Your Chi probably bounces up from his Sit right after you give him his treat, but now you’ll prolong that process by teaching the Stay command:
- Stand on your Chi’s right side, with both of you facing the same way, and hold a treat in your right hand.
- Tell him to “Sit”, but this time don’t give him the treat as soon as his butt touches the floor. Instead. move your left hand sideways, stopping just in front of his nose (palm facing him), and say “Stay” at the same time.
- Let a long second pass before giving him a treat.
Gradually work up to a ten-second Stay before presenting the reward. Decide how many seconds each Stay will be before you start, and vary the time. Otherwise your Chihuahua will soon outguess you.
What should you do if he moves before time’s up? Absolutely nothing. Don’t reward, don’t pet, and don’t punish. Just try again later and praise your dog when he does it right. After he learns to stay in place in the Sit position, you can use the same procedure to teach him what Down-Stay means.
Staying in place isn’t a puppy’s forte, so when training a puppy to stay, don’t try to make him remain in place longer than ten seconds. If your ultimate goal is for him to stay in place for several minutes, an obedience school is your best bet.
Making “No!” and “Enough!” effective
All dogs need to respond to two words: “No!” and “Enough!”. No means “Stop that right now and don’t ever do it again” If you bark out the word No in a sharp tone, your attitude won’t be lost on your Chihuahua.
Make sure to not use No too often, or your puppy will get used to it. Reserve the word for really bad behavior like teething on a table leg or nipping at feet or clothing. If your voice isn’t emphatic enough, clap your hands right after you say No.
Always keep your cool, and never touch your dog in anger. If you have a temper, stick with a verbal No.
“Enough” means “What you are doing was just fine for awhile, but you’ve been doing it for too long, so stop now”. Use Enough when you don’t want to pet your Chihuahua anymore but he keeps pawing your hand. Say Enough if he gets too wound up during play or continues barking long after the meter reader leaves. Said firmly but without anger, Enough works on puppies, adult dogs, and the kids that play with them.
Here’s a video about a Chihuahua doing tricks.