A ball is the absolute best toy, and classic “fetch” is one of the most enjoyable games you can play with your Chihuahua. Some Chihuahuas may need some extra encouragement. Start by playing indoors and throwing the ball only a few feet at first. Arm yourself with two or three balls, so that you can keep the pace up, and use “Swap” to encourage your Chihuahua to return the ball by offering an alternative.A tennis ball is ideal for this exercise—small enough for most dogs to carry easily in their mouths and with some bounce in it if you’re playing on a hard surface. For giant breeds, a tennis ball is too small to be safe, so you will need to use a larger, soft version instead.
- Until your Chihuahua’s got the hang of bringing the ball back, play in the backyard or another relatively confined space. Have two balls ready—you’re going to reinforce his retrieving efforts by reminding him of the “Swap” exercise.
- Bounce one ball on the ground, or throw it up in the air and catch it until you have your Chihuahua’s attention (keep the second ball out of sight).
- Throw the ball—a medium-strength throw, not too far. As your dog picks it up, call “Come.”
- As he looks toward you, call again, and as he starts to head in your direction, get down close to the ground and hold your arms out.
- As he gets close to you, take the other tennis ball out so that he can see it. He may drop the ball he’s holding and head over to you, in which case, say “Uh-uh,” walk back to where he dropped it, and hand it to him again.
- If he gets to you but doesn’t want to drop the ball, don’t grab at it—instead, remind him of his “Swap” cue while offering the second ball. Bounce it on the ground or throw it from hand to hand if you need to make it more appealing.
- As soon as you’ve reclaimed the original ball, make sure he’s watching and throw it again. Remember to ignore any behavior you don’t want and praise any that you do. “Fetch” is exciting for dogs and it may take a few sessions to teach your Chihuahua that only giving up the ball will win him another throw.
An enthusiastic game of “Fetch” is a great workout for your Chihuahua, what will keep him in a great condition!