Teach your Chihuahua to balance a treat on his paw and wait to eat it until he’s told he can. If you’ve got a Chihuahua with extra-good balance and excellent self-control, there are also some tips on how to teach the more difficult version of this trick. An accomplished dog may learn to balance a treat on his nose and hold it there until he’s given permission to flip it in the air and eat it.
Your Chihuahua will need to know both the “Leave It” and “Take It” exercises before you teach this trick. Depending on your dog, you can teach him either sitting up with a paw held up (for the pet who’s always looking to put even more into a trick or game), or lying down flat with his paws in front of him (if he’s more of a laid-back personality, or an older dog who’s a little stiff in the joints).
Here’s the steps you need to follow:
- Pick the pose you want your pet to take and ask him to either sit or lie down. For the sitting-up pose, when he’s in position, ask him to give you a paw. Holding it gently from underneath, place a treat on the top of it.
- As soon as the treat is on his paw, your dog will either dip his head down to eat it, or look at you for guidance (“What am I supposed to be doing?”). If he moves to eat it, say “Leave It.”
- Make the cue last for two or three seconds—then cue him with “Take It.”
- A confident dog will gobble up the treat; if he hesitates, you can pick it up and hand it to him on the “Take It” you don’t want to confuse him).
If you have to hold your dog’s paw or steady his head while he’s balancing the treat, don’t use your hand to restrain him, only to help him balance.
This game is about self-control, and your pet needs to know that he can have the treat, but only when you say so.
Anything to build a little self-control in your Chihuahua is a good thing, and this exercise sends him the message that permission must be granted by you. As an added bonus, your dog gets to practice his “Leave It” and “Take It” exercises.
If you want to try to balance a treat on your dog’s nose instead, first practice the version opposite until your Chihuahua understands the cue, then ask him to sit and carefully place a treat on the flat part of his muzzle, just beyond his nose. You may have to steady his head with a hand under his chin for the “Leave It” cue, then on the “Take It” cue, remove your hand and he can flip the treat and eat it.