You can distract with toys or an activity, however this can be a bit tricky and something to be very aware of. If you distract with pats, taking your Chi out for a walk or giving a toy, you do not want this to be seen as offering a reward of some sort for barking or other begging behaviors that the dog displayed.
Do time this right so that he does not think he is being rewarded. This may throw him off track… or he may ignore it, however it’s worth a try.
You may also distract by bringing him out for a walk, initiating a game of fetch or encouraging another sort of activity. But again, do this during a break in the begging behavior (the point when your Chihuahua is worn out a bit and takes pause), so that he does not misinterpret this as a reward.
In many instances, a Chihuahua will only beg for food when it is right there in front of him; for example, when you are preparing a meal, eating a snack or looking in the fridge.
As you transition from that action into the next thing that you will be doing, you can encourage your Chihuahua to pay attention to the new element.
For example, if you were eating dinner and your Chihuahua was begging for something off of your plate, do not give in. But, when you move on to wash your plate, toss some bubbles to him (not enough to ingest, just a bit in a teasing way for him to nose at with curiosity).
If he was begging while you had the fridge open, place an ice cube on the floor for him to chase around. Most begging stops once the object of longing is out of view.
5. Reward good behavior.
As time goes by, periods of a break from barking and whining will become longer. For example, a Chihuahua may bark like mad when you’re at the dinner table, re-think his actions by laying down for a bit and then come back with full force to beg some more.
During that window of good behavior, strongly reward it. Use words of praise, pats of affection and reward via a toy, if you have not already used one for distraction. It is suggested to separate the dog’s toys and keep a few special ones in a bin strictly to be given as reward for good behavior.
With an enthusiastic tone of voice, let your Chihuahua learn that his behavior is appreciated. Dogs aim to please, so by teaching your Chihuahua that he’s doing great, he will be more apt to repeat whatever action brought him attention and approval.
If a dog sees that remain calm while the family eats is a sure bet to getting tons of praise, playtime afterward and feeling like a ‘star’, he will be much more prone to repeating the actions that gave him that.
6. Have patience.