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. Therefore, the goal will be to distract in a particular way. In regard to toys, pre-plan for this by having a few select, new toys ready in a bin that has been placed up high enough that your Chihuahua is not aware of them. When your Chihuahua starts to beg, completely ignore him. When there is a break in the barking or whining (even if it is just for your dog to catch his breath) use that exact
moment to hand him an interesting toy
. 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.
It can take anywhere from a week to a month for a dog to stop begging and he may strengthen his efforts before he finally accepts the new way of life. However, it does
have an end. You just need to have enough willpower to reach it. When a dog learns that his efforts do not bring about any changes, he will not put energy into that effort any longer. Canines can be counted on in this way; they will follow the path of least resistance and take actions only if doing so brings about a favorable outcome. The secret is to stick with the training long enough for the Chihuahua to figure it out. A dog will learn that begging brings about nothing at all (not speaking to him, no playing, not even eye contact) and that not begging means praise and reward (toys, attention, enjoyable actions such as walks, games of fetch, etc.).
7. Step things up a notch in other areas.
Since it will be typical for an owner to feel bad for ignoring their dog; it can help to offer fun and attention in other ways that doesn't involve food. And you may find that spending more time with your Chi creates a better bond; there's lots of things you can do: