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Training

Training a Chihuahua

Overview

Despite their size, Chihuahuas can be rather independent and some are quite stubborn. They can also be hyper and try to rule the house. For these reasons, aside from house training your Chihuahua puppy, you may find that there are some other types of training that are needed as well. 

Essentials Before You Start

No matter which type of training you want to begin doing with your Chihuahua, there are some basic elements that should be understood and set up in advance. These will help guide you to fast results. 

1. Your attitude, as a trainer, is vitally important. Your Chihuahua will be the student and you will be the teacher. And your dog will learn much faster if you are patient and enthusiast. Your Chi will take cues (verbal and non-verbal) from you in regard to how he should approach learning something. Is being in 'school' something to dread? Or is it a challenging yet rewarding experience? 

2. Consistency is key. This is one of the most important elements. Dogs have rather short-term memories, yet they can also remember things for years with fantastic long-term memory. The key is to do sessions as much as possible. The repetition will help move the information from short to long-term. 

Training hardly ever works if you do it 'sometimes' or even 'most of the time'. If you are serious about training your Chihuahua, stay strict in your routine. When house training, follow the guidelines exact. When command training, do two sessions per day. When heeling, do this every single time your Chi is on leash. 

3. Reward and praise. Dogs need to know why they should do a certain action. Yes, listening to their human is a good reason; however, when it comes to learning new things a dog does best if he is motivated. The best way to motivate a dog is to instantly mark correct behavior or action with a tasty treat. Don't worry; once your Chi is doing well the treats can be phased out and only given now and again as positive reinforcement.

And dogs soak up praise. When a Chihuahua is told that he is doing awesome, he'll gain self-confidence and be more prone to repeat the behavior. 

House Training

Every puppy coming into a new house will need to be housebroken. In addition, adult Chihuahuas that are re-homed may also need to either start over or to have refreshers. Generally, if you are very consistent with your training and your Chihuahua is somewhat cooperative, house training will take 2 to 3 months.

Even once your Chihuahua seems to have it down pat, you'll want to continue to follow the guidelines. If you just let your Chi outside to take care of business by himself, you may find that he soon forgets the rules. Not to mention that there are countless dangers for tiny dogs when outside alone. 

One of the most important aspects of successfully house training a puppy is to choose one specific area that will be used for his bathroom needs. In other words, simply 'outdoors somewhere' is not a designated spot and will only serve to delay his learning. 

The more times your dog is lead to his area and the more he is rewarded for doing great, the more this will move from his short-term memory to his long-term, which means that the training will be successful. Read more about house training a Chihuahua

Barking at Night

While it's near impossible to train a dog of any breed and any age to not bark at all, and owners have to put up with some vocalization, barking at night is perhaps the most frustrating of all. It can stress out the entire household, with everyone, including the Chihuahua, waking up in an awful mood. There are some things you can do to try to limit this sort of problem. Read more about training a Chihuahua to not bark at night

Commands

All dogs should know basic commands. When you take the time to train your Chihuahua to: Sit, Stay, go Down, Come, and Give, this has several benefits. Of course, it gives you a well-trained, well-behaved dog which makes life with a pet easier and less stressful in so many ways. 

Additionally, a wonderful bond forms when an owner works with their dog on these sorts of lessons. Last, but not least, as a dog is being trained for commands, a level of respect is gained. And this translates into a Chihuahua understand proper hierarchy.

Heeling is also one that should not be bypassed. Many owners do not enjoy walks with their Chihuahua because of misbehavior and triggers that prompt barking and pulling. Taking the time to teach your Chi to stay by your side is well worth the time. 

It's always suggested to start as soon as you have a new Chihuahua; however, a dog of any age and any background can learn the basics. Below are some great books via Amazon (3 for commands and 1 for tricks, because, why not?), and of course, The GIANT Book of Chihuahua Care includes all needed training for commands, heeling, socialization and more. 

Listening

You may have steadfast intentions of training your Chihuahua, but that can all be in vain if your Chihuahua doesn't listen to you in the first place. If your Chi doesn't care much about what you say or what you try to teach him to do, it may be a good idea to first put some things into place so that learning can happen.  Read more about what to do if your Chihuahua isn't listening to you. 

Hyperness

Some Chihuahua dogs can be pretty laid back and mellow; however, many are revved up little fireballs of activity that have a hard time maintaining self-control. Super hyped up Chihuahuas may bark like loons, jump up on everyone, run around like little madmen and essentially not know when to quit. It can be quite exasperating to say the least. 

There are some things such as the home environment that can lend to a Chihuahua acting overly hyper; but in many cases this is a matter of needing to find ways to funnel that excitement and energy in healthier ways. Read more about how to calm down a hyper Chihuahua
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