Chow Chow dogs have an independent nature. They want to be trusted and need to feel like they are their own decision makers. But if your Chow Chow can’t be trusted to come when you call him, he will not be able to have the independence he desires. You cannot be at the dog park or outside off-leash and not know if your Chow Chow will come to you when you ask him to. A dog who does not understand and follow this command can be at risk of injury or hurting another dog.
Whether you are training him to come to you when called while outside to keep him safe or training him to come when you call him while around the house, training your dog to come when called helps to set expectations. Once he’s trained to come, your Chow Chow will know when he hears the command or his name it’s worth coming to you.
Training your Chow Chow to come will require dedication and patience. Remember, this is a dog who is independent and will want to be making his own choices. You’ll need to give him a good reason to make the right choice--to come when called. A younger Chow Chow will require short training sessions with high rewards, and an older Chow Chow who already knows what independence looks like will need more time training, more patience from you, and rewards that will entice him to use his manners and listen and obey. This will be repetitive training and will require commitment from you. It might feel as if your Chow Chow gets this command and then reverts back to not listening to you. Do not give up at this point. Stay strong and keep training. Your Chow Chow will push his boundaries, so be prepared.
High-value treats will be important for getting your Chow Chow to come to you. You can work with toys as well training your Chow Chow to fetch and come back to you, bringing the toy along as well. Keep your training sessions no longer than fifteen minutes each, though you can do them several times a day. Make sure during training your Chow Chow is engaged.
I got my Chow when he was 8 weeks old. We spent about 2 weeks together when I had to leave the country for 2 weeks. Now that I’m back, it seemed like he had developed a biting habit. He’s even biting me now and doesn’t listen to my commands anymore. I know most of the time it’s just play time for him but I’m really worried that he might be dangerous for the people around him when he gets older and bigger. How do I train him and teach him not to bite?
Hello Lupita, Dirham is right in the middle of teething so biting is extremely normal. Check out the article that I have linked below. At his age you can use any of the methods. The 'Bite Inhibition" method will teach him better control of his mouth gradually, helping him to be gentle as an adult even during times of stress and injury, before learning to stop all biting completely. When he approaches five months of age, then switch to the "Leave It" method and enforce your "Leave It" command with the "Pressure" method, to get him to stop biting completely when his jaws are stronger. You can also go straight to using the "Leave It" method, and once he understands the "Leave It" command, if he disobeys it, then you can use the "Pressure" method to enforce your command. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Just recently (I have had him only 3 mo) He has started growling and snapping at me today already 3 times once at his dish once for no apparent reason at the door and once when I was at his bed. He is well exercised and I feel that now that he knows he has frightened me with this action he may be doing more often to get my reaction. I do not engage with him when he does it now but the first time it scared me and I scolded him, this was about two weeks ago. Today I simply walked away. He is registered and I adopted him at a county shelter they had very little info on him just that he was surrendered due to lack of time. His coat is now coming out beautifully he was rough when I brought him home. At first he would allow me to groom him (not paws) with high value treats now not I can brush a bit but I am never sure if he will snap. Yesterday at the vet he had to be sedated in order to administer his shot and nail trim. The last visit he allowed me to muzzle him and it went fairly smooth with treats. Not so this time. I had to leave him for sedation. This activity is escalating and I need to know how I should react when he is behaving or right after a snap. Please help! Thanks Paula
Hello Paula, I suggest hiring a professional trainer to help you right away. It sounds like he has a low tolerance level and is not giving warnings which is a huge issue. Unfortunately, not giving warning signals is something Chow's have a reputation for. It could be because of their hair, short tails, or other features that make those warnings very subtle, but either way have a professional trainer who is experienced with aggression help you. Read reviews, ask questions and make sure the trainer has experience with more than just fear aggression. He needs to be evaluated to see exactly what is going on (possessiveness- which I suspect, dominance - which I also suspect, fear - possible with touch, ect...) Because of the lack of warnings I suggest having him wear a basket muzzle during the day right now. Pair it with treats like you were doing to make it pleasant, so that it becomes routine to him. Use a basket muzzle so that you can feed treats through the muzzle's holes and he can learn to drink with it on. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi I got my chow chow 6 days ago I'm finding it very difficult to put a collar on him he wants to bite me all the time and barks I now try to put a harness on but I've now put gloves on as he has bitten a few times he has been to training twice this wk and the trainer tried to put his collar on and he bit him also, I managed to get a half chain collar on this morning by putting a treat in my hand through the collar but he won't let me tighten it he just won't have it what do i do as it scares me sometimes thank you, any help would be appreciated
Hello Yvonne, I suggest working on teaching him to tolerate touch in general and including the collar in the exercise by practicing touching it to him and giving a treat at the same time. First, practice touching him on different area of his body and giving treats at the same time; do this before practicing with the collar. Once he is more tolerant of being touched in general, then start touching the collar to him and giving treats at the same time (before he has a chance to try to bite). Once he is comfortable with the collar being touched to him, then add the step of buckling and unbuckling it, while giving a couple of treats, one treat at a time, while doing this. To practice the touching exercises, touch an ear while giving a treat, touch a paw while giving a treat, touch his side while giving a treat, touch his tail while giving a treat, touch his neck while giving a treat, touch his shoulder while giving a treat, touch his side while giving a treat, touch a paw while giving a treat, ect...Start with the areas he is least reactive with and progress to more sensitive areas as he adjusts. Once he is comfortable being touched all over, then touch him first and give the treat right after instead of giving the treat during the touch. Once he is used you putting the collar on him, while he is wearing it, practice gently grabbing his collar and giving a treat while your hand is on it, then practice clipping the leash on and off and giving a treat. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I adopted a two year old Chow two weeks ago who has previously had no training or play time.
I am struggling with basic training techniques having watched videos online, also she seems to have no interest in play time though I’m unsure if it’s just her chow nature or she doesn’t know how to play.
I’d appreciate any guidance you can provide.
Hello Jonathan, Chows do tend to be independent, serious, and almost cat like. It is likely that her natural personality is just not that interested in play. She might have been able to learn how to do it a bit more as a puppy if she had been raised with you early on, but it would have been something she would have had to learn more than certain other breeds, and less something that she always wants to do on her own now that she is an adult. Chows do get very attached to their owners but it is typically in a more loyal, serious, hang out with you, and watch over you type of way instead of affectionate, cuddly, and more interactive. They can be very catlike in personality, but with a dog's loyalty. You might be able to teach her to play by making it a job for her and training her to perform an activity and then reward her for it. For example, you might be able to teach her to fetch if she gets a reward, like a treat, for bringing the ball back to you. Overtime she might learn to enjoy the game without the treats too. By rewarding her with something else that she does like, you can connect that game or activity to the reward, teaching her to like the game also eventually, because she associates the game with something she considers pleasant, the treat and how the treat makes her feel. You can also train her to play hide and seek by making it a job of finding you and then being rewarded for it, opposed to wanting to find you just for the fun of it. It's essentially training her to play. The more games you teach her, the more likely she is to learn new games more easily. When training a Chow it is important for that dog to respect you. Because Chows are less naturally willing to please for the emotional gratification of it, unlike a Golden Retriever, your dog is more likely to work for you if she views you as worthy of her respect. Chows are very loyal typically. Be very consistent with your rules and boundaries with her. Be patient and kind still, but when you tell her to do something calmly and firmly insist that she does it, even it that means standing there for several minutes without letting her leave until she obeys, or bringing her over to yourself and walking her through obeying by showing her how again. If you are trying to lure her into training positions, like sit, with food and she is not complying, then you might need to switch to a training method that depends less on motivating her with fun and more on gaining her respect mentally. For example, when teaching "Come" try using the "Reel" in method instead of one of the methods based on games in the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Choose methods like the "Reel In" method when teaching her other commands too. Methods that show her what to do and gently but firmly ensure that she obeys, rather than methods based on fun and games if she does not respond well to fun and games methods well. She might appreciate a more serious and practical approach if she does not enjoy playing. If she responds well to treats, then choose methods that utilize treats to teach her, but also be consistent with her and when you give her a command that she knows, if she chooses not to do it and not get the treat, make sure that she still obeys, whether she wants the treat or not. Be more stubborn than she is. She should learn that if she obeys, something pleasant like a treat will happen, but if she does not want a treat, she still has to obey anyways. Every dog is a bit different though, so if you find that your dog does not act like a typical Chow and more playful methods do work once she warms up to her new situation with you, then by all means use those methods still. If they don't tend to work, then consider a more practical method that shows her what to do, rewards her for obeying, and is a bit more serious. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I recently got Sky and he is quite small and energetic. He was kept in a cage before and we have a very big house and a big garden so he is quite wary of his surroundings (we only got him a week ago). I want to start training him immediately but I do not know how affective it will be. How can I get him to open up to me and to people?
Hello Mina, Start by feeding him all of his dry dog food as treats rather than in his bowl. Spend time teaching him very easy commands like sit, his name, and touch using the "Lure" method, what is called "Lure Reward Training". That type of training is very gentle and easy for puppies. Use his kibble food to do this. Also, place his kibble around areas and leading up to areas that he is afraid of. Make the house a fun treat treasure hunt in the specific areas that he is afraid of. For example, if he is afraid of a low window, then place a line of treats on the window sill and replace those treats for him to find again later after he eats them. Do this until he is no longer afraid of that window. If he is afraid to go into a particular room, then create a line of treats going into that room and go into the room and act like you are having a good time or relaxing until she over time chooses to join in. It's okay if it takes his a few days to work up the courage to do something totally new. Continue to make that thing fun with treats and your own happiness, and praise him for his courage when he tries. You can also clip him to yourself with a six-foot leash once you have spent time getting him used to the sensation of the leash. This can help him learn to stick with you, help you keep an eye on him, and bond. Spend time getting him used to going into new rooms before he has to follow you there though, so that he will not be afraid to enter that room. Every time you stop and sit, be sure to give him a chew toy, like a Medium or large sized Kong, stuffed with his dog food that has been soaked in water and stuffed into the Kong. You can also freeze these Kongs to make the treat last longer, provide teething relief, and decrease mess. You can add a little bit of peanut butter, cheese, or liver paste to the Kong food mush also. Make sure that the Peanut Butter does NOT contain Xylitol though. Xylitol is very toxic to dogs. Also, When you introduce him to new things act confident and excited yourself, not worried and sympathetic. Your excitement will help him learn that that object or place is fun and not scary. Once he is a little more comfortable, then also get him used to being touched and handled by gently touching an area of his body, like his ear, while you give him a treat every time. Practice these touches and rewards all over his body regularly for at least the next six months. Once he is used to your home and you a bit more, start bringing him to new places with you and introducing him to new people and places. Do this by carrying him anywhere where other dogs could have walked until he has all of his puppy shots. Viruses like Parvo are transmitted through contact with the ground where other dogs have eliminated or direct contact, so carrying your puppy can allow you to take him more places with you while he is young and at a crucial socialization age. Since he spend the first two months without a lot of exposure and may have a shy personality, this is especially important for him. Take treats with you when you go places and have other people feed him the treats when they greet him. Also, reward him and act happy whenever he comes across something new, especially when he is uncertain about the new thing. This will show him that the new thing is safe and even fun. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi, i got my chow when he was 2-3months old. At first he was so gentle and like a behave dog. Aftr a weeks i bath him then wipe with dry towel he started biting it then he bites my hand then he is like a angry dog thats biting my feet my leggings and jumping wanted to bite. At first i thought that its just normal and wants to play only. But aftr days past when i play with him, he is suddenly just like that again with matchin angrily growling. And then thats continues i just saying stop or i'll go to my room when i finished dry him. But now he is in my room coz. My mother is scared of him coz what if he suddenly wants to bite again.and he is always like that after i or my cousin bathes him. I dont know what to do or why he is like that, we give or do whatever we can i did not scroll him i just saying stop it, or calling his name. I ended up leashing him so that he can calm. And then i'll brash his fur and make him feel good to his stomach. Please if there is any something i can do help, coz i really love this dog so much i dont want to get mad at him .that will make him hate me or he will really ignores me.
Hello Nicole, First, desensitize pup to being touched and groomed. Every day use his meal kibble as a reward for tolerating touches. Gently touch an area of pup's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. When pup will tolerate being touched all over, then add in the grooming tools, touch the towel to him and give a treat. Touch the brush to him and give a treat. Touch nail clippers to the nails and give a treat - make these touches brief at first. As he improves touch for longer while feeding a couple of treats in a row - rub the towel on him and feed two treats, a couple of seconds apart. Gently brush his fur a few times and feed two treats, a few seconds apart. Rub his paw for a few seconds - while feeding a few treats, a couple of seconds between each treat. Gently clip a tiny bit of his nail while feeding several treats, one right after the other (nail clipping is harder for him so more treats). Practice this daily when he isn't getting a bath. Second, work on teaching him the Leave It command. Follow the Leave It method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite When you bath him, reward for treats when he is being tolerant and calm, stop rewards if he starts to bite during touch training or baths - until he is being calm again (do NOT give treats while biting or that can teach him to bite more - wait until he is being nice again). Tell him to Leave It anytime he starts to bite you or seems to be thinking about biting, and reward when he doesn't bite in a situation where he used to bite. Also, after you bath him you may want to give him some space to run around. Most dogs act super excited and goofy after a bath and will expel some energy by running around or rolling around - the biting might be his way of trying to do that so give him a more acceptable option instead of biting to get the "crazies" out and become calm again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi, I got my male chow about a week ago (he was almost 5 months). On walks he can be very stubborn and will only go where he wants or will just lay down somewhere. He doesn’t play with toys and rarely takes the treat that we give him. Almost all day he lays down in the same place and sleeps! We went to the vet and asked many people and they all say it’s stress. We got him from Europe and are taking him to the UK soon. All the traveling must be stressful but I think he should still be more enthusiastic and have more energy! I’ve seen YouTube videos and websites and they all say the same thing that doesn’t work! How do I get him to interact with me and my family? What should I do to get him to listen to me on walks? I really need a miracle training method! Please give me your advice.
Hello Jelena, First, pup probably needs time and patience. Right now, instead of focusing on trying to get him to be more energetic and learn lots of things keep, focus on keeping his atmosphere calm, patient, and pleasant. Its not unusual for it to take an older puppy a month to adapt. Also, be aware that part of it could be his personality too. He may not be a high energy dog since you have ruled out medical reasons. After a couple of weeks of being patient with him, keeping interactions calm, and your attitude confident and pleasant around him, then I suggest working on confidence building exercises like home-made agility obstacles. Chow Chows can be very independent by nature. For the walking, since he isn't motivated by food yet (that may chance once he relaxes more though), you can use what he wants as motivation (which is going back home). Pay attention to how far he will walk without resistance. Make a goal that is just a few feet past that. When he puts on the brakes, give short quick tugs on the leash (tugging and releasing tension, tugging and releasing, tugging and releasing) until he walks a couple of feet forward willingly. When he is moving again, praise him genuinely, then you be the one to turn home and end the walk. You want to teach him that the way to get back home is to cooperate with moving with you. When he will walk a bit further, then increase the distance a little more. At first the goal is simply to get him to go a few more feet than before willingly. Eventually by practicing this he should get used to following you in general and walk more normally. Also be aware though that this time of year, depending on where exactly you like, he may be hot and the pavement could be burning his paws - making him hate walking. Be sure to feel the pavement and pay attention to whether he is hot. If the heat is the issue, then getting him used to wearing dog hiking boots can help with the burning, and gently wetting him down before a walk, having him wear a cooling vest, or limiting the length of time outside during hot days can all help. Finally, if he continues to have issues and seems to feel bad, you may want to try gradually switching his food to something with different ingredients that is higher quality. Some dogs have food allergies or sensitive stomachs. Make the switch very gradually over a week or two to avoid stomach upset. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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