How to Train Your Chihuahua Dog to Fetch

Easy
2-4 Weeks
Fun

Introduction

If there is one game that most dogs love to play, it has to be fetch. Not only is fetch a lot of fun to play, it's a great chance for your pup to get plenty of exercise. It is also a wonderful way for you to bond with your Chihuahua. One of the most common misconceptions is that Chihuahuas, along with many other smaller dogs, can't learn to play fetch.

There is nothing further from the truth, in fact, your Chihuahua can not only be taught to play fetch, but you can bet he will most certainly love playing fetch with you and the rest of your family. Chihuahuas are, like most dogs, motivated by two things. The first, quite obviously, is food in any form. For this training, you will be using your pup's favorite treats as rewards. The other is praise and affection, both of which you will also be using as part of the training process. 

Defining Tasks

Chances are good that the only reason why your pup won't play fetch with you, is simply that you have not yet taken the time to teach him. Fetch is a very simple game, you toss out a ball or toy and your pup is supposed to go after it and bring it back to you. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? In all reality, the concept is simple, and it really doesn't need to take that long to learn. With a little time, effort and patience, you and your pup will soon be playing fetch every time you get chance.

Worth noting is that you will get much further in your training session if you use positive reinforcement. You should never punish your dog or yell at him. Instead, be ready with plenty of praise and a healthy supply of his favorite treats when he gets the training right 

Getting Started

It really doesn't take much to start training your Chihuahua to play fetch with you once he has mastered the four basic commands of 'come', 'sit', 'stay', and 'down'. You are going to need a few supplies to help with this training. Among them are

  • Treats: For rewards.
  • A rubber ball: To play fetch with.
  • A leash: You may need it for training.
  • A willing assistant: You can always use an extra hand.

The only other things you are likely to need are plenty of space to work in and lots of time and patience. It should only take you a few weeks for your pup to master this skill. The best part is that once he has learned to play fetch, your pup will want to play it all the time. 

The Backward Training Method

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Step
1
Teach your pup to hand you the ball first
First, teach your pup to drop the ball in your hand. Only when he has mastered this skill will he be ready to play fetch.
Step
2
Hook up the leash
Hook your pup on his leash. Place the ball on the ground just a foot or two in front of him. Encourage him to go for it. When he reaches out and grabs the ball, give him plenty of praise and a treat.
Step
3
Repeat
At this point, you need to keep working with your pup encouraging him to drop the ball in your hand. Give him treats every time he gets it right.
Step
4
Extend the distance
Take your pup off the leash and start working with him on distance and duration. The farther you can throw the ball and he will retrieve, it the more fun playing fetch will be for both of you.
Step
5
The rest is all about practice
Like any new skill, practice makes perfect. The good news is that your pup is going to thoroughly enjoy practicing his new skill at every opportunity.
Recommend training method?

The Toys for Training Method

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Step
1
You need toys
For this step, you will need several of your pup's favorite toys in a basket where you can easily reach them during training time. Choose small toys that your pup can easily pick up in his mouth.
Step
2
Toy toss time
Take your pup outside with the basket of toys. Make him sit and then toss one of the toys about three feet out from him where he can easily see it.
Step
3
When he goes and gets it
Release your pup and let him go and get it. If he grabs it and brings it back to you, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Step
4
Work on the cue word
Now that he has the general idea of what is expected of him, start using the "Fetch" cue word each time you toss out the toy. This will help your pup learn what is expected of him when you give him the command.
Step
5
Use up the toys
Now repeat the above steps using each of the toys in the basket to get him used to playing fetch with more than one item. In no time at all, you and your pup will be playing fetch at every possible moment.
Recommend training method?

The Help From a Friend Method

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Step
1
Take a seat
Take your pup out into the backyard where you have plenty of space to work. Give your pup the command 'sit' and attach him to his leash.
Step
2
Your friend
This is where your friend comes in. For the moment, he will be standing in for your pup. Toss the ball out into the yard and give your friend the "Fetch" command.
Step
3
When he goes
Have your friend run out to the ball and pick it up. He should hold the ball up so that your pup can easily see it.
Step
4
Returning the ball
Now have your friend bring the ball back to you and place it in your hand. Be sure to give him lots of praise and make a big deal out of the fact he brought the ball back. Repeat this several times to ensure your pup gets the idea.
Step
5
Time for your pup to play
It's time to let your friend rest and for your pup to play. With your pup in the sitting position, remove his leash and then work the above training until he masters the art of playing fetch. This is a great way to have fun with your pup and bond with him while getting plenty of exercise.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Ziko
Chihuahua
18 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ziko
Chihuahua
18 Months

He is friendly with humans, but barks at dogs. Even the shadows of dogs triggers his barking and growling.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
124 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am sending you information on how to turn this behavior around. Keep in mind, it does take time. About 3 months. You will start to see initial improvements within a few weeks of consistent practice. But it can take up to about 3 months for a complete improvement. Begin by teaching your dog that the sight of another dog means good things will happen. Employ your dog’s favorite doggy friends for these practice sessions, and keep all dogs on leash while you are training. Once your dog has mastered the basics, you can begin to expose him to strange dogs while on leash, either at a dog park or in your neighborhood. Start with the other dog far enough away that your dog notices him but does not react. Each time your dog looks at the other dog without barking or otherwise reacting, mark with a “good” and treat. When you first begin, your dog will likely be nervous when he sees the other dog and he may only turn toward you for a moment, to get his treat, before looking back at the other dog. Treat frequently in the beginning, until your dog learns to relax. Once your dog can look at another dog without reacting, teach him to turn and sit facing you when you stop on a walk. Reward your dog for staying in his sit, or for maintaining eye contact with you, while the other dog passes by. Next, teach your dog to heel on leash as he approaches the other dog. Hold your dog on a loose leash; a tight leash can heighten reactivity. Treat your dog when he walks next to you; if he pulls on the leash or crosses in front of you, stop walking. Use a treat to lure him back to your side. Walk toward the other dog at an angle or perpendicular to the other dog, rather than head on. After a series of successful approaches, reward your dog with an off-leash play session in a safe area. In addition to teaching your dog to heel, teach him to turn with you on cue. Work on both a 90-degree turn and a 180-degree turn. Give your dog a cue, such as “turn” and lure him towards you. As soon as he turns, treat and continue walking forward rewarding the heel. A turn can be used to create distance between your dog and another dog, and allows you to focus on calming behaviors until your dog learns to relax when another dog is nearby. You can divert your dog’s attention by walking up a driveway, crossing the street, or moving behind a barrier such as a parked car or bush. Finally, turn spotting another dog into your canine’s cue to do a trick he enjoys. Excellent replacement behaviors include hand targeting, down stay, shake, spin, roll over and play dead. Certain cues may be causing your dog to react when he’s on leash or behind a barrier. The sound of approaching dogs, such as jingling tags or vocalizations, may set your dog off. When you are walking with your dog, you may inadvertently jerk or tighten the leash when you get nervous about an approaching dog. These cues make your dog even more tense. Change your dog’s association by pairing these cues with something pleasurable. Practice tightening the leash and giving your dog a reward. Pair the barking or collar jingling of another dog with the onset of a treat party. Extra exercise outside of training situations and away from other dogs, such as treadmill workouts or fetch, can also be helpful for dogs with barrier frustration. Dog-friendly canines can benefit from a play session with another dog before training to satisfy their desire for interaction. In addition, using food puzzles instead of food bowls to feed your pet helps to channel his extra energy. A Thundershirt can be extremely beneficial in training dogs with barrier frustration. Adding the pressure wrap shirt to a training session automatically calms many anxious canines. Collars are not the best solution for dogs that react on leash, because they don’t allow you to pull your dog around to face you when needed. Instead, use a harness that clips on the dog’s chest, or a head halter for optimal control. In an emergency, if your dog becomes overwhelmingly worked up at the sight of an approaching dog, you can distract him by tossing treats on the ground for him to pick up until the other dog is past. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for writing in!

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