How to Train Your Chihuahua Dog to Hunt

Medium
2-3 Months
Work

Introduction

Just how difficult is it to find yourself the complete dog? A faithful companion who will always stand beside you. An energetic and affectionate buddy that will forever keep you entertained. An efficient hunter capable of catching the most elusive prey. Very few breeds tick all of the boxes.  And there is one which you would be forgiven for overlooking. The enigmatic Chihuahua. A dog whose ancestry is shrouded in mystery.

As you may know for yourself, Chihuahuas are one of the most loyal and friendly dogs, with their quirky and eccentric nature often defining their personality. However, in their native country of Mexico, Chihuahuas have always been considered to be one of the most effective hunters of smaller prey. To this day, domestic Chihuahuas still possess those innate hunting instincts. All you need to do is understand how to release these dormant traits.

Defining Tasks

Although Chihuahuas have a natural hunting instinct, not all dogs will take to hunting as easily as others. As you become more acquainted with your dog, you may notice that he possesses a certain tenacity and fearlessness. These are important qualities that will make him a great hunter, however, it is essential to learn how to control these traits and apply them in the correct way. For those which don't typically exhibit these characteristics, it may require more time and patience to extract these qualities.

It is important to not start training your dog to hunt too early as this may cause him to develop a more aggressive nature in later life. However, you also don't want him to become set in its ways. So as he is approaching adulthood is often a good time to start. Keep in mind a dog can mature physically and mentally at different rates.

Getting Started

In order to teach your Chihuahua to hunt, it is important that he is first adept with basic commands such as 'sit' and 'stay'. This will help when training him to hunt effectively.
It is also important to make sure you have plenty of tasty treats available. Positive reinforcement is essential in the early stages of learning anything new.

As hunting is the name of the game, you will also need something for your Chihuahua to hunt! To begin with, this should be fake prey while he gets used to the situation and learns hunting techniques.

The One With Nature Method

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Step
1
Identify
Identify the type of prey you want your Chihuahua to catch. You should restrict this to one or two types of prey to allow him to specialize as much as possible. Traditionally, Chihuahuas are accomplished hunters of smaller prey such as rodents or small squirrels.
Step
2
Knowledge
Know the habitat of your prey and ensure your Chihuahua does too. Take him out on regular walks where you would expect to see the prey. This will allow him to naturally know where to look when hunting.
Step
3
Species exposure
Expose him to different species, not just your prey. It is important to ensure your dog can distinguish between what he should be catching and what he shouldn't.
Step
4
Enviroment exposure
Introduce your dog to water and other elements he may encounter during its expeditions. You want to make sure he is comfortable in all of these potential surroundings so that he can remain focused on the prey.
Step
5
Scent
Teaching your dog the importance of scent is essential. Thankfully, Chihuahuas have a deceptively good sense of smell. For this, you should have two boxes and place live prey in one of these. Allow your dog to select a box and reward him with treats for picking the correct box.
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The Develop Patterns Method

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Tecniques
It is imperative to develop specific techniques that your Chihuahua can employ to catch his prey. This should be specific to the type of prey you are trying to catch so do some research to understand the nature and behavior of your prey.
Step
2
'Wait' command
Hunting is a game of patience and making your move at the correct time is pivotal. To develop this skill, master the 'wait' command with your Chihuahua by placing a stuffed toy of your prey across the room and teaching your dog to wait until you have given your command to retrieve the toy.
Step
3
Stealth
Next, you should move on to stealth. This is where the Chihuahua comes into its own. Exploit the petite nature of your dog to creep up on its prey. Give him a reward whenever he manages to without making too much noise.
Step
4
Cornering prey
Cornering your prey is a skill that will come naturally to many dogs, however, should still be practiced due to its importance. To do this, allow your Chihuahua to face an easy prey in a controlled environment such as pen which has natural corners where he will be able to hone his skills.
Step
5
Practice
Due to his nature, your Chihuahua should pick up these skills fairly quickly. You will however, need to be patient with him and practice them many times. Be sure to reward him with a treat every time he performs well.
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The Practice Makes Perfect Method

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Venture outside
Nothing will release the hunting instincts of a Chihuahua more than being out in the wild. So find a good outdoor environment where prey is abundant.
Step
2
Roam around
Allow him to roam freely, tracking down his prey. Not every hunt will be successful in the early stages so the more opportunities he gets to catch prey the better.
Step
3
Reward him
This is an enjoyable activity for a dog so will often keep them engaged for extended periods. However, always reward a successful hunt with treats to reinforce this behavior.
Step
4
Change environments
Once your Chihuahua is adept at catching prey in an easy environment, progress to areas where prey is slightly more scarce. This will really engage and encourage him to develop more advanced and intelligent techniques to catch his prey.
Step
5
Plenty of practice
Where possible, you should allow your Chihuahua to practice daily in order to truly master his hunting skills.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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