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Chihuahuas are known for ruling the roost with their stubborn attitude and demeanor. Don’t let your Chihuahua rule over you. Train him to listen to you, so you have control over him when it matters most.
Chihuahuas who aren’t trained to listen often bark and growl at others and don’t bother learning obedience commands. Getting your Chihuahua to listen to you will not only give him the commands he’ll need to become a social pet but also give you the respect you command as leader of the pack. Chihuahuas can be sweet dogs who show loyalty to their owners. But Chihuahuas who don’t know how to listen can wreak havoc on the lives of their families, making dog ownership difficult. Train your Chihuahua to listen from early on so you can stop poor behaviors and reward good behaviors--giving him reason to continue being a good pup.
To get your Chihuahua to listen, you will need to set boundaries right away. Whether you are bringing home a new Chihuahua puppy or adopting an older Chihuahua who needs a good fur-ever home, you will need to let him know your expectations as soon as you bring him home, so he knows how to behave. Rewards are the best motivator for Chihuahuas. However you train your Chihuahua, try to remember to reward good behavior and redirect when behavior is poor. This will help condition your Chihuahua to earn treats with good behaviors. Be patient with every training session, and take any opportunity to show your Chihuahua how he can earn treats by listening. Keep scheduled sessions short, but pay attention to your Chihuahua’s behaviors and make every moment a chance to learn.
You will need lots of rewards for your Chihuahua to learn how important it is to listen to you. High value treats work best with scheduled training sessions. When you catch him listening outside of training sessions, be sure to reward as well. Be patient and be sure to spend extra time getting your Chihuahua to listen outside of everyday activities.
The Short Session Method
Schedule very short training sessions to work with your Chihuahua and train him to listen to you. If he’s young, his attention span is short. If he’s older and doesn’t listen, he doesn’t know listening is something he should be doing. You’ll only have his attention for a short period.
Your Chihuahua needs to know you are the leader of his pack. It is his instinct to listen to the leader of the pack. To set this hierarchy straight, make him work for food, setting yourself as the one who controls commands and rewards.
Say your Chihuahua's name. If he doesn’t yet know his name, say his name and then touch him to get his attention.
Once your Chihuahua acknowledges you by looking at you once you’ve said his name or gotten his attention by touching, give him a treat with verbal praise.
Once your Chihuahua responds to you when you say his name and has earned treats for doing so, move on to other commands. You can teach him basic obedience commands such as 'sit', 'down', 'stay', and 'come', or you can reinforce commands he already knows. The trick here will be to tell him to do something and reward him for doing a good job when he is successful
Until your Chihuahua listens any time you ask him, consistently practice these steps. This listening training might take some time, so give it several weeks of rewarding for getting his attention and setting up leader of the pack boundaries with your Chihuahua before you stop these short training sessions.
The Teach Obedience Method
As early as you can, teach your Chihuahua basic obedience commands. This will set the tone for you being the leader and your Chihuahua looking at you for direction. Be sure to reward your Chihuahua each time you train a command and each time you ask him to do something by command.
Once your Chihuahua has basic obedience commands down, work on teaching him fun tricks like 'play dead', 'walk on hind legs', 'dance', and 'roll over'. Once your Chihuahua knows he can earn rewards by learning new tricks and performing them, he will take listening to a new level. Be sure to use high-value rewards to keep him working and treat often.
Every day, use the commands your Chihuahua has learned to keep him working. Be sure to offer treats each time he performs a command.
Before feeding your Chihuahua any of his meals, have him do some of the commands he has learned, such as 'sit'. This will help to remind him that he needs to listen before earning food.
Be sure to make your Chihuahua work throughout the day for any morsel of food he gets. Making him earn his food will put you on the top tier of your pack together. Using commands throughout the day will also force him to listen to you and be a constant reminder of the rules and expectations you have set, along with the rewards he can earn.
The Food Boundaries Method
Start with meals
To set up food boundaries, your Chihuahua needs to know where he falls in his pack and who he needs to be listening to. Start with meals. Once he recognizes you are the one providing food, he will begin to see you as the leader he needs to listen to.
Before preparing your Chihuahua’s meal, get his attention and have him watch you prepare the food. Once he recognizes the food doesn’t magically appear and that you prepare it, he will see you as the leader. Keep his attention while you make his meals, but also make him wait for them.
While you are making his meals, talk to him, using his name often. Once the bowl of food is finished and ready for serving, ask him to wait before diving in. You want him to wait for you to set it down before allowing him to start eating. Anytime he tries to jump up to get to the bowl, pull it up away from him and make him wait.
Have your Chihuahua work for his snacks. Be sure you have his attention and he is listening to you before giving him a snack. Think of any food items as rewards for showing you his attention. Even if you’d like to give him a special treat just because, make him work for it. This will teach him he needs to listen before earning a reward.
Be consistent with these food rules. This will keep you on the top of the hierarchy while keeping your Chihuahua working for his food and showing you respect by listening before he gets to eat.
Once your Chihuahua is consistently listening to you and showing you respect before getting his food, begin offering rewards for listening to you during other occasions as well. If you haven’t yet, begin obedience training with your Chihuahua and work on calling him by his name for rewards. This will reiterate your expectations of listening to you always
Written by Stephanie Plummer
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 12/27/2017, edited: 01/08/2021
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