How to Train Your Chihuahua Dog to Listen

Medium
6-12 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

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.

Defining Tasks

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. 

Getting Started

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

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Step
1
Scheduled time
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.
Step
2
Work
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.
Step
3
Name
Say your Chihuahua's name. If he doesn’t yet know his name, say his name and then touch him to get his attention.
Step
4
Acknowledge
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.
Step
5
Other commands
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
Step
6
Practice
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.
Recommend training method?

The Food Boundaries Method

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Step
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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.
Step
2
Attention
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.
Step
3
Wait
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.
Step
4
Snacks
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.
Step
5
Always
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.
Step
6
Other times
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
Recommend training method?

The Teach Obedience Method

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Step
1
Basic commands
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.
Step
2
Fun tricks
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.
Step
3
Every day
Every day, use the commands your Chihuahua has learned to keep him working. Be sure to offer treats each time he performs a command.
Step
4
Meals
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.
Step
5
Persistence
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Lola
Chihuahua
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Lola
Chihuahua
6 Months

She chews on stuff and won’t quit barking at little things like the trash truck or somebody coming out side of their house like our neighbors how do I stop her ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
416 Dog owners recommended

Hello Addison, For the chewing check out the article linked below. Be sure to give her a durable food stuffed chew toy in the crate, use a deterrent spray on household items she chews often, and work on teaching commands like Leave It and Drop It. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ The chewing is completely normal at this age. She has to chew, but she needs to be taught what to chew and what NOT to chew. Try to be patient with her, around 6 months most dogs go through a second chewing phases because their jaws start to develope. This time is typically when they are able to actually chew things apart because their bite is stronger now, opposed to when they chew while teething. For the barking, check out this article linked below and follow all three methods. Teach Quiet, work on desensitizing her to things outside like the neighbors, and when she is in the crate give her a food stuffed chew toy to focus on. The chew toy will also help with the other chewing by teaching her to chew her own toys more. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Smokey
Chihuahua
4 Years
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Question
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Smokey
Chihuahua
4 Years

My dog won't listen to me obey me help? She wants to sleep during the day and stay up all night I wished she would be on my schedule? She won't stop barking at strangers or other dogs she wants to continue to be stubborn disobedient dog I'm tired of yelling at her spanking her

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
416 Dog owners recommended

Hello April, Check out the article linked below, the article I have linked also talks about how to teach listening but has slightly different methods. I suggest following all three methods from that article. First, follow the "Obedience" method. The first step in teaching her to listen is working on your communication. Work on teaching her how to do commands that stop the unwanted behaviors that she is currently doing. For example, if she is barking, teach the "Quiet" command. If she is running away work on "Come". If she is being pushy, work on the "Out" command. If she is stealing things, work on "Leave It". If she is jumping on people or getting on furniture, work on teaching the "Off" command. You cannot effectively discipline a behavior until your dog clearly understands what they should be doing instead. When your dog does the correct behavior, you can reward the correct behavior and increase your dog's motivation to do the right behavior instead of the unwanted one. Doing all of that requires teaching your dog some commands first though. Listening article - Obedience method first: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Barking - Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Come - Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Once she understands commands, then you can use the "Consistency Method" and "Working Method" to teach her to obey those commands more often. Rewarding her when she does obey will also help just as much as practicing these methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you For the barking at people, work on the Desensitization method from the article and video linked below if the barking is due to excitement. Only reward while she is Quiet and not pulling on the leash when practicing this protocol. Since she is reactive toward strangers in general, you can practice this with just a person without adding the objects also, unless she is afraid of odd clothing too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXCELHDT2fs Desensitization method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark If the barking is due to aggression, check out The Good Dog Training on YouTube, and SolidK9Training for more information on leash reactivity, or ask for further help here, or hire a professional trainer who is very experienced and has access to several staff members and trainers dogs to practice the training with. Start with by working on the training commands linked above though. Practicing obedience to earn her trust and respect, and improve communication is the first step in addressing leash reactivity. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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