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If you've taught your Chihuahua a few basic skills, you know she loves to learn. Working with your dog to learn new skills is an incredible way to bond with her and strengthen your relationship. Keep building on this bond by training your Chihuahua some easy-to-do tricks.
There's no reason your Chihuahua can't do the same tricks as bigger dogs. Whether you want her to shake, roll over, or sit pretty, with enough practice and patience she can learn a long list of tricks. Make sure you start small. When you train your Chihuahua to do easy tricks first, you'll be laying the foundation for more complicated tricks and for a strong relationship with your dog.
Chihuahuas are often underestimated because of their size, but they are incredibly intelligent and love to work for treats. Before you attempt some simple tricks, make sure your dog can already do simple obedience such as sitting and coming when called. Without these basic skills, it will be difficult to train your Chihuahua to do easy tricks.
Be sure to use positive reinforcement and never resort to shouting or hitting as punishment. This can scare your dog and make her unwilling to work with you. Chihuahuas may be small but they are incredibly stubborn, so be sure you lead by showing her what you want and make it fun. You can do this by rewarding good behavior as soon as it happens with tasty treats, and keeping training sessions under 15 minutes.
After refreshing your dog on basic obedience like 'sit', 'stay', and 'lie down', you are ready to start training some easy tricks. You can start with almost any trick, but 'shake', 'wave', and 'crawl' are some of the most fun. You won't need too much, but it's good to have these few items on hand.
- A quiet place to work
- Tasty training treats sized for small dogs
- A clicker or marker word like "yes"
- A little bit of patience
You can find directions for three tricks below. Read through them and try one or try them all. When you train your Chihuahua fun tricks, you'll increase your bond and have a great way to entertain friends and family.
The Shake Hands Method
Start with a 'sit'
Ask your dog to sit and stay.
Ask for her paw
Tap her leg to get her to lift it. As soon as she does say "yes" or click and treat immediately.
Reach out your hand
When she gets used to you touching her leg to lift her paw, stop touching her leg and treat her as she reaches her paw to your hand.
Introduce the command
Once she is eagerly offering her paw, start to say "shake" before you give her a treat. Practice until she is offering her paw each time you give her the command.
Practice both paws
Once she gets it on one side, repeat the steps on the other. She should be able to 'shake' using both paws with just a little more effort.
The High Five Method
Return to 'sit'
While this trick builds on shake, you should always go back to 'sit' to train the next trick.
Put out your hand
Put out your hand for a shake, but lift it a little higher. Don't say "shake" because it will confuse her.
Reward her reach
When she makes the effort to reach her paw higher for a 'shake', tell her "yes!" and give her a treat. Practice until she is lifting her paw confidently.
Put up your palm
Now that she is consistently reaching higher, put up your palm for a high five.
Reward the high five
She might be a little confused, but encourage her to touch her paw to your hand. When she does, praise her and give her treats. Keep practicing.
Say the verbal cue
When she's consistently giving you a true high five, start to say "high five" right before you give her a treat. Eventually, you can reduce the number of treats.
The Crawl Method
Start in a 'down' position
This is a trick she will really excel at. Start by asking her to lie down and stay.
Put a treat under her nose
Hold a treat between your fingers and begin to draw it closer to you slowly.
Encourage her to follow
Keep the treat close to the floor and keep moving it just out of reach slowly until she starts to crawl forward. When she does, give her a treat.
Put out your hand
If she gets up to follow the treat, you can hold your hand above her back to prevent her from standing.
Increase the distance
Increase the distance you ask her to crawl before you give her the treat until she's crawling about a foot.
When she's eagerly belly-crawling to get her treat, you can start to say "crawl" before she gets her treat. Eventually, you will be able to phase out the treat at the beginning and use hand signals and your verbal cue.
By Katie Smith
Published: 02/13/2018, edited: 01/08/2021