How to Train a Chihuahua to do Easy Tricks

Easy
1-3 Weeks
Fun

Introduction

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. 

Defining Tasks

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.

Getting Started

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

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Step
1
Start with a 'sit'
Ask your dog to sit and stay.
Step
2
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.
Step
3
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.
Step
4
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.
Step
5
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.
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The High Five Method

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Step
1
Return to 'sit'
While this trick builds on shake, you should always go back to 'sit' to train the next trick.
Step
2
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.
Step
3
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.
Step
4
Put up your palm
Now that she is consistently reaching higher, put up your palm for a high five.
Step
5
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.
Step
6
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.
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The Crawl Method

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Step
1
Start in a 'down' position
This is a trick she will really excel at. Start by asking her to lie down and stay.
Step
2
Put a treat under her nose
Hold a treat between your fingers and begin to draw it closer to you slowly.
Step
3
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.
Step
4
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.
Step
5
Increase the distance
Increase the distance you ask her to crawl before you give her the treat until she's crawling about a foot.
Step
6
Say "crawl"
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.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Katie Smith

Published: 02/13/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Seger
Chiwaha
11 Months
0 found helpful
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0 found helpful
Seger
Chiwaha
11 Months

Stop him from barking so much

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. I have a small dog (and two big dogs) and she is very vocal, too. Small dogs like to be heard and seen, so it is a trait that you have to get used to. There are ways to tone down the barking though. I like the Deal With Triggers Method in this guide: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-beagle-puppy-to-not-bark. Interactive toys that can keep Seger busy and give mental stimulation may help him channel his excess energy somewhere else. Be sure to take him for plenty of walks. He may be small but has a lot of energy to burn off. I suggest white noise in the background, like a fan or music. This does wonders in my home. The Desensitize Method here is also great: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark. Have especially good treats on hand for the training sessions to encourage Seger to work hard. Train for 10 minutes at a time only and always end the session on a happy note. Good luck and happy training!

hi i need help teaching my chihuahua tricks

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Kai-Luna
Chihuahua
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Kai-Luna
Chihuahua
1 Year

How can I train him to stop chewing things up? Been doing replacement method but he is such a little handful.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
842 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sky, You will likely need to implement several techniques at once - some dogs are especially strong chewers until around 2. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Pay special attention to teaching the commands from the article, like Leave It and Out, confining pup when you can't directly supervise and enforce the Leave It and Out commands, and using a deterrent spray on items that pup tends to go back to over and over again. Stuffing a hollow chew toy with dog food - or moist dog food frozen (with a straw poked through the middle during freezing, then removed before giving pup, to create a hole that will prevent suction), can make chew toys more interesting. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Malu
Chiweenie
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Malu
Chiweenie
1 Year

How can I start training Malu?

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

Hi! Your best bet is to start with the basics. Sit, stay, lay down, and leave it. These commands can be found step by step online. Train one to two commands per week, then practice daily over the next couple of months.

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Question
Chelsea
Chihuahua
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Chelsea
Chihuahua
1 Year

My chihuahua barks at every dog A he sees whether we are passing or even in the distance pulls the lead to try and get to them.
Of the lead goes to them.
Once She has met the dog she is fine. She isn’t nippy just interested in them.
Please can you give us ideas on how to deal with this so she ignores other dogs

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

Hello! Your dog needs to learn new behaviors to quell her fear. First we reduce her fear around new dogs, and then we begin adding cues such as “watch me” or “sit.” Research tells us that most leash reactivity is caused by fear, not by aggression. Dogs bark and lunge at other dogs to warn, “Go away! Go away!” Dogs fear other dogs because of genetic reasons, lack of socialization, fights when they were puppies, or any scary (to the dog) interaction with other dogs. Sometimes having low thyroid levels contributes to unwanted canine behavior. During this time, avoid any punishment for reactivity. Doing so will make her concerns even bigger. Dogs learn by making associations, and you want your dog to associate other dogs with pleasant things — never punishment. The first step is to reframe what an oncoming dog means to your dog. From a safe distance — your dog determines the distance, not you — have your leashed dog view another dog. As the new dog comes into view, drop a lot of enticing meat treats just in front of your dog’s nose. Ignore any hysterics for now, but back up and create more space if your dog is unwilling to eat. This part is hard for humans — I understand. It helps to see your dog’s behavior for what it most likely is: fear vs. disobedience. The training reinforcer MUST be a great one, such as real meat. It is critical that the appearance of the new dog causes meat to fall from the sky. When the other dog is out of your dog’s view, all treats stop. We want your dog to predict that other dogs near him means that YUMMY FOOD will appear! As you are reframing your dog’s opinion of seeing other leashed dogs, be careful where you take your dog, and be protective of what she is exposed to. One fight can create a reactive dog. Consider not walking your dog for 30 days as you reprogram her opinions of other dogs. Instead, sit on your front porch or in your garage (or somewhere out of the way if those two options aren't possible) with your dog on leash, and practice treating every time another dog comes into your dog’s line of sight. During this time, engage your dog’s mind with mind puzzles, obedience work, and fun stuff like games in the house or yard. You know you have made great progress when your dog sees another dog, and he turns his head away from the once-threatening dog and looks into your eyes, expecting a treat. Once your dog is looking at her (former) trigger and then looking expectantly up at you for a treat, you can begin to put this skill on cue. Tell your dog "watch me" every time you see another dog approaching. Your end goal is for your dog to see another dog, and remain calm, looking at you for guidance. And this will be either continuing your walk, or being allowed to interact with the other dog. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks for writing in!

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