How to Train a Chihuahua to Walk on Leash

Medium
3-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

One mistake many Chihuahua owners make is not teaching their little buddy how to walk nicely on a leash. A general thought might be that Chihuahuas are small, therefore, can be carried everywhere or put in a cute little bag or stroller for transportation. Another common idea is that Chihuahuas are so small they don't need to understand how to walk on a leash because there is no danger to the owner of being pulled along. However, when you have a Chihuahua who understands how to walk on a leash, your walks will be faster, more productive, and more pleasurable for you and your dog. Once your Chihuahua understands how the leashes used and what his role is when using a leash for walks, you will able to take him for walks to go potty, walks for leisure or exercise, or keep him on a leash when he needs to be confined or kept safe such as when you are at a veterinarian's office or walking through a pet store.

Defining Tasks

Training your Chihuahua to walk on a leash is less about keeping him from pulling you and more about keeping him moving as you walk along. Unless a Chihuahua is taught to walk on a leash, he may fear the leash and not move. A frozen Chihuahua cannot be pulled along on a walk, and because of their stubborn personalities, he is more likely to dig in and not move at all. When you train your pooch to walk on a leash with positive reinforcement, you are encouraging him to move forward to earn the next treat. This not only teaches him that the leash is necessary but also not harmful. Positive reward-based leash training will teach your Chihuahua leash manners that will include not pulling when he's distracted, not stopping, and not wrapping himself around your legs when he's frightened but rather walking beside you, eager to be next to you and go at your pace until you both reach your destination.

Getting Started

You will need to decide if your Chihuahua is going to wear a harness or a collar. Small dogs are often injured with collars and leashes because they will pull or their owner will tug on the leash, causing neck or trachea injuries. If your Chihuahua is stubborn, consider putting him in a harness. This way if he pulls on the leash his neck will be protected. You will also need lots of high-value treats while you are leash training. High-value treats should be a treat that he only gets while he's doing basic obedience training or treats he only gets during this particular leash training. These high-value treats can be small bits of hot dogs or cheese, beef jerky, or dried meat. Be patient and let your Chihuahua get to know the leash before you even attach it to him.

The Commanding Leash Method

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Step
1
Let’s walk
Train your Chihuahua to understand a command he will recognize each time he sees you pull the leash out in preparation for a walk. This can be anything from 'let's go' to 'let's walk' or 'let's go for a walk.' You can also get your Chihuahua excited by asking him if he wants to go for a walk and even train him to go get his leash himself.
Step
2
Leash
Chihuahuas can be walked without a harness by using a collar instead. However, if your Chihuahua pulls or if you tug on the leash while he is wearing a collar, his neck could be injured. Harnesses help keep the neck of little dogs safe and sound. Introduce your Chihuahua's leash and harness to him while giving him treats.
Step
3
In the house
Once your Chihuahua has gotten used to the leash and harness, take him for a walk around the house. You may need to start by attaching the leash to your Chihuahua's collar or harness and let him walk himself without holding on to the leash so he can feel the weight and get used to having the leash attached.
Step
4
Walk together
Your first few walks together with your Chihuahua on a leash can happen inside your house or outdoors. Pick an area that is free of distraction. Show your Chihuahua a treat, take a step, and then give him the treat. Keep repeating this every few steps until your pup is walking with you for several steps. It may take him time to get used to how a leash works and walking together.
Step
5
Continue
Continue walking several steps and give your Chihuahua a treat as long as he stays with you. As your pup does well on the leash, increase the distance between treats.
Step
6
Redirection
If your Chihuahua pulls in a direction away from you, stop walking and wait for him to stop. Once he stops, turn around and walk in the opposite direction. When your pup catches up with, you give him a treat and start over, treating every few steps.
Step
7
Not walking
If your Chihuahua stops walking altogether, give him a treat, take a step, have him walk to you, and give him a treat. Continue to repeat this until you can increase the distance you walk before giving your Chihuahua pup a treat. Be patient and give him time to get used to the leash and walking next to you.
Step
8
Practice
The best way for your Chihuahua to get used to leash walking and using leash manners is to do it as often as you can. If you are walking on a regular basis with your dog, he will get used to your expectations how the leash feels as well as being rewarded for having nice leash manners.
Recommend training method?

The Redirection Method

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Step
1
Leash
Attach a leash to your Chihuahua's collar or harness. Let your pup walk around for a little bit, dragging the leash so he can feel the weight and get used to the noises his collar makes when attached to a leash.
Step
2
Reward
Start your leash training off on a positive note and give him a reward once he is wearing his leash and walking around getting used to it.
Step
3
No distractions
Take your Chihuahua puppy for a small walk either around your house or around your yard. You will want this area to be free of any distractions so you can have your Chihuahua puppy's full attention.
Step
4
Hold the leash
Hold on to your Chihuahua's leash but make it a loose leash so he doesn't feel any tugging or pulling. Over time, shorten the distance between you and your dog so the leash is a little bit tighter.
Step
5
Stop
Once the leash is tight enough so there is very little slack between you and your Chihuahua, stop walking and wait for him to notice.
Step
6
Turn around
Once your pup has stopped walking, turn yourself around and walk in the opposite direction. Don't pull on the leash, rather loosen it a little bit if your Chihuahua is not turning to catch up with you. When he does turn, slow down and wait for him and give him a treat once he gets to you.
Step
7
Practice
Continue practicing this to get your Chihuahua used to leash walking with you. By stopping every now and then and changing your direction, your Chihuahua is understanding he is to stay with you because he's attached to you by the leash. Just be careful not to pull on him but to loosen the leash as he realizes he needs to catch up with you.
Step
8
Rewards
Be sure you are rewarding your Chihuahua as he walks with you. If he pulls, stop and wait for him to come back to you and reward him. If he stays with you, reward him every few steps. If you change directions, loosen the leash between you and reward him when he comes back to you.
Step
9
Distance
Over time, you should be able to add distance to your training sessions and then go for longer walks together. Be sure to redirect your Chihuahua when you are on walks together. If he starts to pull, stop walking or turn and change directions.
Recommend training method?

The Puppy Heel Method

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Step
1
Preparation
Prepare your Chihuahua for a walk by attaching his leash to his collar or harness. Be sure to have a bag of high-value tasty treats in your pocket or ready to go while walking.
Step
2
Position
Play your Chihuahua on your left side. This is a typical trainer's position for heel. Once your pup is settled on the leash on your left side and ready to go, give him a treat.
Step
3
Step, step
Hold the treat out on your left side and take a step forward. Your Chihuahua should follow you. If he does, give him the treat. Continue this a couple of steps at a time while treating your pup as long as he walks at your pace next to you.
Step
4
Treat lure
Continue giving your pooch treats as he walks next to you on your left side. You can lure him along by holding the treat in your left hand and taking several steps before you give it to him.
Step
5
Stop and command
Once your Chihuahua puppy is used to the act of walking next to you on his leash, challenge him by stopping and giving the command to 'heel'.
Step
6
Practice
By adding the command "heel" to your walks, your Chihuahua puppy will begin to associate the command with walking at your pace on your left side while on his leash.
Step
7
Rewards
Be sure to continue practicing the 'heel' command by stopping every now and then and starting over with the command, stepping forward and rewarding your Chihuahua for staying with you. This takes lots of practice and your pup will need time to get used to your expectations as well as how the leash feels.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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