How to Train a Hyper Chihuahua to Calm Down

Medium
1-6 Months
Behavior

Introduction

Whether she is deer or apple-headed, long-haired or short, your Chihuahua is almost certainly very cute. It is almost equally likely that she is energetic, with a larger than life personality. Chihuahuas belie their minuscule stature with big attitudes and committed loyalty. Your Chihuahua is happiest by your side, and she is willing to stick with you no matter what.

Many of us choose a small-breed dog because of the ease of exercising small dogs compared to larger dogs, among other things. Too often, however, a Chihuahua can become a little crazy when not exercised and socialized properly.

Defining Tasks

If you realize you need your Chihuahua to calm down, perhaps because she is jumping off your guest's heads on the couch or spinning in circles around their feet, your goals will be twofold. First, you will need to teach your Chihuahua self-control. Dogs, like people, are not born with self-control, but must develop it through a painstaking process of slowly extending the delay of reward for some worthy purpose. If your Chihuahua has never needed to use self-control, the skill will have to be built gradually over time.

Secondly, your Chihuahua needs exercise and new experiences to gain the worldliness needed for her to keep her chill. If your Chihuahua's world extends primarily to your house and yard, she is likely to be overwhelmed with excitement by every new person or thing coming into that space.

Getting Started

When choosing a training and exercise regimen for your Chihuahua, be careful to keep her physical limitations in mind. Chihuahuas have delicate necks and spines that can be injured easily on a neck lead, so it is best to always restrain your Chihuahua with a comfortable and securely fitted harness. While your Chihuahua may be willing to run with you all day, this may not be good for her, especially until she develops stamina. Make sure you are matching activities to your Chihuahua's abilities and build activity gradually. To develop self-control in your Chihuahua it helps to have desirable rewards. Use the smallest and lowest calorie treats that will motivate your Chihuahua, as they gain weight easily.

The Exercise to Zen Method

ribbon-method-2
Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Bouncing off the walls
If your Chihuahua is bouncing off of the walls with energy, she may need more exercise before she can control herself and develop calm.
Step
2
Exercise safely
Build your exercise routine slowly, so that you don't overwhelm your Chihuahua.
Step
3
Variety in exercise
The more variable your Chihuahua's exercise routine, the better. Maybe one day you play fetch for an hour, another you go for a long walk, and another you practice wading in shallow water.
Step
4
Exercise until tired
As your Chihuahua builds strength, exercise her until she is tired and relaxed at the end of exercise.
Step
5
Build self-control
Now that you have a calm Chihuahua to work with, you can begin building self-control for calm even when not tired by practicing extended stays for rewards.
Recommend training method?

The Job to Do Method

ribbon-method-3
Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Can't get out
If it isn't practical for you to take your Chihuahua outside for exercise and exposure, that's OK, you can give her lots of mental stimulation and exercise at home so she will handle new people in her home with calm.
Step
2
Give her jobs
Give your Chihuahua jobs to do. Train her to gather her toys or your spare socks from around the house. Teach her to drag a dust mop around. Make up any kind of jobs, real or imaginary for her.
Step
3
Create routine
Use your Chihuahua's new jobs to build a routine into your daily life with her so she feels busy and has designated working and resting times.
Step
4
Challenge her mind
Keep your Chihuahua occupied with varying types of chew and food puzzle toys. Keep teaching her new tricks and chores so she stays engaged.
Step
5
Teach self-control
As your Chihuahua develops calm, teach her self-control with extended stays for rewards.
Recommend training method?

The New Experiences Method

ribbon-method-1
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Homebody spaz
If your Chihuahua doesn't get out much and goes crazy every time she does go out or someone visits, she may develop a lot of calm just by getting out more.
Step
2
Get out safely
Make sure your Chihuahua has a securely fit harness, and bring a cozy bag that she can nestle into if she gets overwhelmed in the course of your outings.
Step
3
Start with calm spaces
To build calm in your Chihuahua, take her to calm places without much stimulus. Going somewhere without many people around will also spare you embarrassment as your Chihuahua gets all the crazy barking out of her system.
Step
4
Go out frequently
Try to take your Chihuahua somewhere new every day, or several times a day if possible. The more the better, just make sure you have her safe bag in case she gets overwhelmed.
Step
5
Build stimulus
Gradually build up to more and more stimuli in the places you go. Encourage self-control by asking your Chihuahua to stay and wait for reward for increasing periods while out and at home.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Coral Drake

Published: 02/22/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Little mighty
Chihuahua
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Little mighty
Chihuahua
4 Months

How do I pee pad train him before winter. He is good to go outside now but when winter comes who knows

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I would purchase a disposable real grass pad for consistency with outside potty training, then use either the crate training method or exercise pen method from the article I have linked below to train inside potty training too. For the first week, I would do just inside potty trips, then once pup is going potty on the grass pad willingly, even if not fully trained to be able to remove the exercise pen, take pup potty outside and to the inside potty both, so pup is getting used to going to the inside potty while maintaining outside potty training. Choose where you want the grass pad to be long term and set up the exercise pen there if you can, because pup will be learning not just to go on the pad but to go in that location, so location needs to stay as consistent inside as it can, to avoid pup going potty in the wrong location inside. Exercise pen method - mentions a doggie litter box but other indoor potty pads can be used instead, like the grass pad. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Disposable real grass pad brands - also on amazon.com: www.porchpotty.com www.doggielawn.com www.freshpatch.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Duchess
Chihuahua
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Duchess
Chihuahua
4 Years

She is BEYOND hyper & spazzes every time she walks into the room with any of the 4 people in the household. She gets under feet, pushes the backs of knees, & jumps repeatedly into us. I have MS, so it is VERY dangerous. She also can't let us pet her without licking us, & 2 of us are NOT ok with it bc she doesnt do it then stop. It's like we are popsicles,. 😐 & it grosses us out.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Heather, I would start with teaching Place, Leave It, and Out, to help with personal boundaries. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite I would especially work on Out - which means move away. For the jumping, check out this article, including the Leash and Step Toward method. With your MS I would have someone else be in charge of teaching that, they can practice the leash method with you involved, but with them stepping on the leash so pup is never actually jumping on you. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Check out this video on desensitizing to greetings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
babygirl
Deer Head Chihuahua
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
babygirl
Deer Head Chihuahua
8 Months

in to everything want be still she try's to chew an bit me my son says she is just to much for me I dont want to give her up

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Claudia, I recommend teaching a few commands that can help pup learn to settle, respect your space, and leave items alone. Crate Training - Surprise method. It's okay to crate pup with a dog food stuffed chew toy from time to time when you need a break, and when you can't supervise pup and pup could destroy something or injure themselves from chewing. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Out - which means leave the area. Use this command when you want pup to give you space or move away from a temptation. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method - helpful for biting and chewing items. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method - if pup is an attention barker: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command - this is a great alternative to the crate when you need space. Pup can be sent to Place to chew their own chew toy and stay there until released, giving you time and facilitating pup learning self-control, a bit more independence, and calmness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Novo
Chihuahua
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Novo
Chihuahua
5 Months

Hyper won't calm down

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gillian, I suggest practicing something called "Jazz up and Settle Down". Which is a bit like red light, green light for dogs. During training, get pup a little excited, then command "Stop" or something puppy knows like "Sit", and freeze. Wait and completely ignore them until they calm back down. As soon as they get calm or sit, praise and give a treat. Tell pup "Let's Play!" again, and start playing and getting them a bit excited again. As soon as they start to get a little worked up (not too much at first), command "Stop" or "Sit" again, then wait, reward with a treat when they calm down, then continue the game after they are rewarded. Repeat this a few times each training session, then end the session (have lots of frequent shorter sessions throughout the day at this age). As pup improves, and can really calm down quickly, let them get a bit more excited before calling Stop. Gradually work up to pup becoming more and more excited and having to calm down quickly from a higher level of excitement as they improve. Also, understand that this will take some time and practice. Puppies have to learn self-control just like any other skill, while young. This game can help them develop it sooner though. I also suggest teaching the Leave It command from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Roseline
Chihuahua
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Roseline
Chihuahua
5 Months

She does not listen and she's always tearing my stuff up when I tell her to sit down she barks at me and I have treats for her and she's always begging for table food even though she has her own dog food

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maya, Chewing: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark It's also very common for many dogs to bark when they get impatient for treats. It usually either means pup is impatient and you simply need to withhold the treat until pup gets quiet for a second, or pup doesn't understand Sit well enough and is frustrated, not understanding how to get the treat from you. Sit: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit For the begging, I recommend teaching pup Place, and rewarding pup if they quietly wait on Place while you eat meals. At first you will need to reward pup more often while you are eating, by placing a treat between pup's paws while still lying down (the treat doesn't mean pup can get up though, so return pup to place if they jump up, they will learn with being repeatedly calmly returned to Place that they should still stay when given a treat). As pup improves, give less and less treats until pup is only getting one at the end of your meal if they waited calmly and quietly on there the whole time. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s I would also teach Out- which means leave the area, and Leave It, for when pup is being pushy in general. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Obedience and Consistency methods for listening: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Know that attention and listening is a skill that has to be developed with practice in puppies. Few puppies listen well at first, so you are not alone. Practicing teaching pup new commands and improving skills with commands pup already knows can help pup learn to focus and listen better in general by exercising their brain and increasing their desire to work with you and focus on you. Lure reward training tends to work best with young puppies like yours. I have included a free PDF E-book download, After You Get Your Puppy, at the link below also. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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