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 New Experiences Method

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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.
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The Exercise to Zen Method

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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

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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.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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