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

Most Recommended
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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

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

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
Ellie
Chiwawa
9 Months
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Question
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Ellie
Chiwawa
9 Months

Rescued ! Been neglected!very nervous! Can be aggressive! Can’t put lead on her to walk her! On heat and hiding away appetite poor! One day let’s me stroke her ! Next day growls if I go near
Her

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
775 Dog owners recommended

Hello Angels, First, give her time and expect progress to be gradual. Sprinkle treats around you when you are sitting and without paying attention to her, let her come up to you to eat the treats so that she will associate you with food - you will probably need to use meal topper treats instead of kibble for this. Meal toppers like stella and chewy and nature's variety is often found in the pet food isle. Expect a few days of not coming over for the food while stressed. As stress goes down her desire to eat should increase. If it doesn't, see your vet. Once she is coming close to eat the food and seems more relaxed you can start talking to her softly but don't touch yet unless she asks for it. When she is comfortable being near you, then pair the food with your touch - touch her shoulder while giving a treat. Touch her side, touch her ear, ect...While feeding a treat each time. Only touch while she is eating the food. As soon as she stops, stop touching. Once she can tolerate your touch and being near you, then work on her fear of other things. Check out the article linked below for more details on that. Kikopup on Youtube is also a good resource for desensitization. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Eventually, confidence building exercises may be good for her also. Don't act sorry for her or baby her. Fearful dogs need calmness and confidence from their pet parents. Structure, routines, and clear boundaries are also important for anxious dogs. Confidence building exercise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OseD7TRwsPQ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Alfie
Chihuahua
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Alfie
Chihuahua
4 Months

he is so hyper and does not follow commands.

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

Hello, Alfie is pretty young and no doubt, has a lot of energy! Check with the vet to make sure that her vaccines are up to date and then begin lots of walking sessions every day. While on walks, work on the Heel command as a starting point for her obedience. This gives lots of focus which carries over to the rest of the training: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel. Try the Turns Method. For obedience, the Basic Commands Method is excellent, shown here: https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-german-shepherd-puppy. Work with Alfie 10-15 minutes every day, as well as the Heeling when on walks. When training, always be positive and use an upbeat voice. End the training session on a high point. Good luck!

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Question
Dash
Dachshund-Chihuahua mix
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Dash
Dachshund-Chihuahua mix
1 Year

I just adopted this male dog last Friday. So, he’s been in my home for one week. This past Tuesday, I took him in for his shots thinking I’d neuter him after he had gotten more used to my home. The doc urged me to do it then. Also, he had an umbilical hernia that the doc urged me to repair then as well. I was told not to allow this dog to be active for 7-10 days following these procedures. I was able to keep him fairly calm for three days, but today, the damn broke. It was too much for the Chihuahua part of my dog to stay down. He tore his stitches, and it’s a Friday evening. I am so overwhelmed, and frankly, I don’t know if I can handle a dog that’s this demanding. On the other hand, I am stressed that the vet thought we should do all of this when I had only had the dog for four days. I broke down and took Dash for a walk because he was so jazzed up, and was on the verge of tearing his stitches even more. How can I keep this overactive puppy calm? I’m surprised the vet didn’t suggest a calming medicine as she must know what Chihuahuas as like. Any advice would be well received.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
775 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lydia, I recommend stimulating pup mentally to help with the energy. Work on teaching tricks that don't require too much movement, feeding pup their meals in a dog food stuffed chew toy or puzzle toy, and potentially speaking with your vet about safe ways to help pup feel calmer. Check out youtube channels like the ones I have listed below for ideas for tricks to teach pup for stimulation. Choose only low activity tricks like Touch or paw, until pup is healed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNFPljFzJq0 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZzFRKsgVMhGTxffpzgTJlQ https://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup Another good resource to find trick how to instructions is www.wagwalking.com/training - where you found this article most likely. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Arizona
Chiu
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Arizona
Chiu
1 Year

She goes nuts after being left alone for awhile, she scotches like an army crawl and screeches and piddles, and won’t let me get her to put her out to potty

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

Hello, the first thing to take care of is to help Arizona cope with being left alone. Make sure that she has a good walk before you need to go out, so that she is tired and content. Ensure that she has a safe and comfortable place to rest while you are out, like a comfy crate or an exercise pen area (see here: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. Of course, leave out the litter/pee pads if you are training her to pee outside only). Sometimes a dog will not be happy while you are out because they feel intimidated in the home alone. Another thing you can do is prepare a frozen Kong to keep her busy when you are out. Take a kong and fill it with moistened kibble and peanut butter (no xylitol in the peanut butter, though, as it is toxic to dogs!!). Freeze the Kong and give it to Arizona before you leave the house. It will give her great entertainment while you are away. Always keep a frozen Kong on hand. Soon, Arizona will run for her exercise pen so that she can have her Kong. When you return from being away, take Arizona out immediately. Say a quick hello in a normal toned voice, head straight outside, and give praise and treats when she has success. If she starts to piddle, ignore the fact and head out anyway, giving her praise and a treat right on the spot when she pees outside.Clean up inside accidents with an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate the odor - you may not smell the pee but Arizona does. Good luck!

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Question
Gwynn
Chihuahua
11 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Gwynn
Chihuahua
11 Months

She is very hyper all the time I hardly ever see her sleep anymore she is up all day running around outside and when in house she paces constantly and during the night she won't stay in bed she gets up and down and wanders around and barks at any little noise we tried crate training to give her a little quiet den of her own and she will go in and chew on her toys for maybe 15 min then gets up and wanders around again and she likes to dig in her bed on my bed and outside she brings little treasures inside she finds ie old bones other dogs left around or garbage her favorite is bones tho she will pack them into house and we are constantly throwing the excess out I put one in her kennel for her but she always finds more and once they are in house she doesn't even chew on them she just leaves them on floor and off to find another one outside

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
775 Dog owners recommended

Hello Agnes, I recommend crating pup at night with the door closed. First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. Practice for a few days until he is doing well during the day. You can either continue what you are currently doing at night during this process or go ahead and jump into what I explain below for night time training - waiting until the day is good before starting the night or starting the night and day both at the same time. When he cries at night (in the crate - where he needs to be sleeping for now) before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. During the day, I recommend practicing some commands and tricks with pup to wera him out, and feeding him his kibble in dog food stuffed hollow chew toys like kongs, things like kong wobbles, puzzle toys, and other things pup can work to get the food out of to keep him busier with a calm activity. I recommend teaching pup a Place command and working up to pup staying on place for up to an hour, for times when you need pup to go lie down quietly. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Butter ball
Chihauha
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Butter ball
Chihauha
1 Year

How too get him not too be hyper in the house

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

Start training at home and at times when your dog is more likely to be already relaxing. You’ll know your dog is truly settled when they lie down, not asking for attention, and not easily distracted by what’s going on around them. To begin with you may just need to reward your dog for any behaviour that is not staring at you, pulling on the lead, or barking. Sit quietly on a chair with your dog on the lead and a blanket on the floor. Drop tiny bite size treats to your dog as a reward for settling down on the blanket. Don’t say anything to your dog whilst doing this. Gradually reward more relaxed behaviours. This will vary between dogs – some will automatically start lying down and you can quickly progress to rewarding your dog only for this behaviour, before moving on to reward specific signs of relaxing like sighing, weight shifting and head resting. Some dogs will take longer and will struggle to stop pulling on the lead or staring at you. If this is the case with your dog, you’ll need to take things more slowly by rewarding behaviours such as standing quietly, disengaging from people or sniffing their blanket. Always make sure your dog is having a good time when settling, whether enjoying their toys, chews, or simply dozing and snoozing! When your dog is relaxed, start increasing the time they must be settled before you reward them. Gradually build up by a couple of seconds a time, over multiple training sessions. Once your dog is starting to get the hang of it and is shifting their weight so they’re comfortable and relaxing, you can start practising with them off lead. You need your dog to learn that they can settle down whether they are on or off-lead, practising very useful skills for a lot of different situations!

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