If you’re looking for a cute companion to keep by your side, or even if you just want a dog to play with, you’ll probably love having a chihuahua as a pet.
However, due to their stubborn temperament and strong personality, they are often considered the most difficult dogs to train and house break.
An untrained Chihuahua can be aggressive towards unfamiliar people, animals and even other dogs. This is why it is hard to manage them if you don’t have a good training method to discipline them.
Following are a few different ways in which you can discipline a Chihuahua.
Table of Contents
Immediately Discipline Him for His Misbehavior
Whenever your Chihuahua does something you find unacceptable, correct him immediately. Do not put it off.
To effectively correct your dog’s undesirable behavior, you will need to discipline him at the time of the offense. Punishing your dog for something he did earlier will not make him understand why he is being punished, and he will probably repeat the same behavior.
Of course, disciplining your dog doesn’t mean that you need to punish him physically. You should firmly say “No!” or “Stop!” in a calm voice to let your dog know about your unhappiness.
By doing this, he will realize that what he’s doing is making you annoyed, and he will avoid repeating those actions in the future.
Keep in mind that it only takes dogs two minutes to forget an event. Therefore, if you want your dog to learn that what he is doing is inappropriate, you must correct him within this timeframe.
You will have to catch your dog doing it again if you miss that “2 minutes” opportunity. It is pointless punishing your Chihuahua for an event that he doesn’t understand after the 2-minute recall time.
Correct His Misbehavior Using a Firm Tone of Voice
Chihuahuas are highly intelligent, and will pick up on your body language and your tone of voice. If you want to correct your dog’s bad behavior, you’ll need to use the right tone of voice and body language.
If you use a calm, confident, firm tone of voice and gesture with your finger, you’ll be able to control your dog’s behavior. He will learn that it is not worth challenging you.
Be in control of your emotions and always remain calm. Avoid raising your voice at your dog.
If you do raise your voice, you risk giving your dog the wrong message that you are feeling excited by his behavior and that may lead him to think that he needs to perform more of these acts.
Additionally, you can correct your dog’s misbehavior through your facial expressions.
It is less likely that your dog will listen to you if you smile when you are correcting him. He will instead be more likely to comply with your wishes if you show signs of seriousness when you are disciplining him.
Make Your Dog Sees You as His Alpha
Dogs are pack animals. This means that they live in a hierarchy with other dogs, and that they will only respect and follow what they regard as their leader.
Therefore, if you want your Chihuahua to be submissive to you and follow your instructions, you will have to show him that you are his Alpha. Once he regards you as his pack leader, he will follow, obey and trust you.
Being consistent with rules and providing clear leadership are essential for showing your dog that you are the alpha.
There is a leader in every pack, and dogs look to him for guidance.
When you fail to follow your rules or display poor leadership, your dog may attempt to take over the role of the pack leader.
Therefore, you need to be assertive, confident, and dominant.
Following are some ways to assert your dominance over your dog :
- Get your dog out for a pack walk every day. A pack walk differs from a normal walk in that your dog must stay beside or behind you at all times. Only allow him to relieve himself where you deem appropriate, and do not allow him to freely sniff. You are showing him that you are the leader by doing this.
- Don’t let your dog eat before you eat. In the canine world, it is always the alpha dogs who eat first. To do this, once you’ve poured his food, don’t let him touch it. Keep him on the premises. Place a snack near his bowl and eat it before you allow him to eat from his bowl. This is to trick him into thinking that you are eating from his bowl.
- Do not let your dog run through any doorways before you do. You should make him stay if he starts walking before you. Only tell him to come over after you have gotten through.
- Do not interact with your dog when you first enter a room or house. By doing this, you demonstrate to him that your attention is not based on when he requests it, but rather when you are ready to do so.
- Always keep a higher height than your dog. Your dog will perceive you as submissive if you stay at the same level as he is.
- Hold your dog’s gaze and make eye contact. Make sure you don’t look away first. Your dog will look away once he realizes you mean business. In this way, he learns that you are the pack leader and the alpha dog.
It’s also important to reward him whenever he does something right, and to “punish” him (of course, not physically but using a firm and calm tone) when he misbehaves.
You should never yell or hit your dog when he does something wrong as this will not only make him get wary of you, and will also damage his trust in you.
Positive reinforcement is what you need to use instead. This means using treats and toys to reward him when he obeys.
Be Consistent with Your Training and Discipline
The key to training a Chihuahua is to be consistent and patient. Correcting your dog’s behavior as soon as you notice him breaking a rule or misbehaving consistently is the secret to success.
As an example, if your Chihuahua jumps up on you when you get back home, and you immediately turn your back to him, you are telling him that you do not approve of his actions.
However, if he does the same act to you tomorrow, and you give him a pet on his head and pay attention to him, this is going to send a confusing signal to him.
He will probably perform the same act (jumping on you) again when he sees you back home.
Your dog needs to know what is expected of him and that is done through your consistent actions, words and training.
Therefore, when you first introduce your dog to the basic commands, it’s important that you use the same commands every time you want your dog to do something.
Try to keep the commands short and simple. Give him the commands in a calm voice. Do not underestimate your actions and movements as well. For a dog, they are more important than you think.
Keep your actions and movements consistent and simple. Don’t yell at your dog, or use a harsh tone of voice.
Punishment should be avoided at all costs. Your dog will be more likely to learn from praise and rewards (positive reinforcement) rather than punishment.
As your dog gets familiar with the basic commands such as sit, down, stay, and come, you can then gradually progress to more advanced commands.
Your success in disciplining your Chihuahua will depend on how consistently and patient you are in the training.
Make Sure He Receives Positive Reinforcement for His Efforts
The use of positive reinforcement can be an effective method for training your Chihuahua.
By rewarding your Chihuahua for doing something right, you are showing him appreciation. This is an excellent way to train your Chihuahua to behave, as well as to motivate him.
The rewards can be in the form of small treats, his favorite toys, petting on his shoulder or simply just words of encouragement such as “Good job!”
Rewards are important because they keep your dog motivated to perform tasks you’ve asked him to do. If you are using a reward, you should make sure that it is something he likes.
Positive reinforcement is especially important when training a Chihuahua as they are known to be a stubborn breed. Without the right amount of positive reinforcement, your dog will never learn.
If you want to teach your Chihuahua to sit, lie down, or come to you, remember to reward him with treats when he demonstrates the desired behavior.
Make Your Chihuahua Behave by Using Verbal Hints
You can teach your Chihuahua good behavior by giving him verbal hints and putting him in time out.
The great thing about timeouts is that they teach your dog to associate something negative with it, i.e. he loses your attention when he is on a time-out.
The way to practice this will be as follows :
- When your Chihuahua jumps on you, you can give him a firm “ouch” sound (verbal hint) to frighten him off.
- Next, walk away from him or turn your back on him (timeouts).
- This will make him feel that he is losing your attention for his act and will deter him from repeating this behavior.
- Wait for 5 minutes before going back to your dog and give him a good rubbing on his shoulder. It will make him understand that he will only be able to receive your affection if he doesn’t perform this jumping act.
Verbal hints and time-outs are best used with young dogs, as older dogs respond better to positive reinforcement.
Chihuahuas make good pets for families that love to socialize and have fun. They are energetic, playful, and smart, but most importantly, they are loving and loyal.
However, like all dogs, Chihuahuas have to learn how to behave and learn what is acceptable behavior.
The key to disciplining your Chihuahua is to perform a timely correction and set consequences for bad behavior. Be consistent with your house rules as well. Your dog should know what to expect from you, and you should show that you mean business when you set boundaries.