You brought home yourself a puppy, did all the research on grooming, diet, care and are now looking into training? Good. The earlier you start training your Chihuahua, the easier it will be. Just a few changes to the way you play or act around your puppy can play a big role in the way he learns and develops into adulthood.
The few changes that I’m talking about are nothing drastic on your part, but they can still play a big role in the way your puppy grows up. So don’t think it will be too difficult or will take too long because it won’t. It actually will be a very rewarding experience to watch your puppy grow into a well behaved and loyal dog.
At What Age Should I Start Training My Puppy
A common mistake made by a lot of owners is that they fail to start training their dogs at an early age. If you want a Chihuahua that behaves, doesn’t cause you trouble and actually listens to you, then the best time to start training is while the dog is still a puppy.
While they’re young, Chihuahuas are very impressionable. Everything they see around them will have an impact on the way they will behave when they grow up. So whether your goal is to train your dog to behave and listen to you or you just want to teach him a few new tricks, starting early can help a lot.
Obedience Training for Chihuahua Puppies
As previously said, your puppy starts learning and developing his behaviors as soon as you bring him home. If the puppy isn’t guided in the right direction, he can easily learn bad habits that could be tough for him to unlearn as he gets older.
A good example would be play biting and nipping. When the Chihuahua puppy is just young and harmless, the biting isn’t a bother. It’s funny to watch the little guy nip at your hands while playing. However if you let this behavior continue into his adult life, the biting and nipping can turn into a serious problem.
The bites will be more painful and your clothes will have more holes in them, but in your dog’s eyes nothing will really change. Biting wasn’t a problem when he was a puppy so why would it be now. So when you freak out or get angry at him for biting you, he won’t fully understand why you’re getting upset. If however you taught the Chihuahua not to bite your hands and only use his teeth on his toys at the very beginning, he would know that biting is not ok.
This example can apply to most behavior problems:
- Destructive chewing
In fact most of the behavior problems that Chihuahua owners have to deal with could have been easily avoided had they started training from an early age. Don’t let your puppy get away with things just because he looks innocent. Over time he will slowly grow out of his innocent look but the bad habits that he formed from lack of training will stay with him.
Set the house rules on day one
The basic idea for obedience training when it comes to puppies is to set the house rules from day one and to stay consistent with them. If the pup has clear rules he has to follow that never change, he will quickly learn what is allowed and what isn’t.
When the rules of the house are inconsistent the learning process will be greatly slowed. Instead of just knowing what is expected of him, he will have to wonder if today’s rules are the same as they were yesterday. So your pup will end up testing his limits every time to see what he can get away with.
Tips for puppy obedience training
Here are a few tips you can use to help you with obedience training
Start Early – As previously stated, the sooner you start the easier it will be.
Always be consistent – Again, set up the rules that won’t change whether your Chihuahua is an adult or a puppy.
Socialize whenever you can – don’t lock your puppy in a room when people come over. Let him interact with new people whenever you have the chance (with their permission of course). Jealousy, shyness, aggression towards others and possessive behavior are all signs of lack of socialization.
Learn to say no – Don’t cave in when your Chihuahua gives you the sad puppy eyes. If he is doing something you don’t want him to do, stop him.
Expect him to make mistakes – your pup’s curiosity is bound to lead him into trouble. So don’t get too upset with him when he makes mistakes, because there will be plenty.
Use mistakes as an opportunity to teach – if you do catch him in the act of doing something he shouldn’t, use that moment to correct his behavior. Stop what he is doing and then encourage him to do what he should do instead. Is he biting at your hands? Tell him no and give him a toy to bite on instead.
Teaching New Tricks to a Chihuahua Puppy
Want to start training your puppy a few neat tricks but not sure if he is old enough to learn them? Well every dog is different. Some will learn things quicker than others.
As a general rule though, you can start teaching the basics at about the age of 3 months. This includes sit, come, stay, down and other basic tricks. Nothing too fancy or too complicated at this age yet.
Keep in mind that just as kids, they will get easily distracted. The younger the pup, the shorter his attention span will be. As he gets older, he will be able to focus for longer and that’s when you will be able to teach him the more advanced tricks.
The ideal age where most puppies will be able to learn tricks and focus long enough to remember them is around 6 months and up.
Tips for teaching new tricks
Here are a few tips that will help you teach your puppy new tricks
Turn training into a game – Try to teach him something new, or at least practice a trick he already knows, every time you play with him. Most puppies don’t want to end their fun so they will be motivated to listen to you so that the fun doesn’t stop.
Practice multiple times throughout the day – Since your puppy doesn’t have the best attention span, practicing once or twice several times per day will help him remember the tricks that he learns.
Don’t expect him to learn too much too quickly – learning too many tricks in a short period of time can be difficult for a puppy. Keep things simple so that he doesn’t feel overwhelmed.
Keep things exciting – Always reward your dog with praise and express your excitement so that he feels excited too. Chihuahuas love to make their owners happy. If he notices that performing a trick correctly makes you happy, he will be a lot more eager to do it again.