Because of their small size, Chihuahuas spend most of their time being carried around like the babies they are. Being that cute is a trick enough in and of itself, but Chihuahuas can learn tricks just like any other breed of dog. Teaching a Chihuahua tricks takes patience, but your favorite pup can be taught if you take the time to teach him.
How Chihuahuas Learn
All Chihuahua tricks are just variations on natural behaviors that your Chihuahua already knows. Training Chihuahua tricks is really behavior modification – taking something your dog already knows how to do, such a sit on his little rump, and teaching him to do it when you ask him to.
Reward vs. Punishment – Chihuahuas learns behavior modification when they are given a reward for doing the trick you ask, not though punishment. You want your little friend to trust you and enjoy the time you spend together learning new tricks, not be afraid of making a mistake. Find out what your baby-dog’s favorite treat is and reward him with little bits of it, along with lots of praise throughout the training process.
Consistency – One of the most common mistakes that people make when training their Chihuahua tricks is being inconsistent in their training. If your dog knows what to expect from you and what is expected of him, he will learn much more quickly.
Reward the Try – While being consistent with your expectations is important to the training process, your expectations should be relatively low in the early stages of learning a new trick. You will want to reward your Chihuahua for even the smallest attempt to do what you ask until he has a good idea of what you are asking.
Teaching your Chihuahua How to Sit
Sitting on command is usually the first Chihuahua trick taught. It is the stepping stone to several other tricks such as Stay, Laydown, and several others. One of the best things about Chihuahuas is their easy-to-hold size, but your little one should still be able to quietly at your feet when asked to.
- Sit or kneel in front of your dog with a handful of treats readily available. Hold the treat between your thumb and forefinger, slightly in front of and above your Chihuahua’s nose. The treat should be just out of reach but not so high that you encourage him to jump. Say your dog’s name and get his attention, but don’t tease him with the treat.
- The next step of this Chihuahua trick is to gently say “Sit.” You should not use a harsh voice, which may intimidate your dog, and try to avoid a high-pitched voice which may excite him. Slowly arc the treat toward his tail which should lure him into a sit.
- The very moment his little rump touches the ground, give him the treat and say “good sit!” If your Chihuahua jumps to get the treat instead of sitting, turn your back on him and put the treat out of sight. Wait a few moments and try again. If on the third or fourth try he is still resisting sitting his tail down, you can press gently on his rump at the same time you arc the treat back. This will take some coordination and patience, but he will eventually get the idea. It is important that you give him his reward as soon as he sits, before he pops back up again and don’t expect him to stay sitting for more than a second or two at this stage.
- Practice, practice, practice! Repeat steps 1-3 for short periods of time, several times a day. Before long, this Chihuahua trick will be second nature for your special pup.
Once your Chihuahua sits as soon as you give the command, you can begin to raise your expectations. You can start to expect him to stay sitting for increasingly longer periods of time before giving him his treat. You can also work toward asking your Chihuahua to sit even if you aren’t kneeling in front of him or even from across the room. Just be sure to take it slowly and always remember to reward and never punish.