When can I Start chihauhua puppy training, and where do I Start?
Teaching your Chihuahua to obey commands is an important aspect of the owner/pet relationship. This will allow you to have some semblance of command over him, so he will do as you wish in certain situations. Training can begin as soon as he hits his ninth week. Chihuahua puppies are very capable of learning commands from a young age. However, younger pups have a shorter attention span, so it won’t be a piece of cake.
The easiest way to train your Chihuahua puppy, or any puppy for that matter, is through positive reinforcement. This involves the teaching of commands by using praise or a treat as a reward. The important part is not which reward you offer, but when you offer it.
Rewarding your Chihuahua for following a command should be done immediately, not five seconds later. Doing so won’t associate the reward with the action, hence teaching the puppy absolutely nothing. With consistency, repetition, and properly timed rewards, your Chihuahua will be well on his way to be being a well-behaved member of pet society.
So, let’s delve into the seven basic commands that you should start with. These are organized in the order they should be taught, from eight weeks on, but a puppy may be able to pick up any or all of these right away. Once your pet has mastered these, normally by one year old at the latest, you can move on to some more advanced training if you wish.
- NO: The “no” command is often misunderstood, as pet owners don’t realize that animals can’t understand the word itself, but rather the tone you use when you say it. There is no need to shout it, but it should consistently be said with a stern voice and tone. To avoid confusion, don’t name your Chihuahua anything that rhymes with no, like Fido or JoJo, as this will just confuse them.
- COME: Making your Chihuahua understand this command not only makes your life easier, but can keep your dog safe. Start by having him tied to a 15-foot long leash or rope. Then, give the command in a friendly voice from about six feet away, and give praise or a treat if he obeys. If he doesn’t, just reel him in and reward him when he gets to you. This will associate a positive result with the action.
- OFF: This is fairly simple to teach. When you want your Chihuahua to get off of something, just say the command, then physically remove him and praise him as a good boy. Eventually the dog will associate the word “off” with the act of getting down off of something.
- SIT: Your puppy should pick up the “sit” command after about 20 repetitions. To teach it, give the command and hold a treat behind his head. This will make puppies take the sitting position naturally. Once he hits the ground with his behind, repeat the command and give a treat.
- DOWN: Down is when your puppy is flat on his tummy. To teach this command, have your puppy begin by sitting. Hold a treat to his face and lower it to the ground. He should follow and end up on his belly. Once he gets there, say “down” and give praise and a treat.
- STAY: To teach the stay command, have your puppy sit, then put your palm to his face and say “stay.” Take a few steps away, wait a couple moments, then return and offer a treat. Keep practicing by taking more steps away, and eventually your puppy will stay, no matter how far away you wander.
- HEEL: Heel means your puppy walks next to you, while on the leash, and doesn’t pull. Having a Chihuahua pull on you while walking into going to throw your back out, but it’s still an important command to teach. Give the command and reel him in so he facing forward, on your left side. If he pulls, turn and face the other way, to keep him alert. Practice this until he learns to walk next to you without running ahead.