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Training Your Chihuahua
Bringing a brand new Chihuahua home is a time of great excitement. After the joy wears off, however, the work needs to start. Just like any other dog, Chihuahuas require training to really fit well into a home environment.
One of the first problems to overcome as with any new pup is to housebreak your new pet. You will not want your Chihuahua to have accidents all over the house.
Before your Chihuahua is housebroken, you need to confine your pet to a specific area of the house. If your Chihuahua has full access to the house he/she will urinate and defecate all over the place. Once that habit has started it is harder to break. By limiting the access area your pet will learn where to go more readily. By confining the dog you can limit the access to one room, or leave him/her in a crate or cage when you are not home.
The object of house training is to have your pet do his business outdoors. You may start by confining him to a crate or cage, or put newspapers down in a designated area while he is still young. However, the object remains to have him relieve himself outdoors. Frequently take your Chihuahua outdoors, especially after a meal. Try to keep him out until he does his business. Praise him when he has complied. Once he understands he has to go outdoors, remove the newspapers. As long as your pet sees them he will continue to use them.
The Need for Routine
You will need to establish a routine for your dog including feeding times, dog walks, a time to settle down for the evening etc. Be consistent, your Chihuahua pup needs order and predictability.
You may also use clicker training. This method is often used with guard dogs and service dogs and works well with Chihuahuas. First you will buy a clicker and simply orient the dog towards the sound. Click and then give your Chihuahua a treat. It will soon understand that a click will be followed by a treat.
To commence training, start with the simplest of commands. A dog will sit or lie down naturally and these commands are good places to begin. Watch your Chihuahua closely. When he does these behaviors, for example he sits, click and then give him his treat. Gradually work up to teaching him more difficult commands. For example if you want your Chihuahua to go to a certain part of the house which is especially useful when you have guests, place a mat or dog bed in the area. First click and treat when the dog looks in the direction, then click and treat again if the dog goes over to sniff the area. Gradually modify the behavior required for a click to when the dog settles down in the designated area. Repeat the desired command verbally while you are clicking and treating.
Showing Your Dog Who is in Command
Chihuahuas like any other dog must learn respect. They must learn to obey their owners. A simple command provides dogs with direction and facilitates obedience. Examples of command words can be: sit, lay down, get your toy, stop, go, No!
Start with one and two word commands. Repeat the commands while showing the animal what to do or he understands and repeats the behavior with ease (clicker training).
Later on you can increase the Chihuahua's vocabulary so that they will understand simply sentences, such as: get your leash, put your toy away, or do you want to go out?
When your Chihuahua misbehaves, hold his muzzle firmly, point and say no. He will soon learn that this behavior is not acceptable.
The Need for Repetition
Repetition is the key to a dog's understanding; make sure you follow up with a reward such as "good dog" a treat or a pat on the head.