Are Chihuahua easy to train? Yes, provided you don’t balk at putting in the efforts.
Chis are a smart dog breed and they learn quickly. They also love the mental stimulus that training provides.
At the same time, they can be stubborn. Therefore, you must put in consistent effort to see results.
In this guide, we will talk about:
- Are Chihuahua Easy to Train? Personality traits of the Chi you should know about.
- How to train Chihuahua? Some tips before you start
- How to housetrain a Chihuahua puppy?
- What to include in your Chi’s training?
- How to train an older Chihuahua?
- How long it takes to train a Chi?
Let’s get on with it!
Are Chihuahua Easy to Train? 4 Important Chihuahua Personality Traits to Know Before You Begin!
Chihuahuas are the 35th most popular breed according to the AKC and 4th according to FCI.
However, many of them still end up in shelters and rescue homes because their owners never took the time to train them properly.
Chis are extremely smart, affectionate, and loyal dogs and they can become excellent household companions provided you are willing to put in some efforts.
Here are some aspects of Chihuahuas’ personalities that you must know about. This can help you during training.
1. They suffer from the ‘Small Dog Syndrome’
Like all small dog breeds, Chis also suffer from what is popularly known as the Small Dog Syndrome. Accordingly, they try to portray themselves as bigger than they actually are.
In fact, Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed in the world.
They are aware of their small size and as a result, they try to show that they are a rough and tough breed.
Resultantly, they will try to take on dogs larger than them, bark a lot, show aggression, and even bite.
That is why, they need proper socialization and training, for their own safety as well.
2. They come across as ‘stand-offish’ with strangers
For the same evolutionary trait of survival of the fittest, your Chi will come across as aloof and standoffish in the beginning.
However, they will soon warm up to your near and dear ones.
Early socialization is key and can help you prevent many issues in their adulthood.
3. They tend to be aggressive and snappy
Chihuahuas often pretend that they are bigger than they look.
Their genes and heredity can also influence this temperament.
Since these dogs were bred to herd and capture small animals, they often try to chase, stalk, bite, and hold small animals and even kids.
They believe that the display of aggression in the form of barking, snarling, growling, and biting can help prove their strength.
Thankfully, you can curb a lot of this behavior through proper training and early socialization.
Do read our guide on Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive to help understand the reasons behind this trait.
4. They are prone to anxiety, fear, and nervousness
Chihuahuas are also prone to nervousness and fear.
Even the slightest of noise can make them jump, so you can imagine what the louder noises like thunder and fireworks can do to them.
It is important that you take these factors into account. You may also want to socialize your puppy from an early age so s/he becomes more confident in new places or around other dogs and people.
With that out of the way, let us move on to training.
Also Read: Do Chihuahuas Bark a Lot?
How to Train a Chihuahua – Tips and Info You Need Before You Begin
A. Start early
Start training your Chi puppy as soon as it comes home.
The first few weeks are critical because it will help you establish ground rules that will come in very handy.
Make sure you and all your family members are on the same ground while training. This way, you do not confuse your pet by relaxing the rules now and then.
The effort you put in the first few weeks will show great results and help minimize a lot of undesirable behavior.
B. Invest in healthy treats
Invest in plenty of healthy treats as these will come in very handy during training.
We recommend the Pet Botanics Training Treats because they are low calorie, healthy, and specially made for small dogs.
C. Invest in a good crate
Crate training and house training go hand in hand. A crate is very handy as it will help prevent unwanted soiling. After all, dogs never soil the area they sleep in.
Most Chis also love the cozy and secure environment a crate provides. So, invest in a good crate of appropriate size.
We recommend the MidWest iCrate . It is ideal for small-sized dogs like Chis and perfect for a fully grown Chi too.
You can also check out:
D. Buy a safe leash and collar set
Invest in a good leash and collar set to take your pet on walks.
We recommend the Blueberry Leash and Collar Set which is designed to be gentle on your pet’s neck.
Remember: Chihuahuas are prone to tracheal collapse, so never pull or yank on the leash as it could injure its bones.
To get your young pet used to wearing a leash, let it explore the house while wearing the collar and leash (under supervision).
Keep an eye on your pet the entire time to ensure he does not get hurt or choked.
Also read: Best Harness for Chihuahua
E. Teach your pet respect
You must establish early on that you are the alpha.
Teach your puppy Chi to respect you without instilling fear in its mind.
Never make exceptions in the first week as that will set the tone for the rest of your life.
How to Housetrain Your Chihuahua Puppy?
Housetraining is a way of teaching your puppy never to eliminate or soil indoors.
This is where a dog crate will come in very handy. As mentioned earlier, your puppy will start looking at the crate as its safety and comfort zone.
Hence it will never soil in it.
Here are the basic steps of housetraining your pet:
1. Take your pet outside to eliminate several times a day
Young Chihuahuas have very tiny bladders. As a result, they will want to eliminate at least 4-5 times a day.
You must make it a point to take your pet outside those many number of times. (Experts recommend taking your puppy out every hour on the hour).
In case you have to leave for work, arrange for someone to come over to let your Chi out.
You must set a schedule for potty breaks during the day, and follow it strictly.
For example, your pet will want to eliminate once upon getting up, once after every meal, and once just before bed time. Also, you must take your pet to eliminate outdoors after it has had water to drink.
When you follow this schedule strictly, you will have fewer and fewer accidents indoors and your Chi will learn that it is not right to eliminate indoors.
2. Designate a Potty area in your yard
You can designate a potty area in your yard and use a command word like ‘Go potty’ or ‘pee pee’.
Use the same word every time and make sure your family members use it as well.
Take your Chi out to the designated potty area on a leash.
Use the command word you’ve chosen.
Once your pet eliminates, praise and reward it right away. Your Chi will soon learn the command word and associate it with praise and rewards.
Do this 4-5 times a day. Be patient and consistent and you will easily have a housetrained pet Chihuahua in a couple of weeks.
3. Section-off the large crate
If your pet ends up peeing inside its crate, ensure that it isn’t too big.
If it is, your Chi might use one end of it as a toilet.
You could section off the area using blocks or boxes to prevent your Chi from ‘going’ in the corners.
4. Remember: accidents do happen
In the beginning, your pet might still void indoors.
Never shout at, rebuke, or hit your Chi if this happens. This would only make it more aggressive or timid.
Your pup will also show distinct signs that it is about to ‘eliminate’. This might be in the form of sniffing around, circling the area, and squatting or raising its leg.
When you see your pet doing this, make a loud noise and use the ‘NO!’ command.
Then immediately take your pet to the designated spot and let it do its business.
Again, reward and praise your pet when it pees in the designated spot.
5. Clean up accidents right away
If your Chi does have an accident indoors, then you must immediately clean up the mess.
This is very important since your Chi will use that previous urine scent to eliminate in the same spot over and over.
Use an enzymatic cleaner like this one to get rid of ammonia odor.
Its bio-enzyme formula removes stains and odors and gets rid of the ammonia smell that your pet uses to pee over again and again.
Check out Our Comprehensive Guide on How to Potty Train a Chihuahua
What Else Should Chihuahua Training Include?
Apart from toilet training, leash training, and crate training you can also teach your pet the following:
A good puppy training schedule should include basic obedience.
This includes getting your puppy Chi to come to you when you call it.
You can also teach your pet the No, Drop It, Sit, and Lie down Commands.
These can come in very handy and are the basics of all dog training.
Bite and chewing inhibition
All puppies bite and more so while they are teething.
However, it is important to control the behavior early on as it can spiral out of control.
Use the No command every time your pet tries to bite your shoes/feet/ furniture.
You can also use the ‘Drop It’ command. If needed, get your puppy’s attention by making a loud rapping noise with a rolled up newspaper on the floor. This will get your pet to drop the object.
These can soothe its gums and satisfy that urge to chew and bite. They also tell your pet what is okay to chew and what isn’t.
Also check out our guide on: Best Dental Chews for Chihuahuas.
Socialization is an essential part of having a well-behaved pet.
This means exposing your Chihuahua to new places, people, and situations.
For example, you must start using the vacuum cleaner early on so that your pet does not get scared of it.
Also, get your pet used to the door bell, to the mail man, and even other pets in the neighborhood.
Start taking your pet on car rides and also take it out on short trips to the park, to the vet’s clinic, and to friends’ homes (if they accept of course!).
Invite people and other pets over on play dates.
You can also enroll your dog in puppy kindergarten or obedience schools. This will get it used to other dogs and prevent behavioral issues like excess barking, aggression, timidity, jumping on other dogs, etc.
How to Train an Older Chihuahua?
Older Chihuahuas can be slightly more challenging to train because they come with their set of expectations and behavioral issues.
Here are some tips to help you train an older Chihuahua
1. Positive reinforcement
Always use positive training. Never hit, shout, or rebuke a dog. Use tone/voice modulations like ‘Bad dog’ in a stern way to let it know it has done something wrong.
Likewise, use healthy treats to reinforce good behavior.
2. Use the right tools/products
Older Chihuahuas often bark for no reason.
You can use bark inhibition tools and accessories like no-shock bark collars.
We recommend the Masbrill Small Dog Bark Collar . It is ideal for small Chihuahuas and can curb excess barking by beeping or vibrating.
You can also calm your older pet with some calming hemp treats . They can prevent excess barking and also help your pet adjust better to its environment.
3. Reduce its environmental stress
Older Chis can be sensitive to stress in their environment. You can reduce this greatly by not letting it alone for prolonged periods.
Also, you can reduce loud noises in its surroundings.
If your Chi still throws a barking fit, place it in a crate in a room. You must also learn to ignore its barking.
Treat your pet once it is silent. This will help reinforce the fact that silence earns rewards.
4. Toss it a toy
Provide plenty of toys to your pet to further prevent barking fits.
Most Chis love toys as they help stimulate them mentally and physically.
Once your pet is quiet, reward it so it learns to associate the fact that silence earns rewards.
Check out our guide on the Best Toys for Chihuahua.
5. Exercise your pet
An adult Chihuahua needs at least 2-3 walks per day of 15-20 minutes each. So, take your pet out to allow it to expend its energy and relieve boredom.
6. If your pet runs away often
Secure your yard and keep your pet on leash at all times.
Make sure you teach your Chi the “come” command and also its name so it can come when called. Never keep your pet off-leash when outside.
If your pet still manages to run away – do not shout or hit it after you find it.
Be gentle with your Chi, especially if it a rescued dog. Understand the reasons why it may be running away.
Have it neutered or spayed to prevent the urge to run away. Also, provide it with good food, warm bed, and other basic necessities.
How Long Does it Take to Train Chihuahua?
If you put in the time and effort, your smart Chi can be easily trained in weeks.
How Long does it Take for Housetraining a puppy Chi
Most puppies get house trained within 6 months. This takes consistent efforts and you must take your pet outside 4-5 times a day.
Remember: your small pet has a very tiny bladder which fills up quickly. Therefore, frequent potty breaks are a must to prevent accidents.
Also, accidents will happen from time to time despite your best efforts.
However, you should not hit or shout at your pet. Be gentle, consistent, and patient, and soon your pet will be fully house trained in 6 months.
How long does it take to teach Basic commands to Chihuahua
You can also teach your pet basic commands like ‘come, sit, and heel’, in 2-3 weeks. For these, you may want to teach them daily 3-4 times a day and for 10-15 minutes each.
Shorter training sessions are always more rewarding than elaborate ones as your pet could lose interest and get distracted.
Remember to end each session with plenty of play time, hugs, kisses, and rewards so your pet looks forward to the, on a daily basis.
FAQs on Are Chihuahuas Easy to Train?
1. Are Chihuahuas good family pets?
Yes, Chis are smart and their easy trainability makes them great family pets for first time dog owners. They also attach to one member of the family and make excellent pets for the elderly.
However, they are also known to be yappy and could try herding kids and other small pets. Therefore, early training and socialization is a must.
2. Are Chihuahuas aggressive?
Yes, unfortunately, Chis are known to be pretty aggressive.
This aggression typically stems from the small dog syndrome, survival of the fittest trait, and also from their genes.
However, with consistent training, plenty of early socialization, and good nutrition and exercise, you can have a well-behaved Chi on hand.
Do read our guide on Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive for some more ways to curb aggression in the breed.
3. Which is better: a girl Chi or boy Chi?
Female dogs are usually more affectionate than male dogs and this is irrespective of the breed. However, they are also more aggressive than their male counterparts, especially if they are left intact.
Male Chihuahuas are also quite loyal and loving.
Thus, you can select either gender but make sure to invest in training them.
With early socialization, discipline, and consistent training, you can have a loving, affectionate companion – no matter what gender it is.
4. How long can Chihuahuas be left alone?
If you train your Chihuahua to stay alone for prolonged periods, there is no reason why there should be a problem. Many pet parents have left their healthy Chihuahua alone for up to 8 hours.
However, this breed is prone to separation anxiety and they are also quite fearful. If possible, get another Chi to give your pet company. Mostly, these dogs do well in pairs.
Conclusion – Are Chihuahua Easy to Train?
Are Chihuahua easy to train? The answer is yes, since they are a smart dog breed.
However, it also depends on you: how much time and effort are you willing to put in its training. Any dog training can acquire positive results, provided you are willing to invest time into it.
So, be consistent and you will definitely reap the rewards.
We hope this brief guide helps you!