First things first
The very first thing you need to do when bringing a new Chihuahua (or any dog, for that matter) home, is to teach them the basics. All dogs need to know these basic skills for your peace of mind and their safety. Of course, you start with potty training if they haven’t learned that yet. Then the basics, “sit”, “down”, “stay”. Those are the three basics, but you shouldn’t stop there. For their own protection, they need to know “come” and “leave it”. I will post “how to’s” for all of these, so be sure to check back often.
The number one reason most people fail:
If you are not a professional trainer, it can be difficult to know how to train your dog. Have you ever watched a “how to” video and then you try it yourself and your dog does not respond as the dog in the video did. You try and try and finally give up feeling like a failure?
Well, don’t despair, you are not alone and I assure you that you can do it! The single most people fail is the lack of patience. I’m guilty of it sometimes. But the trainer with the least coordination, poorest sense of timing and the trainer with a lack of common sense can train a dog better than a person without patience. Dogs are not stupid, they want to please you.
Picture this: You follow a training video on how to teach your dog to sit and you do exactly like they do in the video. You tell your dog to sit while enticing them with a treat. Your dog jumps at and tries to get the treat from your hand. You say a little louder to “sit”. Your dog starts scratching and tries again to get the treat out of your hand. So you yell this time; “sit”. Your dog squirms and nips again at your hand. This time you push his butt down and scream “sit”! He cowers down and you mumble to yourself “this is hopeless, he’ll never get it!”
What was wrong with that scenario? Lack of patience. It’s not your Chi’s fault. He wants to please you, he just doesn’t speak English. You must GENTLY and PATIENTLY show him what “sit” means and what exactly it is you want him to do. So instead, picture this:
How to teach your dog to sit:
You kneel in front of your dog, holding a treat in your hand a little higher than your dog’s head. You slowly move the treat straight back over your dog’s head. This should cause his nose to point up and his rear to drop down. If not, you keep moving the treat straight backward toward his tail. The instant his rear touches the floor, release the treat and mark his behavior with “good sit” or with a click if your prefer to use a clicker.
If he does not respond, use your index finger and thumb to put pressure on either side of his haunches, just forward of his hip bones. Pull up on his leash at the same time to rock him back into a sit. Praise and reward him while he’s sitting. Remember to reward him only when he is giving you the proper behavior, “sitting”.
If your dog does not respond immediately to your direction, do NOT get angry or raise your voice in anger. This will teach him nothing but to fear you. If he does not do it after several tries following the preceding outline. Stop for then and try again later in the day. Give him this lesson twice a day until he is doing it consistently. If it takes 500 lessons before he is doing it, BE PATIENT, he will get it, as long as you are consistent and patient.
I find it easier to learn from watching it first. You might find this video helpful: