Chihuahuas are adorable little dogs and when they look up at you with those big eyes, it’s hard to be mad at them! But training your Chihuahua is essential to have a balanced, happy, and well-behaved dog. 

If you own a Chi, you know that they can be quite stubborn and headstrong. So, if you don’t take the lead, they will be the boss of your house! We’ll go over how to discipline a Chihuahua, as well as what not to do. 

How to Discipline a Chihuahua

Ways to Discipline Your Chihuahua

Disciplining your Chihuahua is all about consistent training so they understand what you’re asking of them  – they can’t read our minds after all.

It’s important to note that disciplining your Chihuahua is not the same as punishing them. Discipline is about quickly correcting unwanted behavior, and focusing on teaching them how you want them to behave. 

There are a few ways you can teach your Chihuahua what you want and deal with negative behavior. 

Use Positive Reinforcement

How to Discipline a Chihuahua

Positive reinforcement is the best way to train any dog. It makes it more fun for them and is highly effective!

As it sounds, positive reinforcement is all about reinforcing good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. Whenever your dog does something you want them to do, give them lots of attention and praise. 

Since Chihuahuas are very food-motivated, you can also offer them a treat each time they do something right. I like little training treats like these Merrick Power Bites for my dogs because they’re low-calorie and small enough for my Chihuahua’s little mouth. 

Use a Firm ‘No’

If you can catch your dog in the act of doing something naughty, you can stop the behavior and use a firm ‘no’. You don’t need to shout but a stern voice is key to show them you aren’t happy. 

If you find something your dog has done later and you can show them the ‘evidence’ (for example, an accident in the house or a ripped open bin liner they’ve tried to get inside) you can still use this firm ‘no’. 

However, if there’s no ‘evidence’ and you didn’t catch them in the act, it’s pointless to try and discipline your Chihuahua. They won’t understand what you’re scolding them for, as they can’t connect the two events in their mind. 

Don’t Give Your Dog Attention

How to Discipline a Chihuahua

Chihuahuas adore attention – it’s one of my dog’s absolute favorite things (except for food of course). Therefore, one of the best ways I’ve found to teach my Chihuahua not to do ‘naughty’ things, is to remove that attention

So, if I catch her doing something naughty I’ll say ‘no’ and then for a few minutes, I won’t give her any attention. She quickly learns that it’s more fun when she behaves well because she gets to be with me and gets lots of cuddles.

Redirect Unwanted Behaviors

How to Discipline a Chihuahua

Another great way to deal with unwanted behavior is to redirect your dog. Once you’ve said no, give it a few moments so your dog doesn’t think they’re getting praised for the bad behavior. Then give them something else to do that’s more positive. 

For example, if they’re chewing your furniture, you could give them a chew toy instead. When they focus on the chew toy, give them lots of praise and a treat so they understand that’s good behavior.

Make Sure Everyone is Consistent

Everybody in your household must be consistent with praise and discipline. Otherwise, your Chihuahua is likely to get confused. Consistency, patience, and time is key. 

What Not to Do

Although your dog misbehaving can be frustrating, it’s crucial that you don’t get too angry with them. This isn’t productive and isn’t going to ‘fix’ the behavior. Below are some things you should never do to your dog. 

How to Discipline a Chihuahua

Shout Loudly

We all get annoyed sometimes, especially if we have other stressful things going on in our lives. But it’s vital you do not shout at your dog

They won’t understand your shouting and may find it frightening, which is the opposite of what you want. A firm voice and consistent training is a much better way to show your Chihuahua what you want from them. 

Physically Discipline Your Dog

How to Discipline a Chihuahua

You should never, under any circumstances, physically discipline your dog. This includes hitting them, ‘bopping’ them on the nose, dragging them around, or using other methods like electric shock collars. 

Not only are these methods inhumane, they’re also highly ineffective. If anything, these methods will only teach your dog that they should be afraid of you and make them less likely to listen to you over time. 

Many studies have shown that this sort of punishment results in a poor bond between dog and owner, and leads to more behavior issues rather than solving the problem. 

Remember that Chihuahuas are delicate little dogs and can be easily injured, so it’s important you treat them with care. We all love our dogs, and disciplining them doesn’t mean we have to be harsh or cruel. 

Rub Your Dog’s Face in Accidents

If your dog pees or poops in your home, it’s important you don’t rub their face in it. This is a very old-school training method and doesn’t work. It’s also not very nice for your dog at all. 

Zazie Todd, PhD explains that doing so makes your dog more likely to try to hide accidents from you, and can make them scared of you.  Instead, focus on consistent toilet training. 

If your dog is suddenly having accidents when they were previously toilet trained, it’s time to visit your vet to rule out any physical health causes. 

Does Disciplining a Chihuahua Work? 

How to Discipline a Chihuahua

When you use positive reinforcement and consistent training, disciplining your Chihuahua works effectively. Although they can be stubborn little dogs, with the right motivation, Chihuahuas are highly trainable. 

If you’re struggling to train your Chihuahua on your own, you could always reach out to a professional trainer for help. A well-trained Chi is a happy, confident dog that will give you plenty of love!

FAQs

How do I make my Chihuahua obedient?

Focus on consistent training over time using positive reinforcement. Don’t punish your Chihuahua as this makes them less likely to pay attention to what you want. 

Why is my Chihuahua so disobedient?

If your Chihuahua is disobedient, it may be that they haven’t been trained or didn’t understand your training. Don’t worry – you can work on retraining your dog to address behavior issues.