So, you’ve decided to get yourself a teeny tiny chihuahua. Small but mighty, your chihuahua puppy is guaranteed to bring you a huge amount of joy, all wrapped up in a tiny wee package. 

Chihuahuas may be small in size but they are huge in personality! Often misunderstood as being yappy and snappy, if we work from the understanding that everything in a Chihuahuas world is enormous, it can help us understand why they often act in the way they do.

This Chihuahua puppy training guide has been put together to take you through the first 8 weeks of training your ‘wawa’. We’re going to split each week into socialisation exercises, life skills training (what we tend to think of as manners or obedience training) as well as husbandry exercises like handling, grooming and yes cleaning those tiny teeth.

If you’d like a step-by-step programme for training your Chihuahua puppy, download a free trial of our Zigzag puppy app, and you’ll get a personalised training journey, tailored for your breed, for you and your pup. We understand that raising a puppy can be challenging, so we have a team of puppy trainers on hand to talk to you 7 days a week and hold your hand through those really testing times.

Prerequisites for training my Chihuahua puppy

At what age can I start to train my Chihuahua puppy?

There’s no time like the present! Your Chihuahua puppy can start training as soon as you bring them home. They’re learning about life every minute of every day, and soaking up like sponges how to live in our human world. Positive reinforcement training helps them to learn in the best way possible and helps them bond with and trust their humans.

Fun Fact: Did you know Chihuahuas have the biggest brain (relative to their size) of all dogs?  

What do I need to train my Chihuahua?

There are a few things you might need to help you train your Chihuahua puppy. It’s always handy in true boy scout style to be prepared so here’s our list of essentials to get you started.

  • A treat pouch – this will be handy to keep your hands free when training.
  • A soft collar – nothing too heavy for your Chi puppy, but it’ll be somewhere to put their ID tag.
  • A harness: One that doesn’t pull or tighten when it’s on your puppy and they’re walking. 
  • A 2-metre training lead: A slim one that’s not too heavy will be best for your teeny Chihuahua puppy.
  • A piece of non-slip vet bed or a soft mat  
  • Treats: The smellier, the better. We’ve written more about healthy treats here. Make sure they are small, as your tiny Chihuahua’s belly will fill up quickly!
  • Two identical toys: Great for swaps, keep them small and soft so they’re easy for your puppy to play with. 
  • A soft grooming brush 
  • A crate and playpen: Optional, but pretty handy if you ask us.  
  • A carrying bag – we suggest getting a puppy bag so your pup can go out and learn about the world before being fully vaccinated.

What does this have to do with how I train my Chihuahua?

Knowing what motivates your particular breed of dog is always going to be useful when it comes to training and knowing what makes them tick, what they might find rewarding, and what challenges you might face when training them.

For instance, your Chihuahua can be a pampered lapdog, and still not lose that instinct to chase small furry animals! 

Good to know about training Chihuahua puppies

Now we know a dog is a dog. But breed differences actually do matter for how we train them…did you know that? Let’s look at where Chihuahuas first came from, for a better look into how those brains work! 

What are Chihuahua puppies bred for?

If you’re reading this you probably already know that Chihuahuas hail from Mexico. A toy breed of dog, believe it or not, they weren’t bred to be the fashion accessory that they have become recently. Chihuahuas were actually bred to control vermin and hunt because they could get into small spaces, of course, they’re also adorable companion dogs, but they do still have those hunting instincts. 

What does this have to do with how I train my Chihuahua?

Knowing what motivates your particular breed of dog is always going to be useful when it comes to training and knowing what makes them tick, what they might find rewarding, and what challenges you might face when training them.

For instance, your Chihuahua can be a pampered lapdog, and still not lose that instinct to chase small furry animals! 

Overview of the training programme and topics we’ll cover

In our 8-week Chihuahua puppy training guide, we’ll be covering the following topics for you, you’ll have the best-behaved Chi in town! 

  • Sitting
  • Lying down
  • Learning their name
  • Coming when you call them
  • Walking nicely on a lead
  • Playing fetch
  • Sleeping in their crate
  • Coping with being left alone
  • Going to the toilet in the right place 

How we built this programme: Push Drop Stick

Chihuahuas are sassy! But they’re also really clever too. If we do the same things over and over again, they get bored, so they do need to be challenged. Do this systematically using the Push. Drop, Stick method. Sidenote – it’s also good for short training sessions so your Chihuahua won’t get full of treats doing the same thing again and again.

So.. What is Push, Drop, and Stick?

Push, Drop, Stick, is a way of systematically raising the difficulty of an exercise or behaviour.

If exercises are always kept too easy, then dogs will keep doing them correctly because they are being rewarded (cheeky). However, progress will be slower as they’ll get ‘stuck’ at this level. 

If lessons are too hard, then it’s likely that they’ll give up since treats won’t be coming as easy.

‘Push Drop Stick’ can help avoid both scenarios by maintaining enough momentum: It will keep your puppy winning enough times to keep them interested and not quit, but not so much that they aren’t thinking about how to be rewarded by trying harder.

How does it work?

By doing 5 repetitions of an exercise, we are going to keep track of how many the dog gets right. Based on how they perform, we’re going to choose whether to do which of the following:

Push – Go to the next level of difficulty (raise criteria)

Drop – Back to the previous level of difficulty (drop criteria)

Stick – Stay at the current level of difficulty (stay with current criteria)

 How many out of 5 did the dog get right?What should I do?Why?
Push5 out of 5Increase the difficultyWell done! They’re proficient at the current level and can move on to harder things.
Drop0, 1, or 2 out of 5Make it easierThey might be close to quitting – this level is too hard for him right now. 
Stick3 or 4 out of 5Do another set of 5 at this difficultyThey don’t need you to drop, but they’re not quite ready to be pushed yet.

Why should I train like this?

By training in repetitions of 5, we are less likely to get stuck at a certain point.

It also means that we’ll be able to keep track of where we’re at so that we can build stronger and stronger behaviours. Off to better things!

What is the difficulty or criteria?

Difficulty or Criteria relates to the ‘three D’s’ Duration, Distraction and Distance. These refer to how long can the dog perform the behaviour for, what is the distraction like, and how far from us can they perform the behaviour.

What will be the end result once I’ve trained my puppy?

Cheeky, wanting to know the end before you even start. 

Well, if you’re really eager to know, this programme will help you in your first steps to having a brilliant dog. 

Week 1 – Training your Chihuahua puppy

Here we are! week 1 In the first week, we’ll dive straight into socialisation exercisestraining and husbandry tasks. Your Chihuahua puppy is keen to learn, so try and focus on the foundation behaviours first, doggy dancing in sparkly outfits can be saved for later.

Socialisation exercisesTraining TasksHusbandry Tasks
– Let your puppy explore the garden
– Teach your puppy about surfaces
– Name
– Sit
– Recall
– Retrieve
– Crate Training
– Toilet Training
– Alone Training
– Quiet Training
– Brushing
– Hand Touch

Congratulations! It’s your first week of training your new Chihuahua puppy. How does it feel to be a new puppy parent? You must be chuffed.

Take a look at these first few articles. These will be key for establishing a solid, comfortable base; they’re all about toilet training, crate training and alone time training. All the ingredients you need for a happy home. 

Sleep Training – The First Week

This week and probably for some time yet, beside your bed will be the best place for your Chihuahua puppy to sleep, either in a crate or a puppy bed, it will help them feel safe, which at such a young age is super important. Having them next to you means you’ll know when they get up in the night needing the toilet. Getting into a nighttime routine so things become reliable for your pup. 

Your puppy will need a lot of sleep, but their body clocks aren’t the same as ours, so be patient for the first couple of months while they get into their groove and learn to sleep through the night

If you want to have your puppy in your bed that’s fine too, but do be careful as a fall off the bed can be a cause for concern in such a small puppy.

Toilet Training

We won’t sugarcoat it, toilet training toy breeds can be tricky, they need the toilet frequently, they have tiny bladders and a lack of muscle development so aren’t able to hold it for long if at all. When they gotta go they gotta go, and they’re quick about it too!

Using a puppy potty or toilet inside their playpen can work for some people, otherwise taking your puppy out to the garden after sleeping, eating, drinking, playing, training and then probably once an hour is a way to go. Consistency is key to cracking toilet training.

Read our full guide to puppy toilet training to get on the right track. 

Alone Training

How can I teach my puppy to be ok on their own?  

This is really tough for puppies, it’s just the way they are made, they don’t like being alone but often we need them to be. So teaching a puppy to be left alone is an important part of puppy raising. Having a safe place like a crate or playpen to leave your Chihuahua puppy can be really useful for alone-time training. 

Dogs are social and have evolved to want to be with us, companion breeds like the Chihuahua especially. Every inch of your puppy is going to want to be with you at all times, following you around the house is perfectly normal at this age, it’s not something you need to worry about.

For the first week focus on making sure they feel safe and comfortable, we never recommend you let your puppy cry it out, this can cause long-term emotional damage, so meet their emotional needs at this age. Read our full guide on alone training for your Chihuahua puppy.

Socialisation Exercises

Socialisation and early learning are going to be important for your Chihuahua puppy. Too often people put their toy breeds in scary situations and don’t give them enough positive experiences of the world. This can make your puppy scared, which is the opposite of what we’re looking for. Read our full guide to socialisation to learn how to best socialise your Chihuahua puppy. 

This week let’s focus on 

  • Letting your Chihuahua puppy explore the garden – make sure your garden fencing is secure so it’s safe for your teeny puppy to explore safely. 

Grab some treats and just sit in the garden with them, if they hear any strange noises give them a treat after to teach them there’s nothing to worry about.

  • Teach your puppy about surfaces – surface confidence is important for puppies to learn while in their socialisation period. 

Lay out different floor coverings like a rubber bath mat, a carpet tile and a piece of cardboard and let them walk all over them. They might grab them and drag them around too, and that’s fine! Keep it fun and light and give them a treat every now and again to let them know it’s rewarding to be around these new things.

Just for safety and not to overwhelm them, don’t use anything too slippy just yet, we want to build confidence and not have them immediately a bit worried about walking on things before they’ve started. 

Training Tasks

Dogs learn best using reward-based training. Chihuahuas will do well eating small treats, all they need is a tiny treat, not something that will take them a while to eat and fill them up quickly.

Let’s crack on with some life skills training for the first week of training your Chihuahua puppy. Click the links for the full training guides.

  • Teach your Chihuahua their name – this will be one of the most important cues to teach your Chi as it will get their attention, and you can ask them to do something else next. Only say it once, then follow it up with a treat, and do it in a place where they’re relaxed and not distracted until they’ve got an idea that it means ‘look at me’.
  • Teach your Chihuahua puppy to sit – your breeder may well have done this with your pup already, and it comes quite naturally as dogs look up at us, their bottom usually hits the floor. The top tip for a Chihuahua puppy is not to loom over them. Us humans seem like giants to them, so try this sat on the floor so you’re not putting pressure on them and they don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Recall aka How to teach your Chihuahua puppy to come back when called – letting your Chihuahua puppy off lead would be nerve-wracking for anyone. but it’s just a step-by-step thing they’ll learn. Start from the very beginning, practise in your house at first, and make yourself really exciting! 
  • Retrieve/fetch – Your Chihuahua will be playful, and probably like playing fetch, especially if you use small soft toys they can pick up easily. 
Preventing Resource Guarding

It can be really easy to manhandle small dogs, we’re so much more physically powerful than them that it seems easy to take things off of them. Puppies pick things up and put them in their mouths constantly, but we need to teach them to happily swap and give them up willingly and not snatch them. If we don’t then we can end up with resource guarding. 

They can learn to protect the silliest of things like tissues and cotton buds if we always take things off of them when they don’t want us to. 

Read our full guide to resource guarding in puppies, to learn how you can prevent this from happening, and how to train your chihuahua puppy to be happy to give you things, not steal and guard them. 

Husbandry Tasks

Hand Touch

Training a Chihuahua puppy to be handled in a positive way often gets overlooked. They are so small and are frequently picked up and overhandled or handled in the wrong way so they can start to not like it. It’s important to remember they are still dogs and not a teddy bear. They’re sensitive and rough handling can really damage them not only physically but emotionally.

In the first week spend time teaching your puppy that hands are a nice thing and that they have a choice whether they want to be touched or not. 

How to teach your Chihuahua puppy about handling

1. Sit on the floor of a room where they spend most of their time.

2. Allow your Chi to pace around you as they please.

3. If they walk away, leave them alone and wait for them to return.

4. They will most likely want to sniff and smell your hands, maybe even give them a lick. Yes, regardless of where they’ve been.

5. Once they are comfortable, you can begin softly massaging them. Begin with their sides and the base of their neck. See where your puppy likes to be touched; perhaps avoid their face and paws for the time being.

Week 2 – Training your Chihuahua puppy

You got through the first week well done! You’re probably doing a lot of cleaning up of pee while you toilet train your Chihuahua puppy, don’t worry this is normal! 

Let’s get going and teach them more about life and our world in week 2 of Chihuahua puppy training.

Socialisation ExercisesTraining TasksHusbandry Tasks
– Fireworks
– Watch the world go by outside your house
– Play dress up
– Sit in the car
– Invite friends over
– Alone Training
– Crate Trainin
– Toilet Training
– Name – in garden
– Recall – cue word
– Fetch
– Drop
– Tugging and Self Control
– Sit – add a cue word
– Lead walking
– Grooming

Socialisation Exercises

You’ll need to work continually for the next few weeks and beyond, teaching your Chihuahua puppy about the world and making experiences positive for them. 

  • Fireworks – We all know what a headache fireworks can be for dogs. Fireworks can be quite a surprise for puppies, so they need gradual positive exposure to the noises they make. 

Have a look at the lessons in the Zigzag app for helping with getting puppies used to noises like thunder and rainfall, fireworks and traffic. Oh and we play meet the vacuum cleaner too!

  • Watch the world go by – Although you can’t take your puppy for walks just yet, you can still start teaching them that the outdoors is a nice place to be by sitting out the front of your house and giving them a treat every now and again. Particularly if a wizzy bike or a loud bus or lorry goes past. That way they’ll learn that the loud thing will equal food, and build up positive connections.
  • Play dress up – your Chihuahua needs to learn that the world is a diverse place and they’ll meet people with beards, glasses, hats and headscarves in wheelchairs, and on crutches, to name a few! You can do this easily yourself by wearing different kinds of clothing and acting like it’s no big deal. 

Here are some suggestions:

  • Hi-viz jacket or vest
  • A big woolly hat
  • Bike crash helmet
  • Chunky heavy boots

Sit in the car – oh the adventures you’re going to take your puppy on, we bet you can’t wait. It’s really important that your puppy is restrained safely in the car. Even just falling off the seat could seriously damage a Chihuahua so invest in an appropriate car carrier for them. This week just sit in the car and let them climb over it, give them a treat every now and again and just let them explore and check it out.

Training Tasks

In week 2 we’ll get going and teach your puppy some important life skills – click the links for the full training guides.

  • Alone training – it’s important that you teach your puppy to cope on its own. We can start this by using simple food puzzles and interactive toys while sitting nearby, gradually moving a bit further away each day, so that they learn being away from us is rewarding. 
  • Crate training – many dogs get on well with crate training. It provides a safe space they can be left, and where they can choose to go if they want to sleep or have some peace and quiet.
  • Teach them their name in the garden – this will be trickier than indoors as your Chihuahua will be sniffing all of those smells, bird watching and listening to the sounds! Practise the same as you did before, using high-value treats, but if your pup is in the middle of something, resist the temptation to say their name over and over again. It gets frustrating for us as we think they’re ‘not listening’ but we also don’t want to ruin that lovely name cue we’ve taught indoors, by teaching them they only need to respond on the fourth or fifth time.
  • Recall training: add a cue word – add a word like ‘come’ or ‘here’ just as your puppy is coming toward you so they start to learn that the word = what they’re doing at that time. Getting down low on the floor and saying it in an exciting voice will make your Chihuahua really see you and they’ll hear your voice better.
  • Fetch and drop – keep on going with your two soft toys and practise lots of swaps at the end so you can teach your Chihuahua to drop.
  • Introduce lead walking training – train naked! Your Chihuahua puppy that is. Lead-walking is all about positioning so teach your puppy to walk where you want them to by rewarding them when they’re in the right position. The harness and lead are just there for safety so you can add them later on.

Husbandry Tasks

We hope last week’s handling exercises went well. This week we’ll move on with the husbandry exercises a little. 

  • Brushing your puppy – Chihuahuas come with different coat types. Long-haired coats will need more thorough brushing and combing as it can get knotty. The short-haired Chihuahua still needs brushing though, not only is brushing an excellent bonding experience, but it also distributes oils throughout the coat and increases blood flow to the skin so it’s good for skin health.

Use plenty of treats when brushing them, or stuff up a Kong or a lickimat to keep them entertained. Avoid any highly sensitive areas for now, and if you notice they don’t like being groomed on a certain part (often their back legs) brush somewhere they like and come back to it later.

As both long-haired and short-haired Chihuahuas both shed they shouldn’t need too much bathing, but you can read our guide to how to give a puppy bath to know for later.

Week 3 Training your Chihuahua puppy

Wow, you’re 3 weeks into training your Chihuahua puppy already, hopefully, you’re getting into the groove of training and are finding out more about them and their personality. They are all so different!

Week 3 Socialisation exercisesTraining Exercises Husbandry Tasks 
Scent TrailsGo for a driveInvite Friends OverWrite a puppy socialisation checklistRecall – outside in the gardenFour Paws on the floor – Not Jumping upDownGeneralisationAlone Training  Harness fitting

Socialisation Exercises

We hope your Chihuahua puppy is beginning to feel more comfortable with the outside world, and socialisation is going well. 

  • Scent trails – Even a nose as small as a Chihuahuas is incredible! Let’s use your puppy’s natural sniffing abilities to give them something to do with their wonderful search skills. This is always appreciated for any breed – if my French Bulldog can do it, your Chihuahua certainly can!

How to do it 

  1.  Pop your puppy outside of the room or have someone hold them while you lay out a trail of 10 treats at around half a metre apart.
  2. At the end of the trail, lay a pile of the remaining treats.
  3. Bring your puppy in and show them the first treat. They will likely follow the rest of the trail all on their own.
  4. Add a cue word such as ‘find it’ as your puppy trots down the trail, eating the treats.

We’re sure your puppy will ace this exercise, leave them to do the sniffing, there’ll be no need to crowd them!

  • Invite friends over  – we know you can’t wait for your friend to meet your little mouse! Big groups of people can be overwhelming for any puppy, so just start off with a couple of friends. Hand them treats on the way in and then ask them to sit down and allow your Chihuahua puppy to sniff and investigate them. Ask them to resist the urge to pick your Chi puppy up, but they can also sit on the floor to play and stroke them. 
  • Go for a drive with your Chihuahua puppy – pop them in the car carrier and go for a short drive around the block. 
  • Write a puppy socialisation checklist for your Chihuahua puppy: remember how huge everything is in your Chihuahua world. Hence, having them approach people, or look at things from the comfort and safety of your lap is fine.

Training Tasks

Teaching your puppy to come back when called outside, not jump up, cope with being alone and learn in different environments will be important life skills for any dog, especially a toy breed like a Chihuahua. Let’s get going and find out how to do it, and more importantly, why!  

  • Recall: teaching your Chihuahua puppy to come when called, outside – you’ve been doing great training them to come inside, let’s just try it in the garden now, make sure it’s secure of course. Use high-value treats, tiny pieces so their tummies don’t get full too quickly.
  • Stop your puppy jumping up – jumping up in toy dogs is a very common behaviour. They want to get close to us and they’re so small! Read our full guide to jumping up to teach your Chihuahua to sit to greet or keep four paws on the floor instead. 
  • Generalisation – in other words… different locations. Teaching your puppy that sit means sitting wherever you ask them to do it requires you to train in different locations. The picture looks different to the dog when you train at a new place. 

This week choose four different places to teach your Chihuahuas basic cues so that they start to learn to generalise. 

  • Teach your Chihuahua puppy to lie down – teaching a toy dog to lie down can be tricky. Use the methods in our full guide, but you’ll also find it easier if you put them on a raised table with a non-slip mat, or piece of vet bed. 
  • Alone training – companion breeds like to be with us, it makes sense, doesn’t it? This week start to pop out of the room for a few seconds at a time while your pup is eating. 

Husbandry Tasks

Harness fitting for a puppy. Finding a harness to fit a Chihuahua can be tricky, they’re so small aren’t they? Wearing a harness is much kinder for all breeds of dogs, but toy breeds, especially as their necks are so delicate. For tiny dogs, we like the Dog Games Perfect Fit range. Make sure you spend some time getting your puppy used to its harness.

Week 4 – Training your Chihuahua puppy

Woah you’re halfway there….not that training your pup ends after 8 weeks, but you’re halfway through this 8-week plan anyway.  Week 4 of training your Chihuahua puppy! Your first month of training is almost done. There’s still lots to get on with learning, your puppy will amaze you with how quickly it can pick things up. 

Socialisation exercises Training TasksHusbandry Tasks 
– Meet another dog
– Find a puppy class 
– Settle on a mat
– Lead walking
– Recall games
– Push/drop/stick on known exercises
– Sit starts the game
– Grooming sensitive areas

Socialisation Exercises

At 12 weeks your puppy’s socialisation window is closing. It’s important that you work within and beyond this period to teach them about the world. Socialisation doesn’t stop at 12 weeks, it carries on throughout your puppy’s life.

  • Meeting another dog – Find a calm adult dog that likes puppies for your first introduction. They may be a lot bigger than your Chihuahua, this doesn’t matter as long as they are friendly. No need to let them off the lead or to play just yet, simply reward both dogs for being near each other. Your puppy might want to go and sniff the other dog, this is fine, but let them do it in their own time. 
  • Find a good puppy class for your puppy – Puppy socialisation classes can be a great safe environment for your Chihuahua puppy to be exposed to all different kinds of dogs. Many toy breeds of dogs are frightened of big dogs, so being around them in a controlled environment helps them not be scared. You’ll also pick up some great tips from the trainer, and just realise ‘my puppy is normal’.

Training Tasks

This week we’ll work on some essential new skills your Chihuahua puppy will need to learn to be out and about with you in the world. 

  • Settle on a mat – you can teach your Chihuahua there is a safe place to be when out and about and that they can settle in cafes and restaurants. A puppy bag also works well for this. 

How to prepare

Choose a mat or bag – something portable and non-slip like a piece of vet bed is ideal for this. 

Have your puppy’s harness on, and their lead ready. 

Have a stuffed Kong or yummy chew toy ready to go too. 

How to do it

  1.  Pop the mat on the floor, next to your sofa or favourite chair.
  2. Attach the lead to the harness.
  3. Sit down and switch your TV on, attaching the lead to the leg of your chair or pop it under your foot.
  4. You’ll need your puppy to stand up, lie down, and shuffle comfortably, so make sure that the lead isn’t too tight. At the same time, don’t let it stretch too long so that your puppy wanders about looking for trouble. 
  5. Pop the Kong on the mat so that your puppy has something to do while you enjoy your show. 
  6. Watch TV for 10/15 minutes more after your puppy empties the Kong. At this point, they might carry on chewing the toy, be awake or asleep. 

Here, the goal is to have your puppy lie down and relax, but they might move around or stand up. But what this exercise will teach them eventually, is that sometimes they’ll just have to settle next to you. 

  • Lead walking – loose lead walking can be tricky with a toy breed because they’re so close to the floor, and far away from you! Using a refillable food tube to dispense treats or a tube of liver sausage, means your Chihuahua puppy can have a little lick of the end of the tube without you bending down so much. 

Make sure you have a comfy harness and a good long length of training lead so that they have room to sniff too. 

  • Recall games – Play tennis with your puppy! To play tennis with your puppy, imagine them as the tennis ball, needing to ping-pong between humans to obtain their tasty rewards!

Husbandry Tasks

Grooming a puppy – focusing on sensitive areas. On your Chihuahua puppy, this will often be their legs. Some will also need their eyes cleaning, or their ear hair trimmed. Good to get them used to this stuff from the beginning so it’s not an issue later on.

Week 5 – Training your Chihuahua puppy

5 weeks in, we’re paw-sitive your Chihuahua is getting a lot out of training and you probably are too. It’s a wonderful bonding experience for both of you. 

Socialisation exercisesTraining TasksHusbandry Tasks 
– Go to the pub – you deserve it!
– Tick 3 things off your personal socialisation checklist 
– Alone Training
– Recall – outside using a lead
– Lead walking – outside
– Push/drop/stick on known exercises
– Pretend nail clips
– Grooming

Socialisation Exercises

We hope your Chihuahua puppy is coping with the world, here are some more socialisation activities for you to do

  • Go to the pub/dog-friendly café – you deserve it! This is where your bag or settle mat will be useful. People will likely want to say hello, ask your Chihuahua if they want to, and don’t disturb them if they’re relaxed and asleep. It can take a while to calm them down afterwards. 
  • Tick 3 things off your personal socialisation checklist – your lifestyle and what you like to do will vary, so what you need to socialise your puppy will vary also. But key things all dogs need socialising and learning about are different environments, different surfaces, noises like traffic, fireworks, and thunderstorms, as well as a diverse mixture of people and animals. 

Training Tasks

  • Alone training: increasing time alone will be important, work at the level your Chihuahua puppy can cope with and just stretch the time little by little. 

Read our guide to how long can I leave my puppy alone, for more info. 

  • Recall – Outside, using a lead, dealing with distractions. Letting your puppy off the lead at the park seems nerve-wracking, doesn’t it? Use a long lead in a safe corner of the park, to begin with, and come armed with high-value tiny treats to deal with any distractions.
  • Lead walking – outside, loose lead walking might be tricky. There are so many smells and noises that will be distracting for your puppy. Firstly, let them check their pee-mails when you’re outside, they hold vital information about the outside world.

Many Chihuahua puppies will stop on walks. This is normal, give them time to work things out before trying to move on and read our full guide to why does my puppy stop on walks. 

  • Push/drop/stick on known exercises – can your puppy sit on verbal cue when you say ‘sit’ yet? Try using the push, drop, stick method to raise criteria and keep exercises challenging for your Chihuahua puppy. 

Husbandry Tasks

Start pretending to clip your dog’s nails – puppy claws will need trimming, and even if they’re not very long they’ll have sharp pointy ends. Start out by just playing with their feet when they’re relaxed and snoozy. If they’re ok with that you can start touching the paw with a nail clipper and giving them a treat, no rush to actually clip them yet, just get them used to being around the nail clippers and that it’s a fun exercise.

Week 6 – Training your Chihuahua puppy

Bom chica chihuahua, we’re at week 6 of your Chihuahua puppy training guide, yippee.

Socialisation exercises Training TasksHusbandry Tasks 
– Tick 3 things off your personal checklist – Following on walks
– Push/drop/stick on known exercises
– Check puppy’s mouth 

Socialisation Exercises

  • Tick 3 more items off your socialisation checklist – maybe you can take your Chi to a beach and let them feel what it’s like to get their feet wet in the sea?

Training Tasks

  • Following on walks – Playing the ‘follow me’ game on walks is an excellent technique to boost recall. 

The ‘follow me’ game will help keep your puppy focused on you in areas where there are distractions, which is anywhere other than your home. 

Download a trial of the Zigzag app for the full information

  • Push/drop/stick – what exercise can we make a bit more difficult for your Chihuahua puppy – dealers choice!

Husbandry Tasks

  • Start checking your puppy’s mouth and teeth – Chihuahuas have the same amount of teeth as Great Danes. Of course, they’re a lot smaller in size but it can make their mouths cramped with all of those teeth and lead to dental problems if you don’t take care of them. Make sure you take care of your puppies’ teeth by cleaning them regularly with appropriate toothpaste and toothbrush.

Week 7 – Training your Chihuahua puppy

The seven-week itch, oh, no that’s years. Is your Chihuahua puppy itching or scratching? Read our article on why is my puppy is scratching if they are! 

Socialisation exercises Training TasksHusbandry Tasks  
– Puppy Parkour
– Tick 3 things off your personal checklist
– Wait
– Walk with a friend’s dog
– Recall – off the lead
– Push/drop/stick on known exercises
– Pretend eardrops 

Socialisation Exercises

  • Have a go at puppy agility – Chihuahuas can be excellent at Agility, they are fast and nimble. You won’t be jumping with your puppy until they’re fully grown but they can do other things on the flat as well as learn to wait and come when you call them. Excellent!
  • Tick 3 things off your personal socialisation checklist – maybe you can take your puppy along to the agility club so they can watch a lesson? 

Training Tasks

  • Teach your Chihuahua puppy to stay – teaching your puppy to stay or wait can be used in many real-life situations, like waiting at the side of the road until it’s safe to cross, or waiting while I pick up your poo! Do this very gradually, it’s natural for your puppy to want to be with you and follow you so don’t rush it.
  • Go for a walk with a friend’s dog – the stuff that dreams are made of. Just a short walk will be fine, reward both dogs for being calm and walking nicely. You can let them have a sniff and a little play if you like too. 
  • Recall – off the lead. You’ve done so well with practising that this should be a breeze, use your happy ‘come’ cue, get down low and gesture your puppy in. Check out our training games library for the best dog in the world recall. 
  • Push/drop/stick on known exercises – how’s your little Einstein going with their training? Have you been amazed at how well they’re learning? Bet they’re teaching you a thing or two! 

Husbandry Tasks

  • Pretend ear drops = Some puppies, in particular, have really hairy ears where all sorts of stuff might accumulate if we aren’t attentive. Because Chihuahuas have pricked ears, they can collect a lot of dirt, so make sure you clean and dry your puppy’s ears on a regular basis, to avoid them itching and scratching at them. 

Preventative exercises such as (fake) ear and eye drop training can be extremely beneficial in teaching your dog that using them is not a big deal. When the time comes to use them, it won’t be as difficult because they’ll be completely prepared.

Week 8 – Training your Chihuahua puppy

It’s the last week of this Chihuahua puppy training guide but you’re not nearly done training, no siree!

Socialisation exercises Training TasksHusbandry Tasks 
– Joggers and Cyclists
– Tick 3 things off your personal checklist 
– Practice exercises in different locations
– Teach a hand target
– Introduce nose work
– Push/drop/stick on known exercises  
– Nail trims

Socialisation Exercises

  • Joggers and Cyclists – these fast-moving targets can frighten your Chihuahua puppy, causing them to lunge and bark. Teach them to ignore them by working at a safe distance and feeding them little treats as they go past. 
  • Tick 3 things off your personal socialisation checklist – perhaps you’ll go to a farmers market, hang out near a city farm, or just go for a little stroll around a DIY store? All of these places make great training areas too. 

Training Tasks

Let’s bring it all together and how about we teach them something new, too?

  • Practice exercises in different locations – we talked about generalisation before, didn’t we? It’s an important thing to do, that’s why! This week try training sessions in different locations, and you’ll be socialising with them too. Almost like a two-for-one. 
  • Teach a hand target  – this is a good one, your Chihuahua’s gonna love it, and we hope you do too.

Hand targeting is the basis of most trick behaviours, the tricks can wait til later, but get the foundations in and you’ll be teaching your Chihuahua puppy to weave through your legs, spin and twist in no time. 

How to do it

  1. Hold your right hand out flat with your palm towards your puppy at the height of its nose. 
  2. They will likely investigate it and go in for a sniff (their dogs – sniffing things is as good as life gets). As soon as they do, say your marker word ‘good’.
  3. Immediately give them a treat with your left hand.
  4. Repeat this at least 10 times. At this point, you should start to feel your puppy really giving your hand a shove with its nose once they’ve got the hang of things.
  • Introducing nose work to your puppy – your Chihuahua puppy may have the tiniest cutest button nose you’ve ever seen but it can still sniff and scent incredibly well! 

How to prepare

  • Find an old towel to use.
  • Stuff a Kong or a toilet roll with some food

How to do it

  1. When your puppy is out of the room, hide the toy under a towel. 
  2. Bring your puppy in and encourage them to find the toy by using the cue word ‘find it’.
  3. Use your wonderfully cheerful voice to give your puppy some extra encouragement.
  4. Good job! There’s no better reward than finding a toy with food inside.

Husbandry Tasks

  • Trim your Chihuahua puppy’s claws – hopefully the last two weeks of pretending to cut your Chi’s claws have paid off, and now you can clip their nails? Start off just doing one paw at a time, give them a break, then go back to it a little later.

So, what’s next for your Chihuahua puppy?

The sky’s the limit for your Chihuahua puppy, maybe you want to do trick training or agility. They’ll be great at both of them.

Looking for more puppy training tips? Discover everything you need for your new puppy with our complete list, next.

Why not take a look at some of the other training you can do with your Chihuahua puppy in the Zigzag puppy training app? You’ll find more in-depth training, games and socialisation advice – access to a team of experts to help you every step of the way too. They’re awfully friendly too.