For some reason there seems to be a perception that chihuahuas (or any tiny breed for that matter) are untrainable, stupid, call it what you will, but incapable of learning to do things that a larger dog can be taught. I’ve read in loads of breed descriptions that chihuahuas are difficult to train.
I appreciate that some breeds are easier than others, and that within breeds each individual dog will be different in terms of it’s ability and interest in learning, and desire to be obedient versus being an independent thinker. But to categorise a dog as stupid just because of its size just doesn’t make any sense to me.
I was still relieved when at Ted’s first puppy class at Pawsitive Simone said that chihuahuas are generally very smart, learn very quickly and as a companion breed tend to be keen to please. And that has certainly been true with Ted, he really seems to enjoy learning.
His first day home he learned to sit and before long worked out that sitting was the way to get what he wanted. Here’s an early example:
Sight of the clicker gets him very excited as he loves training sessions. He knows sit, down, head down (super cute), come, leave it (he will even spit out anything in his mouth on this command), beg, paw, other paw, touch (with nose), high five, spin, jump through my legs, jump over my outstretched leg, run around me, stay, get it (chase something), wait, heel, quick (run with me), say hello (go and greet that person/dog).
I’m sure there are ones I’ve forgotten and I am certain that the list would be longer if I spent more time on training. All of our training has been done using positive reinforcement, including clicker training.
Don’t get more wrong, he doesn’t always do as he is told, he is, when all is said and done, a sentient being. Our current area of focus is not running up to other dogs until released to do so and sometimes I can see him really weighing up staying with me versus going off to meet and greet but it just makes it all the better when he makes the right decision.
Here he is the second day that we took his stay training outside. It’s a couple of months ago and I no longer need to back steadily away but I think he did pretty well for how new the command was and how much he loves the beach!
So unless I have some quirk of the chihuahua world on my hands I would say that chihuahuas are highly trainable.