A Chihuahua Learns Some Basic Obedience to Stop Her Barking and Bad Behavior

By: David Codr

Published Date: May 22, 2015

Molly

Molly is a Chihuahua pup who likes to run out the door, doesn’t listen to her guardian, over barks and hasn’t fully mastered the art of potty training.

When I arrived for the session, she repeatedly tried to jump up on me to claim me as her property. I blocked her a few times until she gave up and jumped into her guardian’s lap. As soon as she did, her guardian started to pet her.

It didn’t take long to figure out that this dog ran the show. Her guardian didn’t disagree with her in a way she understood while she reinforced the exact behaviors she wanted to stop by petting and rewarding the dog at the wrong times.

I suggested that in the future, her guardian only pet the dog if it did something like sit or lay down first. When her guardian said she didn’t know how to sit on command, I decided to start there.

I took out a few high value meat treats with strong aromas and placed on of them right in front of her nose to make sure she understood what I had. I gave her the first one for free and was surprised when she spit it out. I have been using the same high vale treats for years and have never had a dog fail to gobble them up.

But Molly’s hesitation only lasted a short while. Within a minute she had eaten the treat and came over to me to seek more of them. This time I held the treat right in front of her nose to get her to come forward. She was standing with her hind legs behind her rather than under her body as dogs usually do.

It took a little creative hand movements, but I was able to get Molly to sit down in about 3 minutes. As soon as her butt hit the floor, I popped the treat into her mouth and started to repeat the commons word “sit.” Once she got the first reward, the rest of the lesson seas pretty easy.

We followed that up with a simple recall exercise to help Molly’s guardian get her to come to her rather than chase the dog. I showed her guardian a hand motion that got Molly’s attention, then another to get the dog to sit politely in front of whoever called her. It took about 5 minutes until Moly was recalling immediately to anyone giving the command.

Fortunately Molly is still a pup so reconditioning her to be respectful and obedient shouldn’t take long provided her guardian practices the exercises and commands I taught the dog in the session. She was already showing a more confident body posture and seemed to get a kick out of showing off her newly learned sit and recall skills. With some regular practice and timely corrections and rewards, Molly will learn to follow the lead of her guardian and stop the unwanted behaviors on her own.

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