Crate Training A Chihuahua – Tips, Steps & More

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Chihuahuas are cheeky, sassy little dogs with big personalities and plenty of attitudes!

These pint-sized pups can get into trouble if you don’t watch them. Crate training your Chihuahua puppy can help keep your pet and possessions safe when you’re not around to watch your cute little bundle of fluff.

So, what are the benefits of crate training a Chihuahua? And how do you go about crate training your pet?

Read this guide to discover our crate training top tips and learn how to crate train a Chihuahua puppy successfully.

What Are The Benefits of Crate Training your Chihuahua Puppy?

Crate Training your Chihuahua Puppy

Chihuahuas are pint-sized bundles of energy that can get into all kinds of mischief if you don’t watch them.

Crating your Chihuahua is an excellent way to keep your pet safe and out of trouble, and crate training offers plenty of other benefits.

A Cozy Den

Every dog loves to have somewhere cozy, warm, dark, and quiet where he can relax and feel safe. Even a sassy Chihuahua needs some downtime, and a crate offers the perfect den-like space.

Toilet Training

A crate is a convenient tool for toilet training your Chihuahua. 

No dog intentionally soils its sleeping area, and you can use that instinctual behavior and a crate to teach your puppy where to relieve himself. Provided that the crate isn’t too large, your Chihuahua is more likely to wait to be taken outside to his designated potty spot. 

However, if your pet is allowed the freedom of your home, toileting accidents are highly likely to happen when you’re not looking. Once your Chihuahua has urinated in a particular spot, he has effectively scent-marked the area. That means your pet is highly likely to return time and again to use the same spot as a bathroom!

Quiet Nights

The last thing you want is for your Chihuahua to spend the night roaming around your home, potentially destroying your stuff and having potty accidents! 

If your puppy is sleeping in his crate next to your bed, you’ll hear him stirring if he needs to go out, helping prevent difficulty with house training.

A puppy is far more likely to settle down at night if confined to a comfortable crate at bedtime. Keep your pet’s crate in your bedroom with you to start with, and you’ll both enjoy quiet nights.

Separation Anxiety

Chihuahuas like to be around their human family, and they can become stressed when left home alone. Sometimes, that feeling of isolation can morph into a behavioral issue called separation anxiety.

A crate can help alleviate that problem, providing your Chihuahua with a safe refuge when you’re out and your pet is left on his own.

Prevent Destructive Behaviors

Even though Chihuahuas have tiny mouths and tiny teeth, they can still damage your possessions! 

Confining your pet to his crate with a selection of toys and tasty food items can help prevent undesirable destructive behaviors from becoming an issue.

Safety First

Your puppy can get into mischief when you’re not around to watch him.

Puppies have been known to eat toxic substances, chew through electrical cables, fall a flight of stairs, and even eat human medication. So, crating your pup can help to keep him safe.

Travel Safety

The safest method of transporting your dog is in a crate. Period.

A tiny dog, such as a Chihuahua, becomes a dangerous projectile if traveling loose in a car should an accident occur. So, for your safety, passengers, and pet, always transport your Chihuahua in a crate.

Helpful Tips On Crate Training Chihuahuas

a group of chihuahuas

This part of our guide gives you some helpful tips on crate training your Chihuahua.

When Should You Start Crate Training Your Chihuahua?

The sooner you begin the training program, the quicker your pup will get the hang of it. So, ideally, you should start the crate training process from day one.  

What Type Of Crate Should I Use?

There are several different styles of crates to choose from, including:

  • Wire mesh crates
  • Soft-sided fabric crates
  • Plastic crates
  • Furniture crates

All these styles of crates have pros and cons. Soft-sided and plastic crates are generally best suited for travel crates, whereas furniture crates are often made of wood, so they’re not portable.

We recommend a wire crate for your Chihuahua. Wire crates are portable, collapsible for easy storage, simple to clean, and well-ventilated.

What Crate Size Do I Need For A Chihuahua?

Since Chihuahuas are so small, you might think that a big crate is a good choice. However, you don’t want the crate to be so large that your dog adopts one end of it as a bathroom spot.

Ideally, your pet’s crate should allow your dog to:

  • Stand up without hitting his ears or head on the crate roof
  • Sit down without hitting his ears or head on the crate roof
  • Lie down flat out without his paws touching the crate sides
  • Turn around without getting stuck or knocking into the crate sides

We recommend a crate with a divider panel if you have a Chihuahua puppy. That enables you to make the crate larger as your puppy grows while restricting his movement for potty training purposes.

Guide To Crate Training Your Chihuahua Puppy

Chihuahua in Crate

Here’s our simple step-by-step guide on how to crate train your Chihuahua.

Decide Where To Put The Crate

First of all, decide where to put your Chihuahua’s crate. 

Ideally, you want a quiet spot that’s well away from high-traffic areas. Your pet’s crate is his private space and chill-out zone, so you don’t want to put it somewhere hectic. You don’t want your puppy to feel isolated and lonely, so choose a quiet room, such as your home office, where your Chihuahua will have some company without feeling hassled.

You don’t want your puppy to get too hot, so the crate should be somewhere out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources, such as open fires and radiators. Conversely, a chilly Chihuahua will not be happy, so keep the crate clear of drafts, open windows, and air conditioning units.

Keep the crate in a safe spot well away from cables and power outlets that could present a hazard.

Preparation

Prepare the crate so that it’s comfy and appealing to your Chihuahua. 

Put a non-slip liner in the crate bottom. Add a comfortable, cozy bed or chew-proof crate mat, and toss a few tasty treats inside. You might also want to add a KONG toy stuffed with peanut butter or treats and frozen.

Water dishes are not the best thing to put in your dog’s crate, as spills are likely. Instead, place a bowl of water and plenty of your pup’s favorite treats outside the crate within easy reach. 

Ask the breeder for a piece of your pup’s mom’s blanket. That mom-scented blanket will give the puppy a feeling of familiarity and comfort that will help him settle into his new surroundings. Pop a small piece of the blanket in the crate, and reserve the remainder of the blanket for future use.

Prop the crate door open, so your Chihuahua doesn’t bump into it and frighten himself.

Exercise Your Chihuahua

One of the most important steps in crate training is remembering to give your furry friend lots of exercise before you begin each training session. If your puppy or dog is tired, he’s more likely to settle inside the crate on the comfy bed you’ve chosen for him.

Introduce Your Chihuahua To The Crate

Now, let your puppy sniff around the crate to familiarise himself with it. 

At this stage, many puppies go into the crate voluntarily, lured by the smell of lots of treats. Chihuahuas are sassy, intelligent little dogs that aren’t afraid of anything and will often go into the crate out of pure curiosity.

While your Chihuahua is checking out his crate, remember to give him lots of praise and reassurance. 

Do not force your pet to go into the crate! 

Always use positive reinforcement training techniques and plenty of patience when teaching your Chihuahua to use his crate. That type of training helps ensure that your dog will enjoy his training time and come to regard the crate as a safe spot where he wants to spend his time.

Feed Your Chihuahua In His Crate

If your Chihuahua is reluctant to go into his crate, you could try offering him his meals there.

Prepare your puppy’s meal while he watches you. Now, put the food dish just inside the crate. Your dog should go into the crate to eat his food. As your pet eats, give plenty of verbal praise and reassurance.

Once the puppy is happily going inside the crate to get his meal, move the food dish to the back of the crate. 

Close The Door

Now that your Chihuahua is confidently entering the crate to get his food, you can close the door.

Close the door, giving your puppy plenty of praise. As soon as your pet has finished his food, open the door again. The idea is to let your pup out again before he starts barking, crying, or complaining.

With every crate training session, aim to leave the crate door closed for a little more time. At this point in the proceedings, you want to confine your Chihuahua to his crate for around five minutes after he’s finished his meal, preferably without him complaining.

Take A Step Back

If your crate training routine is progressing well, your Chihuahua should now regard his crate as a safe spot where he can find toys, treats, and meals. The crate should be a part of his everyday daily life. 

So, now you can up the ante by taking a step or two away from the crate while your pet is shut inside. Only do that if your puppy is quiet and calm when confined to the crate. Keep within the puppy’s line of sight and gradually extend the time he’s confined.

If your Chihuahua starts complaining, turn your back on him, and wait until he’s quiet again. After ten seconds of peace, turn around and let your dog out of the crate.

Note that you must watch your puppy carefully for signs of anxiety with this training method. If your pup gets upset and appears stressed, immediately let your dog out of the crate.

Increase The Time The Crate Door Is Shut

When your dog is happy to remain inside his crate with the door closed, extend the confinement time. 

Remember that Chihuahua puppies have tiny bladders and will need a bathroom break every hour or so at first. 

Cue Words

Cue words are essential when crate training a puppy.

Your cue words should be short, easy to remember words that your pup can learn quickly. For example, “Bed” or “Crate” are perfect, and “No!” is also essential for reprimanding lousy behavior. Likewise, “Good boy!” is another essential cue that you should use often.

Dealing With Tantrums

Most puppies will object to being confined in their crates at first, especially if you leave the room. 

But don’t give in! If you let your puppy out of the crate every time he whines or barks, you effectively train him to misbehave. Only let your Chihuahua out of his crate when he remains quiet and calm. 

When the inevitable tantrum occurs, ignore it. Turn your back on your puppy, and wait until his whinging desists. As soon as your puppy is calm again, reward him with treats and plenty of verbal praise.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed our tips and advice on crate training a Chihuahua. If you did, please share the article.

Your Chihuahua’s crate is his safe space where he can kick back and relax whenever he feels the need. You can also use a crate for potty training your puppy, preventing destructive behaviors, and keeping your pet safe when you’re not around to watch him.

Be consistent, patient, and calm when crate training your puppy, and never use the crate as a punishment.

Did you crate train your Chihuahua? Tell us how it went in the comments box below.

Meet our writer

Alison Page was brought up with dogs and various other pets! For a few years, Alison worked as a Practice Manager in a small animal veterinary clinic. Alison is now a full-time writer, specializing in creating articles on the care and training of dogs, cats, and fish.

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