How To Train Small Dogs?

Are you the proud owner of a small dog or considering getting one as your next furry companion? Small dog breeds, such as Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, and Pomeranians, may be pint-sized, but they come with big personalities and a lot of love to give. Training a small dog can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it does come with its unique challenges. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of small dog training, covering everything from basic obedience to specific breed-related considerations. Whether you’re a new pet parent or an experienced dog owner, this article will provide you with the knowledge and techniques to ensure your small dog is well-behaved and happy.

Understanding Small Dog Training

AspectTraining Approach
Patience and ConsistencyBe patient and understanding during training.
Positive ReinforcementUse treats, praise, and toys as rewards.
Shorter Training SessionsKeep sessions brief and engaging.
SocializationExpose small dogs to various experiences.
Breed-Specific ConsiderationsTailor training based on breed tendencies.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of small dog training, it’s essential to understand the principles and methods that work best for these petite pups. Small dog training has its nuances, and taking a specialized approach can lead to more successful outcomes.  

Patience and Consistency

Training any dog, regardless of size, requires patience and consistency. However, with small dogs, patience is even more critical, as they can be sensitive and easily intimidated. Be patient and understanding throughout the training process.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the cornerstone of dog training, and it’s especially effective with small dogs. This technique involves rewarding your dog for good behavior rather than punishing them for their mistakes. Small dogs respond well to treats, praise, and toys as positive reinforcements.

Shorter Training Sessions

Small dogs have shorter attention spans compared to larger breeds. Keep training sessions short, engaging, and enjoyable to prevent them from losing interest. Frequent, brief sessions are often more productive than long, tedious ones.


Socialization is essential for all dogs, but it’s crucial for small breeds. Expose your small dog to various people, animals, and environments from a young age to help them develop into well-adjusted and confident pets.

Breed-Specific Considerations

Different small dog breeds have distinct characteristics and traits that should be taken into account during training. For example, a Dachshund may have a strong prey drive, while a Chihuahua might be more inclined to bark excessively. Understanding your dog’s breed-specific tendencies will assist in tailoring your training approach.

Now that we’ve established the fundamental principles of small dog training, let’s move on to practical training techniques and commands.

Basic Obedience Training

Basic obedience training is the foundation for a well-behaved small dog. By teaching your furry friend essential commands, you create a harmonious and safe living environment for both your pet and your family. Here are some basic commands to start with:


Teaching your small dog to sit is one of the first and most important commands. It helps you manage their behavior and keeps them calm in various situations.

Training Steps:

  • Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose.
  • Slowly raise the treat above their head, causing them to sit naturally.
  • As they sit, say “Sit” and give them the treat.


The “stay” command is vital for keeping your small dog safe and under control. It’s especially useful when crossing streets or when you need them to stay in one place.

Training Steps:

  • Have your dog sit in front of you.
  • With an open palm and a stop gesture, say “Stay.”
  • Take a step back, and if your dog remains in place, reward them with a treat and praise.


The “come” command is crucial for recall. It ensures that your small dog returns to you when called, promoting their safety and preventing runaway situations.

Training Steps:

  • Leash your dog in a secure area.
  • Crouch down and say “Come” while gently pulling the leash towards you.
  • When they come to you, reward them with a treat and enthusiastic praise.


The “down” command helps your small dog settle down and stay calm. It’s useful in situations where you want them to relax, like when guests are visiting.

Training Steps:

  • Have your dog sit in front of you.
  • Hold a treat close to their nose and lower it to the ground.
  • Say “Down” as they follow the treat, and reward them when they lie down.

Leave It

Teaching your small dog to “leave it” is essential for their safety and preventing them from picking up harmful items or food from the ground.

Training Steps:

  • Show your dog a treat in your closed hand.
  • Allow them to sniff and lick your hand.
  • When they stop trying to get the treat, say “Leave it” and open your hand to reward them with a different treat.


While small dogs don’t need to heel as rigorously as larger breeds, teaching them to walk nicely on a leash is essential for enjoyable walks and outings.

Training Steps:

  • Start with your dog on a leash.
  • Hold a treat in your hand and keep it close to your leg.
  • When your dog walks beside you without pulling, reward them with the treat and praise.

Addressing Specific Behavioral Challenges

In addition to basic obedience training, small dog owners may encounter specific behavioral challenges unique to their pint-sized companions, such as “How To Potty Train Twins?” Let’s explore some common issues and how to address them effectively.


Small dogs, such as Chihuahuas and Miniature Pinschers, are known for their propensity to bark. Excessive barking can be annoying and disruptive. To address this issue:

Training Steps:

  • Identify the triggers for your dog’s barking.
  • Use the “quiet” command when they start barking.
  • Reward them when they stop barking on command.
  • Gradually increase the duration of quiet before giving a treat.

Separation Anxiety

Small dogs can be prone to separation anxiety, causing distress when left alone. To alleviate this issue:

Training Steps:

  • Start with short periods of separation, gradually increasing the time.
  • Use positive reinforcement when your dog remains calm during separation.
  • Provide toys and activities to keep them occupied in your absence.


Housetraining can be challenging for small dogs due to their small bladders. Consistency is key to successful housetraining:

Training Steps:

  • Establish a regular bathroom schedule.
  • Praise and reward your dog when they go outside.
  • Clean up accidents inside promptly and without scolding.

Leash Reactivity

Some small dogs exhibit leash reactivity, barking or lunging at other dogs or people while on a leash. To manage this behavior:

Training Steps:

  • Use positive reinforcement to reward calm behavior on the leash.
  • Gradually introduce your dog to other dogs and people, using controlled environments.

Breed-Specific Training Considerations

Each small dog breed has its unique characteristics and tendencies, which can impact the training process. Here are some breed-specific considerations to keep in mind:


Dachshunds are known for their love of digging and chasing small animals. Training for recall and managing their prey drive is essential.


Chihuahuas can be quite stubborn and territorial. Socialization and positive reinforcement are vital to prevent excessive barking and aggressive behavior.


Pomeranians tend to be energetic and curious. Provide mental stimulation and plenty of exercise to keep them happy and well-behaved.

Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus can be independent and require gentle, consistent training methods to build trust and obedience.

Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers are known for their feisty personalities. Positive reinforcement and early socialization help with obedience and reduce aggression.

Training Tools and Equipment

While effective training largely depends on your approach and consistency, some tools and equipment can assist in the process:


High-quality treats are essential for positive reinforcement. Use small, tasty treats that your small dog can quickly consume.


A clicker can be a helpful tool to mark desired behaviors and signal that a treat is coming.

Leash and Collar/Harness

A suitable leash and collar or harness are essential for leash training. Choose a comfortable and properly fitting option for your small dog.


A crate can be useful for housetraining and providing your small dog with a safe space.

Toys and Puzzle Feeders

Interactive toys and puzzle feeders can keep your small dog mentally stimulated and prevent boredom-related behavior issues.

Training Schedule and Tips

Consistency is the key to successful small dog training. Here’s a sample training schedule and some tips to help you along the way:

Training Schedule:

Morning (5-10 minutes):

  • Morning walk and bathroom break.
  • Basic commands like “sit” and “stay.”

Afternoon (5-10 minutes):

  • Playtime and mental stimulation.
  • Recall training in a controlled environment.

Evening (5-10 minutes):

  • Evening walk and bathroom break.
  • Review basic commands and practice “leave it.”

Tips for Successful Training:

  • Be patient and stay calm during training sessions.
  • Use a variety of treats and rotate them to keep your dog motivated.
  • Consistently reward good behavior with treats and praise.
  • Keep training sessions short and engaging.
  • Adjust your training approach based on your dog’s individual needs.

The Importance of Professional Training

While training your small dog at home is essential, sometimes professional guidance may be necessary. A certified dog trainer can help address specific behavior issues and provide advanced training techniques tailored to your dog’s needs. Additionally, group training classes can help with socialization and obedience in a controlled environment.


Training a small dog can be a delightful and rewarding experience when approached with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Whether you have a Dachshund, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, or any other small breed, understanding their unique traits and tendencies will guide your training efforts. By mastering basic obedience, addressing specific behavioral challenges, and considering breed-specific characteristics, you can ensure your small dog becomes a well-behaved and cherished member of your family. Remember, successful training requires dedication and effort, but the love and companionship you receive in return make it all worthwhile. So, embark on this training journey with your small dog and enjoy the wonderful bond that grows with each successful training session.


How do I start training my small dog?

Start with basic commands like “sit” and “stay” using treats and positive reinforcement.

Can I train my small dog at home, or should I hire a professional trainer?

You can train your small dog at home, but professional help can be beneficial for specific behavior issues.

What’s the key to successful small dog training?

The key is patience, consistency, and using positive reinforcement techniques.

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