20 Stimulating Jobs For Your Pet Chihuahua


Jobs for Chihuahuas

The chihuahua is an adorable and very popular toy breed known for its stubbornness, spunk, and loyalty. Despite their tiny frames, these pups have BIG personalities.

Unfortunately, Chihuahuas have gained a bit of a reputation for being feisty, overprotective, and yappy.

While these traits can certainly show up often within this breed, bad behaviors can stem from a lack of exercise and stimulation.

In this article, we will discuss different activities or “jobs” you can give to your chihuahua to stimulate their mind, and ultimately lead to a healthier, happier, and well-behaved pup!

What are Chihuahuas Good for?

Chihuahuas are excellent dogs for many reasons. Mostly choose to adopt this breed into their family due to their small size, loyal nature, and long lifespans.

Chihuahuas are one of the smallest dog breeds available and they also live the longest! They are relatively low-maintenance to care for and have entertaining personalities.

Many choose to keep Chihuahua because they are excellent companions who are extremely devoted and provide great company.

Chihuahuas bond intensely with their owners and are generally happy spending their days curled up next to them or resting in their laps.

Do Chihuahuas need a job?

Chihuahuas today are bred to be companion dogs – a job they are great at! This breed is very faithful and wants to be wherever their favorite person is.

However, the tiny but fierce Chihuahua was first bred to track and kill small rodents, specifically rats. They were skilled and fearless hunters, which likely has contributed to their feisty modern-day personalities.

This history also shows that Chihuahuas are a very smart breed that does well when given a job. Today, many understimulated Chihuahuas take it upon themselves to become the watchdogs of their household.

While some owners may like this added security system, it can also lead to an over-reactive dog who barks at anything and everything – not just intruders.

This clever breed is a fast learner and eager to please, which makes them excellent dogs to train once you conquer their stubborn nature.

Training a Chihuahua will require commitment and patience but the rewards are big! Try giving your Chihuahua a job to make training more fun for both of you.

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Why are Jobs Good and Why Does my Pet Need One?

There are many benefits to giving your dog a job and downsides if you do not.

Benefits of giving your Chihuahua a job:

  • Working with your dog to master a job strengthens your bond
  • A working dog has an outlet for pent up energy and a healthy way to rid it’s boredom
  • Giving your pup a job will boost their confidence! Dogs love to feel useful and show pride when successfully completing a task.
  • A tired dog is an obedient dog!
  • Helps maintain overall health and weight
  • Reduces anxiety

Downsides to not giving your dog a job:

The main downsides are boredom and lack of stimulation, which can lead to any or all of the unwanted behaviors below:

  • Ruining furniture
  • Over-reactive behaviors like jumping on people or lunging at other dogs
  • Excessive barking
  • Separation anxiety and other nervous behaviors
  • Digging
  • Constant licking
  • Aggressive behaviors

A Chihuahua with a Job is a Happy Dog

Dog owners and trainers alike are in agreement: dogs enjoy work. It allows them to activate their minds and exercise their bodies. This leaves them feeling satisfied, engaged, and pleasantly tired. This gets them ready for cuddles with their favorite person!

20 Jobs and Activities for Your Chihuahua

1. Go For A Walk

One of the simplest and easiest “jobs” is one you likely already have in your routine – taking your Chihuahua for a walk! This great exercise for both you and your dog.

You can add a mental challenge by keeping your Chihuahua in a heel position during your walk.

This will challenge them to think about their actions. Keeping your dog in heel for 30 minutes or more will energize their mind and tire them out quicker.

We also recommend allowing your pup to stop and sniff. Sniffing is a rewarding activity for any dog. It’s a natural instinct for them to forage and explore!

Adding both the challenge of heeling and the fun of sniffing will be a fulfilling experience for your dog.

2. Train Your Chihuahua

Training your Chihuahua is a wonderful bonding experience. It allows you to challenge your dog while also reinforcing positive behaviors.

This leads to an obedient dog. Training also brings you closer to your beloved pet. The mental stimulation that training provides is a very enriching experience.

You can either train your dog yourself or sign up for an obedience class.

If you choose to train yourself, remember to only use positive reinforcements and keep a regular training schedule! Obedience classes can be taken as a private lesson or in a group setting.

3. Therapy and Volunteer Work

One of my favorite jobs to recommend is registering your dog as a therapy dog and volunteering in your local community!

This can be extremely rewarding work. It is stimulating for your pup and allows them to socialize, all while giving back to your community. If your dog is friendly and likes to be petted – this might be a great job for them.

You’ll need to register your Chihuahua as a Therapy Dog through an accredited organization. This organization will likely require some training and do an evaluation to determine if your Chihuahua has the right personality for therapy work.

Check out a list of AKC Therapy Organizations here. Some ways to volunteer with your dog include visiting hospitals, schools, and nursing homes.

4. Puzzles for your Chihuahua

A job your Chihuahua can do from the comfort of your home is canine puzzles. There are many different varieties of puzzles available online.

All have a similar goal: to mentally stimulate and challenge your dog. This is a great alternative if you live in an apartment because this job requires very little space and can keep your dog engaged for long periods of time!

The concept of canine puzzles is simple – figure out the puzzle and be rewarded with a treat. We recommend starting your dog off with simpler challenges so they don’t get frustrated and give up. Slowly increase the difficulty level as they progress.

Examples of puzzle games require your dog to push buttons, pull open compartments, and forage for treats. If you don’t want to buy a puzzle, there are plenty of ways to get creative and make your own.

5. Enrichment Toys

Similar to puzzles, enrichment toys are designed to get your pup thinking. There are hundreds of these toys on the market.

They use canine cognitive-behavioral principles to create satisfying challenges for your Chihuahua. A favorite amongst owners is the Kong treat – a hollowed-out rubber toy that you can fill with treats. This toy requires your dog to work for its treat.

Giving your Chihuahua a stimulation toy when you have to leave the house is a great way to keep them occupied and reduce anxiety. There are many suggestions for homemade mental stimulation toys online that can cost you nothing!

6. Agility Exercise

You may recognize dog agility as a popular part of Dog Shows. This event displays different breeds’ physical agility, speed, and obedience level.

You may not be looking to enter your Chihuahua into a dog competition, that’s okay! Agility exercises are a great way to challenge your pup. You can take it as casually or as seriously as you’d like.

If you don’t know where to start, we suggest signing up for a beginner’s agility class. This class will teach your Chihuahua the basics of tunneling, pole weaving, and jumping. Many view dog agility as a sport and you’re likely to find a dedicated community of people who can help guide you.

Once you learn the ropes, there are DIY agility courses you can build in your own backyard. This doesn’t have to be expensive!

7. Buried Treasure

As we’ve learned by now, dogs actually enjoy having to work for their treats! Another fun way to challenge your Chihuahua is by “burying” their treats.

Some dogs are natural diggers while others have never demonstrated this instinct. Even if your Chihuahua hasn’t shown interest in digging for “treasure” before, you might be surprised by how quickly they take to it.

Most people don’t want to encourage their dogs to dig holes in their backyard. We suggest creating a controlled environment where digging is allowed.

Since Chihuahuas are small, this can be done by filling up a Tupperware dish or any other container with sand or dirt (make sure the dirt is fertilizer-free!). Bury their toys or goodies and allow your dog to check it out. Let the digging fun begin!

8. Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is an entertaining game you can play with your Chihuahua at home or at the park!

You may have seen the adorable viral videos of dogs watching their owners hide behind a blanket before running away and dropping the blanket appearing to “disappear.” The trend was known at the Fluff Challenge and is a similar principle to hide and seek.

Hiding from your dog and allowing them to seek you out is a great brain challenge for your pup. They will likely use their nose to try and sniff you out.

If your dog really seems confused, help them out by making a sound to guide them to your location. This is a fun game for both you and your Chihuahua. You’re sure to receive lots of kisses from a happy pup once they find you!

9. Find It

The “Find It” game is similar to “Hide and Seek” except you are hiding a treat or toy instead of yourself. The object you’re hiding should only be partially hidden.

Squeak the toy as a hint if they are confused. This game requires nose work and lots of brainpower. It helps to hide a favorite toy or a treat they really love. The prize should be worth the effort of a hunt!

Your Chihuahua is certain to be excited once they find it. We suggest starting with easier hides and gradually getting more difficult.

10. Trick Training

Once your dog has learned basic commands you can graduate to more advanced tricks. You’ll need to keep increasing the difficulty level of the trick to maintain the same level of mental stimulation. Popular tricks are shake, spin, play dead, and rollover.

They are fun to learn and you’ll enjoy showing them off to your friends and family.

It’s a myth that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – dogs of any age can benefit from trick training. Just make sure they’ve mastered the basics before you move on to more advanced training. As with all training, you should use positive reinforcement to motivate your dog!

11. Visit Dog-Friendly Businesses

Take your dog out on a date! The companionship of your animal doesn’t need to only be enjoyed at home. There are many dog-friendly places that allow your pup to join you. Stop at an open-air coffee shop or dine on a patio with your Chihuahua.

This adventure will squash your dog’s boredom. It allows them to become more comfortable with new places and environments. It also gives them an opportunity to socialize.

Chihuahuas have the added bonus of being tiny and not taking up much space. This makes their presence less disruptive to others. It’s important that your dog is well-behaved if you want to take them to public businesses.

A great resource for finding dog-friendly places is the online pet travel directory BringFido.

12. Dog Parks

Exposing Chihuahuas to strangers is an important exercise for keeping a friendly dog. But they also need to hang out with other dogs as well! Chihuahuas are known for being “people dogs.”

This means they enjoy the company of their owners but can get nippy around other canines.

Socializing your Chihuahua is very important to help curb this behavior! Luckily lots of towns and cities have dog parks available for just this reason.

Many allow for off-leash play which provides exercise, socialization, and opportunities to explore. Dog parks are a wonderful addition to your Chihuahua care routine.

13. Tug ‘O War

This age-old game is a dog favorite. I’m struggling to think of a pup I’ve met who doesn’t enjoy this game. The rules are simple: your dog grabs a toy and you pull. Growling and excitement often follow. This is both a physical and mental exercise!

Chihuahuas can be delicate so make sure you don’t pull too hard. You should never lift your dog off the ground by their teeth while they are latched to a tug toy. This can be damaging to their tiny teeth and jaw and puts a lot of pressure on their neck.

14. Going for a Run

Dogs can be a great reason to get out and exercise. If your Chihuahua is high-energy and can handle runs, this is a great activity to get them moving. Running with your dog requires discipline.

They must have a solid grasp of heel. This means they should not try to stop every few minutes to sniff or use the bathroom. Running should be done in addition to their walks where they are allowed to use the bathroom freely.

Providing this discipline of not stopping on your run will be a mental challenge for your dog. They will enjoy this! Remember to never run your dog in excessive heat.

You should have water on hand for your Chihuahua and not push them too hard. Know their limits! Start with short runs to build their endurance.

15. Teach Your Dog to Swim

Swimming is a wonderful exercise for dogs of all ages! Learning this activity is a big mental and emotional challenge for most dogs. Chihuahuas are not natural-born swimmers.

They will require a gentle hand and slow introductions to the water. Never force your dog into the water! Remember, not all dogs will enjoy this activity no matter how hard you try.

Water lessons are sure to tire out a bored or overactive pup. It is also a great therapeutic activity. It can help soothe dogs with chronic pain, symptoms of aging, or those recovering from operations.

If you are patient and willing to teach your dog how to swim, there are lots of benefits! More on those in the next section.

16. Swimming and Water Games for your Chihuahua

Once you’ve introduced your Chihuahua to the water, determined they enjoy the activity, and have taught them the safety basics you can start to have some real fun!

There are so many water activities that you and your pup can enjoy. These include dock jumping, diving for toys, and water fetch.

Chihuahuas have the advantage of being portable so you can take them kayaking, boating, paddleboarding, and much more! Enjoying the water with your dog is a great way to bond, share companionship and stay active.

17. Scent Work

Scent work, also known as nose work, is an activity that challenges dogs to locate and identify different smells. There is a misconception that only professional scent detection dogs can successfully participate in scent work.

Many people think of highly skilled bomb-sniffing dogs. However, dogs of any age can be taught this skill and most find it highly rewarding.

If you’re interested in enrolling your Chihuahua in a nose work class, check out this database of K9 Nose Work instructors from the National Association of Canine Scent Work’s Education Division to find a class near you.

18. Clean Up

Why not introduce a job to your pup that also helps you around the house? Win-win!

Because Chihuahuas are so tiny, they won’t be able to do any heavy lifting but you can certainly train your dog to pick up their toys and return them to an assigned bin.

This trick is considered advanced and will take patience to teach. This means you should use treats your Chihuahua goes crazy for to help motivate them.

The benefits of this challenge are mental stimulation for your Chihuahua and the obvious one: less clean up for you!

19. Retrieving or “Fetch” with your Chihuahua

We are all familiar with the popular game of fetch. It is a go-to game for many dog owners and pups usually take to it naturally. It is a great way to get your dog active at the park.

Make sure you purchase size-appropriate balls for your Chihuahua to fetch. This means you’ll likely have to buy ones that are smaller than standard tennis balls.

Retrieving doesn’t have to stop with fetch. We’ve all seen the iconic movie moments of dogs retrieving the morning paper for their owners.

While most of us don’t get paper news delivered to our doors anymore, there are still plenty of fun and unique things you can train your dog to retrieve for you.

Again, due to the Chihuahua’s small size, the items they can realistically carry will be limited but get creative – your dog will love the challenge!

20. Snuffle Mat

Snuffle mats are a great indoor activity for your dog to act out their basic foraging instincts. You can find this product online or make your own.

They are a great way to have your Chihuahua work for their food or treats. This mat is an easy, no mess activity that’s great for small spaces.

Snuffle mats can also substitute as a slow feeder for pups who eat too quickly. The challenge of foraging for their food will leave your dog feeling satisfied and tired.

Conclusion

There are so many ways to work your Chihuahua, both mentally and physically. Giving your dog opportunities to perform tasks is a great way to bond with them.

It also provides an outlet to get rid of pent-up energy. It’s been proven that dogs who perform jobs feel more mentally and physically engaged.

This will lead to a healthier pup and can easily curb unwanted behaviors. Give some of the activities above a try – we bet your dog will be happy you did!

Related Questions

What did Chihuahuas used to be called?

Chihuahuas descended from a breed called Techich. They were kept mainly by the ancient Toltecs. The Techichi was larger than the modern-day Chihuahua.

When Aztecs conquered the Toltecs, they bred the Techichi to be more compact and lighter. This dog more closely resembled the Chihuahua we know and love today. Fun fact: Chihuahuas were also worshipped by the Aztecs!

Can Chihuahuas be left alone?

Yes, Chihuahuas can be left alone. However, they crave companionship and do better when they are not left for long periods of time. Reddit user and Chihuahua owner u/magical_elf suggested not leaving a chihuahua alone longer than 4 hours and we agree!

This will vary with each individual dog and how long they can comfortably hold their bladders. 4 hours is our general rule of thumb for small and toy-sized dogs.

How often should you walk a Chihuahua?

This will vary based on each individual dog, specifically because of their age and activity level. Generally, two 30-minute walks a day should satisfy a chihuahua!

Wriley

Hi, I'm the owner of Juniper Pets! You can often find me playing fetch with my dogs, working out or cooking up something legendary in the kitchen. Hope you enjoy my blog!

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