In this guide, we will answer the following question: Are Chihuahuas clingy? We will explain the main reasons why all Chihuahuas are considered to be clingy and discuss how we can prevent and correct such behavior.
Are Chihuahuas clingy?
Chihuahuas can be clingy, given the fact that this breed becomes very attached and devoted to its owner. A Chihuahua likes to spend 24/7 in someone’s care, receiving attention, and cuddles.
That said, Chihuahuas are companion dogs, bred for human companionship, and that lays a foundation. If a Chihuahua doesn’t have enough opportunities to come out of its shell or if their clingy behavior is never addressed, it can be more aggressive than it would otherwise be.
The clingy behavior of a Chihuahua starts when it is a puppy
Think back to the early days of a chihuahua puppy’s life. At first he only knew the warmth of his mother and the intimacy of his littermates. His breeder may have been his first human contact, but this may have been limited for two reasons:
1) His young age prevented him from having many types of attachment activities.
2) He was very close to the mother until his last weeks, as he was still breastfeeding.
For the first 8 weeks, the world is very small for a Chihuahua puppy. since he finds security and comfort with his brothers and sisters. Almost all litters of puppies – from birth to 8 weeks old – sleep together, stacked on top of each other. Playmates are just steps away.
This is all changing very quickly. We find a new family and get started … This puppy is ripped off from everything he knew and brought into a very unfamiliar (in other words, quite scary and intimidating) environment.
New owners – rightly and correctly – do whatever they can to make the new puppy feel at home. They coax him, spoil him and pay him great attention.
Then, usually in a week or so, it’s time to focus on creating and maintaining a daily routine in which humans are busy working, doing housework, running errands, etc.
And that’s when owners can realize that their puppy can’t stand being alone. The idea that the chihuahua would do very well on its own for short periods of time has been abandoned.
When a young puppy learns their place in the house and gets used to a routine, and certainly with the help of the following steps, things will level out. So if your new puppy is glued to your side, that doesn’t mean things will be like this forever.
Why is my Chihuahua suddenly so clingy?
You might have thought that your Chihuahua was well trained and had just the right amount of independence, but you are suddenly surprised that your Chi is clinging to you like he is afraid of everything around him. He may also be shaking and/or trying to hide (closets are common).
There are several possible reasons why a dog may suddenly act this way. See if any of these reasons may be related to your chihuahua:
Your chihuahua was recently traumatized in any way
You might want to remember when your Chihuahua started to be very clingy and see if anything happened that could have triggered this behavior. Remember, if this didn’t sound scary to you, it might have been for your dog, regardless of age.
Some people mistakenly believe that dogs cannot retain their memory. But of course, this is not true. Dogs possess both spatial memory (remembering where things are) and procedural memory (which allows a dog to learn this action = consequence, thus allowing for successful training).
Therefore, not only can a dog be traumatized by a frightening event, but he can also “know” that he is afraid of any type of situation or person that might make him fear repeating what frightened him.
Your Chihuahua can be injured or sick
When not feeling well, dogs feel very vulnerable due to reduced physical capacity. This vulnerability strikes a powerful canine instinct – the ability to protect itself – and dogs can seek the endless attention of their pack leader (the human).
One of the possible health problems in Chihuahuas is patella dislocation. This breed is prone to it, and in many cases, for the first few days or weeks, it only causes pain when it slips or when the dog moves in a certain way.
Of course, this is not the only possible health problem. Take note if there are other changes like fever, lack of appetite, restlessness, changes in stool, resistance to exercise, chills, etc.
If you think your Chihuahua is indeed clingy because he is feeling sick or has been injured, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with the vet.
You have reduced the time spent with your Chihuahua
Schedule changes and having fewer hours to spend with their owner can make a Chihuahua very clingy when it comes to spending time with their favorite human.
Routine is good and dogs can be taught to expect certain things to happen; however, a dog can easily panic and not be able to rationalize enough to think metaphorically “Oh, I will see my human again tomorrow, so seeing now is not a problem” …
And the dogs will hold on to their handler like it’s the last time they’ve spent time together.
How to deal with clingy behavior and make your Chihuahua more confident
The ideal is to have a dog who appreciates the time you spend together, but who also has enough independence and self-confidence to be alone at other times. Many Chihuahuas are not born this way; you have to teach them.
The key to do it:
- Create an environment that offers a sense of security.
- Gradually teach a chihuahua that playing independently is not such a bad thing.
- Take steps to help your puppy or dog gain confidence.
Let’s take a look at a few things that will work together to achieve this.
- Create a “den” for your Chihuahua
There are canine instincts that are inbred and always present, regardless of the breed of dog. They dictate how a dog perceives his world and how he reacts to it.
And one of the strongest dog instincts is that a “den” is all about safety and security. Just as you would feel exposed and vulnerable if you felt safe living outdoors and finding shelter, some dogs feel better with a “den” inside the house.
The good thing about creating a den is that it helps you in so many other ways. It is the ideal place when a chihuahua needs to be alone at home, it is one of the best ways to limit destructive biting, it is a “must” to contain a puppy when sleeping. break-in and keep a dog safe when the rooms are not puppy-proof.
When it comes to clingy behavior, once a Chihuahua gets used to their den, it gives them a general sense of security that will be the basis for more independent behavior in the future.
- Give toys to your clingy Chihuahua that encourage independent play
It’s incredibly hard to expect a clingy dog to go out and play with a toy on their own. After all, what is the reason the dog left his handler’s side to go play with a toy instead?
The main thing is to give him some toys that will react to your Chihuahua, simulating an intelligent interaction.
These toys are great for when you are at home but can’t keep focused on your dog, or when you need to leave the house. The more a dog plays with these toys and realizes that it is possible to have fun without his owner nearby, the closer he will be to learning to be more independent.
- Give your Chihuahua a toy that offers safety
When it comes to the basics, a chihuahua hangs on because he doesn’t want to be alone. So, a toy that offers a sense of camaraderie can be very useful.
Some dogs can naturally get used to any type of stuffed animal; they will mother him and act like he is their best friend. But some dogs need a little more than that. And that’s where a pet toy can come into play.
The one we recommend, and which is truly the only one to offer a realistic experience, is the Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy. This is a good sized, durable plush dog that has a heartbeat and (optional) emits comforting warmth.
- Encourage your Chihuahua to explore
The more a Chihuahua sees the world, the more experiences he has, the more he interacts with various elements, the more he acquires a sense of self. And it’s an important step in reducing sticky behavior.
The more a dog becomes aware of what exists outside his “bubble”, and when these experiences are positive, the less he is afraid to go out of his “safe zone” (which is right next to you).
So take your Chi to different places. Head to a new dog park. Visit your pet supply store. Drive to the beach. Take a new path for daily exercise. See what is at the end of this forest path. Offer new products from the nearest dog restaurant.
- Teach your Chihuahua a new command
One of the best ways to give a clingy dog a boost of self-confidence is to teach the basic command. If done well, each session will make the difference, because the “good tries” are rewarded. And once your chihuahua learns a certain command, every time he obeys it, it gets him compliments (and sometimes a treat), which makes him feel good about himself.
Dogs who are familiar with all of the basic commands (sit, stay, come, seek, and lie down) are often confident, well-balanced and well-behaved. This has the added benefit of establishing you as a leader, which often helps prevent other behavioral issues such as aggression or stubbornness.
- Take note of your verbal and non-verbal cues when training a Chihuahua
You may inadvertently encourage clingy behavior. Your chihuahua is very aware of all your emotions, the tone with which you speak to him, and even your body language. You can’t really hide anything from a dog, and your behavior gives it an impression.
If your general vibes are like “Oh poor little one, let me cuddle you and take care of my little baby,” you can guess that won’t help a chihuahua to be more independent.
Keeping things on a level playing field and not getting overly excited (although you should still be enthusiastic about doing things with your Chi in an upbeat manner) can gradually teach a dog to come to terms with things and ” go with the flow “.
- Responding to clingy behavior of your dog the right way
It is extremely important to have an interaction with your dog; spend time together with orders, games, walks, grooming, and more. And of course, what could be nicer than snuggling up on the sofa together? The best thing about having a dog is having a companion for life.
However, for dogs that have an unhealthy attachment, it is best to ignore excessive clinging behaviors, either when they are permanent or when they occur at a time when you need to focus elsewhere (for example, when cooking, you do your hair, etc.).
If you always hug your Chihuahua and give him a hug when he’s hanging onto your leg, you’re teaching him that this behavior causes hugs. It’s best to direct your dog’s attention elsewhere.
You can do this by giving him a friendly pat (to say hello and thank him), then leading him to a toy or activity. You can call him to snuggle up to you later when you have time to do so.
The bottom line
Chihuahuas are small companion dogs and will go anywhere with you. It’s easy to put a Chihuahua in a purse and he’ll be happy to rummage around until he’s comfortable. Don’t let the size of a Chihuahua fool you, they have a big heart and personality tucked into a small frame.
As read in this article, there are several reasons why your Chihuahua is clingy, but there are also good methods to prevent and treat this type of behavior. You may think that Chihuahuas are cute when demanding your attention 24/7, but you will get tired of this behavior eventually.
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