Reasons, why people around the world choose to have chihuahuas, is that they are considered the smallest breed dog in the world, which means that it’s easier to hold them and take them to various places such as dog stores, gardens, etc. Also, chihuahuas are very loyal to their humans and show great character and courage when they feel that their owner is in danger. However, sometimes we find that our chihuahua is scared of just about everything, cars, other people, other pets, etc. Also, some chihuahuas are scared of the water, brush, and being touched, this makes it very difficult to take care of or to train the little dog. So How to help a chihuahua that is scared of his world?
In this section we will cover:
- Signs of being scared
- The normal fears
- ages when a chihuahua can show fear
- Things to check when a chihuahua suddenly becomes fearful
- How to help a chihuahua that is scared of his world?
- Q&A section
Signs of being scared
Chihuahuas have a shy nature and they generally prefer to live inside the home. They are not the breed of dogs who prefer to play outside and get dirty. There are some symptoms in which an overly shy nature is clearly depicted. He may fold his ears backward and dilate the eye pupils. Chihuahua may also stick its tail between the legs showing the sign of shyness. They may also avoid eye contact. In some cases, the shyness may become fearful and your Chihuahua may also urinate. It may also be possible that the chihuahua may run away from the environment. And occasionally, it is possible when your chihuahua cannot escape then he’ll show signs of aggression.
The normal fears
Being afraid of other dogs especially larger ones is totally normal for a chihuahua. However, there are cases when a chihuahua can play with a larger dog that the owner knows well and trusts. But, it is recommended that chihuahua only plays with dogs of her size. To avoid the possibility of being attacked by a larger dog as it will lead to big damage.
YOU CAN ALSO CHECK: Behavior and Temperament of chihuahua
Ages when a chihuahua can display fear
There are two particular periods during a chihuahua’s life when he can develop fear.
- When a chihuahua is still a puppy under the age of 9 months, he still has no idea about the world around him, he follows his instincts. For this reason, a chihuahua appears to be fearless and shows familiarisation with everything around him such as people, other dogs, etc. However, when that chihuahua reaches the age of 3 or 4 months, he starts gradually to be cognizant of the world around her.
Now his brain is receiving the outputs provided by his senses and everything can suddenly seem horrifying.
- When a chihuahua becomes a senior dog, he can become prone to a lot of health issues such as vision issues, hearing loss, canine cognitive dysfunction, etc. As a consequence, the dog may seem to be afraid of his world.
Things to check when a chihuahua acts afraid
Before starting any training you should rule out :
- Health problem: When you are sure that your dog is super healthy but lately he becomes fearful. This could be a sign of a health issue that is causing him to feel uncomfortable or in pain. As a consequence, your dog may start to hide or may become cling.
- Change in the household: when there is a change in household family members, this may confuse the dog about the hierarchy and he may start to show fear.
- Senior dog issues: As the dog reaches this age he may become very slow and may show fear. Because of hearing issues, vision, and cognitive abilities. For this reason, the dog must have a complete check-up twice per year
How to help a chihuahua that is scared of his world?
To help your dog who is fearful of everything may take time, and requires gradual introduction and exposure to triggers. However, there are some points to take into consideration:
- Arrange and prioritize: If there are a lot of things that can trigger fear in your dog at the same time. It will be difficult for you and your chihuahua. It is preferable to overcome fears one at a time.
- Prioritize easy tasks: Chihuahuas can be afraid of some noises that seem normal to us such as sink disposal, vacuum, etc. This is because chihuahuas weren’t exposed to these noises when they were puppies.
- Involve all the household family in the process: When you chose carefully a type of fear to be conquered gradually and allow your little dog to be familiar with it. All the members of the household should be aware of what you are doing.
- Some chihuahuas may not be able to conquer certain fear: when a dog had a negative experience or a severe circumstance, he may not be able to overcome his anxiety. Phobias can last a lifetime. However, you should not accept that all fears will last forever, try your best. But when a chihuahua can’t tolerate a particular trigger, you should understand him. Avoid forcing your chihuahua to be exposed to a trigger that caused him to be fearful and act out of control, as it may do more damage than good.
What is all Training Required?
Your continuous effort is required if you are choosing to train your chihuahua to not get scared of the surroundings. There are gradual conditions to be fulfilled for that training to be accomplished, including:
- Introduce chihuahua to the trigger in an intelligent manner. Firstly, he will start to observe the trigger carefully (like a human baby). Then, as he realizes that there is no danger, you can get him closer.
- Bring your chihuahua out of his comfort zone and show him that there is rarely anything to be worried about.
- Use yourself and show him how that thing is not dangerous. Chihuahuas and kids are the same way in this area, you gotta show them that there is nothing to be fearful of. Show your dog that it doesn’t matter whether you are scared of anything if you need to touch it.
- Perseverance is required, train your chihuahua every day if your schedule allows you to do it.
- Increase the intensity of training gradually: for example if your chihuahua is afraid of kids. Introduce him to a child for 5 minutes on the first day, then increase the time(keep the child aware of your plan), then on the second day expose your dog to 2 kids, and so on. After one week of training, your chihuahua will get familiar with children.
- Some types of training require taking your chihuahua outside such as facing fear caused by traffic or by other pets, etc. To do so you have to keep your dog on a harness as it allows you better control. The goal here is to accomplish the training without letting your dog interrupt you by his barking or whining. The harness will help you to ignore your chihuahua refusal to move. As you will keep moving without harming your dog.
- Reward your dog whenever he controls his fear: as we know rewards work very well with dogs. For this reason, reward your dog immediately using some treats at any time he overcomes a fearful situation. Avoid rewarding your chihuahua with treats you give him on normal days Instead, you should buy some special treats reserved for this special training. Also, these treats must be all-natural.
- Control your non-verbal communication: All dogs especially chihuahuas understand very well their owners based on their non-verbal cues like facial expression, tone of voice, and body language. For this reason, during training sessions, you should act in a normal way to show our chihuahua that there is nothing worth being afraid of. If we go back to the example of kids, you have to act normal even if a kid is acting out of control such as running in all directions, screaming without any reason, etc. Your chihuahua will actually feel and see the way you react. He will become confused at some point but he will reshape his reactions too based on yours.
How to treat your chihuahua during Training.
It is really important that you show your chihuahua that you are proud of him. If you notice any kind of curiosity and interest in the things which he fears then pat his back. Show him how proud you are. Treat them after they have shown any sign of improvement with their favorite food.
Tips for a Fearful Rescue chihuahua
It is almost impossible to know the past and the events a dog has experienced before you bring him to your house, maybe the dog experienced very negative things that may have left emotional scars. Here are some tips to take into consideration:
- It is possible that your dog may show fear of some strange things such as human gender, a particular place, or toward some actions like bathing, being brushed, etc. Patience in these cases is required.
- The change in a dog’s circumstances especially the change in the household. Will concise the dog and he may show fear toward his new leader and new family members. However, you should put in mind that it is just a question of time. The dog will overcome his fear and start o show his love toward you.
Does your chihuahua show shy behavior with the Guests?
It is totally normal that your chihuahua might show a sign of timidness when guests arrive at your house. The best way to handle your chihuahua when the guests arrive is to ignore him. Do not Introduce your chi as it makes the dog timider. You should leave your puppy alone and ignore him completely. You can let your chihuahua come out of his zone on his own. There can be two results by ignoring your chihuahua. It is possible that your chi show signs of interest and will come to discover what is happening around strange surroundings. The other result is totally different in which the chihuahua may stay to not come out in open. He might alienate himself and watch things from distance. In both cases, you have to maintain your same ignoring nature.
Does your Chihuahua show Shyness in the Public?
Chihuahua will always have a very small world obviously. So it is your duty to respect his nature and make the world, even more, smaller for him. Introduce your chi to new things very slowly, do not let new things come to him in just one go. Make him friendly with just one thing at a time. This will allow your dog to give time and understand that thing. Take him to new places every week. It also depends on the age of your chihuahua the smaller the age the shyer your dog will be. You can take your Puppy to any of the following places for a time period of 10 to 15 minutes initially.
- Take him around a river or lake, show him the free-flowing water.
- Take your pup to a little picnic spot and try to play with him
- Use the travel crate and take him to the nearest market.
There are a lot of things out there which can be really dangerous for your chihuahua. The small size of the dog can also become prey for other creatures like a vulture. So in a way the Shyness and timidness of the Puppy are valid. It is your responsibility that you ensure your chi that you are always there to protect him from mishappenings. This way when your baby chihuahua grows up. He/ she will be more focused and a little shy of things. Do not let them panic and let go of them into hiding. Introduce them to everything new very slowly.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: