When a chihuahua is Clingy

When a new chihuahua puppy enters into the house, a clingy chihuahua is here, we generally consider the new dog cute for its clingy behaviors. Everybody is happy. When a pup snuggles and begs for kisses it’s awesome. Bonding is in process.

Like every other kind of breed, the same applies to small breeds like chihuahuas.

After some time, you may feel like going through a normal daily routine. However, their clingy behavior will surprise you.

In contrast, a chihuahua would be usually independent when going through a puppy stage. Then there is a sudden change of behavior. Anxiety and insecurity circle them. They become really clingy. Although you love them it can get annoying.

Is clinginess a normal behavior in chihuahuas?

Just like humans each dog has his own personality, we have to be ready for anything, a chihuahua can be shy, clingy, bold, or aggressive.

Due to their size, chihuahuas are considered lapdogs, bred for human companionship, which means that there is a big possibility for your chihuahua to become clingy. Therefore, if the owner didn’t prevent his chihuahua from developing such unwanted behavior, the situation can be terrible.

Luckily, there are some tips an owner can take to help his little dog to be independent.

Clinginess in the Puppy stage

It’s important to think from the perspective of a pup too. They weren’t used to the same human care and affection as opposed to their natural primal behavior from their littermates.

For the first 8 weeks,  chihuahua puppies have a very narrow worldview. They only feel secure and comfortable with their littermates. We all see puppies piling upon one another.

Then a new family comes and takes them and their view of reality is going to change rapidly. Unfamiliar faces will accompany them which can get quite terrifying as well as intimidating for them.

New owners just like me and you are going to make them feel at home. We spoil them.  We cuddle and give lots of attention.

After a week or so, we try to accommodate our normal lifestyle and activities hoping that they get used to the new home but you see, a puppy develops clingy behavior when it has no reason to be self-sufficient. It is because all their behavior is dependent upon humans at the time.

It’s a good feeling your pup wants to snuggle with you. However, there are other things to take care of and it’s just terrible to leave the pup alone.

When your chihuahua displays unexpected cling behavior

Let’s assume that your chihuahua is a super healthy dog, well trained, and he received all the necessary training and exercises he needs. Also, he has a strong and independent character. But suddenly, your dog surprised you with his fear and shyness, he becomes so clingy. He may show fear of everything around him.

In this situation, there are a lot of reasons why your dog may behave this way. Including:

Traumatizing events

Chihuahuas get traumatized when experiencing events such as a dog attack when walking, or someone might even have stepped on the tail unintentionally. So they get really clingy when recovering from the terrifying incidents.

Traumatizing memories 

It’s generally considered that chihuahuas can’t actually retain memories. It happens to be untrue. Canines can get access to spatial memory as well as procedural memory. Those who don’t know – we remember and locate incidents from spatial memory while procedural memory helps us to learn the action and consequence and thus, the dog training.

Therefore, chihuahuas also recall panic and fear when we expose them to similar incidents that might have spooked them.

Learned Behavior

Chihuahuas can develop this type of behavior, they learn it by the way you treat them. For instance, if you give your dog food whenever he follows you, or you pet him a lot of time without any reason, he will become clingy. Because he will learn that clinginess leads to some type of reward.

In addition, when your chihuahua puppy receives non-stop attention from all the members of your family, he will become fearful of being solo. As a consequence, he will stay to your side all the time.

Anxiety and Stress

Chihuahuas who suffer from anxiety issues often display clingy behaviors. Also, they become clingy when they feel their human’s parent stress or anxiety. Furthermore, when there is a change in the household or in the chihuahua’s daily routine. The chihuahua will be stressed which leads to clingy behavior.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: Leaving a chihuahua home and separation anxiety

Canine health issues

It’s important to make sure that your chihuahua hasn’t any injury, or is ill, and is normal when your chihuahua retreat when it is in some discomfort or is ill.

By the way, some drugs allow the canines to feel extremely vulnerable to weakened physical capacity. When exposed to this vulnerable scenario, a puppy acts with a powerful primal instinct – to protect itself. On the other hand, they are under the care of fellow humans so they might not be aggressive but will try to seek human attention. The attention can be never-ending.

Another possible health problem for a chihuahua is the slipped kneecap a problem we call also “locating patella“. Most of the time, it causes severe pain for only a while. Then there are a few cases where it causes the chihuahua s to feel the initial pain but discomfort arises when the canine moves in a certain way.

Moreover, if your chihuahua is showing changes like fever, restlessness, resistance, shivering, lack of appetite, and drastic changes in bowel habits you can expect some kind of clingy behavior. Try to address the problem as quickly as possible.

Owner – pet time 

You may have reduced the bonding time with your chihuahua recently and it can cause to backfire. When you change the schedule a dog unexpectedly becomes clingy when the bonding time with their favorite human was scheduled.

The routine behaviors are good for the chihuahuas as they anticipate that certain things are going to happen. However, they easily panic when the events don’t turn out.

In the same way, a chihuahua also acts instinctively and clings to the owner like it’s the last time.

Old age

senior chihuahua outside

source: pexels

When they grow old they will face problems like vision problems. This sure causes discomfort. So it’s normal for chihuahuas to cling to their favorite owners. When it can’t really depend upon its sight, they want to lean on the owner.

When the chihuahua gets older, there is a chance that there is an occurrence of an issue we call “Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome“. This causes your chihuahua to get confused and really anxious and lean on clingy behaviors.

However, the owners should not worry much because medication or surgery can cure blindness issues.

There can be lots of reasons for clinginess as each chihuahua has their own window of the outside environment and their perception evolves when they get older.

YOU CAN ALSO CHECK: Senior chihuahua care tips

How to Help Your Chihuahua Be Less Clingy

If you have a clingy chihuahua and you want him to gain self-confidence and to be independent. Here are several ways to reduce a chihuahua’s clinginess. But, remember the keys here are creating an environment of security, teaching your puppy that being independent is a good thing, and helping the puppy to gain self-confidence.

Stimulate our chihuahua’s mind:

When your dog gets bored because of the lack of activities, he will become clingy.  The solution here is to bring your chihuahua toys that will react to him and stimulate their intelligent interaction.

These toys are needed in two cases. Firstly, when the owner is at home but he has something to do and can’t focus on his chihuahua. Secondly, when he is not at home. The chihuahua will learn that playing with these toys brings more fun and joy. As a consequence, he will learn to become more independent.

In addition, there is another type of these smart toy, which is a treat-dispensing toy. The concept of this type of toy is that they release small treats slowly, to keep the dog occupied for a period of time. They are a very good choice for chihuahuas who were used to being hand-fed by their owners.

dog playing with his toy

Create a chihuahua’s special space

You can build a chihuahua’s space with his favorite bed and toys. The chihuahua must learn to go there instead of following you around the house. So in order to help your chihuahua to go to his private space so often to be independent, reward him with a treat when he goes there.

We advise you also to set up a ‘den’ for your chihuahua, where he can feel safe. 

In addition to being independent, there other advantages of creating a den for your chihuahua. For example, it’s a very effective way to reduce bad chewing and keep the dog safe.

dog sitting inside his den

Increase exercises :

When a chihuahua is having enough exercise, he will never follow his owner around the house. Exercise is appropriate for your dog’s age and health history. 

Support exploration:

A dog, in general, must explore the world outside his house, to have more experiences while interacting with different elements outside. It will help him to gain self-confidence and as a consequence, it will reduce clingy behavior.

In addition, the more a dog is exposed to the world outside his safe zone, the less fearful he will become especially with positive experiences.

For this reason, you have to take your chihuahua to different places such as different dog parks, restaurants, beaches, and pet stores.

Control your non-verbal cues

Your chihuahua will connect some of your movements with their results. For example, when you grab keys, it means that you will go outside, and when you get home and rush over to your Chihuahua, etc.

Additionally, your dog will know everything about you including your emotions, the tone in which you speak to him.

So try to keep things calm and create a relaxed atmosphere to teach your chihuahua to accept things as they are.

Control your reactions to excessively clinginess

It is crucial to building a great bond with your chihuahua, to spend time teaching your dog, grooming, playing, etc. Having a dog means having a great loving lifelong companion.

However, your dog must know that you have other activities in life, and being attached to you all day is not appropriate. Because During the day you will have other things to focus on such as cooking, reading, etc.

Never hug your chihuahua when he is clinging to your leg because this way you are teaching him that being clingy brings hugs. So, instead don’t be aggressive try to redirect his attention gently towards something else.

How to Help Clingy Senior chihuahua?

To help your senior chihuahua who has vision problems, you can add some nightlights in dark areas, The order of your home and furniture should be the same. Because the dog will use his other senses to learn his way around the house and when you change the general setup, the dog will be in disorder and may need time to adapt.

last word

if you have tried the above strategies but there is no result or no progress, consult either your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist for further guidance.


Behavior and Temperament of chihuahua

When a chihuahua won’t listen

When a chihuahua Won’t Eat

How to stop a Chihuahua from begging


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