Is your Chihuahua hyperactive? Don’t worry, there are ways to calm him or her down! Here are five easy ways to calm down your active Chi:
Overview of the Chihuahua Breed
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Chihuahuas are on the higher end of the playfulness and energy level scales. While this can be fun, it also presents the challenge of keeping your Chi entertained, which humans parents will tell you is comparable to entertaining a human toddler sometimes.
Their playfulness and energy are at their peak when Chis are puppies, and it may maintain through young adulthood. After they reach the age of five or six, most Chihuahuas will begin to calm down.
Although the Chihuahua breed is known for landing on the lower end of the doggy energy scale as their age increases, there are always individuals who are exceptions.
You may notice a change in your Chihuahua’s playfulness level or overall energy due to changes in their health, routine, or diet. Further, dogs can get excited about things just like we do and have little extra bursts of energy on occasion.
Reasons Why A Chihuahua May Become Stressed Or Anxious
Everyone reacts to stress or anxiety differently. Sometimes when a dog is anxious or stressed, they may exhibit behaviors that are not ideal, such as destructive behaviors or hyperactive behavior. The most common reasons a Chihuahua may be stressed are:
- A major life change such as moving to a different residence.
- A significant change in their routine.
- Being adopted by a different or new family.
- Being dropped off at an animal shelter.
- Switching between foster homes in a rescue.
- A health condition that causes discomfort or pain.
- A new member joining the family such as a new significant other, a human baby, or another animal.
Five Easy Ways to Calm a Chihuahua Down
Next time you need to calm your Chihuahua down, try some of these strategies:
1. Create a calming atmosphere
It is much easier to relax when your environment is calming. Give your Chi the opportunity to come down a few levels by giving them a quiet place to be.
Dim the lights, play classical music or a TV show that your family often watches on a low volume (or no extra sounds at all), and offer a calming experience by rubbing a blanket on your Chi’s favorite person and warming it in the dryer, giving them a warm, soft place to lay with a scent that is calming to him or her.
2. Provide structure
Dogs, similar to human toddlers, thrive on a structured routine. Create a schedule that you can follow reasonably closely on a daily basis. Include an exercise routine such as a daily walk and playtime, feeding meals around the same time every day, waking up and going to bed around the same time every day, etc.
3. Offer comfort items
Similarly to how human children, and sometimes adults, find certain items comforting, dogs can also have comfort items such as:
- A favorite bed.
- A favorite toy.
- A favorite blanket or pillow.
- A shirt worn (not washed) by their favorite human.
- A favorite scent that he or she finds soothing.
4. Provide mental stimulation
No one likes sitting around the house all day! Any dog who does not receive mental stimulation will be hyperactive because they are bored. To help your dog receive the mental stimulation they need:
- Offer interactive toys such as puzzle toys. You can find them at pet stores, Chewy, Amazon, or make them yourself.
- Rotate their toys out; keep toys in a box in a closet where your Chi cannot find them. Rotate them on a weekly or biweekly basis.
- Work on obedience training and teach your Chi tricks. The American Kennel Club (AKC) Trick Dog title is a fun idea to work towards, and the AKC has complimentary training videos to help you train your dog tricks available here.
Whenever you work on training with your Chi, use positive reinforcement methods such as
rewarding good behavior with verbal praise, petting and treats.
5. Offer reassurance
Chihuahuas are very connected to their humans, and as such, can feed off their energy. If your Chihuahua is behaving in a hyperactive manner, it could be that he or she is feeding off a vibe you are putting off. To help your Chi calm down:
- Pet and cuddle your Chi in a calming manner. Use moderate pressure to help him or her focus on you. Avoid using heavy pressure that could be painful or uncomfortable.
- Talk in a soothing voice. Do not yell, scream, or raise your voice above a firm, confident voice. Yelling or screaming can actually worsen a dog’s anxiety.
- Offer a favorite chew toy, as chewing can be a good way to channel energy. Avoid offering a snack until your Chi does a good behavior that you want to reward.
Chihuahuas vary in their energy levels; some are higher energy while others are lower energy. A Chihuahua’s age and health are the biggest factors in what their energy level will be. The best way to help your Chi have an ideal energy level consistently is to provide structure to their days, as well as exercise and mental stimulation daily.