It should come as no surprise to anyone that chihuahuas are prone to anxiety. After all, they are usually smaller than everyone around them!
It is easy to see how such a small dog could feel defenseless. If you have an anxious chihuahua, the good news is that there are many things you can do to help your dog live a calmer life.
1. The first step to helping an anxious chihuahua is recognizing that the dog is anxious.
A lot of people do not realize that anxiety in dogs can manifest as behavioral issues. When an anxious chihuahua chews things up, has accidents in the house, is abnormally noisy, or acts aggressive, owners often retaliate by punishing or reprimanding the dog.
This often has the opposite of the intended effect. Not only does the punishment make the dog more anxious, but it also does nothing to remove the source of the anxiety. The behavioral problems will likely continue.
Try to treat your dog with kindness rather than frustration.
2. If your chihuahua displays any of the common signs of anxiety, your next step should be to determine the cause.
Separation anxiety is extremely common in chihuahuas as well as in other dog breeds.
Another common source of anxiety is having lots of strangers in the house. This can include humans or other animals.
Yet another common cause of anxiety in chihuahuas is loud noises.
Whatever the cause is, your job is to get to the root of it. Only then can you begin to remove stressful situations from your dog’s life.
3. If you have determined that your chihuahua has separation anxiety, do not fret. There are ways to work through this and help your dog.
The best method is to leave your dog alone in the house for short periods of time and then build from there. First, leave the house for only a few minutes at a time.
In the very beginning, you may want to stay where your dog can see you through a window. Then come back in.
Gradually increase the duration of your trips outside. Eventually, your chi should start to understand that you will always return home.
Even though this method is pretty effective for reducing separation anxiety, many dogs will still have issues with their owners leaving for long periods of time.
For example, if you are gone for a week-long vacation, you may return to find that your dog has reverted to many of her former habits.
One way to prevent this is to have someone your dog knows very well take care of her during the time you are gone. The dog will feel more comfortable with a familiar person and might be less anxious.
4. If your dog is afraid of strangers, the most important thing to do is to make sure she has plenty of space to herself.
Chihuahuas can feel threatened if there is a crowd around them. They are aware that everyone else in the room is bigger than themselves.
Any animal can get aggressive when cornered, and chihuahuas are no exception. Chihuahuas might also experience getting bumped or blocked because people or bigger dogs don’t see them.
It is a good idea to make sure that your dog has a crate or another safe space that she can retreat to as needed. Let guests know that your dog does not like to be approached.
If other pets are visiting, consider blocking off a room for your chihuahua. Do not let the other animals into this room. Make sure that your chihuahua has a comfortable space to lie down as well as water and toys. This will help your dog feel more at ease.
6. If loud noises frighten your chihuahua, do your best to provide a quiet environment. Obviously, you cannot always control noises.
For example, thunderstorms and sirens can scare some dogs. However, you can take care not to make loud noises around your dog.
Don’t play loud music. When using noisy appliances, such as vacuums and blenders, put your dog in a separate room and give her a familiar toy. Check on her after you are done making noise and give her positive attention to reassure her.
Consider purchasing an anxiety vest, as chihuahuas often have good results from them. Anxiety vests are vests that gently squeeze the dog. They can make your chihuahua feel more secure.
7. Many chihuahuas are anxious when traveling. If you are driving somewhere, try to get someone to travel with you.
That way, one person can hold and soothe the dog while the other person drives. If this is not possible, make sure to put a toy in the crate with your dog and bring treats.
Do not scold your pet for having an accident in the car. This will just make your chihuahua more anxious.
Instead, if you know that your dog is prone to having accidents when she is nervous, be prepared. Put down towels or newspapers in the bottom of her crate.
To turn car rides into a positive experience, take your dog to places she likes. For example, check out some dog parks. Or stop by Starbucks for a Puppuccino.
Many dogs associate car rides with the vet, and few dogs like going to the vet.
Getting your dog used to car rides and associating them with fun destinations will help reduce the dog’s anxiety over time.
Hopefully some of these tips are helpful in reducing your chihuahua’s anxiety. No one technique works for every chihuahua. It is important not to get discouraged.
If you feel like you have tried everything to no avail, discuss the problem with your vet. Sometimes, there are underlying health issues that can cause a chihuahua to feel anxious. In any case, getting to the root of the anxiety is the key to solving it.