Is your Chihuahua following you like an obsessed stalker? You’re not alone. Why are Chihuahuas so needy and clingy?
A lot of Chi owners wonder…
Here you’ll find out the real answer. You’ll learn:
- 13 common reasons why Chihuahuas are needy and clingy.
- 9 tips if you want to stop clingy behavior (make sure to check out #5).
- Little known Chihuahua facts that will make it a lot easier to understand your furry friend.
Why are Chihuahuas so needy?
Chihuahuas could be needy and clingy for a variety of reasons. You could be enforcing your Chihuahua’s clingy behavior. Or it could be due to an unaddressed medical condition, life-changing circumstances, age, a past trauma, or simply due to the breed’s characteristics.
13 reasons why Chihuahuas are so needy and clingy
#1: Animal instinct and pack mentality
Have you seen a documentary about how a pack of wolves operates?
They stick together while hunting, eating, and sleeping. Packs sleep together with the bodies of the members sometimes touching each other for warmth purposes.
And dogs are descendants of wolves.
But what happens with domesticated dogs?
Although your Chihuahua doesn’t have to think of finding their own food or shelter, they still have that pack instinct inside of them.
That’s what makes your Chihuahua want to lie down in bed with you, cuddle with you, and go out with you every time you’re leaving home.
After all, you’re their pack.
Fun fact: A study claims that pet owners are needier than people without pets. So it’s not only your Chihuahua who shows this behavior 🙂
#2: Chihuahuas are companion dogs
Whether you call them lap, toy, or companion dogs, it all comes down to the same thing. Chihuahuas and other dogs that belong to these groups were bred to be dependent.
#3: Chihuahuas are loyal
Consider yourself lucky to have a Chihuahua. Their dog instinct makes them your loyal companion and guardian.
Your Chihuahua follows you for your safety. They cuddle with you to show love and affection and to express their loyalty.
One of the reasons your Chihuahua wants to be around you is they can warn you if there’s something disturbing going on.
You’ll often find your Chi lying on their back, with their belly facing up, which is part of showing you trust.
#4: Chihuahuas are one-person dogs
While Chihuahuas could get along with each member of the family, they’re bound to have a favorite one.
This could be the person who provides entertainment for them such as fun games.
Or, it could be the one that takes them on walks and gives them food.
Ideally for your Chi, this will be one and the same owner. Thanks to whomever the dog will benefit from all good things.
That will make your Chi follow the provider of all wonderful things. The dog will also listen to them and want to be with them more than with any other person.
#5: Separation anxiety
The key to finding out whether your Chihuahua has separation anxiety or not is to pay attention to when they become clingy.
It’s advisable to take notes when that happens. Then, try rewinding the tape a bit and check if you can find out the cause for this behavior.
Maybe your Chihuahua has learned that immediately after drinking your cup of coffee and grabbing your keys, they’re gonna be left alone in the house.
Or, the anxiety could be triggered after hearing fireworks on certain occasions.
Whatever the precise reason, you can work with your Chihuahua to change the way they perceive certain events.
#6: Your Chihuahua is aging
Aging is related to reduced hearing and seeing. So, from your Chihuahua’s perspective, you could be their only way of knowing how to safely get around.
What this behavior could also mean is that your senior Chihuahua has an early stage of cognitive dysfunction.
Caution: If your Chihuahua starts bumping into objects around the house, take them to the vet immediately so they can be diagnosed.
#7: A change in your Chihuahua’s routine
Just like humans, dogs benefit from having a routine. This helps them feel comfortable and secure because they know what to expect.
But what happens when it’s time to change something?
It could be your schedule, home, your partner.
Or you could also be dealing with the loss of a beloved family member…
Chances are your Chihuahua will be affected by such an event.
#8: Your Chihuahua is about to give birth
Do you have a pregnant Chihuahua?
If so, they could become overly-clingy just before they give birth. Take it as a compliment.
By acting in such a way, your Chihuahua is telling you they’re comfortable with you.
Giving birth can be very exhausting for a mother dog. Having you by her can reduce her stress during this time.
#9: Your Chihuahua has a medical issue
Has your Chihuahua always been like this? Or have they become clingy recently?
If it’s the second one, this could be an indication of a medical issue.
Chihuahuas deal differently than humans with feeling unwell. They could be feeling scared and confused.
Naturally, they will turn to you for comfort.
A possibility is that your Chihuahua is about to have a seizure.
#10: Your Chihuahua is in heat
When your Chihuahua is in heat, you might notice their personality change.
Chances are that during this period, your Chihuahua will either become more clingy and needy, or she’d act grumpy.
#11: Your Chihuahua is a rescue
How does clinginess relate to a Chihuahua being a rescue?
Well, you never know what a rescue has gone through but one’s for sure – something more or less unpleasant has happened. That’s what made them end up in the shelter in the first place.
For all you know, they could be traumatized due to abandonment.
So, even though your Chihuahua acted outgoing in the shelter, they might start acting clingy all of a sudden.
That’s their way of feeling more secure that their current home isn’t a temporary one.
Establishing trust with an adopted Chihuahua requires time. But once the bond begins to strengthen, the anxiety and stress levels of your Chihuahua will reduce.
#12: Velcro dog syndrome
Some Chihuahuas could be velcro dogs. But how can you tell if this is the case with yours?
If your Chihuahua is constantly following you around and never wants to be away from your side, it’s likely they’re a velcro dog. Especially if your Chihuahua is keeping an eye on you at all times.
The tricky part though is that it’s very easy to mistake a Chihuahua that is a velcro dog with one who has separation anxiety. So, how do you distinguish them?
Here’s the difference: velcro Chihuahuas want to be with their owner when the owner’s around. Chihuahuas with separation anxiety, on the other hand, panic when they’re left alone.
How will you be able to tell precisely?
Velcro Chihuahuas will stick like glue to you whenever you two are in the same environment. They could not have any issues while you’re away though.
A Chihuahua with separation anxiety can do damage to your home and themselves while you’re absent.
It’s possible that your Chihuahua is a velcro dog with separation anxiety. In other words – one does not exclude the other.
The dangers of your Chihuahua being a velcro dog are that your Chi isn’t confident enough. So, when around another pet or person, they might feel uncomfortable.
#13: Your Chihuahua sees you as their biggest source of entertainment
Yes, it’s possible that your Chihuahua is bored and relies on you to entertain them.
Maybe they’re bored and are following you around because they want something to do. They could also be excited due to the possibility of receiving some snacks from you.
9 tips to help your Chihuahua overcome clingy behavior
If you notice that your Chihuahua is becoming overly-clingy/needy and you want to do something about it, here are some tips you can follow:
#1: Help your Chihuahua feel independent
The fact of the matter is that if your Chihuahua has something constructive to do, they’re not likely to bother you all of the time.
What you should do in this case is to give them an enjoyable activity that occupies them.
You can do this at home and out in the open.
Start with small steps…
When you two are at home, make sure your Chihuahua has a favorite chew toy nearby at all times. When they’re nibbling on it, try to move around the room.
Move on to a bigger challenge by introducing your Chihuahua to other people. This will help your Chi not panic when you’re not around.
As to you, you’ll be able to go to events and at places where dogs are not allowed when you have to. And without worrying crazy about how your Chi feels in the meantime.
While you’re in another city or abroad, you can ask a tested person to spend time with and take care of your Chihuahua.
So, now that you’re sold on the idea, let’s see how to realize it:
First, invite a human friend over.
When they come to visit, ask them to give treats to your Chihuahua. What your Chihuahua understands is that having other humans at home means receiving treats.
While the other person is giving your Chis snacks, use the time to go out of the room. Do this for several minutes in the beginning. Two to three should do it.
After your Chi slowly gets used to it, increase the time you’re out of the room while they interact with the guest.
When you’re outside, pick a safe place for yourself and for your Chihuahua. Take your Chihuahua’s comfort blanket and spread it on a meadow. Then you can sit on it and give your Chi some dog toys.
It’s better to first start with toys that your Chihuahua isn’t super interested in. Then, gradually build-up to the toys they’re crazy about.
What you shouldn’t forget is to act calm and relaxed. You might be in a new environment but try to act as if you were at home.
At some point, your Chihuahua will notice something interesting and move away from the blanket to explore.
During this time don’t act excited or react in any way. Just let them do their thing as if it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
While you’re out in the park, a child or another dog might take interest in your Chihuahua. If they start following your dog to the blanket, prevent them from going on it.
The blanket should act as a safe space for your Chi. They should be able to go on it whenever they feel threatened, insecure, or just need to retreat and chill.
#2: Don’t make leaving or coming home a big deal
If your Chihuahua receives petting and kisses every time you go away from the house, you draw their attention to what’s about to happen next.
That way they begin expecting that after receiving affection they’ll be left home alone.
Practice leaving the house for 5 minutes on end without ‘saying goodbye’ to your Chihuahua. Do this for several days in a row and see what happens.
As your Chihuahua starts getting used to it, slowly increase the amount of time you’re away.
The goal is a calm Chihuahua who doesn’t feel like being with you out of fear you’re gonna go away. This strategy can also help your Chihuahua chill while you’re gone instead of barking and disturbing the neighbors.
#3: Do not reward clingy behavior
According to PetMD ‘Clinginess is often a learned behavior’.
Consider that may be part of why your Chihuahua is acting clingy is because you unconsciously reward them for it.
To ensure this is no longer a factor, you can act ‘boring’ around them. To do this you need to stop petting your Chi on-demand and touch them every time they come to you.
Sure – show them affection and spend quality time together. But when it’s time to do some chores, don’t get distracted by your attention-demanding Chi.
Also, avoid giving them snacks when they haven’t worked for it.
Better yet, not look at them, touch them, or talk to them.
Eventually, your Chihuahua should get the point and go do something on their own, be it nibbling on a toy or relaxing on the couch. This is healthy.
#4: Spread your Chihuahua’s toys around the house
Pick some of your Chihuahua’s favorite toys and put them around the house. Regardless of how much your Chihuahua is used to sticking with you, they’re bound to look for a toy to nibble on at some point.
In order to find that one, they’ll need to get away from you for a while.
#5: Don’t let your Chihuahua sleep with you
Oh-oh, what if you and your Chihuahua are already used to sleeping in the same bed?
You’ll have to train them otherwise. For their own good.
Get your Chihuahua a dog bed and condition them to sleep in it. You can give them a snack every time they lie down in their own bed. That way you’ll create positive associations with this action.
Careful to not overfeed them though.
#6: Take your Chihuahua to Doggy Daycare
You might be having doubts about this. Especially if your Chi twists her head in your direction while the caregiver is taking them away.
Time spent with other humans and dogs there can be just what your Chihuahua needs. It’s better than having your Chi alone at home, waiting for you to come back from work.
Doggy Daycare can provide additional mental and physical stimulation to your Chihuahua.
#7: Let your Chihuahua have their own space
This could either be a crate or a dedicated corner in the house which is your Chihuahua’s safe haven so to say. They can go there anytime they want to rest on their own.
Make sure they’re undisturbed while being there.
Put a comfort blanket that has your scent. Add some home clothes of yours for the same purpose.
The goal is that this place reminds your Chihuahua of you and makes them feel secure both when you are or aren’t at home.
#8: Increase your Chihuahua’s social interactions with other dogs and people
It’s an amazing experience to bond with your Chihuahua. It’s also important.
What you shouldn’t forget in the process though is to let your Chihuahua socialize with other dogs and humans.
That can help not only in the sense of them becoming more independent but also make them react positively to others.
#9: Provide your Chihuahua with enough mental and physical stimulation
This is more important than you might give it credit to be.
You can do it by playing familiar and favorite games with your Chihuahua. Or, what’s even better, you can start teaching them new tricks.
Whichever of the two options you choose, involving your Chihuahua in such activities will help build their confidence.
BONUS tip: Give your Chihuahua a Stuffed Kong
A great thing about providing your Chihuahua with a Stuffed Kong is that you can decide and prepare what to put inside by yourself. And who knows your Chihuahua better than you?
You can do this not only when you go to work or are absent for a longer period of time, but also when you’re at home.
One huge pro of a Stuffed Kong is that it makes your Chihuahua work for treats. And they do need to put in quite some effort before they manage to get the treats out.
Other pros include: being dishwasher safe, non-toxic, and indestructible.
Putting frozen peanut butter inside is also an option that dogs love.