Chihuahuas are a fun and loyal breed of dog. However, they can also be a needy and clingy breed.
Like most small dog breeds, they can be more anxious than larger dogs. They are often exceptionally sensitive to sounds, new people, and isolation.
Why are Chihuahuas so needy
There are a variety of reasons why Chihuahuas can be so needy and clingy. You could be the reason behind your Chihuahua’s clingy behavior. It could also due to a medical condition, new environment, or a traumatic past.
To help you understand your beloved Chihuahua better, we’ve compiled a list of ten reasons why your Chihuahua is being so needy and clingy.
- Chihuahuas are pack animals
- Anxious Chihuahua
- Chihuahua getting older
- Traumatized Chihuahua
- You’re your Chihuahua’s person
- Separation anxiety
- You’ve moved to a new home
- New family member
- Lack of mental stimulation
- Medical condition
1. Chihuahuas are pack animals
All dogs are descendants of wolves, which are pack animals. Although we often use the phrase “lone wolf” to describe a fiercely independent person, wolves are actually social animals that rely heavily on their pack. They hunt, eat, and sleep together.
Your dog is descended from wolves. Both wild and domesticated dogs are pack animals, which means they’re hardwired to live in community.
Chihuahuas are no different. They view you as their pack, which means your Chi will follow you around the house. When you sleep, he’ll sleep with you. When you leave the house, he’ll want to go along.
Chihuahuas are dependent on social interaction. To some extent, their neediness is just a part of who they are.
Check this out: 10 Reasons why Chihuahuas sleep so much
2. Your Chihuahua is experiencing situational anxiety
Chihuahuas are prone to anxiety. Sometimes situations can make them especially anxious, which can lead to needy behaviors. If your Chi is barking more than usual, shaking, or showing other signs of anxiety, you should take action to help alleviate those concerns.
If your dog is acting needier than usual, take note of what happens before and after the needy behaviors. Is there a loud sound (like fireworks) triggering their neediness? Or perhaps they’ve been left alone longer than usual.
While your Chihuahua is likely to be needy due to his nature, increased clinginess may be a sign of anxiety. If your dog’s anxiety persists, talk to his vet to find out the best course of action. In extreme cases, your dog may need medication to help him cope with anxiety.
3. Your dog is getting older
When dogs age, they often have lowered ability to see and hear things around them. Your Chihuahua may rely on you more as they age, especially if he can’t navigate your home on his own.
Chihuahuas may also experience dog dementia, which causes them to have decreased short-term memory. This means your dog may exhibit more needy behaviors. It may also prevent him from remembering his last meal or when he last saw you.
If this is the case, your dog’s neediness is just an indication of the increased care he needs as he ages. Be patient with your aging dog, even if his increased neediness is disruptive.
As always, talk to your dog’s veterinarian to find out if there’s anything you can do to ease your dog’s frustration during this time of his life.
4. Your rescue Chihuahua had a traumatic past
Unfortunately, you never really know for sure what happened to your rescue dog before they entered your home. In some cases, they were abandoned because of changing lifestyles or other fairly benign reasons. In other cases, though, your Chihuahua could have been subjected to abuse or neglect.
Once your rescue Chihuahua is comfortable with you, she may be clingy because of her previous experience. She could be traumatized by abuse, neglect, or former abandonment. Even if she exhibited outgoing behaviors in the shelter, she might act clingy out of insecurity about her living situation.
It takes time to help your rescue dog recover from her past hurts. As your bond strengthens, she will experience less anxiety and stress. As she learns that you’re here to stay, you might see decreased neediness.
5. You are your Chihuahua’s person
Chihuahuas are known for being loyal to one person above all others. When your Chihuahua bonds with you, he’s unlikely to want to be around other people. Even if he tolerates other people, you’re the person he wants to spend his time with.
This can be a lot of responsibility and pressure, especially if you have a busy schedule or work outside the home. Their attachment to you may feel like neediness, especially when you need others to step in to fill their needs.
If you live alone, you may feel your Chi’s neediness even more intensely, since you’re the only one caring for his needs.
6. Your Chihuahua has separation anxiety
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your Chihuahua has separation anxiety, since she’s likely to experience this anxiety when you’re away. However, the following are a few signs that your Chihuahua has separation anxiety:
- She’s peeing or pooping around the house.
- You hear barking and howling when you leave.
- She’s chewing, digging, or otherwise destroying things in your home.
- She’s finding ways to escape.
- She shows anxious behaviors like whining or trembling when you’re preparing to leave.
If your Chihuahua has separation anxiety, try not to leave her alone for extended periods of time. You can desensitize your Chihuahua by gradually leaving her alone for longer periods at a time. However, some dogs may require anxiety medication to help them cope with severe separation anxiety.
7. You’ve recently moved to a new home
Chihuahuas are sensitive to any changes in their routine or environment. If you’ve recently moved to a new house, it may take a lot of time for your Chihuahua to adjust. As your Chihuahua adjusts to this change, he may be needier than usual.
You can help your Chihuahua adjust to his new surroundings in a few ways:
- Stick to your old routines when possible to establish a sense of normalcy.
- Prepare your dog’s living space as soon as possible, so he can settle in.
- Give him extra attention and make sure he gets enough exercise.
- Stay home as much as possible the first few days in a new home.
It’s important to be patient with your dog, since he may be needier while adjusting to a new home. Most of his extra neediness should dissipate once he’s settled into his new home. If his anxiety and clinginess don’t ease up after a few weeks, talk to your dog’s vet to determine your next steps.
8. There’s a new family member in the home
Chihuahuas may also struggle if you bring a new family member into your home. This can be a new pet, a baby, or a new roommate. When this happens, your Chihuahua may show signs of increased neediness.
New babies can be especially difficult for your Chihuahua. Not only will he be getting less attention from you, but the baby’s loud cries may also alarm him. Even adult additions to the family can disrupt their schedule and cause increased neediness.
If your family is growing, make sure to have a plan in place to help ease your Chihuahua through the transition. He will need lots of affirmation in those early days, so it’s important to keep giving him all the attention he needs.
9. They aren’t getting enough mental stimulation
Mental exercise is extremely important for Chihuahuas. Your dog needs mental stimulation every day to help burn off extra energy. Since Chihuahuas are such intelligent dogs, this stimulation is just as important for them as physical exercise.
Make sure your Chihuahua has plenty of toys and activities throughout the day. If he’s bored, he may turn to you for attention and entertainment. The following are a few ideas to keep your Chihuahua mentally stimulated:
- Give him puzzle toys, such as treat dispensing toys like a Kong.
- Invest in his training by teaching him a new trick or enforcing previous training.
- Serve his meals on a snuffle mat, so he’ll have to forage for his food.
- Play interactive games with him every single day.
Some of your dog’s mental stimulation will have to come from socialization with you or another family member. However, there are plenty of stimulating activities for your Chihuahua to enjoy when you can’t be around. Make sure he has enough toys to stay entertained, especially if he’s alone for large portions of the day.
10. There’s a problem with your Chihuahua’s health
Your Chihuahua may exhibit increased needy behaviors if she’s facing a health problem. She knows she can rely on you for help and protection, so she’s likely to seek you out when facing health problems. Your dog may be experiencing health problems if:
- She is vomiting or has diarrhea.
- She’s gagging, sneezing, or coughing.
- She isn’t eating.
- She’s either struggling to urinate or urinating excessively.
- She has a runny nose or runny eyes.
Dogs may sometimes conceal signs of illness, so it’s important to watch out for any signs in your Chihuahua’s behavior. If the neediness is new or recently increased, stay vigilant to any other signs of illness. When in doubt, call your dog’s veterinarian for a consultation. It’s better to be safe than sorry!