Why are chihuahuas so scared?
Chihuahua dogs are one of the most popular dog breeds.
Sadly, they also happen to be one of the most timid and fearful dog breeds as well. Why is this?
There are a few different reasons why your chihuahua may be afraid.
It could be because they have been abused in the past or had a phobia. Or, it could simply just come from their genes – all we know for sure is that there’s no need to worry about it!
In this blog post, we will explore some reasons why many chihuahuas end up being so scared. This way, it will help you understand what you can do to help them feel more comfortable around people again.
Why Are Chihuahuas So Scared? Top 4 Reasons
1) Lack Of Socialization
One reason why chihuahuas are so scared is due to a lack of positive exposure to new people, animals and environments during their early, formative years.
When chihuahuas don’t get enough exposure to new things during these early stages of their lives, they may end up being scared or intimidated by them later in life.
It would help if you can bring you Chi to a dog park to meet other new dog, or if he is a timid dog, introducing to a playmate will encourage him not to be scared but become sociable. It would help if you ensure his safety by putting him on a leash. The size of Azuza Puppy Harness is perfect for your little Chi!
Chihuahuas that can go along well with other dogs do not stay fearful.
Your Chi May Have Developed A Fear-Biting Cycle
This lack of socialization can also lead to a fear-biting cycle where your chihuahua will be scared. The tendency is, they act aggressively towards people when they feel threatened.
A chihuahua puppy goes through an important developmental stage when they are about 8-16 weeks old.
This is when they are most receptive to learning new things and developing a social personality that could last a lifetime.
They need to be socialized with other dogs, people, and children so that they can grow up confident and happy.
If you don’t take care of this important developmental stage, your chihuahua will grow up shy or aggressive.
Also read: Do Chihuahuas Get Along with Other Dogs
2) Genetic Predispositions
Chihuahuas are known for their small size, big personality and love of human attention.
However, some nervous chihuahuas might have a genetic predisposition to fearful behavior or shyness.
Genes can play a role but you can overcome this with training.
Genetics are not always the only cause of your dog’s shyness, but they could be an underlying factor.
There are evidence that suggests that chihuahua puppies born to anxious mothers are more likely to be fearful as well.
Although there is no definitive way to know if your chihuahua is genetically predisposed to be scared, bear in mind that nurturing and training your chihuahua from a young age can help to overcome this.
Your veterinarian can suggest giving your Chihuahua a dog training that can prepare him conquer fear. With your daily guidance, your little guy will not develop this anxious dog behavior.
If you are looking for a program that can reduce FAS (fear, anxiety and stress) of your Chi, we recommend From Fearful to Fear Free . This book is sought-after by many veterinary healthcare professionals and dog parents.
3) Traumatic Experiences
A few years ago, my friend has a chihuahua who was hurt by another dog.
After that, his chi didn’t trust any other dogs. He would bark and growl whenever he saw other dogs, no matter big or small.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to develop fear, anxiety and other behavioral problems after a single traumatic experience.
If your chihuahua has been traumatized in the past, like by loud noises or strangers for example, you can help them overcome their fear with counter-conditioning and desensitization training.
You start by associating whatever he’s afraid of with something positive like treats or petting then gradually move on up until your chihuahua learns how not to be scared anymore!
It may take some time but it will be worth it when your precious pup gets used to being around what they were once so frightened about without any reaction whatsoever.
A dog trainer is necessary if your plan is not becoming successful after months of trying.
If chihuahua dog seems to be very fearful and hesitant when being touched, it might not just be a case of your chi’s fear.
Perhaps there is an undiagnosed medical issue such as arthritis at play here that needs attention from you as soon as possible.
When you see that your chi is withdrawn and not responding to her name, it might be time for you to go see the vet.
If you are trying to pet the chihuahua and it is shaking, this might be an indication that there is some pain or discomfort happening.
If your dog’s behavior is becoming weird than usual, you should not delay seeing your vet to rule out any disease.
The signs your dog is in pain should be addressed with urgency.
Is It Normal For Chihuahuas To Be So Scared?
Every chihuahua has its own personality.
Some are more fearful than others, so what’s normal for one Chihuahua may not be normal for another. Chihuahuas are generally small and feisty dogs, so if yours is easily scared you might wonder why.
Size Does Matters (small size I mean)
While it’s true that a lot of sources say chihuahuas have no clue about their size, this statement is not entirely accurate.
Chihuahuas know that they are different than other dogs and people.
They may not know the size they are in comparison to other dogs, but they always take note of how much bigger everyone else is.
If your chi has a timid personality, the fact that they are smaller in size might make them even more scared when around other dogs or people.
To answer the question, it is normal for chihuahuas to be scared due to many reasons as mentioned above. However, if you find your chi exhibiting fearful behaviors that are out of the norm, it is advisable to seek a vet’s opinion on it.
Signs That Your Chihuahua Is Scared
- Always shaking, even in your arms
- Frequently hides in corners or other small spaces during periods of anxiety.
- Cowers and ducks away from touching hand (the only contact they will allow).
- Hides behind owner’s legs or where there is a feeling of safety that they can take up all the space for themselves in this small world to avoid being jumped on, having their tail pulled, etc.
- Looking in the opposite direction when a trigger comes around
- Standing rigidly upright and tucking their tail between their legs
- Crouching or ducking behind objects in order to make themselves smaller and less noticeable (i.e., trying to fit into another object’s shadow)
- Ears pinned back against her head rather than perking up as she would for something
How Do You Calm Down A Scared Chihuahua?
Step 1. Make Sure The Situation Is Safe
Chihuahuas are scared of everything!
Always make sure you have hold of the dog first. That it’s in a place where it won’t feel vulnerable or unsafe when you’re working with them.
This usually means starting outside away from other animals, pets, children, people- everyone who might scare or overwhelm your little one.
Step 2. Make Eye Contact
By looking into their eyes, a Chihuahua will be calmed and soothed by your attention. This is true no matter how restless or upset they may seem to be at first glance.
Usually, the pet parent or only the dog owner can easily calm down a fearful Chihuahua. A simple eye-contact can reassure them.
Step 3. Keep Talking Calmly
Calmly explaining what you are doing and continuing to talk in a soothing manner will help maintain some semblance of control and order.
Step 4. Avoid Sudden Movements Or Loud Sounds
A scared Chihuahua is very sensitive to both loud noises and quick, unexpected movements. It is because they make them feel threatened and anxious.
To help your chi, try to keep your movements and voice gentle. A scared dog gets more anxious when he sees movements that resembles as panic to them.
If your Chi has a noise phobia, you should give him a medication.
Important Things To Note Before Helping Your Scared Chihuahua
Before you start, here are some of the most important things to take note when helping your scared chihuahua:
1) Some Dogs Just Can’t Overcome Their Fears
Fear can last a lifetime. Just as humans are capable of overcoming their fears, so too is it possible for dogs to overcome theirs. But not every dog is able to do this in the same way or at the same rate. This is because they’re all individuals and react differently when faced with obstacles.
Some may be more resilient than others. While some might take longer due to circumstances beyond his control (whether he’s been abused by another person).
Some dogs simply cannot overcome a certain fear. Those fears may have stemmed up from past abuse or other severe circumstances like neglectful parents/caretakers.
While these animals may never get over it completely, there’s still plenty that you can do as an owner to help your chi learn to overcome his fear.
A Chihuahua breed is a smart dog breed so you’ll only need to have a strong motivation and patience to get them do away with it.
2) Prioritize And Start With The Low Hanging Fruits
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to helping your Chihuahua overcome its fears, is that there’s no need for taking on too many fears at once.
If you find that your pup has trouble with a lot of different triggers in one setting, take them through each trigger separately and then put them back together again so they can get used to being around their fear without feeling overwhelmed by it.
Start with the low hanging fruits (easy ones)
Triggers that are more common are easier to deal with.
For instance, if your Chihuahua is afraid of other dogs barking at them from across the street, it’s not a huge challenge for you to simply walk over and make contact with the other dogs.
This way your chihuahua can get used to being near other dogs without feeling threatened by it and at the same time also getting some socialization.
3) “Be Sure That Everyone In The Household Is On Board.”
I said to my husband, “When one fear is chosen to be conquered and you’ll be slowly allowing your Chihuahua to become accustomed to it, all of the training will go out of the window if another family member isn’t following along with this plan as well.
For example, if your chihuahua is afraid of thunderstorms and you are helping him get over his fear by exposing him to them at home but another person in the family leaves open windows during a storm or pets the dog when he’s shaking after hearing loud noises outside, then all of this hard work will be undone.”
How To Help Your Chihuahua That Is Scared Of Everything
Now that you’ve narrowed down what your Chihuahua is afraid of (even if that list seems long and contains just about everything), you realize that some things may be better left alone, and you’ve decided what to work on, the following tips can help.
1) Narrow Down What Your Chihuahua Is Scared Of
The first step to helping your chi overcome its fears is to identify what bothers it. Spend time with your chihuahua and observe which things make him or her uncomfortable.
This list may seem long but it is important that you record all the things that are making your dog scared such as:
– Other animals, especially cats or other dogs
– Loud noises (besides thunder)
– Touching/Petting him or her from behind
– The sound of vacuum cleaners, fireworks and sirens
2) Let Your Chi Confront His Fears In A Safe Environment
Always start by letting your chihuahua confront his fears in a safe environment.
The goal should be to allow your chi to step out of its comfort zone and gradually get used to being around the object or situation that scares it.
It is important to start small and tackle the easy fears first to let your chi get comfortable with these small fears first before progressing to bigger ones.
This may sound like a lot of work but after time and patience, he will grow more confident and bolder.
3) Reward Your Chi Generously
As with any types of training, the goal is to have your dog associate his changed behavior with “goodness,” which means rewarding your dog generously.
This way, the next time he is around any objects or situations that scares him, he will be more confident and bold for a longer period of time because his brain has been wired to associate good things with it.
To reward your chi generously you can not only use treats as rewards everytime they do something right, but also give plenty of praises, pats and hugs to your chi.
During playtime with your Chi, acknowledge him when he follows your command words and give him an extra-special treat!
4) Consistency Is Key
Help your chi overcome its fears by working with it every day.
For the optimal results, three times a week should do the trick.
Make sure to start the training sessions on a positive note, with your dog feeling comfortable. Make it a habit to work in this way every day for at least two weeks and you will notice that your chihuahua is less scared of things around him or her.
5) Begin With Short Training Sessions
You don’t want to add unnecessary stress to your chihuahua during this training.
For a start, we recommend to focus on just 5 minutes of training or conditioning .
Once you see improvement from your chi, the next step is to increase the duration of each training session from five minutes, gradually increasing it up to 15-20 minutes.
Make sure you continue with these sessions until your dog gets used to them and starts responding positively.
6) Don’t Be Discouraged (It’s Perfectly Normal!)
Once you see your chihuahua has successfully overcome a particular fear, you can repeat the process with a different fear.
Your dog may have many fears, and they need to learn how to overcome them all one by one.Don’t be discouraged if your dog manages to overcome one fear, but not another.
Good news is that this is perfectly normal!
Not all dogs are the same and it might take some more time for your chihuahua to learn how to deal with a particular situation or problem .
It is important that you stay positive during this process even if things seem difficult at first! This will keep up your chi’s spirits and make things easier for you.
It may take some time, but you can train your Chihuahua to be less scared and more confident.
Every dog is different and has their own personality traits which means every pup learns at a different pace.
Your duty as a pet parent is to understand your dog’s body language. There are times you have to learn to love and care for them not as an animal, but like a human.
There are instances where you have to give plenty of your time just so they can deal with their separation anxiety. Your dog’s fear can also be an indicator of what you lack or aren’t giving them.
I hope we’re able to enlighten you on why are Chihuahuas so scared.