All Chihuahuas have prominent personalities and are friendly, bold, timid, quirky, and even sassy. That’s why the breed is so lovable, but why is my dog so shy? Every Chihuahua is different, but sometimes a personality trait like timid goes too far. Chihuahuas that are overly timid can be hard to train, and they may lash out at family or friends and have obedience issues. If your Chihuahua is nervous, it can be hard to see. Chihuahuas are a very trainable breed, and they can come out of their shell with proper training.
How to Help a Shy Chihuahua
Shyness can be a learned behavior. When Chihuahuas are afraid, they act timid. Suppose your Chihuahua is only shy when out in public because of loud cars, bright lights, and a big crowd. It could be because they’re so small. If your Chihuahua is shy, he will likely be scared. Your puppy might fear other dogs or new people if it lacks socialization.
When our dogs are afraid, we like to comfort them, but snuggles and treats reinforce the fear response in the Chihuahua. They learn that the joys and hugs reinforce their shy and afraid response. Just like humans, some Chihuahuas are naturally shy. You can help them be more comfortable around others, but you can’t change their personality.
There may be a more significant issue here since shyness may signify something else. Your Chihuahua may be injured or sick and acting timid if this was a recent issue. After all, you know your dog best.
Your Chihuahua prefers your company, and this is perfectly normal. You may have a Velcro dog glued to you 24/7. You know this type of dog. You can’t go to the restroom alone. You don’t always have to train away shyness if your dog is happy and content. But if your Chihuahua is timid all day long, he may benefit from a bit of training to overcome his fears.
Description of a Shy Chihuahua
A shy dog is a scared dog. Always remember this. A nervous Chihuahua will behave like he is being threatened. Some physical displays of shyness are his ears lying flat against his head, avoiding eye contact, attempting to run away, panting, barking, snapping, or biting.
Chihuahuas can gain confidence. Their personality will not change, but training can be successful. The Chihuahua’s age, life experiences, and especially socialization can change a dog’s confidence level. Even the shyest Chihuahua can learn how to trust people.
Training a Shy Chihuahua
Start training today. Stop comforting your Chihuahua when he acts timid, even though it sounds like it would cause the opposite reaction. Comforting a shy dog is interpreted as a reinforcement. The Chihuahua thinks he is right to feel afraid. I would ignore your dog instead and reward the curious behaviors instead. Ignoring his shy behavior shows your Chihuahua there is nothing to be scared of. Your dog will get tired of being ignored and become interested, and curiosity leads your dog is feeling comfortable. Exploring a new area or sniffing a new person shows that your Chihuahua is comfortable.
When your Chihuahua acts unafraid, you should reward his behavior. This way, they know that you approve. Adding structure to your shy Chihuahua’s training builds trust between you and your Chihuahua.
Exposure Therapy for a Shy Chihuahua
If your Chihuahua is active at home and shy in public, exposure therapy may help. Patience and consistency are the keys to this therapy. Slow, manageable steps will get your dog out of his comfort zone. Take your Chihuahua out into public every week. A 10-minute walk will help more than an hour at the local Pet Store. This walk will desensitize your dog to out-of-the-home stimuli.
Always bring treats every time you train your Chihuahua. It should reward curious behavior with treats. Let your dog know when you approve of his actions with pleasure. Chihuahuas love encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Every time you go out of the house, go somewhere new. Exposing your Chihuahua to different situations will strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Train your Chihuahua at his pace. Never be afraid to cut your training time short if the outing is too much for your dog.
If Your Chihuahua is Shy with Visitors
Training your Chihuahua to be comfortable in public is similar to training your dog to be satisfied with visitors to your home. Small increments and rewards with positive behavior. Have a friend come to your home for 10 minutes to desensitize your Chihuahua. Slip your guest a couple of treats as soon as your visitor arrives. Ignore shyness and reward curiosity. When your Chihuahua walks over to your guest, smells his shoes, or walks over to him, reward your Chihuahua.
Body Language Method of Training
This training is asking everyone to keep their voices down. A calm and quiet approach so that no one startles your Chihuahua.
Since your Chihuahua is such a small breed, body language plays a huge role. Instead of bending over, crouch down on your knees. Crouching won’t seem aggressive and will allow your dog a higher level of comfort. Avoiding eye contact is a good idea, also.
Boost your Chihuahua’s Confidence
It is essential to boost his confidence when helping your Chihuahua to be less timid. Regular walks and basic obedience training are a good start. Always allow your Chihuahua to set his own pace getting over his fears. Help him not to establish destructive behaviors by training him early. Guide him through scary and stressful situations and teach him to handle new situations.
Can Another Dog Help?
Spending time around other dogs can help your Chihuahua lower his stress level and help him feel safe. A timid dog can feel comfort and encouragement doing things you didn’t think were possible for them to do.
Consider the ramifications before introducing another dog into your home if things don’t work out. You will need to spend more time with the two dogs and mainly more training time.
Chihuahuas are very social and pack animals, something else to keep in mind. They gravitate to their breed. Therefore, it might not work if you bring home a giant dog of another species, and it might just backfire, and his stress level will rise even more.
Fast nips or bites characterize fear aggression in Chihuahuas. Fear-aggressive dogs feel motivated to bite and run away, and dogs show their teeth or growl before their fear aggression appears. This kind of aggression has no warning.
Fight or flight mode. If you are trying to tell the difference between fear and fear aggression? Fear is a common cause of aggression. Your Chihuahua will run away from what is scaring him. Before scared dogs bite, some apparent signs are showing anxiety, eye contact, and showing their teeth. These signs may not appear at all. Again, fear aggression rather than fear.
If training doesn’t work right away, don’t be discouraged. Every Chihuahua is different, and they all have their timetable.
Your Chihuahua loves you, and that is the most important thing. Even though you may have a timid Chihuahua, he is still your best friend. They trust you, and they will grow to trust others as well.
Has something worked well in helping your Chihuahua overcome being timid? Please take a minute to comment below if you have any feedback on Why is my Dog so Timid – How to Help My Chihuahua. Also, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!