How to Calm a Chihuahua

Strong leadership can help calm a nervous Chihuahua.
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Nervous, hyper and aggressive Chihuahuas can be frustrating and even dangerous. While some of this over-excitability can be hereditary, much of it can be attributed to their environment and learned behavior. Without meaning to, many owners mistakenly reinforce their Chihuahua's excited behavior, causing a slightly nervous, hyper or aggressive dog to display even more of these behaviors. Proper training and reinforcement, coupled with nutritional and health support can eliminate most of these behaviors and turn your Chihuahua into a calm, enjoyable pet.

Step 1

Feed a high-quality name brand dog food specially formulated for small breeds like the Chihuahua. Just as a poor diet can affect a person's mood, a diet lacking in the proper nutrients can alter a Chihuahua's behavior. Look for brands that list meat, not just byproducts, at the top of the ingredient list. Avoid foods that use corn and wheat as the main ingredients.

Step 2

Feed on a regular schedule. Because they are so small, Chihuahuas are prone to spikes and dips in blood-sugar levels. This can affect their temperament and anxiety level. Puppies should always have food available, while adults should be fed at least twice per day around the same time each day.

Step 3

Make an appointment for a check-up with your veterinarian. While additional training is always good for your Chihuahua, it will not resolve a behavior problem that is caused by a health issue. Make sure your tiny pooch is in good health and not experiencing any physical pain or distress that is causing it to act nervous, hyper or aggressive.

Step 4

Exercise your Chihuahua every day. Although small, Chihuahuas need plenty of physical activity. Walks, games and training that involves plenty of physical activity can help burn off their extra energy. Many times it is the best solution to calming down a hyper Chihuahua who misbehaves because he has no outlet for all of his energy. Exercise also improves a Chihuahua's health, which in turn improves his mental well-being and behavior.

Step 5

Provide strong leadership. Chihuahuas, like all dogs, are pack animals and look to a leader for guidance and reassurance. In the absence of a human leader some Chihuahuas will take charge and become aggressive and hyper. Others will become distressed and nervous. Let your Chihuahua know you are the leader of its pack by giving firm but loving correction, being consistent and not allowing him to display unwanted behaviors. Do not console your Chihuahua when he displays overly excited behavior or nervousness; instead, set an example by remaining calm and carrying on with business as usual.

Step 6

Send the right signals. Chihuahuas pick up quickly on their human companion's reactions. Humans, however, often react in ways that unwittingly teach small dogs to continue to act nervous or hyper. Don't continue to give or pay attention when your Chihuahua is misbehaving. Instead, give him attention and treats only when he is calm and ignore him when he is acting nervous or hyper.

Step 7

Socialize your Chihuahua. Because they are so small, Chihuahuas are often kept only around their own home or close to their owners. While physical safety is an important consideration, allow your Chihuahua to socialize with other dogs in a safe environment, to meet other people and to experience a variety of situations. Doing so can help reduce his anxiety when your Chihuahua comes across an unfamiliar dog, person or situation resulting in a calm reaction rather than an excited one.

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