If you want to know how to make your Chihuahua happy, you’ve come to the right place.
Here you’ll discover:
- If your Chihuahua is really happy.
- 25 fun ways to make (and keep) your Chihuahua happy.
- Why patience is your biggest ally in keeping your Chi happy (tip #10 is waiting for you).
- And more…
Table of contents
- How can I make (and keep) my Chihuahua happy?
- How do I know if my Chihuahua is happy?
- 25 ways to make (and keep) your Chihuahua happy
- #1: Take them for a walk
- #2: Run or hike
- #3: Explore new places
- #4: Alleviate boredom
- #5: Talk to them in a gentle but firm voice
- #6: Play
- #7: Have them socialize with other dogs
- #8: Keep them healthy
- #9: Feed them well
- #10: Be patient
- #11: Reward good behavior
- #12: Go on a road trip
- #13: Rub them the right way
- #14: Give them treat-dispensing toys
- #15: Buy them puzzle toys
- #16: Give them nose work
- #17: Groom them
- #18: Let them play with water
- #19: Treat fleas and skin diseases immediately
- #20: Build a digging box
- #21: Play tug of war
- #22: Do some simple obedience training
- #23: Play the shell game
- #24: Make an obstacle course
- #25: Introduce a new dog or playdate
How can I make (and keep) my Chihuahua happy?
To make and keep your Chihuahua happy, take them for a walk, run or hike. Be gentle, patient, and give them activities to do. These could be treat-dispensing puzzle toys and nose work. Reward and keep them healthy and clean. Do fun activities such as playing, road trips, and massages.
How do I know if my Chihuahua is happy?
Chihuahuas aren’t shy about displaying their happiness. They give you smiles or want to play with you. They give you slurpy kisses. Their whole body wiggles as they wag their tails. They are not destructive. They are well-behaved and are friendly with other dogs.
Here are easy, fun and doable ways to make your Chihuahua happy:
25 ways to make (and keep) your Chihuahua happy
#1: Take them for a walk
Your Chihuahua stays home most of the time. Their idea of relaxing is not the same as yours.
You spend the day working or studying. You think about getting home to chill or watch Netflix.
Your Chihuahua, on the other hand, is cooped up at home the whole day. What they look forward to is getting out of the house.
So one look at the leash in your hands and your Chihuahua goes crazy!
They get excited because they know you’re going to take them walking.
What they need is a change of environment, even for just a few hours.
Give them space wider than your backyard where they can explore to their heart’s content. Show them a world outside your home.
Give them a chance to sniff other things aside from your sofa. To meet new friends.
If you’re training your Chihuahua, make walks an important part of your day. Walks put them in a relaxed state so that he responds better to training.
#2: Run or hike
Level up your physical activity by taking your Chihuahua for a run or hike.
A dog park is the best place for your dog to run around. They will also have chances of playing with other dogs.
Another very stimulating activity for your Chi would be a hike in the nearby woods.
This workout will be good for both of you.
However, always check to make sure your Chihuahua is comfortable. Take rests when needed. Watch out for signs of heatstroke.
And don’t forget to bring water. This will help you prevent it.
#3: Explore new places
Find new routes to get to the dog park. Go to a different part of town.
Perhaps there is another park there. So, why not check it out?
There are lots of things that will keep your Chihuahua busy as they explore.
This is beneficial not only for your Chihuahua but also for you. That’s how you’ll both get to exercise, explore a neighborhood, and bond together.
Spending more time with them can help make them more obedient to you.
#4: Alleviate boredom
A bored dog develops destructive behaviors.
What happens when they are bored? They get into trouble.
They chew your shoe. Or scratch the door.
Maybe pee wherever they want. Or nibble on the carpet.
You hear them bark all the time. And see them jump around you.
And they do things to pass the time in ways you wouldn’t like.
They think these things are okay. This is how they entertain themselves.
To solve this problem, think of ways to keep them entertained.
Make them do a task. Make them work.
You can start by taking part in an obedience training session. It’ll be enjoyable for both of you.
And after you attend a few sessions, you’ll start noticing the difference.
Just a reminder:
A mentally-stimulated dog is a happy and less-destructive dog.
#5: Talk to them in a gentle but firm voice
Dogs are like toddlers. They react according to how you treat them.
Most of the time, they need your guidance. You need to tell them what to do over and over.
Being gentle to your Chihuahua will provide them stability and security.
Avoid yelling when you give them attention. Yelling or loud voices will make them fearful and stressed.
When you praise your Chihuahua, use their name to reinforce the message.
Say things like, “You are a smart girl, Lissa,” or “Good girl, Lissa.”
You using a gentle but firm voice will improve their confidence and trust in you.
Did you notice? If you talk in a loud or angry voice, your dog becomes scared.
But if you use an encouraging voice, they come to you, with tail wagging.
Dogs in general are pack animals. They love company. They love to do things with other animals or their owners.
Especially when they are puppies. Chihuahua pups would spend their wake hours during the day playing.
Just like when you have a toddler. They know nothing but play.
You achieve many things when you engage in playtime with your Chihuahua.
They get their daily dose of exercise. You give them healthy attention. You strengthen your bond. You mentally stimulate them.
All of these make for a happy Chihuahua.
Note: Set aside 30 to 60 minutes each day to play with your Chihuahua.
The backyard will be the best place to start. Play fetch or catch. Play with a frisbee or a beach ball.
Or, take your Chi for a swim with you. If you teach them how to enjoy it, you’ll enjoy more fun moments together.
So far so good, but besides physical exercises, try to present your Chi with mental stimulation (more on this later).
There are a lot of ideas out there. Feel free to try some of them out with your Chihuahua.
Even with cats or dogs at home, your Chihuahua needs to meet and play with other dogs.
The book ‘Dog’s Best Friend: An Interactive Guide to Bettering Yourself Through Your Dog Training’, has the answer.
The author, Alison Young, says that socialization will do wonders to a dog’s temperament and wellbeing.
Dogs are social creatures. They need to play with other dogs.
Being around other dogs teaches them to become friendlier.
And happier! Just look at this puppy who realizes they’re going to a dog park.
Along with proper training, your Chihuahua will learn to behave well.
And they will always look forward to these playtimes with other dogs.
#8: Keep them healthy
The Kennel Club reports that Chihuahuas can live up to more than 12 years if they are healthy.
That being said, take your Chihuahua to your vet regularly.
I could almost hear you say how expensive a vet can be though. That’s true.
But imagine having a sickly dog. That’s more expensive. And quite stressful for you and your Chihuahua.
Your vet will be your partner in keeping your Chihuahua healthy.
Keep in mind the following things to get the most of each vet visit:
- Stick to a regular checkup for your Chihuahua.
- If you have concerns regarding your dog, tell the vet.
- If your Chihuahua is too skinny, ask about the ideal weight.
- Keep track of annual shots and medications for heartworm or flea.
- If your dog is obese, ask the vet to recommend ways to safely lose weight.
- If your Chihuahua doesn’t eat well, ask the vet because there might be underlying reasons.
Caution: The vet can spot signs that point out the problem. Treat the problem before it gets worse.
While you’re at it, ask the vet the kind of food your Chihuahua needs.
#9: Feed them well
Chihuahuas need the highest quality of food to stay healthy.
But with so many brands of dog food, choosing the right one is challenging.
Should you feed them dry food only? Canned food? Or a mix of both?
How about fresh meat and vegetables?
What about treats?
Consider the fact that Chihuahuas are at a high risk of dental issues. Does your vet recommend canned food or fresh food?
This is a case of trial and error at first. Some Chihuahuas respond well to certain food. Some don’t.
Make good choices with the help of your vet. They’ll know which ones are appropriate for your dog’s dietary needs.
Ask your vet how much to give your Chihuahua. With their pint size, they won’t be eating much.
Knowing how much food you should give your Chi is important in general. And it could get tricky when they need to lose weight.
Age is also a factor when deciding what food and how much to give.
Chihuahuas need 3 to 4 meals per day during the first three months of their lives.
The amount of food is usually ¼ of a cup. This increases to ½ cup as your Chihuahua grows. The amount still depends on the age and size of your dog.
Be consistent with the feeding schedule. Give your Chihuahua the right amount of food every time.
Caution: Chihuahuas with special dietary needs need specialized feeding schedules. Always follow the advice of your vet.
#10: Be patient
Like previously mentioned, dogs could be compared to small kids.
Chis run around. They make a mess. And could eat anything, even if they find something on the floor. The thing is they’d put anything in their mouth.
If you want them to do something, you have to tell them over and over. Until they get it.
And by then you are probably at your wits’ end.
Choosing to be a dog parent takes a lot of dedication and commitment.
Not to mention, patience. Lots of it.
No matter how strong the urge is, avoid yelling at your Chihuahua. It’s easier said than done. But…
Yelling will get you nowhere!
Yelling will only make your Chihuahua fearful of you. That fear can turn to stress.
And you know what stress does to dogs.
Having an endless reservoir of patience is no easy feat. But your Chihuahua deserves it.
Learning is a life-long process. Even when Chis become adults, they need a lot to learn.
And you have to be there to teach them. Ingraining the right type of behavior will make each moment with your Chi more enjoyable.
At the end of the day, you only want everyone to be happy.
Including your Chihuahua.
#11: Reward good behavior
Author Alison Young says that building a trusting relationship with your dog requires the following:
Positive reinforcement, conditioning, and reward.
Let’s discuss conditioning first.
To modify a dog’s behavior, we:
Add or take away a reward stimulus…
Add or take away an aversive stimulus.
Adding a reward stimulus means rewarding desired behaviors. Taking away a reward stimulus aims to stop undesirable behaviors.
Adding an aversive stimulus means applying an unpleasant stimulus to discourage undesirable behaviors. Then we take away an aversive stimulus to encourage desired behaviors.
For example, a 2008 study used the removal of the reward to train dogs with problem behaviors. The problem behaviors were jumping or running to the door when visitors arrived.
Now let’s discuss positive reinforcement…
It basically means that if something is added, the behavior increases.
Let’s say you ask your Chihuahua to sit and they follow your command. So you give them a treat. The next time you ask them to sit, they would do so in anticipation of the treat.
Their behavior (sitting) increases by the addition of something (treat).
Reward, of course, is giving them something to encourage desired behaviors.
If your Chihuahua does something good, no matter how small, reward them.
They will know that you are pleased with them.
Moreover, you want them to know that what they did is the desired behavior.
Let them know they are doing a good job.
That reinforces good behavior that will make them happy in return.
#12: Go on a road trip
Get out of the house sometimes.
And I don’t mean the get-out-of-the-house-and-take-a-walk. I mean the get-out-of-the-house-and-take-a-road-trip kind of thing.
With your Chihuahua.
It’s your chance to focus on other things and see the world. Plus, it’s so rewarding to see the world again, this time through your Chihuahua’s eyes.
Your Chihuahua might get car sick or thirsty. They could suffer from heatstroke, and you don’t want that happening.
The above-mentioned article has some useful tips to make the trip as comfortable as possible.
Widen your dog’s world by going to the countryside, or a lake or pond.
Let them roam around, roll in the grass, and sniff whatever their noses discover.
Throw a frisbee or play ball. Or maybe go canoeing. Bottom line: just have fun.
A trip doesn’t have to be somewhere far. Just a change of environment is enough.
You’ll go back home happier than before.
#13: Rub them the right way
Give your Chihuahua massages. It relaxes and comforts them. Scratch their ears or bellies, whatever they prefer.
Massages are so good they’ll be enjoying it.
How would you be able to tell if they’re enjoying it?
They lie on their back with their paws in the air and their tongue out.
#14: Give them treat-dispensing toys
If your Chihuahua is bored, introduce mind-engaging activities.
These exercises will sharpen their minds and provide physical activity.
Not to mention the hours of entertainment your Chihuahua can get.
Let’s start with treat-dispensing toys. Instead of simply giving them the treats, why not make them work for it?
The idea here is to figure out how to get the treat from the toy.
Some toys are rolled whichever way for the treat to drop out of a hole. Some toys have parts that can be removed or moved around.
Let your Chihuahua enjoy playing and getting the treats in return. I promise you, getting that treat will be satisfying for your dog.
Here’s a video of some of these toys:
#15: Buy them puzzle toys
There are other toys to keep your Chihuahua busy and entertained.
Puzzle toys are interactive. They keep your dog focused on completing a task.
Set aside 15 to 20 minutes a day for a puzzle game.
You’ll see the good that 15 to 20 minutes a day can do for your Chihuahua. It mentally stimulates them. It makes them use their problem-solving abilities.
And it gives them something better to do than destroy things.
#16: Give them nose work
Still on the topic of toys, put your Chihuahua’s nose to work.
When you take them outside for a walk, let them sniff everything. Their sense of smell is far stronger than yours. So don’t wonder why your Chi is smelling something with interest.
Play a little game at home where you send your Chihuahua treat hunting.
Or buy them a puzzle mat, which looks like a rag. You hide the treats in the mat and let your Chihuahua’s nose find the treats.
And since smelling comes to them naturally, they’ll be having so much fun.
#17: Groom them
The importance of staying clean can’t be emphasized enough.
While dogs don’t need bathing every single day, give them baths regularly.
If you’re a new dog parent, ask your vet for the right shampoo. Again, this is a case of trial and error. Certain brands of shampoo could be too harsh for your Chihuahua’s skin.
Buy a small bottle at first to see how your dog’s skin reacts to it. You don’t want to buy a huge bottle which you’d only be using once.
Keep their fur clean. If they have long fur, brush it regularly to avoid tangles.
Or take them to a professional groomer for an appointment.
Take care of their teeth. Make sure their ears are clean. Keep their nails short.
Wipe their paws before allowing them in the house after a run in the dirt.
As dogs sweat through their paw pads, it’s best to keep their paws clean. The paws tend to smell, especially if the dog keeps licking them.
This is not only for Chihuahuas but for all breeds of dogs out there. If your dogs have thick or long fur, always make sure they’re clean.
#18: Let them play with water
Does your Chihuahua love water? If you have a pool, good for them.
If none, let them splash in a basin big enough for them. Or a portable pool.
You can also buy a step water fountain that you can place outside. Your Chihuahua steps on the paw design on the pedal to activate a fountain of water.
This is a source of fresh water whenever they are thirsty. Or if they feel in the mood for a spontaneous shower.
#19: Treat fleas and skin diseases immediately
Does your Chihuahua have fleas or skin diseases?
These are serious cases that must be addressed immediately.
The Chi would scratch their body day and night to alleviate the itch. This can be very stressful for your Chihuahua.
Besides, scratching leads to wounds. And that’s going to be another problem.
There are shampoos that kill fleas and ticks. Ask your vet for recommendations.
Likewise, if they have skin allergies. Skin allergies might be from the food they eat. Or they could be because of dirty fur.
Find out the cause so you know how to address it properly.
Eliminate food triggers and keep their bodies clean.
Without fleas and skin allergies, your Chihuahua gets to enjoy life fully.
#20: Build a digging box
Is there a dog that doesn’t want digging?
Let them be dogs and dig!
Get your Chihuahua a digging box where they can dig to their heart’s content. Hide toys in there and let them find those.
If you have a backyard, allow your Chihuahua to dig. This is a form of play that could entertain them for hours.
Digging to Chis is what fitness is for humans. Or, to put it in one word – exercise.
Just make sure they don’t destroy your plants.
For some dogs, digging is a very enjoyable affair.
They’ll most likely be dirty afterward. But very happy at the same time.
#21: Play tug of war
Tug of war is a very simple game. You can do this anytime with your dog.
If there is an opportunity to play with your Chihuahua, grab a tug toy. There are tug toys that are made especially for Chihuahuas.
Take one and start playing.
They’ll enjoy the game and the time you spend with them.
Note: Any game you do with your Chihuahua further strengthens your bond.
#22: Do some simple obedience training
You don’t have to hire a professional to teach your Chihuahua obedience training.
At least not for basic obedience training commands.
With that being said, don’t hesitate to teach your Chihuahua new tricks. This is a very good brain workout for them.
Spend a few minutes each day on this. Even 10 minutes of teaching your dog simple tricks burn mental energy.
If your Chihuahua is new to training, begin with simple commands. You can always start with ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’, ‘Heel’, and ‘Shake’.
Be patient with your Chihuahua as they learn.
And don’t forget to reward them appropriately.
#23: Play the shell game
The shell game is very simple and only needs treats and 3 identical containers.
You can use small bowls or cups.
While your Chihuahua is looking, hide a treat under one of the cups. Shuffle the cups a few times.
Then encourage your Chihuahua to find the treat.
Do it a few times. Your Chihuahua will learn to use their problem-solving skills.
#24: Make an obstacle course
An obstacle course is another way to provide your Chihuahua with some mental stimulation. Plus, it’s also a physical workout.
It doesn’t have to be like the ones you see on agility competitions.
You can make a simple obstacle course even in your living room.
One example of an interesting and effective tool in dog agility training is a dog tunnel. You can also secure some weaving poles.
With that, you can arrange the perfect indoor training space for your Chi.
Encourage your Chihuahua to go through each obstacle. Give them a treat whenever they finish an obstacle and praise them.
Make it an enjoyable experience for your Chihuahua so that they’re happy.
#25: Introduce a new dog or playdate
If the dog park is far, try arranging a playdate with a friend’s dog. Or maybe your relatives have a dog your Chihuahua can play with?
If your neighbors have a dog, you won’t have to go far. Ask them if they will agree to a playdate. And maybe you can make this a regular thing for your dogs.
Your Chihuahua will appreciate having some playtime with another dog.
These are only some of what you can do to make (and keep) your Chihuahua happy.
Because dogs are a man’s best friend, make it your goal to keep your Chihuahua happy.
If you and your dog are happy, it’s a win-win situation.