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Hyper

How to Calm Down a Hyper Chihuahua

Overview

This breed is prone to becoming overexcited very easily. Owners may find themselves frustrated with a Chihuahua that becomes exceedingly hyper with seemingly no ability to calm down. 

While some puppies and dogs may become hyper simply do to being excited about something, negative elements such as frustration and nervousness may throw a Chihuahua into a frenzied state.

This section is going to discuss:
  • Reasons why a Chihuahua may be super hyper 
  • Methods to calm down a Chihuahua 
  • Steps you can take to train a Chihuahua puppy to handle things in a calmer way.
All Day, Constant Hyper Behavior 

Most Chihuahua puppies and dog will have a triggered response to certain elements that cause them to act out of control. However, with some there will be an all day, nearly constant high energy that only fades away when the dog is asleep.

This sort of behavior usually stems from 3 main states of mind:

1) Frustration - Dog will seem to tolerate what they perceive to be negative elements, however these are piling up in a dog's mind. At a certain point, a dog will 'snap' and let out his frustration by acting very hyper and out of control. Some Chi can reach this stage within minutes and with others, it may take a more gradual buildup of irritations until the dog finally lets loose.

2) Boredom - A bored dog can become exceedingly hyper because he is acting out. Without working his senses (sight, hearing, and smell), having interacting with others and/or having interesting solo play, a Chihuahua may begin to run, jump, bark and act hyper.  It is akin to a human sitting in a room all day without anything to do and finally stands up and shouts "I can't take it anymore!"

3) Pent up energy - Most Chihuahua puppies and dogs have a very high energy level. This is certainly not a lazy breed and a Chihuahua - despite his size - has incredible amounts of energy to expend. If he has no method of releasing that energy, it is going to bubble up and explode.

The combination of these elements can lead to all sorts of frenzied behavior, excessive barking, lots of begging behavior, jumping around, etc. 
Keeping the above in mind, let's look at triggers and the steps you can take to calm a hyper Chihuahua down:

1) Children

This breed - in general - gets along very well with children. However each dog is an individual and some simply do not have tolerance for what most kids bring: constant touching, being picked up and handled, loud excited voices and running around the dog. 

Many puppies will feed off of this sort of energy but then become so revved up that they cannot calm down. With older, senior dogs there can be a sort of tipping point, where the dog simply can't handle the commotion and will either retreat or act out.

The Fix

- Set limits. Give boisterous children set times to interact with the Chihuahua and have there be times when they play in another room. Teach all youngsters proper handling techniques. 

With very young kids, supervise play since they may be picking up the dog incorrectly or teasing him which can be quite irritating to a dog of any age.

- Create a private and quiet area for the Chihuahua to retreat to any time that he wishes. This should be in the corner of a quiet room, but not so far away that the dog feels isolated. 

He should feel that going there is a positive thing and not a punishment. This area should be off limits to interference and should be packed with what the Chi loves: favorite toys, some interesting chews, and a comfy bed, cot or blanket.

- Watch your Chihuahua for the beginning signs of becoming hyper in order to stop it before it reaches a boiling point. At that time, instruct children to calm down and lead the puppy or dog to his 'hide-a-way' area. 
Keep your voice even and be sure that your tone of voice reflects that going to relax and get away from noise and commotion is a positive thing. In time, a puppy or dog will learn to retreat there without any prompting.

This usually works well because it teaches a Chihuahua that he does have control over his environment and can choose to play and rest in a quieter atmosphere.

2) Foot Traffic

A Chihuahua may feel mounting frustration that turns into hyper behavior if he feels that he must always be on guard. This can occur if his toy area and his food area is too close to foot traffic. 

While it is perfectly fine if your puppy or dog wants to bring a toy into the living room and lay smack down in the middle of the floor to play, however he should have a toy bin that that humans stay away from. This way, a Chi does not have a constant feeling that someone may be too close to what he considers his belongings.

Think about it this way, what if you had 1K in cash at your house, sitting on a counter-top… (that alone is a great thought), but now imagine that people pass by it all day, all the time. While you trust that no one will take it, you're going to have an uneasy feeling and never feel quite at rest. 

Now envision that the money was moved to a secure area in which no one walked by and you could access it whenever you wished. Feel calmer? Great! Your Chihuahua will calm down as well once his toy bin is as safe as that cash.

This goes for food as well. Dogs need to have an invisible fence around their dining area. For some dogs, this can be a foot from the bowl, for others to feel calm it needs to be larger.

If a Chihuahua gets riled up because too many people are near his dishes (the very thing he needs to survive) he can become hyper and take a long time to calm down. If a puppy or dog acts this way about his water, it can be an all-day situation.

The Fix

- Find a good spot for your Chi's toy bin and explain to everyone in the household that it is off limits and is the dog's personal property. When it is time to wash it or switch out toys, do this while the dog is on a walk with another person or otherwise distracted.

- Place dishes well away from where people sit, stand or walk by. While most owners put down bowls in the kitchen, if this room is just too busy and causing a Chihuahua to become hyper, another room may be a better choice. 

For carpeted areas, you can set down a kitchen place mat to protect the rugs. As long as the spot is a quiet one and very easy accessible for the dog, it should help to keep a Chihuahua calm.

3) Lack of Stimulation

It is usually only older, senior dogs that are happy with just 'being'. With such a high energy level, most Chihuahuas need to see things, smell things, hear things , chew things and inspect things. Puppies and adults need to have interaction with humans beyond grooming, walking and feeding.

The Fix

- Having an awesome toy collection is by far one of the best ways to offset boredom and allow a Chihuahua a method of keeping busy which will cut down on him acting hyper due to frustrated boredom. Running out to a Dollar store and scooping up a handful of toys will do very little. Take some time to carefully choose some quality toys that are created to stimulate a dog's mind.

- Keep two bins of toys and swap them out every other week or so. In this way, a Chihuahua will always have 'new' toys. This is also a great way to be able to wash the toys while the others are in use.
 
- Have a weekly 30 minute adventure. At least once a week, offer your hyper Chihuahua an opportunity to put his canine senses to use. You'll be surprised how much this can calm a dog down. 

One fun method is to hide a new toy or surprise in the yard and allow your puppy or dog to do what dogs love best: smell it, seek it out and find it! Putting a bit of bacon drippings on a toy works well, since this sends out a super strong smell that dogs can't ignore.

Note: Use a command word such as 'Seek' or 'Treasure' so that your dog learns this is a special occasion and does not always expect there to be a snack waiting for him.

Also, switch up the area… sometimes have it behind a bush in the front, another time have it be behind a tree in the back. Be creative and make sure that your dog really has to work hard and expend energy to find it. 

After this sort of adventure, a hyper Chihuahua often calms right down and is then content to sit down quietly, chewing on his find.

-30 minutes a day of interaction. Looking at everyone's schedules, block out 30 minutes per day for someone in the household to spend one-on-one time with an overly hyper Chihuahua. 

Try to make this be the same time each day, but it is fine and actually recommended if the people rotate for this. This time block will be reserved for fun interaction. This can be command training, playing a game designed for owners and dogs or just a fun game of fetch.

Going for a walk during this time does not count; this should be engaging play without distractions in which the Chihuahua is able to run around or be mentally stimulated.

A Chihuahua may become hyper when the session ends as a way of saying, 'Hey, where are you going? Let's keep playing!' To help prevent this, use a finishing word such as 'Done' and then follow with a treat and encourage the dog to mouth a favorite toy.

When entering back inside or to another room, ignore any hyper behavior. Give it a few minutes; usually a puppy or dog will settle down, since he really did have his fill of interactional play.

4) Pent up Energy

This breed's size can be quite deceiving. It's amazing how the smallest toy breed in the world can have such an abundance of energy. Without a way of letting go of all that steam, a Chihuahua can become very hyper. Some owners don't look forward to walks because of how a hyper puppy or dog behaves when in the outside world.

The Fix

- More than one daily walk is needed. Hyper Chihuahuas should be walked a minimum of 2 times per day and if time allows it, 3 is best. A harness, not a collar, should always be used. The walks should be brisk (your dog's idea of brisk, not yours since over exercise if not good, especially for young pups).

Don't let foul weather get in the way. If you bundle up and you put appropriate, protective clothing on your dog, you can offer year-round walks.

When Chihuahuas have at least 2 times a day to walk off energy, they are much more calm when back inside the house.

5) Inability to Calm Down at Night

There are owners who are at their wits ends having a Chihuahua that simply won't relax at night.  As soon as it is time to relax, the dog becomes more active. 

The Fix

- Stimulation during the day. Along the lines of the above 'pent up energy' element, the puppy or dog really needs to have enough exercise, interaction and interesting toys during the day time.

- Signals at night.  Have a routine that signals a Chihuahua that the day is winding down.  No exercise should be done within an hour of bedtime; while you may think that this may tire out a hyper dog, when done close to bedtime it can have the opposite effect.  

For a good 60 minutes before the intended sleep time, close the blinds and dim the lights.  TV's and other noise making devices should be lowered to a reasonable level. 

Everyone should speak in matter-of-fact voices.  Be aware of the general atmosphere of the house; if you or others are stressed and showing that either verbally or via physically cues, a dog will pick up on the negative vibe and can become restless. 

Some Chi love to be brush as it is akin to a massage.  You may find that grooming your puppy or dog by brushing the coat with long, easy strokes in a quiet setting (lights low in front of a TV that is not loud) is a great way to help a Chihuahua calm down and relax both mind and body. 
6) Other dogs, People and Cars 

Many puppies and dogs may act hyper and crazy when seeing outside stimuli such as dogs, people and/or cars. Some go nuts just seeing birds. There are some Chi that will get so revved up in anticipation of these things, that they will act hyper before a planned walk.

The Fix

It's important not to shy away from taking your Chihuahua for a walk. Doing so will fix the very problem that you are having. Constant exposure to these elements will lessen their importance.

A hyper Chihuahua that barks like a maniac at every car, person and dog while out for his once-a-day walk will slowly turn into a calm Chihuahua that takes it all in with a grain of salt. 

When a dog sees the same things, twice or three times a day, day after day, week after week, it loses its significance. That other dog becomes less relevant. 
Those cars that were so stimulating are now just background elements to be ignored.

We heard of an owner who 'tries' to take her super hyper Chihuahua for walks but stops every time at the bottom of her driveway. She lives on a busy street and as they approach the road, the dog is jumping up like a lunatic and barking like he's raving mad. 

So, what does she do? She sighs, turns around and brings him back inside! We are told that she doesn't want to be 'embarrassed' by how her dog acts.

The dog has NO experience out in the real world; of course he acts nuts at first. If she stuck with it and actually went for those 2 times a day walks, things would be much different. But unfortunately she has labeled him a hyper dog and doesn't even make attempts further than 30 feet.

When you take your Chihuahua puppy or dog for a walk, keep him on harness and to your left in a heeling position.You are in charge, not your dog. Any hyper behavior including barking and jumping should be 100% ignored. Sure, people will look at you.
They may even snicker at how you have such a hyper dog and 'shame on you' for not knowing how to control him. Let it slide and stay with it. 

Within just a couple months (weeks for some), you'll walk passed those same bystanders with pride and a much calmer dog.  

A Final Word

There are some owners with Chihuahuas that are hyper after a bath or at night right when it is time to relax. 

The main element to keep in mind is that no matter what time your dog acts up or how often, implementing the above guidelines will create an overall calmer atmosphere and a dog that is able to release energy in a healthy way.
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