Skip to Content

5 Steps To A Happier Chihuahua

5 Steps To A Happier Chihuahua

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 11.38.43

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 11.27.24

Chihuahuas live such stressful lives. It’s up to us to make them happier in 5 big ways.


If you’re like me, nothing makes you happier than making your Chihuahua happy.

Chihuahuas live stressful lives, dealing with such unique stressors such as seeing the world from 12″ up, constantly getting stepped on, and struggling to burrow through thick blankets with those weak little arms.

Here’s 5 proven ways to make your Chihuahua’s life happier. These tips can also apply to Chihuahua mixes like Matilda, and dogs of all sizes.

Step 1: Let Her Think She’s Super Strong.

Let your chihuahua think she is stronger than you - always let her win tug o war!

In the past, dog owners were advised to never let their dogs win at tug-o-war – to do so would risk allowing your dog to become dominant and aggressive. Now we know better. There’s no evidence that letting your dog win at tug-o-war causes behavioral problems. Quite the opposite, actually. If your dog knows that she’ll always win a game of tug, she’ll be less likely to worry about having her precious belongings snatched away.

Matilda always wins at tug-o-war. As far as she knows, she’s stronger than me. This makes playing with me so rewarding, that she often hops into my lap with a toy, in hopes of hustling me into yet another easy win.

You should still pull back to create a little bit of a challenge, without pulling so hard that her feet lift off the ground. Loosen your grip so she feels the toy slip through your fingers, and let go as she pulls away with a  satisfying winning tug.

Step 2: Return Those Lavish “Welcome Homes.”

Don’t you feel flattered when your dog is head-over-heels happy to see you – even if you’ve only been gone for an hour?

It’s one of the best parts of having a dog. You always have someone waiting for you, happy to see you, never holding a grudge, even if it was just bath day. It may sound silly, but it’s great fun to give that love back.

When your dog comes inside, whether they were just hanging out in your yard, or spending some time outside the home with another family member, throw a party.

“You’re home, you’re home, you’re home!” I like to say, with the same enthusiasm they show me.

If they have just come inside from playing in the yard, there might be a treat in it for them, or I might bring out the toys for some playtime. This is a great way to improve recall, and make escaping your yard less appealing to your dog.

Over-the-top greetings are fun for the humans in your life, too. Whenever someone you love comes home, let them know you’re happy to see them. This is a lesson we should all learn from our dogs – don’t take your loved ones for granted!

Step 3: Sleep Together.

The best part of waking up... not Folgers in your cup, but a Chihuahua on your chest.

The best part of waking up… not Folgers in your cup, but a Chihuahua on your chest.

Dogs seem to really love snuggling with their favorite humans, littermate-style.

Research shows that dogs deeply enjoy the scents of their people. I’ve got no doubt that, while sleeping beside us, submerged in a comforting, familiar aroma, they have a better sleep.

I always feel closer to Matilda after a night of sleeping with her pressed against me. I feel more connected to her, and I can tell she feels the same way.

If you can’t sleep with your dog, try to set aside some time for naps, or at least let her snooze in your lap while you watch TV.

Step 4: Cover The Windows.

Growing up, my childhood dog would spend endless hours staring out windows. Occasionally, someone would pass by, and he would go into a barking frenzy.

At the time, I wondered why he found the window so entertaining. I thought he enjoyed it, the same way humans enjoy watching television. I thought that, when we were not home, he could at least have something to do, and a way to watch out for us as we came home.

Now, I realize that window-watching is not like television for dogs, it’s more like listening to a police radio scanner. Every stranger that passed caused my dog stress. It lead to him being reactive towards people who visited our home. Every time he reacted to a stranger passing by, his heart raced, and he barked until he was hoarse… multiple times a day. He couldn’t have enjoyed that at all, but my family and I, not knowing any better, rarely discouraged it. Sorry, old dog.

I allow my dogs to look out windows, but call them to me if they’re on the verge of an outburst. They rarely become impassioned, because I avoid letting them boil over.

Avoid having furniture close to windows, in such a way that causes your dog to stare out windows and bark at strangers. Use window film to remove the temptation to window-watch.

Your dog won’t be deprived. They’ll be much, much happier.

Step 5: Take Her Out.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 11.28.00

When you give her limited window access, you can control how your dog sees and experiences the outside world. Chihuahuas are sometimes anxious and yappy because they don’t have many opportunities to see strangers and new environments in a positive light. More happy outings = a happier world for your pup.

Visit dog parks and beaches during off-peak hours. Take your dog for a walk downtown and dine at restaurants with a dog-friendly outdoor patio. Hit the pet store and let your dog pick out a new toy.

Outdoor car shows, fairs and festivals can all be fun places to take your dog. They can be too loud, crowded and overwhelming at peak hours, however.

Going out with your dog does mean making sacrifices. You may not be able to enter stores, and you’ll have to be watchful of uncomfortable situations, like other dogs, children, even adults who may rudely approach. You may have to leave suddenly if your dog is no longer having a good time.

For the most part, outings are fun. Walking your dog around town is a great way to socialize her, help reinforce her training in different environments, and make people smile.

Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You'll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Tuesday 9th of January 2018

What a beautiful dog! I always believe you should adopt animals as there are so many at animal shelters.


Sunday 12th of February 2017

I adopted a Chihuahua about 3-4 months ago and am always looking for ways to improve her life! Thanks for the tips. Pinned :)


Sunday 4th of December 2016

Wow, I have never raised a Chihuahua before but I find this is a very nice and interesting post !! It's always nice to learn something new and maybe I can use some of your tips to my corgi as well haha. One of the key things in raising dogs is to give them all of your love and attention :).

Lindsay Pevny

Sunday 4th of December 2016

I agree, it doesn't take much to make them happy. I think your corgi would definitely enjoy these too!

Monica Dingess

Friday 30th of September 2016

Thanks for sharing, my dear! It is said that Chihuahuas are more likely to live a shorter life than others. I think these tips are helpful for owners to make their dogs' life happier than ever. If they have just a short life, make them enjoy their life as much as possible, right?

Lindsay Pevny

Friday 30th of September 2016

You're welcome! :) Well, from what I've seen chihuahuas have some of the longest lifespans, smaller dogs seem to live the longest. But even 20 years would be way too short - you're so right, gotta make the most of every moment!


Monday 12th of September 2016

Great tips!! And above all, for me "sleep together" always work but other tips are also useful. The tip of covering the windows is kind of surprise for me. Thanks a lot for the post.

Lindsay Pevny

Monday 12th of September 2016

Thanks David!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.