Why Are Chihuahuas So Clingy? [Decode the Behavior]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Have you ever wondered why are Chihuahuas so clingy?

Whether it’s following you around the house or sitting on your lap for hours on end, Chihuahuas seem to have an insatiable need for attention and affection. But why is that?

The reasons include the fact that their breeds are made like that, but it can also be due to separation anxiety, socialization issues, or down to a lack of confidence. There are ways to help it become more independent, but this trait will not go away completely.

In this post, I will dive deeper into the reasons and show you how you can handle this the right way.

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Is It Normal for Chihuahuas to Be Clingy?

Is It Normal for Chihuahuas to Be Clingy

It’s normal because they are loyal and affectionate little dogs.

Chihuahuas, or Chi’s, are popular for their small size and prominent personalities, and they love to be close to their pet parents, follow you around, sit on your lap, and even sleep in your bed!

The Chihuahua’s history as a lap dog and source of emotional support is responsible for this clingy behavior.

They were popular among the upper class as fashion accessories and companions. 

Today, they are still beloved lap dogs and companions.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why does my dog cuddle my shoes?

Why Are Chihuahuas So Clingy?

Here’s the thing: While some breeds are more independent and prefer to do their own thing, others crave constant attention and affection from their owners.

Chihuahuas fall into the latter category, and their clinginess is just one of the many endearing qualities that make them such beloved pets.

Keep on reading to learn more about why these pint-sized pups are so attached to their humans.

Breed characteristics

Did you know that Chihuahuas are perfect companions? They keep their owners company and snuggle up for warmth on chilly nights.

And get this – they inherited that characteristic from their ancestor, making them naturally drawn to their pet parents.

It’s like they were born to be your best bud!

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Are poodles velcro dogs?

Small size

Did you know that Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog?

You could fit a bunch of them in a basket and these little guys usually weigh between 2-6 pounds, like having a bag of sugar as a pet.

And they don’t get much bigger than that either – they stand only about 5 inches high! It’s like having a tiny living stuffed animal to snuggle with.

The point is, smaller dogs tend to be more needy and seek protection from their owners, especially Chis as they were bred to be lap dogs.

Separation anxiety

I think most dog owners know that Chis have separation anxiety, and when you’re not around, that’s gonna crank up the anxiety meter further.

Not only do Chihuahuas sleep a lot, but they also can’t stand the thought of being away from their owners, and the worst thing is if they are being mistreated. That’s just going to add to their emotional distress.

And here’s the thing – punishing or scolding your Chi won’t help at all. Separation anxiety is beyond their control, like a panic attack to us.

Also, putting them in a crate can make things worse. They may start scratching, whining, and even peeing in their crate out of anxiety.

Here are signs to look out for:

  • They bark a lot or make other loud noises
  • They whine or cry
  • They seem sad or depressed
  • They chew on things
  • They can’t seem to sit still and are constantly moving around
  • They seem upset
  • They start licking themselves a lot, especially their paws
  • They have a hard time adjusting when you come back home

Lack of socialization

Why do some Chihuahuas become clingy? The actual cause of their clinginess is often a lack of socialization.

Socialization is when your Chihuahua gets to hang out with different people, animals, and environments.

They can develop serious attachment issues if they don’t get enough exposure to new things when they’re young.

It can lead to barking, jumping on people, and even being aggressive toward strangers.

They are so dependent that they don’t know how to behave to others.

It’s like when your BFF hangs out with someone new. It can be an overwhelming feeling!

So, if your Chi is needy, it’s because they don’t know how to handle other people or dogs.

Health issues

If your Chi starts clinging to you more, it could be a sign that your pup is not feeling well. 

That’s right!

When your Chihuahua doesn’t feel well, they may seek extra attention and comfort.

It’s not just physical health issues that can make a Chihuahua clingy, though.

Older dogs with vision or hearing loss may become clingy because they must depend more on their owners.

Suddenly, their world is unfamiliar and scary, so they seek comfort from their pet parents.

You should try to know their most common health problem if you own a Chihuahua. These can include the following:

  • Luxating patella (when the kneecap moves out of place)
  • Tracheal collapse (when the windpipe collapses)
  • Tooth and gum disease
  • Hypoglycemia (a low blood sugar)
  • Hydrocephalus (a fluid buildup  in the brain)
  • Spinal injuries
  • Obesity
  • Scleritis (inflammation of the eye)

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Attention-seeking behavior

Your Chihuahua might bark, whine, or paw at you to play with them. 

But did you know that this attention-seeking behavior can sometimes become excessive?

A clingy Chi may seem cute initially, but it can be a problem if they’re constantly following you or whining for attention.

Indeed, some Chihuahuas are just naturally clingy. But here’s something interesting.

Chihuahuas often become overly needy due to your encouragement.

If you find yourself constantly petting or picking up your Chi, you might unintentionally be contributing to their clinginess.

Give your Chihuahua attention and love, but set boundaries and teach them that they can’t have your attention all the time.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why is my Shiba Inu whining?

Lack of exercise or stimulation

A lack of exercise or stimulation can cause your Chi to become restless and destructive. Without enough activity and challenges, they can start to feel bored.

The thing is, your Chihuahuas is an intelligent dog who loves to learn new things and play and if they don’t get enough of it, they may become needy, or turn to destructive behavior.

Fear or anxiety

These little pups can sometimes be fearful and anxious, which makes them clingy or reactive.

When your Chihuahuas feel stressed or scared, they may look at you for comfort and security. And if you leave them, they may become anxious or aggressive.

Another point is that they are shy around strangers and sometimes reserved when meeting new people.

And because they’re so protective, they can also be territorial and aggressive with other dogs or unfamiliar people.

If this happens, you know what they’re gonna do next: stick to you!

Lack of confidence

Being so small, it’s not surprising that Chis might feel insecure and need extra reassurance from you. 

And it’s natural for them to want to feel protected. For example, during a thunderstorm or fireworks, they might want to be close to you for comfort.

Also, if you’re anxious, your Chihuahua might sense it and become clingy. They want to be there for you and offer comfort.

Past experiences

If your Chi has experienced trauma or neglect, they may become clingy to seek comfort and security.

Think about it. A Chihuahua might become anxious and fearful if they were unlucky enough to fall into the hands of an abusive owner. It can even cause them to become aggressive towards strangers. 

It’s a natural response to feeling scared and vulnerable.

Similarly, if a Chihuahua has had negative experiences, they may become more attached to their owner to seek comfort and security. They’re saying, “Please don’t leave me again!”


Age can play a role in causing your Chi to rely more on you.

It is especially true for those that experience health issues. For instance, vision problems may cause them to become more dependent on their humans to become a guide for them.

Additionally, dementia in dogs may cause confusion and anxiety, leading them to cling to their owners.

As your Chihuahua ages, they may become less active and less interested in playing, leading them to become more attached to you.


Clinginess can be a learned behavior; without proper training, your Chihuahua may become overly attached and clingy.

They may even become anxious or upset when separated, which can be stressful for you and your furry friend.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why do Havanese lick so much?

How to Teach Your Chihuahua to Be More Independent?

You know your Chi always wants to be around you, but teaching them to be more independent can be a good thing! 

I think that it’s good for them mentally and it’s helpful if you want to go out or run errands without your pup getting anxious or upset.

Here’s how:

Gradually increase alone time

Start by leaving your Chihuahua alone for short periods and gradually increase the duration. It will help them get used to being alone and reduce separation anxiety.

Create a comfortable space

Create a cozy space so your Chi has a comfortable and safe space to relax when you’re not around. It can be a crate, a bed, or a designated area in the house.

Go to doggy daycare

Consider taking your Chihuahua to doggy daycare. It can help your Chi to be socially engaged, learn new skills, and get plenty of exercise.

Encourage playtime

Playing games such as fetch or hide and seek is a fun way to bond with your Chihuahua and help build confidence and become more independent.

Avoid coddling

It’s important not to indulge your Chihuahua when they’re feeling anxious. It can reinforce clingy behavior and make it harder for them to become independent.

Socialize your dog

Introduce your Chi to new people, places, and experiences as this will help them feel comfortable and confident in new situations.

Consider crate training

Crate training can help reduce anxiety and destructive behavior in your Chihuahua. It provides them with a safe space when you’re not around.

Work with a professional

If your Chihuahua’s clingy behavior is severe, consider working with an expert dog trainer or behaviorist. They can suggest personalized guidance and support to help your Chihuahua become more independent.

Consider getting another dog

It can be a great way to provide your Chi with a companion and help them become more independent.

Just make sure to introduce them properly and supervise their interactions.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why does my dog lay his head over my neck?

Are Chihuahuas Needy?

Are Chihuahuas Needy

In general, yes, Chihuahuas are pretty needy, constantly seeking attention from their owners.

However, you should understand that each dog is unique and can have its own personality, so there are always exceptions.

The factors we discussed earlier all play a part in shaping your dog’s behavior, so if you feel that it has become excessive or a problem, you can try to make changes by addressing it directly.

Do Chihuahuas Require a Lot of Attention?

Yes. Chihuahuas have an affectionate nature and they crave human attention and affection. 

Experts call them “lap dogs” because they desire to cuddle up with their owners.

Chihuahuas have a strong bond with their pet parents, and they are also very protective to the point of possessiveness.

Sometimes, “too much” attention simply doesn’t exist for them.

Why is Chihuahua Clinginess a Problem?

I can understand how nice it is to be loved by our dogs, but will it come to a point when it’s an issue?

Here’s why your Chi’s clinginess can be a problem:

  • It can be challenging for you to work from home or complete daily tasks.
  • Their constant need for attention can be overwhelming and tiring.
  • They can become possessive or aggressive towards others or animals in the house.
  • They might not develop independence or self-sufficiency.
  • They need too much attention and affection, and you might feel guilty or not doing enough.
  • If they are already dealing with separation anxiety or other behavioral issues, their clinginess can make it worse.
  • They can make it hard to train them or change any problematic behaviors.
  • They might not get enough exercise or mental stimulation, leading to health problems like obesity or anxiety.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Common Cavapoo Behavior Problems

What Does It Mean to Have a Clingy Chihuahua

Your dog needs attention, affection, and physical contact if you have a clingy Chi. This behavior is common among Chihuahuas because they’re loyal companions who love their owners.

Here are ten behaviors that a clingy Chihuahua might display and what they mean:

  • A clingy Chihuahua might follow you everywhere, even into rooms they’re not usually allowed. It shows that they want to be close all the time.
  • Your dog might jump up on you or paw at you to get your attention or affection.
  • Your Chihuahua might bark or whine when you’re not giving them enough attention or if they’re feeling anxious.
  • Your dog might refuse to leave your side, even if you need to go somewhere.
  • Your Chihuahua might have separation anxiety and show signs of distress like barking or chewing on things they’re not supposed to.
  • Your dog might have trouble settling down or relaxing without you there.
  • Your Chihuahua might constantly seek physical contact with you, like pawing at you or climbing into your lap.
  • Your dog might do attention-seeking things like nudging your hand, bringing you toys or treats, or standing in front of your face.
  • Your Chi might refuse to eat or drink when you’re not around, which is a sign of anxiety or distress.
  • Your Chi might become overly dependent on you and need help coping with changes or new situations.

How to Know if Your Chihuahua is Happy

 If you’re a Chihuahua owner, you probably want your little buddy to feel happy and content. 

Here are ten signs that your Chi is feeling good:

  • If their tail is wagging in a relaxed way, it means they are content. 
  • If they are playful and energetic, they are happy. 
  • They will have a comfortable posture, with their ears and tail in a neutral position. 
  • They will have a normal appetite and eat and drink when offered food and water. 
  • They will show excitement when you come home and jump up to greet you. 
  • They will be comfortable around people and other animals.
  • They will show affectionate behavior towards their owner, such as snuggling or licking. 
  • They might make contented sighs or groans when feeling comfortable and relaxed.
  • They will be eager to learn and responsive to training. 
  • They will have good overall health, with no significant health issues or symptoms of illness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is my chihuahua getting more clingy than usual?

Your Chihuahua might be getting more clingy than usual because they’re feeling sick, anxious, bored, or want more attention

Why does my chihuahua want me to hold her all the time?

Chihuahuas love being close to their owners and feeling safe and secure when held.

What does chihuahua separation anxiety look like?

If your Chihuahua has separation anxiety, they may bark, whine, destroy things, or even get physically sick when you leave them alone.

Do chihuahuas get attached to one person?

Yes, Chihuahuas tend to bond closely with one person, often called their “person.” They may follow that person around and get anxious when they leave.

Why is my chihuahua suddenly following me everywhere?

If your Chihuahua follows you wherever you go, it could be because they feel neglected and are looking for reassurance.

In Conclusion: Why Are Chihuahuas So Clingy?

As you now know, Chihuahuas’ clinginess can be attributed to their breeding and their natural inclination to form strong bonds with their owners.

While you might find that their clingy behavior can be endearing, you should be able to recognize that it can sometimes lead to separation anxiety. B

With the tips covered above, you are now able to help your Chihuahua feel more comfortable and secure both when you’re together and when you’re apart.

Check out other dog behavior posts here too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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