chihuahuas love to bark. it’s a perfectly natural thing for them to do, just as it’s normal for us humans to speak. it’s when our chihuahuas bark excessively that it becomes a problem for all concerned, including the neighbors. the goal isn’t to to stop our chihuahuas from barking, but rather learn how to control the excessive barking.
the fact is, chihuahuas bark. they do it when they’re excited or when they sense danger. some do it when they’re bored – or worse, for no reason at all. in these cases, you want to teach your chihuahua that barking is only permitted under certain circumstances.
the first step in modifying this problem is to determine the reason why your chihuahua is barking in the first place. once you’ve identified the cause or trigger, you can then plan your training solution.
why do chihuahuas bark?
- to express their needs (being bossy).
- they are staking out their territory.
- to alert other members of their pack (that’s you and your family) of impending danger.
- when playing, just through sheer excitement.
- barking at other animals. depending on where you are in the world, it could be squirrels or any other small animal.
- if they are isolated.
- some chihuahuas bark excessively when separated from their pack (you and your family).
- if they are trapped behind some type of barrier like a fence or window.
- just for fun!
- to express dominance (puppies normally test you out at some stage with a display of dominance barking).
- they bark because their owners have inadvertently rewarded excessive barking in the past (this is crucial to understand)
- through boredom or a lack of physical and mental stimulation.
- may feel stressed or uncomfortable for some reason. things like feeling threatened or if they don’t have an appropriate place to sleep can cause excessive barking problems.chihuahuas that haven’t been properly socialized often become nuisance barkers.
- may be looking for a response or some attention from their pack.
keep in mind that even though it may appear to you that your chihuahua is barking at nothing, this is not necessarily the case.
this is because your chihuahua has a much more acute sense of hearing, smell and sight than us humans. your chihuahua’s excessive barking is probably being triggered by something.
how to stop your chihuahua from barking
the most important piece of advice to remember when trying to modify any dog behavioral problem, is to clearly communicate to your chihuahua what is acceptable behavior and what is not.
one of the biggest mistakes us chihuahua owners make is to inadvertently reward our chihuahuas excessive barking. we actually encourage and reinforce the barking problem when we commit these three dog training sins:
- yell and scream at the chihuahua – this just gives them the attention they were crying out for.
- let them inside. If your chihuahua is barking his/her head off outside, then you let it in, this just rewards the barking.
- if your chihuahua is barking and you react by giving him/her a comforting cuddle or a treat of some sort, you are definitely encouraging your chihuahua to bark again. by doing this you are communicating to your chihuahua that you are happy with them. you should be making it clear that his excessive barking is inappropriate.
training techniques to try and reasons why your chihuahua barks
chihuahua goes crazy every time the phone rings
this is a very common and annoying time for chihuahuas to bark excessively. try these training techniques:
- never yell at your chihuahua.
- get your chihuahua used to the phone ringing, don’t make it such a big deal. ring your home number from your cell phone or get a friend to keep calling you. when the phone rings just sit there, don’t say or do a thing. repeat this process over a few days, your chihuahua will probably continue to bark for a while but will give up before long.
- if you give your chihuahua basic obedience training, behavioral problems such as excessive barking are easily controlled. your chihuahua looks up to you as their pack leader and is eager to please you in any situation. teaching the quiet! or stop! obedience training command will soon correct nuisance barking problems.
- you may have some success by changing the tone and volume of your ring tone.
chihuahua barks when you are not home
chihuahuas are social creatures, when they are separated from their owners they can become stressed and frustrated. this type of excessive barking is often caused by separation anxiety.
- keep your chihuahua well exercised (physical and mental) and provide fresh water, chewing toys and a nice comfortable place to sleep. you can also try to block your chihuahuas view of the street or other distractions. basically, make sure your chihuahua is happy.
- if you know your chihuahua has been barking while you have been away, you must ignore him/her for a while when you return home. this is difficult for lots of chihuahua owners, but if you don’t do this your chihuahua believes that their barking is the reason you came back home to them. just go about your business for a little while when you get home, ignoring your chihuahua. when they have settled down, you can then initiate contact with them.
- this next method takes time and patience, but can be a very effective. it’s based on that important rule applicable to all training situations. praise or reward when your chihuahua does something good, create a negative association when they do something bad. leave the house as you normally would, but just hide somewhere nearby. when your chihuahua starts to bark spray him/her with water or throw a tin can full of coins or rocks in their direction (this is the negative association). try to keep out of your chihuahuas sight while doing this if possible. go and hide again, if he/she is quiet for a while, go in and reward their good behavior with some praise and maybe a treat. this process may need to be repeated over and over until you have broken the excessive barking habit.
chihuahua barks for attention or to demand something
this is one excessive barking problem that can be corrected very quickly.
- if you establish yourself as the pack leader or alpha dog in your owner-chihuahua relationship, this type of barking problem won’t occur. you’ll also form a strong bond with your chihuahua based on trust and respect.
- another effective method you can try to stop this attention barking is simply ignoring your chihuahua. your chihuahua will probably become frustrated and bark a lot initially, but once they realize that it is not getting them anywhere, they will stop. this training method can be hard on the ears for a while!
chihuahua barks at passers by
workers like the postman and delivery driver’s are constantly being barked at throughout their day.
- your chihuahua perceives these type of people as intruders or a threat to their territory. they bark and every time they bark they are rewarded as the intruder goes away. your chihuahua is then very pleased that they have averted this threat, which leads them to do it again and again. their behavior is reinforced and therefore this can be a difficult problem to turn around.
- if possible, you could try to block your chihuahuas vision or access to the area where these people pass by.
- if your chihuahua consistently barks at a particular person, you may need this person to help modify your chihuahuas behavior. just say your chihuahua gets really agitated each time the postman arrives. have a chat to your postman and give him some of your chihuahuas favorite treats. each time they deliver to your house, they can also deliver a tasty treat to your chihuahua. in your chihuahuas mind the postman goes from being a threat, to a welcome guest.
if you consistently apply the above training techniques and add a little patience, you should have your chihuahua under control before long.