chihuahua training: learn how to stop your chihuahua from barking!

nadia chihuahua facts, chihuahua training 125 Comments

stop chihuahua from barking

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.

“is a chihuahua the right pet for you?   find out in caring for your chihuahua made easy:  breed information, health care and nutrition.”

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:

  1. yell and scream at the chihuahua – this just gives them the attention they were crying out for.
  2. let them inside. If your chihuahua is barking his/her head off outside, then you let it in, this just rewards the barking.
  3. 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.

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Comments 125

  1. Elizabeth

    Swirt them with water.(Don’t do the can thing my chihuahua is now scared of cans because he is worried about the noise.) I have cushions from italy(cost a small fortune!) and my chihuahua thought “nice chew toy!” so every time he chews them i swirt him it really does work. He never does it now! Hope this helps.

  2. Xena

    My chi baby is about 7 years old. She barks when I am gone, and barks if I am outside talking to anyone or if anyone is over. She barks with an ear piercing bark. I have tried every method I could to train her. I’ve bought countless books, ask the vet, called dog trainers……she will not stop barking. I have clocked her screaming from 7 am till 8 pm at night non stop. I really do not want to have her vocal chords snipped because its a horrendous procedure. Wait it out till she gets tired of barking???………. she never tires of barking. Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! her brother is sweet and does not bark like she does.

  3. Faith

    hi i am a first time chi owner she is 9 weeks old and she has just started barking but i can i stop her when she is in her carrier when i try to eat and she is in her carrier she will bark/meow how do i stop this

  4. poohbear

    I have a girl chi she barks at anyone who comes in my room.How can I stop that she knows everyone why dose she still bark at them.

  5. lisa a

    Hello. My 4 year old jasmine barks when ever someone comes into the home and will not calm down. It is the worst with my boyfriend. She growls and barks at him. He will sit down and she will love on him. But as soon as he stands up she is all about barking again. She even nips at his feet. What can I do?

  6. lacosta

    I have a 1 yr old female&2 yr old male,well they would have stillbe barking But lol they compete to see if they can get the appraisel for the protection,Now she has 4 Newborns 2 weeks Old and he sits lol On a pillow with her beside there babiesw like parents adults )HUMANS AND BARK LIKE CRAZY……..But its only when we have new pple………..If your dog barks alot there is this thing called no bark it awsome for about 5-10$ at your roses,anywhere they sale as seen on tv stuff(walgreens)family doller.Hope this helps

  7. kerry

    I have two chihuahua’s both purebreads one female and one male. The female was potty pad trained but will still go in the house I have had her for three years now and have not been a lazy owner I have tried everything to get her to just go on her bathroom pads but it just seems hopeless. My male dog wont stop marking in the house he marks everything and I am at my wits end he is four I love him but if I cant stop his behaviour I will have to get rid of him. Both chi’s bark at nothing and when company comes they never stop barking . please help

  8. Billy cadzow

    I have one for you, My 50 yo neighbor has a pup from her mother that is now 2 yrs and barks at everything, i think even at herself.. I am printing this for him and Oh lord I hope it helps. He just cotles the dog and rewards bad; even very bad ( like barking at me when i move in my own home) I cannot take it! hopefully this will help… will let you all know for your own personal encounters with a neurotic dog (OWNER)

  9. paul leader

    help.i have got a 2yr old male chauchaua,every time when we have any visitor’s he constantly barks at them when they come into the house,and he is even worse when they, or me and my wife leave the house he gets quite nasty,please advise us has to what we can do to help this situation,he is so wonderful apart from this,we love him to bit’s.many thanks.

  10. coco dog

    My 9 week old female puppy chihuahua will not shut up for hours i even put in the walkway where its sound proof but it so loud i can hear it from up stairs please help me what should i do?

  11. marvie

    my chihuahau is a 5 year old male. He is a happy dog and eats well. Actually he is a little overweight. He runs and plays without prompts and appears happy. About 2 months ago we noticed he will shake his left leg with very fast short stokes before walking or while walking. He also about a 2 inch long and 1/2 wide hair loss on this same leg. What may be the problem with the leg and hair loss. He sees the doctor regularly and they did not give us any rational for this problem – If it is a problem.

  12. Rexxie

    I have a 6 year old male chihuahua. He barks when there is a knock at the door and at other people when walking in the neighborhood. What can be done to help him stop doing this?


  13. Heather

    I have a 3 month old male chihuahua, he is well behaved for his aged except for his barking. I know chihuahuas tend to be “yappers”, but he barks at everybody he does not know, or people who just walk by. Are there any tricks, or things I can do to make this stop. I do not want him to appear to be a mean dog, because he is the most loving puppy ever. Any suggestions??

  14. Pauly

    Socializing your chihuahua at an early age is a great way to prevent excessive barking at other dogs. Barking at people for example knocking at your door, is it such a bad thing? I like the fact my chihuahua lets me know if someone is at my door. chihuahuas that bite and snap at people are easily trained it just takes consistency, patience and the correct training steps.

  15. blondie13

    my dog, paco, barks at the doorbell, people nocking, or at people going up the stairs. he cant stand one of my brothers friends, he freaks out when he sees him, ive told him not to mess with him but, he tries to kick him. how do i fix these problems? hes also really picky. is 8 lbs ok for a 2 year old chihuahua? he snaps when someone moves him around when hes trying to sleep, is there a way to fix this behavior?

  16. Amanda

    hi i have a 4 month old female chihuahua. whenever i leave the house (even though she always with somone never alone) she howls and whines for me until i return home. i was wondering will she ever grow out of it or is there something i could do to get her to stop?

  17. laura

    Hi Sally,

    I’m learning how to train a 6 month chihuahua, how exactly do you ‘claim’ your territory?

    My 6 month chihuahua is starting to bark at new people in the house and new people in my office, I cannot have her barking in my office or she will have to stay home. Anything I can do to keep her from barking is vital!

  18. Sally

    I took Mojo to a Petsmart Puppy Class. It’s basic socializing and basic obedience. I think Mojo benefited greatly from it. I would recommend similar classes to anyone who has access to them. I also crate trained him which dealt with separation anxiety.

    Regular exercise is a must – walks or extended play and practicing obedience/tricks when it’s too cold out, and regular visits to my folks’ house to play with his extended pack there.

    I ‘claimed’ our condo as my domain – so Mojo does not feel the need to defend it himself. He will give an alert bark when someone knocks on our door, or excessive noise of people/dogs in the hall. One signal from me, and he returns to me and is quiet.

    I think I lucked out with my Chi – he’s not perfect, but he’s a wonderful little soul, but combining all these helpful methods and techniques has made him a great condo dog too. 🙂

  19. nikita

    My puppy always barks when we are eating or he wil sit on the floor with tail wagging and barking how can I stop it

  20. Post
  21. Shana


    I came across this site and I need help FAST. We have a maybe 6 month old Chi and she barks at my step dad whenever he’s around or makes any noise! We just got her last night and we have til Thursday or so to make her stop being so afraid of him, cause she evened peed. We don’t know what to do!
    Please help, I was thinking of buy the craig’s paw thing. How fast does it work?

  22. Post
    famous chihuahua editor

    Have you tried spraying him with a little water gun every time he starts to bark in the car? it won’t harm him, rather startle him and then make him realize that if he continues to bark he will get squirted, then after a while you just point it at him without actually squirting and he will be conditioned to stop without even having to squirt!

  23. Joanne

    I recently adopted a male chi (1.5 years old) named Buddy. He really is a good dog but does have some “baggage”. We are trying to house train more effective and he does have excessive barking when in the car. We are getting the house training under control but the barking when in the car is problematic. When we are sitting with him in the car and he sees anything move outside he goes crazy. Do you have any advice?

  24. Sarah

    My Chihuahua is staying with my mom in a Duplex. When she gets home she lets him out to do his business, but if he is left outside too long he will bark, not at the door just at “something”. She does this again before she goes to bed. In the past two weeks one of her neighbors has called animal control about his barking. In the town it is a violation to have barking dogs, I have never heard of that before. She has gotten several notices on her door. I think that if it keeps going the fine can be up to $500. How can I get my dog to quit barking and not end up in the pound or have fines?

  25. Angie

    I’ve not had time 2 read ALL of these RE:barkng? But I live in an Apt Complex & have 2 ChiChis, both bout 3 y.o. I wuz concerned bout their “excessive barking ” when they saw/heard sum1 outside. I bought 1 of those $10 items @ Walmart (off TV) called “BARK OFF”… it stays ON & I set it on LO… it actually works?! Weird?

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