All dog owners love their pets.
They love the things that a dog adds to the quality of their lives. For so many people, growing up with a dog as a companion and ‘best friend’ is what fond memories are made of and seen as being an essential to a happy childhood.
We learn so much from our dogs.
Loyalty, devotion, unqualified love, forgiveness and even enthusiasm are just some of the desirable character traits that any child can learn following the example set by their dogs.
Chihuahuas are a special breed that can add more quality to our lives than some other breeds. At least that is what their owners will tell you!
But, Chihuahuas can have some behavioral issues that left unchecked can become real issues. One such issue is inappropriate barking.
Why does my Chihuahua keep barking?
That’s a really great question!
Barking relentlessly and at inappropriate things is something that seems to come naturally to many chihuahuas. Who would have thought so much noise could come from such a small dog?
The truth is there may be a number of reasons.
#1 Seeks Attention
Sometimes, it is simply your Chihuahuas way of trying to get your attention and let you know he needs something important. Things like food, water or to use the bathroom are all reasons he will bark at you.
#2 Being Defensive
At other times, your dog may be in ‘protection mode’. His instinct is to defend his home and his human friend.
#3 Being Alpha
Then there is his need to establish that your home is his territory and that he is in charge, and the leader of the pack. He is not of course - but he needs to learn that.
Sometimes your dog will bark simply because he is bored. He wants to attract your attention because he wants you to play with him.
Finding out WHY your chihuahua is barking is the first important step to stopping it bark excessively.
Remember, as with any breed of dog, barking comes very naturally to your Chihuahua. But by working together, you can help your Chihuahua to learn when barking is appropriate and more importantly, when it is not.
Why does my Chihuahua bark at everything?
It’s very important to talk about the context of his barking.
Maybe your Chi loves to spend time looking through the window. Then, he starts barking at anything that get his attention. Things like someone walking by, the mailman stopping at the mailbox or even the child next door riding his bicycle. If that is what is happening, your Chihuahua barking because he is ALERT.
This is actually a normal, healthy behavior for your little guy. He has seen or heard something, and he wants you to know what’s going on. He sees that as his job.
But you find it annoying...
An easy way to fix this alert barking is by giving your dog interesting things to do and dogs toys play with. Your Chihuahua is highly intelligent and if he has nothing to do he will find something interesting to occupy himself.
Just check out our guide to the best toys for Chihuahuas and pick that is engaging and stimulating for him.
How do I get my Chihuahua to stop barking?
Here's how to train a chihuahua not to bark.
If it barks at strangers
If your Chihuahua barks when someone comes to visit you and continues to bark when they enter your home – he is anxious.
Maybe he is afraid. Maybe he’s wanting to protect his space or maybe he is just unsure because he does not recognize the person or their scent.
When a guest comes into your home and your Chihuahua won’t stop barking at them, it can be both upsetting for your visitor and embarrassing for you. After all you invited the person into your home.
Remember, the underlying problem is that your Chihuahua is afraid.
The quick and easy fix is to pick up your dog and introduce him to your guest. Let him smell their scent while you are reassuring him. Once the little guy knows your guest, he will not bark at them in the same way again. He will be pleased and excited to see them.
If it barks at something or someone outside
When he is barking at something outside, go to your Chihuahua and look out if the window with him. That way he will know that his job is done. He will stop barking and look at you to see what his next job might be. Simply yelling at him from another part of the house will not help. In fact it may well reinforce the dogs thought that something bad is happening.
If it barks when anyone leaves or when specific people leave
Barking just when an owner leaves is very common and most dogs eventually settle down. However it if continues to bark, it's important to understand why. It is likely he wants to be fed, wants to exercise/play or because it has separation anxiety with those people.
If your Chi is barking from being left alone at home, music research suggests classical music can reduce barking behavior and helps relax dogs suffering from separation anxiety. Consider leaving on Classic FM to curb this behavior in your Chi.
Make sure he is also well fed, has had plenty of exercise and has relieved himself before you leave the house!
How else can I stop my Chihuahua from barking non-stop?
Remember your dog is a pack animal.
He needs interaction. If he does not get what he needs, he will become lonely, bored and he will start missing you.
Barking is the one way your dog communicates.
It is your job to interpret the bark depending on the circumstance and situation.
Get to know your dog.
Learn what he needs in the moment.
Training your Chihuahua not to bark will only happen when you learn to understand each other.
Remember shouting at your dog when he is barking will never help.
He will think that he’s doing a good job and that you are joining in. So he will probably bark all the more.
Two very helpful commands to teach your Chihuahua are ‘quiet’ and ‘speak’ and using positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage your Chi to behave in a certain way (in this case to not bark) by rewarding it for showing sings of behaving that way.
When teaching your Chihuahua to stop barking use the command ‘quiet’ in a firm, measured tone. Hold your finger to your lips. Dogs pick up on visual signals sometimes quicker than they do verbal commands.
Then every time he stops barking, even if only for a moment, praise him and reward him with a treat. Your Chihuahua will soon get the message and your persistence will win in the end.
‘Speak’ is simply the command you use when you WANT your dog to bark.
If the barking still persists, consider getting help
If your Chi continues barking after all your attempts failed consider getting help from a dog trainer or behaviors. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and how to get it to stop.
Another option is an online video based training course. Our two favorites for tackling excessive dog barking are behavior are Doggy Dan's The Online Dog Trainer and Adrienne Farricelli's Brain Training for Dogs.
Both are excellent dog behavior products to help stop a Chihuahua barking!
The Online Dog Trainer offers complete training from puppyhood to becoming the pack leader in your household. You will learn how to train, address behavioral issues and understanding your dog's body language through interaction with your pet and training.
Brain Training for Dogs uses force-free training and positive reinforcement techniques to develop your dog's intelligence and eliminate bad behavior such as barking, whining, aggression and more.