If you’re reading this article right now, then you must be dealing with a little Chihuahua that does not stop barking. Been there, done that. My God, they can bark. You wouldn’t think that such a small body could produce so much noise.
Chihuahuas are prominent barkers with a loud and yappy bark. It is very common for this breed to bark more than some other dogs, especially since they are very protective of their owner, and are considered to be one of the top watch dogs.
“How to stop a Chihuahua from barking” must be your number one question right now, but don’t worry – we are here to help you. In the next couple of paragraphs, you’ll find a quick and easy guide on how to get your Chihuahua to stop barking.
Why Do Chihuahuas Bark So Much?
To fix the problem (in our case, the problem is a Chihuahua’s excessive barking), you actually need to find the root of the cause.
To put it simply… if you don’t actually deal with the cause of the problem, you’ll just be masking the issue, and thus, not actually fixing the problem long-term.
There are many reasons why your Chihuahua could be barking excessively, but here are some that I have encountered the most throughout my years of experience in dealing with different dog behaviors:
- Pent-up frustration – Sometimes, barking will be a way for your dog to release all that pent-up energy and desire to play due to lack of exercise.
- Learned behavior – Dogs are very smart, and they can quickly learn that when they bark, they get what they want. If you want to learn more about this learned behavior, I suggest watching this video: “The Postman Analogy”. It’s very interesting.
- Attention seeking – This is a very common dog behavior. Your dog will often bark in order to get your attention.
- Boredom – Many dogs will resort to barking if they are bored. If they don’t receive enough physical and mental stimulation, they’ll get bored, and thus, look for a way to entertain themselves.
- Separation anxiety – Barking is a very common way for dogs to communicate their feelings of sadness, stress, and anxiety.
- Protective aggression and feeling threatened – Chihuahuas are very protective dogs, especially of their owner, so they will often bark if they feel threatened or if they think their owner is in danger.
How To Stop A Chihuahua From Barking
Dog training can often seem very complicated, especially for regular dog owners who are not experienced in dog behavior. Guides that include a lot of steps are not very practical, which is why we created this quick and easy guide that any dog owner can follow.
Step 1. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!
Providing your dog with enough exercise is the key to any dog training. You need to drastically increase the amount of exercise, both physical and mental, because this is the only way to keep your dog happy and healthy.
Chihuahuas are small dogs, but they like to stay very active. Your Chihuahua will need at least half an hour a day of various kinds of exercise, such as walks, playtime, and mental stimulation that can be provided through different puzzle toys.
Sometimes, the right amount of exercise can already be the solution to a Chihuahua’s barking, but even if it doesn’t fix the issue immediately, it will definitely help.
Recommended reading: 6 Actual Types Of Chihuahuas That Are Not Mixes
Step 2. Rebuild Your Relationship With Your Pup
The next step is to rebuild your relationship with your pooch. This is probably the most important step because without your firm guidance and leadership, no training will work.
You need to become a high level canine leader and teach your dog to respect your authority.
How do you do that?
If it is possible, start this when they’re still young and puppies, but it can also work on adult dogs. You need to be calm and assertive, and do not show any fear or nervous energy. Canine leaders are confident, and they communicate with clear body language signs and eye contact.
Set clear boundaries and limitations, so the dog knows that you are the one who rules the pack.
Step 3. Balance Training
The last step to teaching your Chihuahua to stop barking involves balance training. Balance training is basically when you show the dog what you want him to do, and what you don’t want him to do.
CORRECT > REDIRECT > REINFORCE
The important part of balance training is vocal correction; however, this will not work if the first two steps that we mentioned previously are not established. Don’t try to jump immediately to it because in most cases, it will not work.
The whole point of this kind of training is addressing bad behavior – don’t ignore it. What does this mean?
So, the next time your Chihuahua starts to bark, you correct it. Use vocal keywords, such as the exclamations “aa-ah” or “no-no”, followed by a snap of the fingers.
The next part is redirection. You have successfully stopped the bark, but now you have to redirect that kind of bad behavior to good behavior. You need to teach the dog that he needs to be calm and quiet, and you’ll achieve that by ordering him to sit, stay, and wait.
The next part involves positive reinforcement and rewarding desirable behavior. Make sure that you use both treats and vocal affirmation, such as “good boy”, “good girl”, “yes”, and “thank you”.
With time, you can increase the seconds of waiting before you reinforce the behavior. PupVine tip: you can also reinforce the dog when he is calm by himself, which will also teach him that this is the kind of behavior you’re looking for.
We Don’t Recommend
There are some things that people do in order to stop their dogs from barking that we don’t exactly approve of, or we wouldn’t recommend you trying. These are not only bad training methods, but they can also harm a dog if they’re not used properly.
- Physical corrections – We don’t recommend using any kind of physical correction unless it is absolutely necessary. This can include water squirts, prong collars, shock collars, choke collars, and some other forms of physical correction.
- Punishment technique – Punishment is not a good way of management, nor will it help the pet learn how to behave properly. This will only increase the dog’s fear of you, and possibly, its aggressive behavior.
- Never reward a dog for barking – Try to avoid rewarding your dog for barking in any way. Never give them attention or allow barking to be successful. For example, indoors okay, outdoors not.
Hopefully, this guide will help you solve the issue of barking, and ease all your worries of how to stop a Chihuahua from barking.
Barking is normal for dogs. It’s the way they communicate, and a way to tell you that something is not alright. As a responsible dog owner, you should be able to see when something is wrong, and try to help your pooch in the best way possible.
Remember to stay calm and confident, and use a balanced approach of leadership, boundaries, and expectations, and you’ll surely soon see the results. If you do this, you’ll be able to address the issue with success in no time.
Trust the process, believe in yourself, and you can certainly do it.
Read next: Why Is My Dog Barking At Nothing? 9 Reasons