How to train a Chihuahua not to bark?
I think this is one of the first questions to consider when you first get your Chi.
These small and cute dogs are adorable but bark a lot they do! Sometimes, they create a ruckus and you might soon have your neighbors complaining.
Thankfully, there are ways to nip excessive barking in the bud.
In this guide, I will tell you exactly how to train a Chihuahua not to bark. We will also consider specific scenarios like how to train a Chihuahua not to bark at other dogs and what to do to curb excess barking.
Remember: these techniques are proven to stop most dogs from barking but it might take longer for some Chihuahua to see results, especially depending on how long your pet has been at it.
How to Train a Chihuahua Not to Bark?
Be consistent with the following steps and you will soon have a well-trained and quieter Chi:
1. Become the alpha
No doubt Chihuahua puppies – like all puppies – are extremely cute and cuddly. But don’t let their cuteness take over to the extent that they start thinking they are the masters of the household!
Show your Chihuahua that you are alpha and be strict about training and disciplining – whether it is potty training or other house rules.
2. Remove the motivation for barking
Chihuahuas, like all dogs, bark at something because they receive some kind of reward in return. Otherwise, they wouldn’t bark would they? Avoid getting your Chi excited and remove the triggers.
For example, if it constantly barks at people from the window, then close the curtains, or better yet, crate your Chi.
A crate will provide your Chihuahua a safe place for sleeping. It will have fewer distractions too and if it is well fed and well exercised, then your Chi will actually look forward to sleeping in the crate.
3. Ignore the bad behavior
Most Chihuahuas bark for attention. They are tiny attention-seeking dogs that will bark all day for your affection and love.
Avoid looking at, touching, petting, or picking up your Chi when it barks. Next, when it stops barking, go over, pet it, cuddle, it and treat it.
Yes, you will have to be very patient when using this method. A reactive dog can bark for hours – so you will have to stay calm throughout the barking episode.
The idea behind the ignoring method is to teach your dog that barking does not earn rewards but silence does.
You can also combine this with the crate-training:
- Place your Chi in the crate. If it barks, turn your back and ignore it.
- The moment it stops, turn back, reward, and treat it.
- Slowly increase the time that you reward.
- Ultimately, your Chi has to learn to stay quiet even if you don’t reward.
4. Teach your Chi to bark on cue
Teaching your Chi to ‘speak’ on cue or on command is a fun trick that you can use to impress your guests. Also, it can come in handy in curbing the yappy behavior Chihuahuas are so notorious for.
- Keep the treats ready.
- Get your dog to bark – you have to get it excited enough to bark. This can mean getting the leash or running about the room excitedly.
- Next, ‘mark’ the bark with a treat.
- You can also use clicker training. When your Chi barks, click and say the command: say the word -Speak or Bark and immediately reward it.
- Continue marking the bark and rewarding several times.
- The key is to get your Chihuahua to understand that ‘Speak’ or ‘Bark’ gets it a reward.
- Repeat this training several times over the next few weeks.
The Speak/Bark command can be very useful as your Chi can even use it to let you know it wants to go outside for potty.
5. Enroll your pet in obedience school
If need be, work with a dog trainer or a canine behaviorist to prevent unnecessary or excess barking in your Chi. Certified dog trainer can also help you with several other aspects of dog training.
6. Stay calm, consistent, and upbeat
Never yell at your Chihuahua as it will only sound like you are barking too. Stay calm, positive, and upbeat. Be consistent and get every member of your house to use the same commands and rules so that your Chi does not get confused.
How to Train a Chihuahua not to Bark at other Dogs?
Use these steps to train your Chihuahua to not bark at other dogs:
1. Visit an area with other dogs
Conduct this training in a dog park or anywhere else you are likely to meet other dogs. Position yourself between your Chi and the other dog. Keep a safe distance between the two.
2. Take plenty of treats with you
Start treating your Chihuahua when it isn’t barking at the other dog/s. You have to continuously feed your pet tiny bits of treats all the time it sees but does not react to the other dog/s. The goal is to give treats so as to distract your dog’s attention. With repetition, your Chi will start looking at you every time a dog passes it.
3. Know when to stop treating
Discontinue treating when the other dog has passed. You have to eventually train your Chi accept verbal praise and petting and not just food treats.
So continue the same training but replace the treats with praise.
4. Socialize your Chihuahua to other dogs
Enroll your dog in obedience school or puppy kindergarten to socialize it with other dogs. Do this from an early age so your Chi feels confident around other dogs.
Visit friends who have dogs and arrange for doggy play dates at the park. This will help a great deal in preventing your Chihuahua from showing aggression to other dogs.
Why does my Chihuahua Bark at Everything?
Barking is a normal mode of communication for your Chihuahua and you mustn’t stop it entirely. After all, your pet might be barking to communicate something very important to you.
Sure, excess barking can be a nuisance but in most cases Chihuahuas will bark to get your attention or to have its needs met.
Here are common reasons behind Chihuahua barking:
1. Health issue or pain
If your normally quiet Chi starts barking excessively, then please have your vet examine it. Sometimes, aches and pains can manifest as behavioral changes such as excess barking. The pain can be from a fracture, some oral issue or even in a hard-to-access region.
2. Senior dog senility/dementia
Older or aging Chihuahuas often bark out of no reason. Some even seem to be unaware of the fact that they are barking. Loss of cognitive function/dementia is one of the causes of such excess barking.
3. Fearful barking
Chihuahuas often bark during thunderstorms, fireworks, or at loud construction noises. This barking stems out of fear. You might want to consider desensitizing your Chi to loud noises such as machinery, fireworks, or storm, from a young age.
There are special CDs available for the same. You simply play these CDs near your dog on low volume. Gradually increase the volume and play it from different parts of your house. Over time, your pet will no longer be frightened as it gets desensitized to these sounds.
4. Loneliness and separation anxiety
Chihuahuas like all dogs love being in packs. If they are left alone, they tend to feel lonely and even suffer from separation anxiety. This is mostly seen that Chihuahuas that do not receive adequate mental or physical stimulation.
5. Territorial aggression
Your Chihuahua is a possessive little dog and it does not like anything or anyone coming into its territory. So if a stranger or another dog approaches your yard or even your vehicle, it might go into a bout of barking.
Why Is my Chihuahua Barking at Nothing in Particular?
Chihuahuas can bark at nothing for multitudes of reasons.
1. They sense something we don’t
Sometimes, they hear frequencies that we don’t and might bark because of those ultrasonic sounds.
2. It is in their genes
Certain dog breeds like Chihuahuas, Beagles, German Shepherds, etc. were all bred to bark! These dog breeds are notorious for excess barking and often bark at nothing in particular.
3. For self-assurance
Many a times, a Chihuahua will bark at nothing in particular when left alone. This is because of its separation anxiety or it wants to hear its own bark for reassurance!
4. They are unaware of it
A sick or an aging Chi might bark at nothing in particular because everything hurts or aches. Then there are older dogs with dementia that bark excessively because they are not even aware of doing it.
5. For attention
A Chi that wants your attention will look in your eyes and bark to tell you something is amiss: that it wants your attention for something or there is someone in its territory.
Chihuahuas that are unexercised will turn that extra energy into a monotonous, high-pitched inappropriate barking because they have nothing better to do.
What to Do if Your Chihuahua Does not Stop Barking?
Dog barking can be annoying especially when it is excessive. Here are some ways to ensure that your Chi won’t bark without reason:
1. Keep it tired
Make sure your Chihuahua is getting adequate physical and mental exercise. A tired dog will not have the energy left for unwanted barking.
Remember that your Chi is a small dog and it does not need too much exercise. Two to three short walks (10-15 minutes each) per day are ideal.
2. Get your pet fixed
Neutering/spaying is the best way to stop excess barking in young dogs. Unfixed dogs are more likely to bark excessively and call out to other intact/unfixed males/females in the area.
3. Make sure its needs are met
Most Chihuahuas won’t bark without a reason. So do make sure that it is well-fed and has gone potty. If your Chihuahua is territorial barking, remove the trigger. If your pet is cold, provide it with a warm blanket.
4. Consider the use of humane bark collars
Humane shock collar or bark collars make a high-pitched vibrating sound that can curb excess barking in your pet. Use these collars judiciously.
5. Treat health issues
If your Chi continues to bark then see your vet. Sometimes, an underlying health issue or pain may be the cause of the excess barking.
6. Work with a certified dog professional
In case your Chi barks at friends, other dogs in your neighborhood, at family members, or other house pets, then please work with a certified dog trainer or canine behavior specialist.
FAQs on How to Train a Chihuahua Not to Bark
1. Why does my Chihuahua bark at the slightest noise?
Hyper-vigilance is a trait commonly seen in small dogs like Chihuahuas. They are extremely protective and territorial and the barking stems from the need to be on guard at all times and protect the household. No wonder they make excellent watchdogs!
Also, Chihuahuas (like all dogs) have a heightened sense of hearing and can hear sounds four times farther away than humans.
2. Why are Chihuahuas so yappy?
Being small dogs, most Chihuahuas are yappy because their high-pitched yapping gets them attention. Many Chis also yap out of boredom, excitement, or separation anxiety.
3. When will my yappy Chihuahua calm down?
Most yappy Chihuahua puppies calm down by the time they are 12 months old but you must also train them not to bark from an early age.
Also, spay/neuter your Chi to prevent excess barking behavior. Exercise your dog daily and stimulate it mentally with toys to curb unwanted behaviors and nuisance barking.
How to train a Chihuahua not to bark?
The key to training a Chihuahua not to bark is to start early. A puppy will be more likely to learn faster. Also, socialize it to other dogs and make sure to exercise it daily. You can also train your pet to bark on cue using positive reinforcement.
If these steps don’t work, see a vet to rule out underlying health issues. Alternatively, consider working with a certified dog trainer for obedience training your Chihuahua.