For Chihuahua owners and the dog-less alike, few things in life are as annoying as a pooch that’s barking for hours on end. From the howls of the hound next door to the sharp yap of the mutt down the street, barking is a behavior that is one of the most common complaints about canine companions.
How to stop a Chihuahua barking when we feel we have tried and exhausted every avenue. He will not stop barking!
Why Do Chihuahuas Bark?
So why do your Chihuahuas bark? Well, first, it’s important to remember that barking itself is a perfectly natural way for dogs to communicate-they can’t just say ‘Hello!’ or ‘Go Away!’ Chihuahuas bark when they’re scared, excited, stressed, lonely, frustrated, or just plain bored. Even though frustration may set in with your furry friend’s vocal shenanigans, it’s pointless to yell at or punish your Chihuahua for barking.
Not only will the punishment be ineffective at stopping the noise long-term, but, since it doesn’t deal with the actual reason for the barking, you may end up with a pup that’s confused, or worse, afraid of you.
For many owners, problematic barking happens when they’re away from their pups. Separation from their human family members can be very stressful for some dogs.
The behavior is worse in Chihuahuas who are rescues, or those dogs their owners encourage to be overdependent for attention. Often the owners do not understand there’s a problem with barking until the neighbor brings up the noise, or worse yet, an animal control officer pays a visit!
How To Stop A Chihuahua From Barking?
To solve the problem, however, it’s important to look at the situation through your Chihuahua’s eyes. Dogs are pack animals that thrive on social interaction with their owners. When you are away, they become stressed because they aren’t able to interact, play with, or protect you.
Chihuahuas can show this stress in several ways, including chewing, digging, destroying furniture, peeing in the house, and most commonly, whining and barking. These behaviors are the dog’s only way of communicating their anxiety about the situation. They’re shouting for YOUR help!
Although the most commonly offered solution is to just give your Chihuahua something to do (such as a treat or a toy, for example). For most furry friends, this is just a temporary fix and in nearly all cases not even that.
The key to helping your Chihuahua to relax while you’re away is to increase their confidence and decrease their concern about being separated from you. This needs doing for periods while you’re still at home.
Having a canine companion that clings to you wherever you go may seem cute. But encouraging your Chi’s overdependence will increase anxious behavior like barking when you have to be away from him. You are not doing him or yourself any favors.
To start, here are a few pointers for teaching your Chihuahua to feel more secure with you as their pack leader, helping them to relax whether or not you’re with them:
- Ignore attention-seeking behavior from your Chi. Instead, reward him for calm behavior like hanging out on his dog bed or taking a relaxed nap instead of pestering you when you’re home.
- Exercise your pup, a tired Chi is going to be far less likely to misbehave while you’re away, so make sure he gets a good romping play session or walk-in before you have to leave.
- Find a safe space for your dog to hang out in. Some dogs feel more comfortable in a smaller room or a crate. Others can’t relax unless they can see outside. If your Chihuahua barks out the window, though, keep him in a room that doesn’t have an outside view!
- Don’t make a big deal about comings and goings. Leave the house without a dramatic goodbye, and greet them calmly when you come back, so they learn that these events are no big deal.
- Go through the normal routine that you would before leaving several times, without leaving the house. This desensitizes your Chihuahua to those ‘going away’ cues.
- Herbal remedies (like Canine Rescue Remedy) can help calm some pups with mild anxiety. Not 100% sold on this idea, personally.
- Give your Chihuahua a break in the middle of the day. Having a neighbor or dog walker come in can help give your Chi some extra interaction and mental stimulation. Which helps them to blow off steam and reduces their anxiety.
- Make sure your dog has something to do when you’re gone. Giving your Chihuahua a challenging ‘job’ can help to refocus his energy.
- Try a pet camera and treat dispenser like a Furbo. They are a great idea. It comes with 2-way audio and live streaming. This means you can watch him on your smartphone and talk to him if he seems anxious. The treat dispenser lets you interact with your Chihuahua and keeps his mind off you being away.
- A calming comfort jacket like the ThunderShirt, a dog anxiety wrap, can help relax some pets. But if your Chihuahua has severe anxiety, you may not notice much of a difference.
- Try leaving some music or the TV on for your Chi. It might distract him from outside noises.
One common misconception is that getting another Chihuahua can help with your first Chi’s anxiety issues. This rarely works out the way many owners think it will. Unless you want two Chihuahuas, only get another for the best reason.
Remember, your dog is worried about being away from you, not being alone. And the new pooch may very well pick up on the same misbehaviors. Oops! Now you have two yapping Chihuahuas.
Distractions like food, chews, or toys are just that–temporary distractions. It may take some time and you may need the help of a professional trainer or veterinarian. Build your Chihuahua’s confidence and encourage a healthy bond between your Chi and yourself.
The key is understanding why he’s constantly barking. Then you can stop your Chihuahua from barking when he shouldn’t be.