Why Do Chihuahuas Bark a Lot?
Chihuahuas are adorable, and they look pretty fancy too. However, there are a few things to ask, do Chihuahua bark a lot?
First up, Chihuahuas are small and can easily fit into your handbag. Second of all, despite their small size, these little canines are incredibly protective and possessive about the things they love. Lastly, they are known for something unbecoming of their size.
They can bark a lot, and sometimes their barking can get out of hand. Sometimes, a Chihuahua barks for no apparent reason, to the point that it almost seems weird.
However, barking too much isn’t uncommon among Chihuahuas. But as a responsible dog owner, you must understand the reason behind your dog’s uncontrollable barking.
To know more about why Chihuahuas bark, keep reading.
Why Chihuahuas Bark So Much?
It wouldn’t be right if you expect your dog not to bark because it is in its nature. It would be unnatural if you expect them to give up barking once and for all. We must understand that barking is a dog’s way of communicating.
However, some dogs, especially Chihuahuas, bark excessively, which can be problematic. To reduce their barking, first of all, you must try to decipher and understand why your dog is barking.
This will allow you to come up with techniques to control it. So without further ado, here are some reasons why do Chihuahuas bark a lot.
Boredom and Lack of Physical Activity
It sounds a little strange, but most of the time, the reason behind a dog’s excessive barking is mere boredom. Although they are small, Chihuahuas are sheer adrenaline junkies. They are fun-size energy bars who need their share of activity throughout the day, and if they fail to get it, they tend to get bored.
All of that energy that is trapped inside needs to be released, and the best way to do that is through barking. So, in most cases, the high-pitched bark that you hear from a Chihuahua is a sign of protest for not letting them have enough physical activity.
If you have heard a Chihuahua, you know their barks can be annoying. However, barking is not the only way for them to release their energy, so take heed. It seems strange for a dog of such stature to demand physical activity, but as a responsible dog owner, if you want your Chihuahua to calm down, you must take them out for walks regularly.
Furthermore, Chihuahuas are incredibly protective and territorial, which isn’t a surprise. Despite its size, a Chihuahua is, after all, a dog, which has descended from the wolf. Dogs and wolves are pack animals, and their somewhat tribal mindset still prevails.
Despite having evolved and being domesticated, a dog as small as a Chihuahua knows how to protect its territory. As well as the things and the people it loves and adores. If they see someone or something strange in their surroundings, they will feel threatened, and to convey their fear and anger, they will bark.
Also, if they see someone coming too close to their owners or behaving in an unorthodox fashion, they may bark.
Separation anxiety is also one of the many factors that make a Chihuahua bark. In the past, a Chihuahua might have been separated from their pack. As small dogs, they have some defense mechanisms, but they do not suffice.
To protect themselves from any potential danger or threat, they need to live in a closely-knit pack of their kind. Living in a pack makes them feel stronger and safer.
Separation from the pack might scar them in a certain way that affects them psychologically. When they are unable to break free from the traumas of their past, they use barking as a defense mechanism.
Furthermore, this separation anxiety acts like a disorder that is passed down from one generation to another, so even if a particular dog hasn’t experienced the trauma firsthand, it might have anxiety.
Natural Selection is one of the reasons why Chihuahuas don’t like being away from their masters. It makes them feel threatened and uncomfortable. To you, it may seem as if the Chihuahua is barking without reason, but that may not be the case.
Unlike humans, dogs have a greater sense of smell, taste, and sound. They can notice the slightest anomalies from a distance. However, if they are barking for none of the reasons mentioned above, then it is probably a learned behavior.
Speaking of learned behaviors, dog owners often make mistakes which have adverse impacts upon the dog’s personality, and therefore, the barking habit develops.
For example, if your Chihuahua is barking for your attention, but you continue to ignore them and then suddenly yell at them, the Chihuahuas will be conditioned to believe that to grab your attention, they need to bark.
Similarly, if your dog comes to you for a belly rub and you are giving them treats instead, they will form a habit of barking for the yummy treats until you provide them with one. All these things are contributors, which make your dog misbehave if their demands aren’t met.
One of the most common reasons behind a dog’s barking is fear. An object that makes a dog fearful or startled often triggers barking. This can happen in your home or anywhere else.
Contrary to popular belief, excessive barking doesn’t always allude to fear and protest. Dogs also bark too much when they greet someone, which in most cases, is their master or another dog. Barking can be a gesture of happiness. In this case, barking can be combined with tail wagging, howling, and jumping.
As discussed above, a dog is a pack animal by nature. When dogs are left alone for an extended period, they get sad and bored. Therefore, they express their sadness and loneliness through barking.
Sometimes, a dog barks because it wants attention. Sometimes, they want you to play with them, while sometimes they might want you to take them out for walks. Dogs also bark when they need to be rewarded for a particular behavior, and in most cases, the reward for good behavior is a yummy dog treat.
What to Do If Your Chihuahua Barks Too Much?
Now that you know the reasons behind why do Chihuahuas bark a lot, let us discuss what you can do keep the needless barking at minimum.
It is in the nature of a dog to bark. Some dogs bark too much, while some don’t. Unfortunately, Chihuahuas fall into the former category, and their owners are often finding ways to reduce their barking.
However, hearing your dog bark is one of the many perks of being a dog person. In the upcoming paragraphs, we will share with you some tips that will help you keep your dog from barking too much.
Territorial or fearful barking takes place when something grabs your dog’s attention, or leaves them stunned. This is the reason why your dog barks uncontrollably when it sees a living being near the fence in your yard.
If you want to prevent this type of barking, you should be able to control the environment. You should try to keep your dog from seeing the potential triggers that compel it to bark too much.
In your yard, privacy fencing can come in handy, as it limits your dog’s sight to whatever happens on the other side of the fence. If you are a tenant, you can benefit from rental units.
However, if you own the place, you should go for privacy hedges. Not only will they beautify the place, but they will also make your yard bark-proof. If the dog lives indoors, you should keep the curtains and blinds closed.
You can also use window coatings to keep the windows opaque so that the dog can’t see what resides on the other side.
Bark Control Devices
Thanks to technology, taming your pets is much easier now than it has ever been. The following bark control devices can come in handy if you are dealing with a dog that won’t stop barking.
A. The Anti-Bark Bird House
The anti-bark birdhouse is a device that produces a sound that your fuzzy canine won’t enjoy the most. This sound produced by this device completely startles your dog and puts a stop to their barking. However, this device only works for some dogs. But, it is definitely worth giving a shot.
B. T-Shirt Press Wrap
This t-shirt press wrap is beneficial to dogs that suffer from any kind of anxiety and hence, bark compulsively. This garment exerts slight pressure, thus calming the dog down, and making them feel safe and secure.
Initially, your dog may struggle to get used to this piece of garment. However, over time, it will get used to it. To get your dog accustomed to the shirt, the best thing you can do is to reward your dog with a treat or a head rub every time it wears this t-shirt without any resistance.
C. The Citronella Spray
This spray is an excellent alternative to the conventional shock collar, which can put your dog through the pain. This spray collar reduces your dog’s barking and makes them feel calm. Dogs aren’t fond of the taste of the spray as well as the sound that the spray bottle produces at every gush.
The Doggy Quite Zone
Sometimes, a dog that suffers from separation anxiety may bark a lot every time you leave the house.
If this is the case, you should form a quiet and happy dog zone, which is away from the door. The dog will be too busy in its happy place that it won’t notice your departure, and therefore, will not bark.
A spare bedroom, the kid’s playroom, or the old laundry room can all serve as temporary quiet zones. Your dog’s happy place should contain the following items.
- A crate stuffed with a comfortable mattress.
- Baby gates or privacy covers to block other areas.
- Colorful stuffed toys or balls to keep them busy and their mouths occupied.
- A noise machine to produce soothing sound effects and keep the dog from barking.
Not everyone has a big home, and you could be one of them. However, that shouldn’t stop you from training your dog. If you don’t have a spare room, you can consider crate training. The crate cover should have sufficient holes for proper ventilation.
Train Your Chihuahua
While the above-mentioned bark control devices can reduce your dog’s barking, they can be painful and uncomfortable. The best thing to do to reduce the barking is to train your dog. Here are some necessary commands that will keep your dog from barking.
- You should make your dog recall the barking triggers, so they are no longer triggers. Try triggers like “recall.”
- Train your dog to bark whenever you command them to do so. This will keep them from barking without a purpose, even when the barking triggers are there. Commands like “bark,” “speak,” can encourage the dogs to bark.
- Condition your dog to respond to commands such as “settle” or “easy” to help them calm down and relax.
- Divert your dog’s attention when a barking trigger is nearby or closing in. If being on a leash is a trigger, teach them how to calm down. Commands like “sit” or “relax,” or “settle down can be useful.”
Desensitization techniques help your dog become more accustomed to barking triggers, which helps them bark a lot less. Such pieces of training require a lot of effort, time, and patience before they can give you valuable rewards. A barking dog can be a pain in your head, even if you are a devout dog person.
Watch the video on training a Chihuahua.
Don’t Encourage Their Behavior
Furthermore, as a responsible dog person, make sure you are not rewarding your dog’s behavior by any means. If your dog barks at you for whatever reason, the best thing you can do is not to react in any way.
You should make your dog realize that you don’t encourage their barking, and you will not reward their behavior. After some time, you will see a change in the way your dog acts and barks.
What You Shouldn’t Do to Stop Your Chihuahua from Barking?
Here are a few things you mustn’t do when your dog barks too much.
- Never yell at your dog, as it would make your dog bark even more.
- Never resort to physical punishment, as that would hurt your dog and create fear.
Should You Visit a Vet When Your Chihuahua Starts Barking Suddenly?
Spending a month or two with a particular dog is enough to understand their behavior. If your dog has a habit of barking excessively for no reason, you can use the methods mentioned above to reduce its barking.
However, if your dog has started barking all of a sudden, then there is something to worry about. In such situations, visiting the vet may be the best thing to do.
In some cases, such behaviors allude to an adverse health condition or an injury that your dog has just gone through. Sometimes, aging dogs find it hard to be as playful and exuberant as young dogs and end up barking excessively.
Last Few Words on Why Do Chihuahuas Bark a Lot
By now, you must have gotten the answer to the question, “why do Chihuahuas bark a lot?”
Unlike other dogs, a Chihuahua can be a nuisance sometimes. To correct their annoying behaviors such as excessive barking, you need to have the utmost dedication and nerves of steel.
To keep your Chihuahua from barking, you need first to find out why they are barking. Once you know the cause, you can address it accordingly. In general, make sure you are giving them the right amount of exercise they need.
Also, do not reward them when they bark, and let your indifference discourage their behavior. As a responsible dog person, always take your dog for walks and don’t forget to play with them.
Moreover, never make the mistake of skipping out on regular visits to the vet. Most of all, make sure you spend sufficient time with your four-legged buddy. This will allow you to delve deep into their mind. If you and your dog understand each other, maybe there won’t be any unnecessary barking.
However, often, dog owners fail to understand why a dog is barking. A dog trainer or someone who has delved into a dog’s psychology can help you decipher the noises your dog is making.
Furthermore, the trainer will also help you deploy the right tools and techniques to make your dog behave otherwise. So if you can’t get your dog to stop barking, get in touch with a professional.
Daniel Bloom is the mind behind the Dog Pages blog. He created this blog for the love his dog, Augustine. He manages his team of contributors who love dogs as much as he does. When he is not blogging, he spends his time cooking and reading. He never misses his daily walks with his dog and loves to play Frisbee with Augustine whenever he gets a chance.