Why do Chihuahuas bark?
Chihuahuas are unfairly known as little yappers. It is a myth that ALL Chihuahuas are barkers and yappers. It is true, however, that some seem to bark at the slightest little thing or will bark incessantly when they want attention. This is the behavior that you want to stop. It’s all that barking that makes them great little watch dogs, so you don’t want to discourage them from ever barking.
Did you know that as a general rule, female Chihuahuas bark more than male Chis? Of course, there is an exception to every rule, but this is the case generally. The reason being, it is usually the momma’s job to scare off any intruders that may get too close to her puppies.
Chihuahuas have excellent hearing and sometimes they bark at what we think is nothing because we don’t hear what they hear. There may be someone he feels is getting too close even if they aren’t coming to visit you.
What you want to stop is the incessant barking at the door or when they just want your attention. Incessant barking will drive you and the neighbors and anyone within earshot out of their ever loving minds! Until you want to just put in some earplugs and have a glass of wine. Yep, it’s enough to drive you to drink.
When it comes to teaching a Chihuahua the rules of your home many times it’s what not to do that is as important or even more important as what to do.
What NOT to do
Do not yell at them to stop. Why? Because they think you are joining in and they are happy to be leading their best friend in a good ol’ bark fest. That will excite him and egg him on all the more.
Don’t get frustrated and pick him up either. All that does is make him feel braver because in your arms he feels bigger and protected by you.
Do not praise him for being a good watch dog. Just quietly accept that he is doing his job as your little watch dog. Until you’ve had enough that is. You don’t need to praise them anyway because when the mailman or the salesman goes away, they think their barking scared them off and that makes him feel real macho or her feel like Supergirl.
Trying to stop a Chihuahua’s natural instinct of barking to protect his family will only frustrate him or he might learn to keep quiet all the time. You don’t want that either. There have been many cases when a Chihuahua has alerted his family about fires or have scared off burglars with their shrill bark.
Cute Video Example of Why You Don’t Want Them to Learn to Never Bark
“No” and “Enough”, what’s the difference?
Chihuahuas need to learn the meaning of “NO!” and “ENOUGH!” There is a big difference, however. “NO!”, means “Stop that right now and don’t ever do it again!”. When and how to teach them “NO” is a whole other post and it will be coming soon. If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe to our blog. New blog posts are sent out weekly. “Enough” means “what you are doing is ok for awhile, but it’s time to stop now”. If you want a well behaved and mannerly Chihuahua, knowing these two words and the difference between them is a must!
How to stop the barking (and the chaos, if you have more than one) when visitors come knocking
When a visitor comes to the door and after your Chihuahua has barked sufficiently long enough to carry out his “watch dog” duty, use the word “enough”. if he doesn’t stop immediately, it’s time to start teaching him the command.
Have a friend come over and ring the doorbell. Let him bark a little and then tell him “enough” in a sharp, firm voice. If you don’t have a very forceful voice, clap your hands once. Only once, don’t keep clapping. As soon as he is quiet, give him a treat. You will probably have to do this several times. Do it in sessions with three or four lessons each session.
Another good way to do it is to have your friend come bearing treats. Put your Chi on a leash. Open the door and invite the person in. Give the “sit” command and as soon as he sits, have your friend give him the treat. Again, this will take more than one lesson, but soon he will begin to realize that someone at the door isn’t the boogyman or boogydog.
But my dog still won’t stop barking!
First, make sure that you followed the above instructions exactly and that you gave your Chihuahua sufficient amount of time to learn it (he’s not going to learn it the first time or he’s not going to learn it overnight). If you did, you may have that rare stubborn Chihuahua.
Only as a last resort, get a spray bottle and fill it with water. Follow the first steps above. Let him alert you then use the “enough” command. If he doesn’t stop barking, spray him in the face with the water. This may shock him, but it won’t hurt him. Be as discreet as you possibly can. You want to make him think that his incessant barking caused the water to spray in his face, not you.
Never threaten your dog with the spray bottle and never ever lose your temper!
Yapping for your attention
If your Chi barks incessantly for attention, whatever you do, don’t give in a cuddle him. If you do, you will have a little manipulator on your hands because he will have learned that to get what he wants all he has to do is bark non-stop.
He wants your attention, so ignore him. He will soon learn that the barking tactic doesn’t work. Or, use the “enough” command. As a last resort, us the spray bottle. Spray him only once and don’t let him see it coming. You want him to think that his continued barking after hearing the “enough” command caused it.