Do you have a living security sensor at home?
One that is always alert.
And reacts to EVERYTHING?
But instead of a siren…it produces a high-pitched bark.
And you can’t turn it off no matter how hard you try?
Oh well, you must own a Chihuahua then. You might be wondering why they love to do it. And what you should do to stop this madness.
This article will help you understand your Chihuahua’s behavior.
Keep on reading to discover:
- Whether it’s only normal for them.
- What things cause them to howl at night.
- 17 reasons why Chihuahuas love to do it.
- Why they snarl and act fierce at other dogs.
- What makes them always bark at strangers.
- 3 effective tips in toning down their excessive barking.
- And many more…
Table of contents
Do Chihuahuas bark a lot?
Chihuahuas bark a lot and often. They’re natural watchdogs and can sense everything even from afar. They rely on their acute sense of hearing for protection. Another reason why they bark so much is that they’re very loyal and protective to their owner. They bark to warn them of any potential danger.
Why do Chihuahuas bark so much?
Chihuahuas bark so much because of their protective nature, too much excitement, hunger, anxiety, loneliness, pain, dementia, and when dreaming. They bark at strangers and other dogs due to territorial instincts and fear. Sensitivity, lack of exercise, and group barking make them howl at night.
17 reasons why Chihuahuas bark so much (at everything)
#1: Chihuahuas can be overprotective
Isn’t it nice to have a dog who wants to protect you at all costs?
It’s in Chihuahuas’ nature to be very loyal to their owner no matter what.
That’s why they’re excellent watchdogs. And you might attest to this, right?
Some people may perceive the behavior as a cute endearing one. But what do Chihuahuas do to protect?
They bark. Just like any other dogs. They do it to alert their dog parent if they sense something.
But, Chihuahuas may do it at anything. Even at the sound of a doorbell, a harmless passerby, a paper, the sound of pulling a drawer, a footstep, etc. You name it.
Those high-pitched barks can become annoying at times. But it’s their way of letting you know that something’s off. Or someone’s nearby.
The good thing is, it can be toned down if they’re trained properly.
#2: They’re dreaming
Dogs do dream. You’ll know it if they twitch a lot and breathe faster.
But sometimes, they even make sounds.
They can bark, growl, or whimper. This usually occurs during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, where dreams happen. They can enter it as fast as 20 minutes after falling asleep.
But have you ever wondered what dogs dream about?
VCA Hospitals reports that they dream about doggy things. It can be their favorite daily activities or things they love most.
For example, dogs can even move while sleeping. That happens if they’re dreaming about having a thrilling chase.
So if your Chihuahua is barking a lot during sleep, they might be yapping in their dreams. They’re just reliving their all-time favorite hobby in their mind.
#3: They’re just excited to greet you
Let’s say you just got home from work. And upon entering the door, you’re welcomed with lots of barking. Accompanied by some intense bum-wiggling and tail-wagging.
Your dog isn’t mad. They might be doing it because they couldn’t handle their excitement.
Chihuahuas love their humans a lot. Don’t they?
They can become so clingy that whenever you leave, they get sad and upset. And can’t wait for your return.
And that must be the case for you. They’re just so happy to greet you for coming back. That they wouldn’t stop yapping unless you stroke or cuddle them.
#4: They’re having a blast
Well, it’s good if your Chihuahua is barking excessively because of this.
This might be their way of telling you that they’re having so much fun at the moment. It also comes with intense wagging of their tail. They also become more hyper – even more lively than usual.
So don’t worry. You’re a good dog parent. Your little pooch is just having the time of their life.
#5: They need something
“Please help! Heeelp!” is what they might be trying to say.
Dogs bark to communicate. Because obviously, they can’t speak. And it’s their only way to convey what they feel.
They usually bark if they feel hungry or want their bowl to be filled with clean water. Or when it’s time to go outside to play or go potty.
They also do this when asking for help.
They might be stuck somewhere and can’t get out. Or they can’t reach their favorite toy and they want you to get it for them.
They say looks can be deceiving.
Well true enough. Because these dogs can get ferocious most of the time.
They bark as strongly as they can. Especially when they encounter other people. Or other larger animals.
But behind their wild act are small dogs just trying to protect themselves from any danger.
You’ll know it once they show their teeth while growling. That’s usually a sign that they’re going to attack at any minute.
#7: They suffer from anxiety
Is your Chihuahua always left alone?
If yes, they’re doing it because they’re lonely. They may also be suffering from separation anxiety.
This condition can be observed in many Chihuahuas. Because as mentioned before, they can be too needy. They always want to be right next to their owner every minute.
They’ll have such a hard time once they get separated from their humans. As a result, they’ll become anxious and stressed.
Aside from barking, they may also show other unwanted behaviors. Such as chewing your things at home and frequent howling.
You might also be interested in: Can Chihuahuas Be Left Alone (At Home)? 5 Dangers + 11 Tips
#8: They need attention
Does your Chihuahua bark at you while whimpering? Then scratches your leg with their tiny paw and with their little snout forward?
Trust me, they aren’t being aggressive towards you. They’re only begging for your attention.
Same with their constant need to be with you, they need regular care too.
So think about the activities you did with your dog lately.
Did they get enough playtime for the past few weeks? Did you make time and teach them some tricks? Have you two bonded recently?
If not, well maybe it’s time you give them what they need.
#9: They’re in pain
Sometimes, barking is also a sign of discomfort.
They might be telling you that there’s something that bothers them. It could be anything. Like loud music playing on the radio, critters or frogs near them or their bowl, or even your singing…
If they also seem to be less active and playful than usual, they might be in pain. There may be something wrong with their body or in their surroundings.
Don’t forget to check out: 7 Reasons Why Chihuahuas Are Limping & Run On 3 Legs
#10: Dog dementia
Does your older Chihuahua bark way too often nowadays?
Based on a study, its prevalence in dogs over 8 years old ranges from 14% to 60%.
Dementia is the aging of a dog’s brain. Wherein their memory and ability to understand something decline as they age.
As a result, they’ll have a slower response to things. And will develop several problems in behavior – including excessive barking.
They might be doing it due to anxiety, memory loss, or for no clear reason.
Reasons why Chihuahuas bark at strangers
#11: Strong territorial instincts
They may look cute and small. But Chihuahuas can come at anyone who tries to invade their space.
What they consider territory can be anything. It could be the house, their bed, the yard, or any area they usually stay in.
They might also get angry if someone touched their bowl or picks up their precious toy.
They can also attack someone even if they’re eating or in the middle of doing something.
So, if they sense other people walking nearby. Or if a guest is outside the door, they’re going to bark right away. they do it to scare them off and alert their owners.
To them, everything can be a THREAT.
So they usually get more aggressive as the stranger gets closer. And they’re ready to charge if it won’t go away.
#12: They’re reserved around strangers
“Stranger? Or danger?”
They may not be friendly with other people. Even though they’re clingy with their humans.
Some may lash out at people while walking outside, while some may not. And some may only hate strangers going inside or near their house.
Why is that so?
It’s because they feel insecure. They get scared of anything bigger than them. And they cover it up with lots of barking.
They may also have limited experiences with other people apart from their humans.
Past trauma can also be the reason if your dog’s adopted.
But luckily, this behavior can be changed by training. It’ll increase their confidence. And soon enough, they’ll feel more secure with a stranger in the house. Or even meeting other people on the streets.
Reasons why Chihuahuas bark at other dogs
#13: Lack of socialization
Same with the strangers, they may be doing it because they only had few experiences with other canines before.
Despite their petite size, there lies a fierce dog who appears to be brave. And who can growl so much.
Although not intentional, dog parents can pass on their anxiety to their little pups. Some might become overprotective. Thinking they would get injured easily if socialized with other dogs.
As a result, their dogs are always nervous whenever they see other hounds.
They may also do it because they feel threatened by larger dogs. Or had a bad experience with one.
#14: They’re frustrated
On the other hand, if your Chihuahua’s a very friendly one. It might be because they want to meet other dogs so badly.
They bark every time they see one outside. And gets frustrated when they can’t even say hello.
It can also be that they’re used to bumping into other dogs before. Then their routine was changed. Now, they’re locked up and can’t get any nearer to them.
Reasons why Chihuahuas bark at night
#15: They’re highly sensitive
“What’s a good night’s sleep?”
You might be asking this right now. Because your dog’s barking mania doesn’t end after daytime.
Chihuahuas can sense everything even from a distance. Just like other dogs, their sense of smell and hearing are very sensitive.
They might be hearing something you can’t…
Or seeing something we, humans, can’t normally see…
Uhm. No, it’s probably not anything spooky.
It could just be a car parked one block away from your house, a neighbor walking outside, or a mouse in the ceiling.
Note: If they’re barking at the same hour daily. There might be a nocturnal animal or critter living somewhere.
#16: They’re still bursting with energy
Do they get enough exercise every day?
Chihuahuas are perky dogs. They would get excited and happy to do anything as long as you’re with them.
And they could become more hyper if they didn’t get to release all of it during the day.
They’ll be so bored at night. And bark to their content to express their frustration and loneliness.
#17: Group barking
Aside from being sensitive and getting bored, this might also cause them to bark at night.
Your Chihuahua might hear one dog howl. Then another one follows.
And another one… Until every dog in the neighborhood chimed in. Which made them join the fun too.
It’s kind of a follow-the-leader game. And it’s in their nature to go along after hearing one. It’s only a normal response. But could become quite annoying if it happens a lot.
3 anti-bark tips
#1: Use a reward-based training
This is simply rewarding your dog when they do exactly what you want them to do.
By doing that, they’ll start to change their mind. And think it’s best to follow you.
Because who doesn’t love yummy treats? And a lot of affection?
To do this, you might need a lot of treats and patience in the bag.
For example, you want them to come but they ignore you. Don’t yell at them. Or punish them. Instead, be patient and show them a treat.
When they come to you, quickly give it to them. Say a lot of praises too. They’re going to love it!
This method especially works well with Chihuahuas as reported by the VCA. Because it involves food and praises.
Rather than force-based training which will only cause fear and more bad behaviors. It can also affect your bond with your buddy.
#2: Teach them how to “speak” and be ”quiet”
As mentioned before, dogs bark because it’s their only way to communicate.
It’s also very useful especially in times of danger. Like when there’s a burglar at the house, a wild animal around, or something’s on fire.
So, they shouldn’t be kept silent at all times. You should only teach them when to use it. And when to stop.
It’s fairly easy. Just follow these simple steps:
Teaching the “speak” command:
- Make them bark (e.g. knocking on the door) as you say the cue word in an excited tone.
- Praise them while giving treats or their favorite toys.
- Repeat until they seem to understand the cue.
Teaching the “quiet” command:
- Make your dog bark again.
- When they bark, acknowledge it. You can do it by looking outside the window. And checking the door if there’s someone outside.
- Then go back and get your dog’s attention. Say the cue word. And place the treat near their nose.
- Reward them as soon as they sniff it and stop barking.
- Repeat the steps. But instead, make them wait a bit longer until the reward. They should stay silent for a few seconds longer.
Afterward, practice the two commands every day for better retention. Make sure to keep the training short to avoid boredom.
#3: Give them plenty of exercises
Lastly, prevent your dog from getting bored that’ll resort to over-barking.
How? Provide them interactive and chew toys. Teaching them some tricks will also help.
You also need to give them enough outdoor activities every day.
A 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise (like walking, running, or jogging) will be enough.
Note: Don’t do it all at once. Have a 10-15 minute walk twice a day. This is to avoid exhaustion and to give them enough rest.