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Yes, Chihuahuas Do Howl (Video)! 7 Reasons Why They Do It

Do Chihuahuas Howl

You have found the answer to whether Chihuahuas howl. Want to dig a bit deeper and find out what the reasons for this are?

Read on for more info on:

  • What worries your Chihuahua and makes them howl.
  • How trauma could cause your Chi to howl.
  • What itchiness has to do with howling.
  • 5 efficient tips to prevent Chihuahua howling.
  • And much more…

Do Chihuahuas howl? 

Chihuahuas howl frequently. Their high-pitched voice means they’re not as loud as most breeds. However, they may still join other howling dogs due to their pack mentality. They may also howl in unison with other noise sources, such as ambulances or construction noise.

Why do Chihuahuas howl (at night)? 

Chihuahuas howl at night mostly as a sign of fear or anxiety. Howling is their way of asking for help from anyone nearby. In your case, they may howl to tell you they’re in pain. They may also howl to notify you about suspicious strangers staying near your gate.

7 Reasons Why Chihuahuas Howl

#1: They’re worried about people outside

Chihuahuas are protective of their surroundings by default. When a stranger is out and about at night, it can make them nervous.

If they’re trained, they’ll likely do this simply to let you know someone’s at the door and you need to let them in.

If they’re not, they might howl to ask you to shoo them away. They could also howl to intimidate the stranger and keep them from coming closer.

Generally, the quickest way to deal with it is to send people away or let them come in if there are visitors.

However, there are other ways you can prevent howling before they can happen. These include:

Reinforcing your gate

Many gates tend to have decorative gaps that allow your dog to peek outside. As a result, they consider the area directly outside the gate as part of their territory.

You can fix this problem by covering each hole slowly. Manually cover them with strong materials like wood. This will help your dog understand their limits better.

Discourage nightly visits

Nightly visits can rattle your Chihuahua and make them howl louder. Finish your business within the day. If meeting someone is necessary, suggest alternative spots like cafes to them.

Note: Have a family member calm your pet down if you’re going to leave for the night. If no one’s around, bring your pet inside their crate.

Expose them to more sound

Dogs need to get used to noise and people to be less scared of them. Walk your Chihuahua within the neighborhood each morning. Let them hear people talking during the afternoons. Both of these will help them adjust to people and lessen howling.

#2: They can’t sleep

Howling Chihuahua Can't Sleep

Insomnia is a problem that many Chihuahuas can have especially when they’re younger (1-2 years old).

There are many causes for this. Some studies show that negative social experiences can lead to less sleep in dogs. This may lead to your dog milling about in your yard and howling in boredom.

It may also hint at an underlying sickness. A bone injury, for example, can make sleeping extremely uncomfortable for them. The worst-case scenario often involves pained yelping.

Some pets may also not sleep well due to severe sleep apnea, which stops breathing randomly during naptime. Have your pet checked for injuries or obstructions in their lung pathway. 

You should also ask local dog behaviorists for advice. They can teach your family how to behave in front of your dog or even what treats to serve them.

Note: Keep track of positive or negative changes in their social interaction. Work closely with your behaviorist to get the most results for your pet.

#3: They think there’s a social call

Dogs are social creatures and will often howl when they see their owner or fellow dogs.

In a neighborhood, this can cause a chain reaction where one dog after another starts howling until it’s your Chihuahua’s turn.

Luckily, there’s good news. First, Chihuahuas usually can’t start this chain by themselves since they have a high-pitched voice. They’re a perfect breed for negligible howling.

Here’s an example of their howl. Observe the low volume:

Second, you can take certain steps at various levels to prevent social howling.

Store garbage properly

Garbage can attract stray dogs (and cats) and cause them to howl on site. Put your trash bags in your neighborhood trash can every other day. If this isn’t possible, find a secluded place to store your trash before throwing it at the end of the week.

Note: Keep the bags and containers properly sealed. If the seal is broken, you can get a new trash can or replace the lid with something heavier.

Coordinate with other people

Lost or homeless dogs can make disrupting noises together and disturb your community. Try spreading awareness by asking around for missing owners. Speak with your immediate neighbors and post pictures of these dogs online. Enlist your friends’ help if possible to get the message out.

Avoid blasting loud music at night

Loud noises can also be social calls for some Chihuahuas. If you can’t sleep early, avoid using a speaker or keep it at mid-volume. Play your favorite relaxing, slow music instead of those from loud genres.

Note: Research has shown that classical music has a calming effect on dogs. Take advantage of this and play some Tchaikovsky or Beethoven!

#4: Something has traumatized them

Traumas can make Chihuahuas restless especially if the trigger is close by. Some can have it at an early age due to abuse from previous owners.

It can also be that they sustained a great enough injury such as doors slamming their tail. 

Studies also indicate that natural disasters and extreme weather conditions can also shape your dog’s behavior. They will howl for your attention in most cases.

However, traumas involve more than just howling.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Disobedience.
  • Frequent pacing.
  • Hiding under objects.
  • Increased aggression.
  • Avoiding social events.
  • Extreme defensiveness.
  • Involuntary pooping/peeing.

If you’re planning to adopt a Chihuahua, get as much information about their past as possible. Ask previous owners or shelters for health records or information from other vets.

The more you know about your Chihuahua’s medical history, the easier it will be to remove triggers from the house. 

Note: After getting information, have them checked with your vet too. Getting another expert’s opinion is essential to get the best treatment for your pet.

#5: They feel too itchy

Howling Chihuahua Feels Itchy

It may not seem apparent, but having an itch your pet is unable to relieve is another cause of howling.

This can happen when your Chihuahua is infested with parasites. Maggots can hide in spots they can’t scratch properly such as the area near their tails or even their privates.

If your pet is able to scratch the itch, it can leave gashes. This makes the spot both itchy and painful for your pet. The sensation is enough to cause howling at times.

They may also scratch frequently due to allergens in their environment. Some Chihuahuas can be allergic to dust, causing itching especially if they stay outdoors.

Lastly, they can have allergic reactions to certain foods like eggs or wheat. Owners tend to overlook this since dogs scratch themselves habitually.

Note: If you start to notice a pattern of itching, howling, and constant rolling, go to your vet. Ask them for healthier treats and anti-lice medication.

Caution: Do not try burning parasites away or excessively brushing them! Some owners will consider doing this to save, but these can be more harmful. It’s better to ask for cheaper, safer alternatives from your vet.

#6: They feel alone

Dogs with separation anxiety will often do anything to attract their owner’s attention. Aside from howling, they may decide to break things or disobey you.

This can be problematic at night because you often have to leave your Chihuahua alone.

One thing you can do to remedy the situation is by sleeping [LINK TO CAN CHIHUAHUAS SLEEP IN MY BED HERE] with them. Chihuahuas are fairly easy sleeping partners as long as they have space.

You can do the following things to stay comfy for the night:

Make a barrier

Chihuahuas can move a lot during your sleep. If you don’t have another bed for them, make a barrier using multiple pillows or a thick blanket.

Note: Only do this if you don’t find sleeping with them comfortably. It’s perfectly okay to snuggle and share spaces.

Set up a small ladder

Chihuahuas normally don’t sleep as long as we do. While they may sleep as much as 20 hours, they spread it out during the day. They also need to defecate from time to time.

Having a ladder will let them walk down more easily for pooping. Be sure to prepare a pooping mat far from your bed. This will make sure your Chi doesn’t bark or howl at you so you can let them out.

Place a small doggy bed beside your spot

Small doggy beds are great for puppies. Just make sure to add multiple sheets according to your pet’s comfort level. You’ll need to use a crate for older Chihuahuas (1 year and above).

Note: You can see tip #4 for what to do if you don’t want to sleep with your pet. There are plenty of solutions for separation anxiety, so read on!

#7: Certain noises won’t go away

If you live right next to a busy road, your dog will often hear sounds constantly.

Since dogs have more sensitive ears, they are able to hear loud noises almost twice as much as we can.

This can understandably put a mental strain on your dog, causing constant howling. They may also howl to mimic sound sources. 

Here are some cues that trigger this behavior:

  • Drilling.
  • Loud rain.
  • Ambulances.
  • Neighborly music.
  • Honking horns (during holidays).

The problem is that you can’t get rid of them. Your dog will likely encounter these things all the time and be stressed out about it.

In this case, your role is to train them to live with the noise by desensitizing them slowly.

You can do the following things:

  1. Find recordings of the same nightly sounds.
  2. Play it during the day at low volume.
  3. Give your dog a treat if they don’t react.
  4. Adjust the volume again and watch their reaction.
  5. After a few seconds, give them another treat.

Note: Slowly continue this until the sound surrounds the room. If your dog starts to feel fidgety, consider that as your cap for the day.

5 tips to stop Chihuahua howling (at night) 

#1: Talk to neighbors

Taking care of your dog isn’t just about interacting with them. It’s also about setting the best conditions possible for them. Neighbors in this case are on the table. 

If you have noisy neighbors, talk to them as quickly as possible. Try having a mutual friend stand as a middleman for rapport.

From there, write an informal letter or greet them from the yard. Introduce yourself as their neighbor.

Once pleasantries are out of the way, politely tell them about you having a dog and how the sound bothers them.

During the conversation, find a way to connect.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do they have kids?
  • Do they have dogs, too? 
  • Do they like the same genre of music as you do? 

When you find mutual ground, hold on to it. If they have kids, ask them if they’re also being kept awake by your dog’s howls. 

This will help them understand that mutual noise is a problem that you have to work on as a team.

Don’t approach your neighbor as if you want to discipline them. Ask for any suggestions from them and ask what you can do together.

Caution: Some owners will attempt a lawsuit to get neighbors to back down without discussion. Do not threaten to sue, or things might escalate unnecessarily. 

#2: Learn the Speak/Quiet command 

Chihuahuas are smart dogs. According to Stanley Coren, they are the 125th smartest breed for being able to follow commands well.

This is good news because the “Speak” and “Quiet” commands are essential tools to help pets quit howling.

Trainers often use this command in pairs because it’s harder to teach a dog how not to do something. This means you need to teach them how to bark on command first.

To make them “speak,” here’s what you can do:

  1. Prepare a treat.
  2. Make your dog sit.
  3. Let them smell the treat.
  4. Have your dog bark by saying “speak.”
  5. Reward them for barking.

Note: Make sure they’re familiar with “speaking” first before doing the Quiet command. Repeat it until you no longer have to treat them. Use a clicker to help them learn faster.

Once mastered, teach the Quiet command by doing the following:

  1. Place a treat between your fingers.
  2. Let your dog smell it.
  3. Tell them to “Speak.” Treat them afterwards.
  4. Tell them to be “Quiet.”
  5. Reward them if they stop barking.

Note: Your dog will not go silent immediately since it takes time. Emphasize the quiet command by splitting the treat into two. Reward the Quiet command with a larger cut.

#3: Keep your Chihuahua indoors

Chihuahuas are mostly on their best behavior when they’re indoors.

One of the reasons is that an enclosed space makes them feel safer. They won’t be able to see or hear strangers as much. 

The walls will also provide limited soundproofing. This will help them focus less on howling. 

When keeping your Chihuahua indoors, you need to remember a few things:

Have toys ready

Chihuahuas can sometimes howl to urge owners to play with them even when they are sound asleep. Having chew toys that don’t squeak and food dispensers will keep your pet entertained for the night.

Keep temperatures steady

Most Chihuahuas often enjoy room temperatures of 60-65°F (15-18°C). Their small bodies tend to heat up quickly with activity, so this temperature is acceptable. It will also help them relax and howl less.

Keep the atmosphere relaxed

Don’t expose your Chihuahuas to abrupt or unfamiliar noise during the night. Turn your volumes down and have everyone sleep at the same time (or before) as you do.

Note: Some Chihuahuas will like slightly hotter temperatures. Try to experiment until your Chihuahua finds a temperature they can relax in.

#4: Ignore your pet more often

Ignore Your Chihuahua

If you want to discipline your dog, you sometimes have to be tough on them and yourself.

When your pet tries to howl for attention, the solution is to simply deny them. Don’t talk, gesture, or giggle – nothing. You can even walk away and pretend you didn’t hear anything.

This negative reinforcement effectively tells your pet that howling is not the best way to gain attention. If they start doing something else, reward them depending on their cues.

The best actions you can reward are the following:

  • Staying quiet.
  • Coming to your side.
  • Lying down and resting.

Note: Make this a routine to help them act differently. Tell your family about it too so they can do the same.

#5: Give them their own crate

A crate is a long-term solution for howling due to the security it gives your pet.

Since Chihuahuas howl when they’re distressed, giving them a big crate is the best thing you can do for them.

Default sizes should be between twice or slightly bigger than their body size. Chihuahuas love space, so cater to that when selecting your crate.

Be sure to train your Chihuahua while they’re still puppies. They might be harder to train when they’re above 1 year old.

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Let your dog see your treat.
  2. Place your hand directly into the crate.
  3. Tell your dog to “go crate.”
  4. Reward and pet them within the crate.
  5. Repeat until they are comfortable.

Once they’ve accepted their space, you can tell them to “go crate” when they start howling. Trained Chihuahuas will obey immediately.