Does your Chihuahua bark up a storm at every little thing they see? If so, you aren't alone. Barking is one of the most common problems reported by Chihuahua owners. While some of them may only bark when guests or family members come to the front door, others will bark at the television, vacuum cleaner, broom, radio and practically any other "foreign" object. As you can expect, this can type of behavior can become a nuisance and make life difficult for you and everyone else living in your home. Thankfully, however, even the loudest, most obnoxious Chihuahua can be trained to stop barking.
Much like housebreaking, the best time to start training a Chihuahua their barking boundaries is when they are still young. As they grow older, they will become more set in their ways and difficult to teach. If you take the time to work on basic obedience when your Chihuahua is still a puppy, they will naturally have an easier time learning what's acceptable and what's not in terms of barking. Of course not everyone has this luxury, as there are thousands of owners will full-grown Chihuahuas who are left scratching their heads trying to figure out ways to make them stop barking. Whether your Chihuahua is young, old or anywhere in between, the following utilizing the following methods should dramatically reduce their barking.
Step One - Teach The Basics
The fact is that you can't expect your Chihuahua to remain cool and quite all the time if they haven't been taught basic obedience commands. Most of the families who complain about their Chihuahua's barking haven't spent the necessary time and energy into teaching then obedience. It's all too common for people to decide that they want to own a Chihuahua simply because they are small and cute, and without realizing just how much work goes into raising one. As a result, they allow their Chihuahuas to roam the house doing as they please and barking when they want.
Unless you want them running around barking at every little thing, you must teach them basic obedience commands, such as sit, stay and come. These are critical to owning any dog, whether it's a Chihuahua or some other breed. There are several different ways to teach these commands, but it's usually best to start with a single command and working your way to the next after they learn it. For instance, teach your Chihuahua the recall command by clearly speaking a word or phrase like "come here," and give them lots of praise and a treat when they do. They key thing to remember when teaching your Chihuahua obedience is to stay positive and consistent in your training. Never scold or punish your Chihuahua if they don't immediately pick up on what you are trying to teach them. Once they learn a recall command, move on to the other commands.
Here's a list of the basic commands that Chihuahuas need to be taught:
- Recall command, such as "come" or "back."
- Down (optional, but helpful for Chihuahuas that jump on furniture)
Step Two - Remove Distractions
Sometimes the key to keeping a Chihuahua from barking is as simple as removing the distractions around them. When you hear them barking loudly, go see what's catching their attention to cause this behavior. Perhaps they see someone jogging outside in the road and believe they are too close to their territory. If this is the case, try closing the curtains so they won't be able to see out the window. This doesn't always work for Chihuahuas who bark based on sound alone, but it's usually a huge help in reducing the overall amount of barking done in the home.
Another common distraction that triggers Chihuahuas to bark are other dogs. If your Chihuahua is barking at the neighbor's dog when they are outside, try taking them back inside until the other dog goes away. Alternatively, you could put up a privacy fence to block your Chihuahua's visibility so they won't be able to see any other dogs or pedestrians walking by. These are just a few of the many ways to remove the distractions from your Chihuahua's living environment.
Step Three - The Dreaded "Front Door"
Unfortunately, there are some distractions that you won't be able to remove, such as the doorbell. When a guest or visitor comes to the front door and rings the doorbell, a rowdy Chihuahua may start barking up a storm, making it even more difficult for you to see who's at the door. In fact, this will likely be the most common trigger of your Chihuahua's barking. Even if it's just a family member who lives inside the home, a Chihuahua may still bark when they come in through the door.
So how are you supposed to teach them to calm down and relax when someone's at the door? Depending on your Chihuahua's obedience level, this may or may not be a difficult process. With that said, it's usually best to perform some training drills where someone knocks or rings the doorbell at the front door and then making the necessary adjustments based on your Chihuahua's behavior.
Here's a simple and effective training drill to stop a Chihuahua from barking at the front door:
- Have someone come up and knock or ring the doorbell at the front door.
- When your Chihuahua begins to bark, completely ignore them before opening the door.
- After your Chihuahuas has stopped barking, open the door and let the guest into the house. This method works because it lets the Chihuahua know barking isn't going to affect when or how you open the door. In fact, it's not even going to catch your attention.
- If your Chihuahua simply won't stop barking at the door, you can take a different approach by teaching them the "quite" command. This is taught like any other command by speaking it firmly to them and rewarding them with a treat when they obey.