Whether it’s a Blue Heeler Chihuahua Mix or a pedigree Chihuahua, you’ve probably come across one that barks a lot and you’re now wondering if Chihuahuas are generally like this. While some Chihuahuas do bark a lot, not all Chihuahuas do.
In this article, you’ll find out what situations can cause your Chihuahua to bark a lot and how to differentiate each type of barking so you know why your tiny pooch is barking.
Do Chihuahuas bark a lot? Yes, Chihuahuas can bark a lot. No two Chihuahuas are the same so some Chihuahuas may bark a lot every day while other Chihuahuas rarely bark at all no matter how much you try to have them speak. There are many reasons why Chihuahuas bark a lot and it could be due to training and genetics.
Do Chihuahuas Bark A Lot? 8 Helpful Reasons
There are various reasons why Chihuahuas bark a lot and it’s important that Chihuahua owners understand what is causing their small pooch to bark a lot. Finding the root cause can help owners control their Chihuahuas’ barking, either through training or change in routine. Here are 8 reasons why Chihuahuas bark a lot.
1. Scared Chihuahua
When your Chihuahuas feel afraid or scared, they may resort to barking. When a Chihuahua sees a stranger or a big dog, he may feel threatened and bark as a way to defend himself. When your Chihuahua barks, it is his way of showing aggression.
A Chihuahua can bark if they are afraid or feel threatened. Here are some situations that can cause a scared Chihuahua to bark:
- Strangers or unfamiliar faces.
- Big dogs.
- Loud noises such as fireworks, thunder, or construction noises if you live in the city.
- Delivery man or woman coming up to your pooch to give you your package.
- People shouting or yelling in the house.
This is actually very normal for Chihuahuas and dogs in general because like humans, they also have the natural fight or flight instinct which is actually key for their survival. While some Chihuahuas are not aware of their size and will confront a big dog to the point that they get hurt, other Chihuahuas prefer to run from threats. If a Chihuahua is caught in a corner, he will feel threatened and will bark loudly to try to defend himself and scare the big dog away.
You’ll know that your Chihuahua is barking from being afraid if the barks are high-pitched and in short intervals. Other ways to tell if your Chihuahuas are afraid of something is if their ears are pulled back with the tail low and in between their hind legs and the coat stands up on their back.
If your Chihuahua is showing signs of fear, avoid touching him because, in addition to barking, a Chihuahua isn’t afraid to bite and cause you harm.
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2. Chihuahua with separation anxiety
Chihuahuas love to be with their owners and will often experience separation anxiety if their owners leave for work or for more than a few hours. Once the Chihuahua is alone, she may start to bark loudly or resort to bad behaviors like digging at the carpet, chewing on their bed, scratching furniture, or peeing inside the house.
Chihuahua barking from separation anxiety can cause stress to both the owner and the Chihuahua. However, it’s important that owners are aware of it and help their precious small pooch become less sensitive to being separated from them.
If you know your Chihuahua has separation anxiety, speak with your vet to find out the best course of action to help with your Chihuahua’s separation anxiety and barking. Separation anxiety in Chihuahua is a behavioral disorder that takes months or even years to treat.
It’s also best to begin by leaving your Chihuahua in the house when you leave. You can occasionally bring her with you as you wish, but it’s important to let your Chihuahua know that she shouldn’t expect to leave with you every time. Allowing your Chihuahua to be with you every second of the day can cause her to act out and bark when you do leave her alone.
3. Excited Chihuahua
Like other dog breeds, Chihuahuas that are excited will react by barking. Your Chihuahua may bark because she is anticipating the following:
- A tasty treat.
- A new toy.
- Seeing the owner after a long day. (My Chihuahua barks the moment I pull up to the driveway before I head into the house).
- Going out for a walk to pee or poop.
Any of these can cause your tiny pooch to become energetic, more alert and they will have their ears perched up. Some Chihuahuas may shake with excitement before barking or they may jump and pace around the house.
How do you know that your Chihuahua is barking due to excitement? Well, it sounds high-pitched and short. Once your Chihuahua receives her new toy or treat, the barking will stop.
4. Chihuahua is highly territorial
Chihuahuas are highly territorial and many people know Chihuahuas as great guard dogs. If a stranger approaches the house, the Chihuahua may bark. This is known as fear barking because the Chihuahua feels threatened by the stranger or other dogs intruding his or her space or territory.
The fear barking is a way to try to scare strangers or other dogs away.
Since Chihuahuas are territorial, the following could be their “territory” and any unfamiliar faces are strangers, which will cause your Chihuahua to bark:
- Their dog bed
- The backyard and front yard.
- Food bowl.
- Water bowl.
The bark usually gets more aggressive as the stranger gets closer to the territory. The aggressive bark also gets louder. When I’m expecting a package and I hear my Chihuahua barking aggressively and loudly, it’s usually because a delivery person is approaching my house. Once the delivery person walks away, my Chihuahua stops barking.
If you allow a friend into your house and your Chihuahua isn’t familiar with your friend, make sure to inform your friend that you have a Chihuahua and that she should avoid getting close to your small pooch. Some Chihuahuas do attack if the perceived threat doesn’t back away from their territory.
Again, the barking is really your Chihuahua expressing his fear. Avoid letting strangers agitate your Chihuahua when she is in fear because your small pup will attack.
Keep in mind that territorial barking is natural. Avoid discouraging your Chihuahua from barking as she may resort to biting or nibbling at the stranger’s heel.
5. Chihuahua with dementia
Older Chihuahuas with dementia may bark because they may have forgotten where they are and are confused. Sometimes Chihuahuas with dementia will bark for no reason and it’s more difficult to train your Chihuahuas to stop barking if they have dementia.
During this time, it’s important that your Chihuahua feels comforted. Chihuahua owners can pet their small furry friends and speak their names.
We highly recommend that you speak with your vet and ask for any medication such as Anipryl (selegiline) that may help. It’s important to keep in mind that patience is key if your Chihuahua has dementia as it isn’t easily treatable.
6. Chihuahua trying to get your attention
Just like a baby will cry to get her mother’s attention, a Chihuahua will bark to get her owner’s attention. If your Chihuahua needs your attention, they will bark.
For instance, 5 months after potty training my Chihuahua, she would immediately run to the door and bark a few minutes after eating her meal because it lets me know that she needs to go outside and do her business.
It will usually sound like a short and soft bark and as soon as I take my Chihuahua outside, her barking stops.
If the water bowl is out of water and your Chihuahuas are thirsty, they will also bark to get your attention to refill the water bowl. Similarly, if your Chihuahua is hungry and hasn’t had their daily meal yet, she will become hungry and bark to let you know to give her some food.
7. Your Chihuahua may be bored
If your Chihuahuas are bored out of their mind because they don’t have anything to do, they may start barking. Chihuahuas, like other dog breeds, need to be both mentally and physically stimulated. If your Chihuahuas are constantly bored, they may cope with boredom by resorting to bad behaviors, which is what owners want to avoid.
Bad behaviors include barking, chewing on furniture around the house with their small Chihuahua teeth, destroying their beds, digging at carpets, and scratching floors and doors.
You’ll know that the barking is due to boredom if it sounds like a monotone bark that is high-pitched and pretty long.
To avoid boredom and bad behaviors in Chihuahuas, we highly recommend that owners provide both physical and mental stimulations such as:
- Tug of war.
- Playing catch or fetch.
- Teaching new tricks.
- Heading to the dog park.
It’s best to give your Chihuahua a small bone to chew on or have dog toys handy.
If you have a Chihuahua puppy, it’s best not to leave him alone for more than three hours. If you have an adult Chihuahua, avoid leaving him alone for more than five hours. Leaving your Chihuahua alone for this long can make them feel lonely and have all that pent-up energy inside them. As a result, your small pooch will bark to release that pent-up energy and let you know that they feel alone.
Some Chihuahua parents leave the radio on or the TV playing so there is background music and their Chihuahuas feel as though there is someone there.
Avoid leaving your Chihuahua alone for no more than a few hours. If you have long work hours, be sure to have a pet sitter or bring your Chihuahua to a pet daycare center so he or she is attended to, which will prevent barking.
8. Chihuahua having a dream
Chihuahuas, like people, may be very vocal in their sleep especially when they are dreaming. Instead of talking in their sleep, Chihuahuas and other dog breeds will bark, whimper, or howl.
If your Chihuahua is barking in her sleep, it could be that she is dreaming so it is not necessary for owners to wake their Chihuahuas up. If you do, your Chihuahua may wake up grouchy and upset and you probably don’t want that.
Many vets will tell you to let your Chihuahua sleep and bark through their dreams. It is not recommended to wake your little pooch up every time you hear her barking in her dream. Doing so can interrupt their sleep and can negatively affect their body and health. Your Chi may wake up tired with fatigue. A Chihuahua needs her sleep and continuously interrupting her sleep can affect her immune system and overall health.
So, Do Chihuahuas Bark A Lot?
As you can see, Chihuahuas can bark a lot if their needs aren’t met or if they feel unsafe and threatened. There is usually a reason why Chihuahuas bark. It’s important to note that not all Chihuahuas are the same so while some Chihuahuas may bark a lot, others may not make a sound.
Since Chihuahuas are small and highly territorial, barking when they feel fearful or threatened is a defense mechanism. Barking in many ways is simply their natural instinct, and has helped with their survival for many generations.
We hope that this article helped you understand why your Chihuahua is barking and what you can do as Chihuahua owners to stop this behavior.
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I’m a pet lover who has years of pet sitting and grooming experience. I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with all pet owners so they can also keep their canine companions healthy, happy, and clean!