Would you like to stop chihuahua barking?
Chihuahua barking can be a problem. Chihuahua are excitable dogs and they like a bark. As a Pro Dog Trainer and Behaviour Coach this is the number one thing I get asked about.
The other evening, I happened to be in an extremely large chihuahua fan page on Facebook and saw a post asking how to deal with chihuahua barking. The post has a lot of comments with a vast array of advice being given.
Methods that make chihuahua barking worse?
Some of it was horrifying and ranged from squirting lemon in the dog’s mouth, firing water at it, shock collars, citronella collars, shaking cans of coins at them. It was really depressing that owners believe these types of training methods will solve the issue.
These are called adverses training methods, methods of training that produce an unpleasant stimulus for a dog to try and teach it something.
The error people make is assuming that the dog makes any kind of pairing between the unpleasant stimulus (squirt of lemon in the mouth) and what they are doing, (barking). What is happening is the dog will make the pairing of fear or pain from the training method being applied and the event that they are barking at. Can you see the difference?
People assume these methods work because they stop the chihuahua barking in the moment as dog is momentarily shocked. But long-term it has a very detrimental effect on the dog’s confidence. Creating anxiety and worry as it has no idea where the next bit of pain or fear is going to come from.
For example, a chihuahua barking out the window at a passer-by won’t understand that the squirt of water or loud noise from an air horn is to stop them barking. How could they? All this stimulus does is add more excitement into the situation and increase their worry about people walking by the house. This may then track up to anxiety about being walked outside. Increasing stress and therefore barking at other dogs. Around it goes in a toxic cycle of stress, anxiety, and barking. It withdraws from your chihuahua’s confidence and ultimately your relationship.
Why Chihuahuas bark
Chihuahuas bark because they are hypervigilant to sound and movement. It comes with the territory when you are only 10 inches high.
They spend a lot of time in a high state of arousal or ‘flight or fight’ mode. This means they are going to be full of cortisol, the stress hormone, which changes how they view things.
When your chihuahua sees or hears something they will ask themselves, “what does this mean for me?” then “is it good or bad?” Because they are in ‘flight or fight’ mode and more inclined to be worried by something, they decide it’s bad, and bark at it to get it to stay away.
It is entirely possible to reduce chihuahua barking in a force-free way. No gadgets or unpleasant training methods required. We reduce your chihuahua’s arousal and help them calm down. We work with them to help them understand not everything needs to be barked at. Grow their confidence and tolerance to novelty (new things).
I wrote a book about it, fully intending to sell it, but currently I give it away free. I want to reach as many chihuahua owners as possible and help owners reduce barking without the need for some of these awful training methods.
In the book I show step-by step you how to reduce barking in a kind, force-free way that will grow your chihuahua’s confidence. It’s easy to follow and fun to do.
If you would like a copy, you can get it here. Just let me know where to send it.