How can I get my Chihuahuas to stop barking so much?

I have two 2-year-old Chihuahuas: a male named Sandy, and a female named Zoe. I understand that Chihuahuas are known to be "barkers", but Zoe barks at everything she hears! I think she even hears the grass growing outside!! I have tried those high pitched collars on her, but nothing seems to work. I have a water bottle too that I shake and she just about thumbs her nose at it!!

Is there anything I can do to get her to stop barking so much? My grandchildren won’t come into the house unless I put her in another room. She is a sweet girl otherwise.

Thank you,
Jean Lewis

Hi Jean,

Boy, you have a real pair of “Barkey Barkersons” on your hands!

Usually, problem barkers bark because they are bored or want your attention. If they are used to getting a lot of attention from you, they don’t know how to behave when alone.  Usually, we have trained the dog that if they bark, we will immediately shower them with attention to find out what they want. We want our dogs to be happy, so we spoil them:  our dogs get treats and petting whenever they wish.  It is entirely normal for owners to act this way and entirely normal for dogs to complain when they feel neglected.

First of all, your dog must learn that barking for your attention doesn't work. Try ignoring him when he barks, and reward him with attention and praise when he stops.  If you are persistent and consistent with demanding the behavior you want from him (quiet), then rewarding him, he’ll get the picture.

If the problem persists, contact a reputable dog trainer who can give you additional tools and tips to modify this unwanted behavior.

Good luck!


Written by:
Kristen Levine

July 01, 2010

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