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Before you get too worried about your Chihuahua barking, keep in mind that it is his only way to communicate with you and the rest of the world. What you should be worried about, is if your tiny terror barks excessively. While you may never be able to completely stop your pup from barking, you can teach him to be quiet and keep his desire to bark to a bare minimum.
In part, it is also up to you to determine when your Chi is barking for a good reason like he needs food or water or to go outside, or if he is just barking to hear his own voice. He might also be barking to let you know there is an intruder or stranger in the house. One thing to keep in mind is that your Chi will not respond to negative or punishment type training methods, they will just make him dig in his heels and refuse to do as he is being asked.
Since you are trying to teach your puppy not to bark like a crazed tiny terror, the first thing you need to do is learn why he is barking. Keep in mind some of the reasons he is barking are justified, while others are totally not. Once you have a better understanding of why he is barking, you can start working on correcting his behavior.
You should also keep in mind while you are trying to figure out why your fuzzball won't stop barking, chances are pretty good the at least he thinks he is barking for a good reason. The biggest thing to remember is that you need to remain consistent, keep working with your Chi until the only time he barks is when it is acceptable for him to do so.
For this one, you may want to wait until after your pup has mastered the four basic commands of 'come', 'sit', 'stay', and 'down'. This way, he has already accepted the fact you are the Alpha in his pack and are responsible for teaching him in the same way his mother would do in the wild. You won't need much in the way of supplies to train this skill. But, you will need a large supply of his favorite treats and tons of patience.
The Caught You! Method
If not, be sure to pick up a bag or two before getting started so you can reward your up when he gets things right.
And now he barks
The next time your pup takes off on his next barking jag, ignore him, but keep an eye on him. In time, he will get tired of hearing himself and stop.
And when he does
The second he stops barking, praise him and give him a treat. Repeat this over the course of the next several barking jags. The idea is to get your pup used to the idea he gets a treat when he stops barking.
Introduce the command
The next time he goes off on a barking fit, wait for him to stop and introduce the "Quiet" command. At the same time, praise him and give him a treat. Repeat this for several days to get him used to associating the command with the action of stopping barking.
To the command and beyond…
Keep working with your pup extending the time between when you say "Quiet" and he gets a treat. In time your pup will simply stop barking unless he has a good reason for it. This can take quite a while to achieve, so be patient.
The Talk to Me Method
Hooked on the leash
Call your Chi over to you and hook him to his leash. This automatically puts you in the driver's seat.
Teach the 'speak' command
Teach your pup to speak on command and then when he starts barking, tell him to be "Quiet" in your "I am the boss" voice.
Give your pup time to wind down and stop barking. When he does, praise him and give him a treat. Keep repeating this so that your pup learns to associate the command with the reward.
It's all about time
Now that your pup has learned to be quiet on command for an instant treat, it's time to teach him endurance. Do this by stretching out the time between when he stops barking and when he gets the treat.
Cement it in his brain
The rest is all about continuing to work on training your pup, stretching out the time between quiet and treats, until he simply stops barking for the most part. Remember, you will probably never get your Chi to stop barking altogether.
The Turn and Ignore Method
A pocket full of treats
Be sure you start out with a pocket full of your Chi's favorite treats to use as rewards.
Find the right spot
Find one of the many areas that seems to set your pup off and spend a little time out there playing around with him.
Let me tell you all about it
The moment your dog starts off on his non-stop barking, turn away from him and completely ignore him. The hope is that your pup will figure out that you don't want to listen to him go on and on.
The light bulb moment
When the light bulb pops on and your pup stops barking, say "Quiet" and give him a treat.
And on we go
The rest is all about repeating this training in a variety of locations until your pup finally comes to realize that he gets nothing for barking his head off and everything for being quiet.
Written by PB Getz
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 03/09/2018, edited: 01/08/2021