Although the breed has many behavioral issues, Chihuahua barking can be one of most difficult to deal with. A large proportion of the members of the breed are almost continually barking at anything and everything they see. Chihuahuas are naturally headstrong, and this can make the problem of Chihuahua barking somewhat difficult to solve, but it can be done with consistent and dedicated training.
In order to reduce or eliminate Chihuahua barking, its cause must be carefully considered. The most common reason a Chihuahua barks is because of what it perceives as potential threats towards itself or its family or its propensity for generally aggressive behavior towards other animals and people, but there may be other contributing causes that create the problem. It is sometimes hard to determine the cause, but there is almost always ample evidence if you look in the right places. Chihuahuas left alone for long periods of time or that is regularly ignored might be barking out of boredom or loneliness. This can be rectified by spending more time with the animal or giving it more activities with which to occupy itself.
There are numerous ways to control Chihuahua barking, but all begin with basic obedience training. Many members of the breed tend to behave stubbornly and assert their will against your own. For this reason, it is important to establish rules and boundaries for the dog early on. This will help to clarify the social hierarchy of the household for the dog and make other obedience training easier later. Beginning this process early on will allow you, rather than the Chihuahua, to set the tone of your relationship.
A dog that barks only when strangers come around is likely doing so because of the stress that company brings. Early socialization eliminates many of the antisocial behaviors common to the breed. Of course, this is impossible if the dogs are purchased as adults, but gradually attempting to socialize the dog might help if this is the case. Unfortunately though, socialization during the adult stage will never be as effective.
In certain cases, the situation that is driving a dog to bark cannot be fixed. In these cases attempts must be made to correct Chihuahua barking through simple reinforcement and punishment. A dog does not deal with the world in the same way that humans do. They cannot be reasoned with or talked to in traditional ways. They must be taught through association. A barking dog must be firmly reprimanded so that it might begin to associate barking with something negative and be less likely to bark in the future. It is not necessary for the reprimand to be excessively harsh, as this will only confuse and frighten the dog. Firm and serious commands should be enough to get your point across. Immediately following the punishment, basic commands such as sit should be given along with rewards for correctly responses. This will distract the dog from barking and provide it with something positive for not barking. With time, these activities should serve to minimize barking and maximize the owner’s ability to control their dog.