Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dogs, with the largest growing to just 10 inches tall and ideally weighing less than 6 lbs. They are named after a state in Mexico, although there is also some evidence they originated in Europe. For such a small dog they do have a reputation for having a bad temperament. This can include excessive barking which is annoying for both owners and neighbors.
Chihuahuas do bark a lot naturally. In the same way that some humans speak continuously, Chihuahuas are the dog equivalent. The issue with the barking is when it become excessive and disrupts people's lives.
The main reason Chihuahuas bark is because they feel threatened. Because of their size, Chihuahuas tend to be more aggressive to make up for a lack of stature. This means they will also perceive more things as threats, including children, other dogs and unusual objects, whereas larger dogs feel less of a need to establish dominance. Another reason is because the dog feels lonely or neglected.
It is possible to correct this bad behavior. When the dog is a puppy, basic obedience training and socialization with other humans and animals is vital so the Chihuahua does not feel threatened by new things. Getting a new puppy used to things like the vacuum cleaner and telephone ring is also important, as a dog has no concept of what these things are. Positive reinforcement is also important here, essentially rewarding the dog for good behavior. Punishment may also be necessary for both puppies and adult Chihuahuas. Make sure you give your Chihuahua a lot of attention. These are very sociable dogs naturally and like to be fussed over.
Things to Avoid
Do not yell or shout at a dog in training. A major reason for barking is to get attention, and the dog can take the verbal communication in the wrong way. The same is true for trying to comfort a Chihuahua in the same way as you would a screaming child. This again is positive reinforcement for a bad habit.
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