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How To Train A Barking Chihuahua (And Other Dogs With Nuisance Barking)

Nuisance Barking- Chihuahua

The following question comes from a reader of our site:

Hi Ty,
Thank You so much for your interest in my question. I have a 10 yr old Chihuahua. She has always been a barker but we lost our older dog, back in May of 2012 & since then Chloe, our Chihuahua, has seemingly gotten worse. Actually I have noticed since I first asked the question about her barking on your website, she not only barks at my husband when he puts down the foot to the recliner but she also barks at me too. But any other movement that he makes she barks at him! I have thought that she was having some anxiety since the loss of our other dog, since she is alone now, & I am looking into getting another dog. She had always had our other dog ever since she was born. Any suggestions? She is very smart & attentive to me when I do training sessions with her! I have tried ignoring her when she barks, that doesn’t help. I have tried telling her NO, that doesn’t help. I literally go over to her & put my hand in front of her face & then she will let up, but it’s everytime!!! Time after time!
Thank you so much,

Nuisance Barking- Video Response

Nuisance Barking On YouTube

Nuisance Barking- Key Points For A Solution

There are a few things you’ve tried that haven’t worked.  The reasons for why they haven’t worked are simple:

  • Telling isn’t training.  This is one of the things I teach a lot.  Just telling the dog ‘no’ does nothing to communicate what you actually want.  Dogs are physical learners and don’t learn terribly well with just verbal.  Yes, we can teach them verbal commands but if you are simply telling a dog ‘no’ in a stern voice that won’r really do anything to train the dog.
  • Ignoring bad behavior CAN work at times.  It doesn’t work too often, though, and doesn’t tend to even work well when it does ‘kind of’ work.  Just because you ignore her nuisance barking doesn’t mean that the barking itself gives the reward to the dog.

The path I would go down would be obedience related.  She needs to learn to deal with her anxiety and stress and she needs to learn that she’s not the one calling the shots.  I would have her wearing a leash at all times and I would use that leash to teach a ‘place’ command on a dog bed when she starts barking.  The idea is that you want to condition her to learn how to calm down.

Our foundation obedience training program goes into a lot of detail on the obedience necessary to fix this kind of issue.

Training A Dog That Bites And Barks

How To Solve the Problem of a Biting and Barking Dog

The following is a question from one of our readers:

I have a 7 month old min pin who minds good and does all the basic commands.  But he still likes to bite at times when he is playing.  I say NO but sometimes he doesn’t listen.  Also we have a problem with him barking at people and he wont stop until they are out of sight.  How can I fix these problems? I am an over the road driver so every day is something new for him.  Thanks.

A Biting And Barking Dog- It’s About The Relationship

A Biting And Barking Dog On Youtube

Almost always when you see a dog who bites and barks you also see a dog who isn’t respectful.  You mention that the dog is ‘obedient’ but I wonder how obedient the dog can be at seven months?  There are a few things I tell my clients that apply here:

  • You won’t fix a biting and barking dog with basic obedience.  You need to get much more advanced obedience to forge a solid bond of ‘leader/follower’ with you and your dog.
  • Telling isn’t training.  Just saying the word ‘no’, or even worse the word ‘no’ in a harsh tone, isn’t training your dog.  Unless something is going with that word you’re going to find that the dog will quickly learn to ignore it.

A Biting And Barking Dog- Tips

Here are a few things I’d recommend you do:

  • Keep working on that obedience.  Don’t work on treat training.  Work on solid, balanced obedience where you use leash corrections combined with proper praise.  This type of obedience will have an overall calming effect and will serve to have your dog see you in much more of a leadership role.
  • Keep a leash on your dog while you’re driving.  I’d recommend you have a leash and training collar on the dog at all times.  That means in the cab, when you take him out at rest stops, and once you’re back home.  You need a way that you can teach, communicate, and correct when your dog is acting out and simply telling the dog isn’t going to get the job done.  By keeping him on a leash you are in a position to always address negative behavior.

I wish you the best of luck and happy training.  Now it’s time to get to work!

The Magic Word In Dog Training

There is one word in dog training, that if your dog understood it, would solve a large percentage of the problems that people have with their dogs.

Does your dog understand the word ‘no’?  (You can say ‘no’, you can say ‘uh-uh’, ‘chi-chi’, etc., doesn’t matter.  The point is, does your dog have a word for ‘no’?)

When asked this question most people would say their dog DOES understand what no means.  The question is, though, if your dog gets that word, truly understands it….then why do you have to say it so much?

My findings are that very few dogs REALLY understand the word ‘no’.  When it comes to this word I sound like a broken record.  The reason why is that if your dog gets this word then:

  • You can get your dog to stop jumping on people, including yourself and guests.
  • You can get your dog to stop nipping and mouthing.
  • You can stop unwanted or nuisance barking.
  • You can rid yourself of most manners problems.

So ask yourself, if your dog does any of the above and you find yourself constantly yelling ‘no’, does your dog really understand the word?  I think you know the answer.

The solution comes down to associations.  The only association that most dog owners have formed with the command ‘no’ is that they’ve yelled it a lot.

Dogs aren’t verbal learners.  They don’t learn very well by being told.  They learn by being shown.  Dogs are physical learners.  If you want them to understand a command, any command for that matter, then there needs to be something physical that goes with that word.

This is true if you want the dog to understand what ‘good boy’ means, what ‘come’ means, or what ‘heel’ means.  If you are simply saying these words and hoping your dog does them then you’ve already lost the battle.

So how do you associate something with the word ‘no’?  There are a variety of ways.  These are some of my favorites:

  • Leash correction.  When starting out training a dog I always have them on a leash.  With a leash connected you can give a simple correction as you tell the dog ‘no’.
  • Spray bottle.  This is one that I use with a lot of puppies.  When puppies are barking in the crate or nipping I’m likely to bust out my spray bottle and give a quick couple sprays while I say ‘no’.
  • E-Collar training.  Done right, an electric dog training collar can be a great and humane way to train.  We’ve got a video program on how to use an electric collar to train a dog.

Folks, just saying ‘no’ isn’t going to cut it.  Put something with it, however, and you may just solve some of your dog problems.

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