A Barking Dog

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good morning Ellen,
I have a question about my Chihuahua and I figured you would be the perfect person to go to since you have some of your own.  My Chi’s name is Penny and she is 2 years old in November.  Penny’s a sweet dog and so gentle with other people.  She’s never had any run in with a dog that attacked her or anything.  I live at home with my parents still and we live in a neighborhood where half of the houses are occupied and the other ones are still being built.  So the problem is that Penny barks so much at a couple different things. Maybe it’s because of her size and she has to be defensive or something but it’s like every single noise she hears she will bark at.
 It wasn’t this bad until lately. There’s construction going on in my development now and there’s a new family that moved in with 4 kids so they are usually outside playing basketball or running around yelling.  It doesn’t bother me one bit but I just want to get her used to this stuff more so she isn’t always freaking out. I don’t want her to annoy neighbors I might have in an apartment complex when I eventually move out.  Any pointers? Have you ever had this problem or anything similar? Thanks so much and I really look forward to getting your response.

Hi Kaycee,
Yes, I have has this problem.  Many Chihuahuas are “barky” dogs at first, because they seem to always have to make their presence known.  Two of mine can be rather barky and it is sometimes difficult to silence them. 
One thing you could do is try to expose Penny more often with the sounds that make her bark.  When construction is going on you could walk her past the site several times.  I did this with my one and it worked wonders.  At first, I let her bark a bit, to see if she would quiet down once she realizes there is no threat, and that no one was responding to her bark.  It worked at first but sometimes she just kept barking and staring so I tugged the leash and would say her name loudly to try to distract her from the situation that made her bark.  It got to the point that I had to make a whistle sound for her to look back at me, and once she did I praised her,  then when she would look away I would get her attention again then repeat the word “Quiet”.  She does know this command already so it wasn’t very hard.   You can also let her outside with you whenever the kids are playing and let her watch what’s going on so she understands that those sounds are just kids playing.  Then do the same thing when she barks as I said earlier.
Another thing you can do with Penny is use a squirt bottle inside.  It works WONDERS!  It’s to the point with mine that all I have to do is set the squirt bottle on the table, and the know not to bark.  When she starts to bark tell her quiet, and make sure she’s got her attention focused on you.  If she is completely ignoring you, give her a quick squirt at her next bark and say Quiet.  The instant she stops barking, praise her.
Some of those pointers I learned in training class with my pups so I really hope they work for you.  Let me know how your progress goes!


  1. Ellen,

    I'm Crabitha from the IMO site.

    I saw that Admin at 15 minutes says you need some help. WHAT can I do?

    I can't figure out how to contact you, so I'm posting this as a comment.

    Please tell Jon that he and YOU have a large number of supporters.

    Do I sign up to follow you so that you have my email address? I'm too blonde (yeah, I'll blame it on my hair color) to understand the ins and outs of this computer stuff.

    I'm cautiously optimistic that things can get a whole lot better.

  2. lol my emails at the top of the page :) its ellenr886@gmail.com shoot me an email!!

  3. Okay, I'm not just blonde, I'm blind, as well.

    Some great help I'm gonna be!


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