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My Chihuahua will not stop barking.

  1. #1

    My Chihuahua will not stop barking.

    I'm getting a lot of help from a friendly poster on these forums in the bird section for my African Gray, and then it dawns on me: Maybe, just maybe, old dogs can be taught new tricks?

    My Chiguagua, Stanley Ichabod, is very mouthy. He barks and is mean to everyone in the household.

    When I bathe him, he is calm for a day or two, and then it starts again. I do love our dog, but he is mean.

    I am wondering if there is anything I can do to make him less vocal over people who are not even looking at him or heading in his direction.

    He barks at noises outside, which is okay I guess, because it's just a quiet "testing" bark I suppose, but when the doorbell rings or the door is knocked on, or a car door is heard, he freaks out. It hurts our ears, and makes us uptight.

    He is a rescued dog who was supposedly abused - in what way, I don't know. It seems like the only way to make him shut up is to get loud and act like you're going to smack him, and then he cowers and as soon as he sees he is safe, he comes and apologizes. That does not work when he thinks someone is outside or coming in, but that's okay, except for when someone is in fact entering the home after a long day at work.

    He is such an adorable dog, and a loving dog, but the barking is sometimes too much to bear. Can I have some advice, short of a muzzle which I feel is inhumane for small dogs and dogs not in a public setting, to make him shut his trap and stop being so hostile?

    He is about 12 or more years old - we don't know for sure because of the rescue.

  2. #2
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    Chihuahuas are known to be barkers, but I think their barking can be lessened with some effort on the owner's part. It's wonderful you were so kind to rescue him, the fact that he was abused may also have something to do with the barking.

    I'm curious as to why after a bath, he's calm for a day or two, do you think there's something on his fur or skin that is aggravating him?

    I'm definitely against getting loud with him, and threatening him, to get him to stop. That is just making him fearful of you, and might be a re-play of his past abuse. They have to be taught, with patience, what to do and what is expected of them. Has he ever effectively been taught a 'quiet' or 'no bark' command? That would be a start.

    When you see he's going to bark excessively, have a couple of small tasty treats in your pocket. Something extra good, tiny pieces of beef hotdog, or american cheese, etc. Then, very nicely, cheerful and relaxed, tell him 'quiet', when he hesitates with the barking, hold the treat a little above his nose before you give it to him, to get him to also sit, and calmly tell him good boy, while giving the treat.

    If someone's about to come home, you can even put him on a leash, and be right there to do the exercise, bark, cheerful calm 'quiet', treat, and good boy. These habits of his were developed over many years, so results won't happen overnight. But, I guarantee if you and others in your family make the effort, you'll see progress.

    As far as the doorbell, take a day when you can devote a few hours, and make him less sensitive to the noise or knocks on the door. Have your treats in pocket, and stay cool and calm, they can sense your emotions. Have a friend come over and ring the bell, nicely tell the dog 'quiet', and when he stops, give him the treat. Invite the person in, and tell them not to look at the dog or talk to the dog. If he starts the barking again, calmly say 'quiet' again, treat again, and a calm 'good boy'.

    Let the person leave and come back in 15 min, for a repeat training session. It's a bit of a hassle to do, but any work that makes our relationships with our pets closer, more pleasant and trusting, is worth it's weight in gold.

    Here's an article that may be worth a looksee...http://www.humanesociety.org/animals...p_barking.html
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanual Kant~



  3. #3
    I will show the family your words! I think it's worth a try, and I do feel bad after threatening him, so I know it isn't right, but he is told it's okay to be quiet. Sometimes he does respond to "shhh" but other times when he gets going, it's like he's watching a squirrel or a cat or something - you can't sway him. His attentiveness to his actions, while barking, I mean. Where in the example, he would obviously be being quiet :P

  4. #4
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    Good to catch him before things get intense. As people we are able to foresee, and and anticipate when something will trigger the behavior. Quick and calm reactions may lessen the barking. It's is in fact a habit, that will take time to break...good luck!
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanual Kant~



  5. #5
    I began the shush and treat thing today. He stood his ground with me, and it took some standing of my own ground, but I did get him to hush and reinforced it with good boy, shush when I gave him the treat. It's the strangest thing, I saw almost a look of understanding on his face, and I felt really good, thankful for your tips, and this forum is really growing on me. Feel bad for the little guy, it's like he's just afraid or even protective (with all of us, depending on who he is sitting with), and he is just being instinctive for what he knows and feels.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianDouglas View Post
    It's the strangest thing, I saw almost a look of understanding on his face, and I felt really good, thankful for your tips, and this forum is really growing on me. Feel bad for the little guy, it's like he's just afraid or even protective (with all of us, depending on who he is sitting with), and he is just being instinctive for what he knows and feels.
    Many folks don't understand that they just want some guidance from the owner/leader, otherwise they are confused as to what they did that was so bad, and why the pack leader is angry with them. Many of these lap dogs are protective, and that also can be overcome with family cooperation. Ignoring any growls or bite attempts by other people will not give him so much power. That's a habit too, that can be controlled. Others need to do what they were going to do, and not react in any way to the dog's possessive/protective behavior.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanual Kant~



  7. #7
    Going to take these words immediately to my family, thanks again, and I will keep you posted! =)

  8. #8
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    I use to watch the Dog Whisperer show on TV, and I remember an episode with a jealous, possessive Chihuahua, I think the name was Bandit. Anyway, he was possessive of the owner woman, and nipped and growled at anyone who sat on the couch near them, etc.

    It was recommended to family members, not to withdraw their hands if the dog threatened attack, just to be calm, confident and keep on doing what they were going to do. The dog expects you to snatch your hand back, therefore he HAS taken control and dominated the family members with his possessive/aggressive actions.

    They needed to work as a team, to take the power away from the dog, by showing him they did not adjust their intentions, regardless of the dogs reaction. One couldn't spoil the dog, while the other was firm...that doesn't work. The dog was surprised at first that he wasn't getting the usual reactions, but got the idea quickly that he couldn't manipulate those around him...he would just be ignored. Soon the behavior changed.

    Stanley Ichabod will do his usual routine trying to stand his ground. If you can make it clear to him that he doesn't need to stand his ground, that you are in charge and will not harm him. I think he'll work with you instead of against you with some training work. Best wishes, look forward to positive updates!
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanual Kant~



  9. #9
    This is relieving instruction to read indeed. I do in fact draw my hand back, and do feel dominated when he does that. My concern will have to be my dad at this point, who I think enforces a reward for his behavior in telling him NO and then petting him and loving on him after he nips at us.

    I think I will need to exert my dominance over the dog, without being angry. i don't really get mad at my animals anyway, it will just be the ability to ignore his threat that will be tough, to no draw away my hands and such.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianDouglas View Post
    This is relieving instruction to read indeed. I do in fact draw my hand back, and do feel dominated when he does that. My concern will have to be my dad at this point, who I think enforces a reward for his behavior in telling him NO and then petting him and loving on him after he nips at us.

    I think I will need to exert my dominance over the dog, without being angry. i don't really get mad at my animals anyway, it will just be the ability to ignore his threat that will be tough, to no draw away my hands and such.
    Your Dad, although he may be set in his ways, needs to change them, if he cares about the dog's overall well-being. Rewarding the behavior is everyone's downfall, a woman hugging and kissing a lap dog right after it snaps at her husband, for example, is rewarding the dog with praise and affection for his negative actions.

    If the dog gets mixed signals, he'll continue to do what he's been doing...forever. And you can't blame the dog. Confusing for them when barking or nipping sometimes gets rewarded, and sometimes gets scolding...same thing when raising kids really.

    That dog trainer I referred to always says that he trains the people as to their enabling behavior, and the dog then responds in a positive way. There was a lady who always spoiled her little lap dog, and the dog would excitedly bark, run in circles and not calm down. Well, the trainer pointed out that lady was inciting the behavior in her dog. With her head and body language, she'd squeal in a high-pitched squeaky voice at the dog, things in baby-talk, like "who's a good boy, huh, who's a good boy?", over and over each time she repeated it to the dog, her voice got higher and more excited, so did the dog. LOL, the sound of the lady's voice made the trainer cringe.

    I've used some of these methods on my pets in other areas, and they do indeed work. We have more control than we're aware of, as long as we keep cool, calm and confident...they'll follow suit.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanual Kant~



  11. #11
    Now to figure out how to talk to my pop without him getting all "this is my house, dog is old" on me lol.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianDouglas View Post
    Now to figure out how to talk to my pop without him getting all "this is my house, dog is old" on me lol.
    Good luck! You know your father best, but wording it like you're asking that he give it a try, as opposed to demanding he does it your way, would be one suggestion. If he feels he's doing it on his own terms, voluntarily, is definitely better. Changing his outlook on the whole issue is key for cooperation, then it's his free choice, for the dog's sake.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanual Kant~



  13. #13
    This advice will apply to a great many things, and you are right. Because I do speak a bit too matter-of-fact about things, and I think asking for the help rather than proclaiming I need the cooperation, will get me that cooperation. You are a very wise person Alpha, and you steer me right quite alot on here, even in your back posts I come across when looking around the forum!

  14. #14
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    Thanks for your kind words Brian. We're a growing forum here, and we have members who really care and share some good advice and information learned from their own experiences. If it helps even one pet who's struggling, it's wonderful. Thank you also for going out of your way, to be sure Stanley Ichabod is a happy pup, and those around him are also enjoying his company. Keep up the good fight, it's well worth it!
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanual Kant~



  15. #15
    Stanley picked up some fleas while we were at my sister's through the storm, bathed him today and he has been calm ever since. The bath really helps to keep him quiet. Within a couple days, he'll be yapping again, but I'll be getting up the patience to train and treat some more. I really don't know if he's young enough to fall into line, but I hope so, would like to enjoy the rest of his time with us, to the maximum.

    And yea, the forum means a lot to me, you have been providing me the incentive through your support to give my two pets more time than they have had lately, means a lot, because it is far to easy to leave them to themselves with today's world being the way it is, a real time-suck for all of us.

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