You’re just settling down to sleep in your nice comfy bed, and your Chihuahua starts to bark. Now you’re wide awake, stressed, and don’t know what to do. Don’t panic – you’re in the right place.
- Why Do Chihuahuas Bark at Night?
- 10 Ways to Stop Your Chihuahua Barking at Night
- Can You Stop a Chihuahua from Barking at Night?
Why Do Chihuahuas Bark at Night?
There are lots of reasons Chihuahuas may bark at night. If you can figure out the cause, solving the problem is much easier.
If your Chihuahua hasn’t used up their energy during the day, they are left with lots of pent-up energy at bedtime. They’re too restless to sleep and might get bored. They bark because they’re frustrated and feeling unsettled.
Trying to Get Your Attention
Often dogs bark at night because they’re trying to get your attention. Chihuahuas bond incredibly deeply with their owners so if you’ve gone into the bedroom to sleep without them, they may be trying to say that they’re lonely.
Some Chihuahuas struggle with separation anxiety – this can happen at bedtime as well as when you go out.
If your dog is a puppy or a rescue dog who hasn’t settled into their new home yet, they may bark because they’re not used to the routine or their surroundings yet.
Dogs have much more sensitive hearing than us and Chihuahuas are naturally protective. The American Kennel Club explains that dogs can hear sounds of as high a frequency as 47,000 to 65,000 Hz (Hertz), compared to humans who can only hear up to 20,000 Hz.
So, they can hear things going on outside our homes that we would never be able to hear. They might be alerting you to external noises like another dog barking in the distance.
You know that feeling when you go to bed at night but you just can’t get into a comfortable position, so you toss and turn and get frustrated? That can happen to dogs too! They might bark because they aren’t comfortable in their sleeping area.
Needing the Toilet
Sometimes dogs bark during the night if they need to go to the toilet. This is more likely if you have a younger dog or a Chihuahua who isn’t well toilet trained.
Chihuahuas might bark during the night if they are hungry at bedtime. This is less likely if your dog has a regular feeding routine.
If your Chihuahua suddenly starts barking at night when they’re usually quite settled at bedtime, it might be down to a health issue. If they’re older, they may start to get aching joints and feel uncomfortable at night.
It’s also common for older dogs to struggle with canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CCD or CDS), which is similar to dementia or Alzheimer’s in humans. Stephanie Howe, DVM explains that this happens in nearly one in three dogs over the age of 11, and by the age of 16, nearly all dogs display at least one sign.
10 Ways to Stop Your Chihuahua Barking at Night
Now we know why your Chihuahua might be barking, let’s get down to how to tackle the problem.
1. Provide a Safe Space
One of the best ways to help your furbaby feel relaxed at night is to provide a safe space.
I always recommend crate or pen training, because it provides a cozy place that your dog knows is theirs. It also keeps them safe overnight and while you’re not home. Think of it like the equivalent of your bedroom!
I know many owners struggle with the idea of crate training, but when it’s done right it isn’t cruel. The American Kennel Club states that crate training has many benefits for both you and your dog.
My three dogs share a pen and despite the gate being open anytime we’re home, they often choose to snooze in there because they love it!
2. Be Consistent With Sleeping Arrangements
Whether you decide to crate your dog, let them sleep in your bed, or choose another sleeping area, you must be consistent with where they sleep. If you change things up regularly, it can be very unsettling for them and they are more likely to bark or whine during the night.
Many owners love having their dog sleep in their bed, which is a lovely option if it works for you. However, don’t allow them to sleep on your bed once if you’re not going to permit it long-term. If you do, they will expect to be allowed all the time and are highly likely to bark when you leave them in another room.
3. Exercise Before Bed
Make sure your Chihuahua has had plenty of exercise and mental stimulation during the day. It’s also a great idea to take them for a short walk before bed. This helps to get rid of any built-up energy, tires them out, and gives them plenty of opportunity to go to the toilet.
4. Feed Them Earlier On
I recommend feeding your dog around two to three hours before you plan to go to bed. If you feed them too close to bedtime, they may need the toilet during the night.
If you feed them too early in the evening, they may get hungry during the night and become restless. If your schedule means you need to feed them early in the evening, I recommend giving them a snack a couple of hours before bedtime.
5. Create a Bedtime Routine
Dogs are very much creatures of habit and they thrive with a routine. Come up with a bedtime routine that works for you and your dog and try to stick to it as much as possible.
I recommend trying to go to bed at roughly the same time most nights where possible. Feed them their last meal of the day and take them out to the toilet at around the same time each night.
Keep things as calm as possible in your home in the hour before bed. Turn down the lights, keep noise to a minimum, and let them start to settle down. This helps their body and mind get ready for sleep.
6. Provide Comfort Items
You want your furbaby to be as comfortable as possible at bedtime. Provide a comfy bed for them to snuggle up into. I recommend a round donut bed like this Best Friends by Sheri Donut Bed as they can be calming – my Chihuahua adores hers. If your dog has joint issues, an orthopedic bed can help to support their joints and ease pain.
I find that many Chihuahuas like to snuggle up under a blanket, so provide a nice soft blanket.
Ensure your Chihuahua has plenty of room to move around and stretch out where they sleep. If you find they get particularly anxious, you can also provide other comfort items like soft toys, something to chew on, and something that smells like you.
7. Try Calming Music
Some people find that playing relaxing music or white noise at a low volume can help to soothe dogs and mask sounds from outside of the home. There are even some YouTube channels or apps that provide calming soundtracks for dogs!
8. Try Calming Treats/Aids
There are lots of treats that have natural calming ingredients or there are calming drops you can add to your dog’s evening meal. These PetHonesty Calming Hemp Chicken Flavored Soft Chews are a great choice. There are even diffusers and room sprays with calming scents for dogs.
People often have mixed results with calming aids. However, they’re generally affordable so they’re worth looking into and giving a try.
9. Ride it Out
I know it’s distressing when you hear your dog barking or crying. They’re our babies and we just want to comfort them. But if you go to your dog or call out with some calming words, you’re reinforcing the behavior. They’ll learn that when they bark, you give them attention. This will make them do it more often.
If your dog is barking regularly at night and you’ve met all their needs, the best thing to do is ignore them and ride it out. They need to learn that barking doesn’t get them attention. Once they figure this out and tire themselves out, they will stop and settle down.
If you have a new puppy or a rescue dog who is still in training, I recommend popping a note through your neighbor’s doors to let them know what’s going on and ask for their patience. We did this when we were raising foster puppies and it helped greatly.
10. Check With a Vet
If your dog previously slept peacefully at night but they have recently started barking, it’s crucial you take them to the vet. They can address any health issues that could be causing the change in behavior.
Can You Stop a Chihuahua from Barking at Night?
Chihuahuas can be stubborn and headstrong, so it’s important to train them well and maintain a routine. With time and consistency, you can stop your Chihuahua from barking at night.
If you find you’re struggling, there’s no shame in reaching out to a professional trainer for help.
Can Chihuahuas be trained not to bark?
You can’t stop all barking, as it’s a natural way for dogs to communicate. However, you can train Chihuahuas not to bark in specific situations and reduce nuisance barking.