It was a long day, you are finally in your bed and ready for some serious sleeping…does your Chihuahua keep you awake all night? There are some Chihuahuas that will have a backward time clock than their human family.
When you want to sleep, your Chihuahua is wide awake and he is not happy that you are asleep. A Chihuahua will take this as their owner “ignoring” them. This, in turn, will lead a Chi to bark; sometimes non-stop until they have your attention.
Barking at night is also common with young puppies that have not yet gotten accustomed to the schedule. A puppy – very used to receiving attention all of the time – may want interaction no matter what the time.
With puppies – Barking at night may begin from Day 1 and if not handled in the right way, it can set up very bad habits. Unless a puppy learns to self soothe, there is little to stop him from making a racket until he eventually tires out.
Adults – When an older Chi suddenly begins to bark at night, this is concerning for most owners who assume the dog must have a very good reason.
Owners may first think that there is an intruder in the home or trying to get inside or that there is some other sort of danger. Alternatively, they may think their dog desperately needs to go outside to eliminate.
Unless there is a bathroom need, an older dog with no health issues may have learned that barking equals attention and a bad habit has begun.
Preparing for Night
1) You’ll first want to make sure that your puppy or dog is comfortable.
A quality dog bed should be provided. Be sure that there are no drafts. The spot that seemed perfect in the summer may be a cold area in the winter.
Additionally, a spot under a window may have worked nicely until a neighbor with pets moved in and now that area triggers territory barking when the Chihuahua senses the close presence of other animals.
Dogs are funny, amusing creatures. Your Chihuahua may very well want to sleep under the kitchen table and simply wake up to attempt to tell you that he wishes to move there.
If you can allow your Chihuahua to sleep anywhere he wishes, as long as this does not interfere with your family’s routine, allow it. This is a better alternative to waking up all night long and it does not harm anyone.
Puppies and even adults that may wake up during the night should have a few favorite toys to stay occupied if needed.
If you notice that your Chihuahua only seems to bark at night for a snack, it can help to place a few treats in his sleeping area.
The last meal of the day should be two hours before the designated sleep time. For puppies, this allows enough time for a bowel movement. Adults can usually hold their needs until morning; though some seniors may have decreased bowel and/or bladder control.
One hour before the designated sleep time, bring your Chihuahua for a walk so that he may release any pent up energy. Alternatively, you may wish to take him outside for a game of fetch or other activity to tire him out.
Exercise right before bed can cause a temporary state of increased awareness and a rush of adrenaline…So make sure that this is done in the evening an hour or so before the intended sleep time. With a good brisk walk or some fun running time outside, a Chihuahua will be ready to rest within just an hour or two.
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4) Create a calm environment.
As you near the time that you want your Chi to lie down for the night, dim the lights and lower the volume on the TV.
While you want a Chihuahua to drink as much as he wants to, it is best to not encourage any drinking right before bed.
6) Bathroom trip.
- 20 to 30 minutes before you expect your Chi to settle down for the evening, bring him outside for the last bathroom trip of the day. Be sure to follow proper housebreaking guidelines.
- My Chihuahua Keeps Waking Me Up to Go to the Bathroom!
- Young puppies will have to go to the bathroom at inconvenient times and the middle of the night is one of them.
With this said, a tired puppy can sleep through some nights and this ability will improve as the pup matures.
Each puppy is different however as each month goes by, the amount of time that a dog can hold his needs will increase.
The 4-month old that had to urinate every 4 hours will become the 5-month old that can hold on for 5 hours and so on.
How to Handle Night-Time Barking
A healthy dog that is in a safe, secure area will bark at night for one of two reasons:
- Bathroom needs
- To gain your attention
The trick is to figure out which reason is causing the barking. The worst thing that an owner can do is to rush over in response to the barking if that is the only goal of the puppy. This sets up terrible habits that can be hard to break.
1) If a 2-month-old Chihuahua puppy has had a bowel movement and has urinated within the last two hours, you can assume that he does not need to go outside. For a 3-month-old, it is 3 hours, 4-month-old 4 hours and so on. As hard as it may be and as much as it may go against all human instinct, if you know the barking is for attention, do not respond to it.
If you do, you will be sending a clear message that your Chihuahua can control your actions. When a puppy learns that barking equals attention (even an owner has come over to say ‘Stop that, quiet down!’) he will continue to bark. It can be a vicious cycle and once this habit is established, it can be exceedingly difficult to reverse.
When an owner has enough emotional will to wait it out, giving no attention at all, the Chi will learn to self soothe and fall back asleep. So, the golden rule is to do check for bathroom needs going by the age and ability of your puppy.
If nighttime barking occurs outside of that allotted time, completely ignore it. This includes whining and whimpering as well. Within just a couple of weeks, and for some dogs just a few days, the barking will stop as the puppy or dog learns that it does not bring any desired results.
2) If you suspect that a bathroom need is indeed the source of the nighttime barking, it should be handled in a way that sends a strong signal that this is a serious time and not one that will bring about any play or other interaction.
With lights very dim (or with the use of a good flashlight) put the Chihuahua on a leash to take him out to his designated area. Do not speak at all during this time, other than to offer praise of the deed is done.
There should be no playing, patting, or action of any kind that could be interpreted as an owner’s agreement that interaction in the middle of the night is acceptable.
Once back inside, bring your Chihuahua back to his spot, give one gentle pat and leave the room. Resist the urge to offer comfort and reassurance. By acting calm and confident and walking away, it sends the signal that there is nothing to be concerned about and all is fine.
What if My Dog Barks at Night for No Reason?
In some households, it may seem that when the sun sets, a dog goes on automatic alert. Is there a noise that is alarming your Chihuahua? Dogs have incredible hearing and will bark at things that we will never pick up on.
When your Chihuahua wakes you up at night, listen carefully. Is there a constant but soft noise? Could there be squirrels running along the roof? Perhaps a neighbor’s TV, maybe a car driving by?
Many times a car will alarm a Chihuahua; it may be a neighbor who comes home at just about the same time each night and waking up your dog…some noises can drive a dog crazy.
The way to deal with this is to let your dog know that you hear the noise also. Say in a strong tone, “Yes, I hear the noise, yes it is a car.” Your dog, of course, will not know what you are saying, but dogs understand a lot of what you say by the tone of your voice.
Once you let your Chihuahua know that you also sense the noise, show him that there is no reason to be concerned. Pat your dog and in a gentle and relaxed voice, say something to the effect of, “It’s okay, there’s no reason to bark, everything is alright”
You can also repeat this but lower your tone each time until you are whispering calmly; thus showing your dog that if you think everything is okay then it truly is.