Chihuahuas are so cute and so tiny, but sometimes they can be really loud. My mom has an adorable Chihuahua and I have a Chihuahua mix sometimes people are curious and ask me questions about my Chi. On occasion, I’ve been asked if my Chihuahua whines, cries, or makes a lot of noise. My little guy is rather quiet, but I wanted to know in general do Chihuahuas whine more than other dogs? Here’s what I found out.
Well-trained Chihuahuas will most likely not be whiny dogs. Chihuahua puppies may be more vocal and whine and cry more than other dog breeds. Adult Chihuahuas can be calm and non-whiney dogs if they are trained correctly.
If your Chihuahua is whining and crying a lot it’s because he is trying to communicate something to you or it’s a learned and reinforced behavior.
Now you know Chihuahuas don’t normally whine a lot unless it’s a puppy or it’s been unintentionally trained to do so. If your Chihuahua is whining all the time you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. Or if you are thinking of getting a Chihuahua and want to know how to train it not to whine keep reading for some more insights.
Why is My Chihuahua Crying and What to Do About It
You love your little Chi, and there’s nothing more heartbreaking than listening to its sad little cries get louder and louder. It can be really hard and frustrating not knowing what your dog is trying to communicate to you and how to correctly handle your dog’s whining to get it to stop and help them be happy and healthy. Here are some things to think about.
If your Chihuahua Puppy is Crying
You Can expect Chihuahua puppies will whine more than some other puppy breeds, but puppies, in general, may whine for different reasons than adult dogs. If you just brought a Chihuahua puppy home and he’s whining a lot, it’s most likely because he misses his mother and littermates.
Chihuahua puppies should not be brought home before they are at least 8 weeks old it’s even better if they are 10 to 12 weeks. The younger the puppy the more you can expect to deal with crying.
If you are trying to Crate train a puppy and he whines a lot when he is in his crate it is most likely because he is lonely and scared. A crate all by himself is a scary dark place and if it’s new to him you can expect he’s going to have a hard time at first.
When you first bring your puppy home learning how to properly Crate Train is important, don’t give in to your Chihuahua’s cries if he’s just wanting attention.
How to Help Your Chihuahua Puppy Not Cry
Sense of Smell is a powerful thing for dogs. Their sense of smell is 40 times better than ours and much more refined. We can use this power to our advantage in two ways. Before you get your Chihuahua puppy take a blanket or Sweatshirt that smells like you and give it to your puppy’s breeder to put in your puppy’s bed, so they can get used to your smell and create positive associations.
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The second way this will benefit your Chihuahua is it will allow the scent of his mother and littermates to get on the item so when you bring him home it will smell like them and help make the transition easier for him.
Another great tool to help your little puppy miss his family less is to get a stuffy like this one from Amazon that mimics the heartbeat of his mama. Having a comfort item like this can be extremely useful and can make a huge difference those first few weeks you have your new puppy.
Be prepared and expect your Chihuahua puppy to cry for the first few weeks that you have him home. It’s a new environment and it’s going to take time for him to get used to it. Make sure that he has a small area (Crate or Playpen) to stay in, this will help him feel more safe and secure.
At night you can keep his carte near you so you are able to comfort him, it might make a few sleepless nights for you, but will go a long way in reassuring your puppy that he’s not alone.
When using the crate at night don’t take your puppy out just because he is whining, that will only reinforce the behavior. You can take him out for bathroom breaks, but when his bathroom break is over put him back in. If you get him out for a cuddle or let him sleep in bed with you, crate training is going to be a lot more difficult.
Whining in Adult Chihuahuas:
There are many reasons why your chihuahua might be crying. It is your job to be a detective and figure out why. You can take some clues from your little Chihuahuas body language and you’ll be well on your way to correcting the problem. Here are some of the common problems that you could be encountering.
Your Chihuaua is Stressed
These little dogs can get stressed a little easier than other breeds and whining is a way that they may show you what their stress levels are. Along with whining they will also be showing you other signs of stress or distress through their body language. When you learn to read your dog’s body language you will be better able to understand them and help them as you go forward.
If you think your dog is showing signs of stress here are some other things to look for that can indicate that you are right. They will likely not be showing all of these signs at the same time.
What to look for:
- Whale eyes (When they show the whites of their eyes)
- Licking Lips
- Raised Hackles
If your dog has gotten so stressed out that they are in flight or fight you will need to act quickly. You can tell this is happening if your chi has a very stiff body and is holding still almost as if frozen and usually with a deep throaty growl. Do your best to give your chihuahua space from whatever is causing the stress as quickly as you can in order to deescalate the situation.
Ask yourself: Is your Chihuahua overwhelmed, or in a new situation? Is he not understanding you? Did this come on suddenly when someone or something came close? Can you figure out a way to remove the stimuli that are causing him stress in order to help him calm down?
Try and change the environment.
Be calm and reassuring.
Avoid too much stimulus.
Make sure that you are clear with training and giving commands.
Don’t use harsh punishment.
Try to figure out the trigger and avoid it, or work on training to tolerate it better.
Your Chihuahua is Excited
Chihuahuas are very sensitive dogs which makes them amazing companions that can notice your mood and feelings. They have a natural instinct to please you and be excited with you. If you are feeling high stress or excitement your dog will feed off your emotion and will start to display that emotion as well through whining or these other indicators.
What to look for: Tail is wagging, running in circles, jumping up and down, barking.
Displaying zoomies (a sudden release of energy when your dog seems to go wild and is running around at high speed).
Questions: What is your energy level?
Have you just come home from school or been away and they want to greet you?
Have you introduced your Chihuahua to someone new?
Solution: You can redirect his energy by taking him for a run, playing a game of fetch with a toy.
Get him to burn some energy then reward him when he’s calm.
If you want a calm dog then you need to be calm yourself. This is especially true when coming home after an absence of time. If you are extremely excited to see your dog then chances for a calm greeting go out the window.
Dim lights, or use some of this therapeutic aromatherapy spray from Amazon (Affiliate link) to help calm her down.
Your Chihuahua Wants Attention
If you haven’t been warned before now, then let me tell you raising and caring for a puppy is no easy task. Your Chihuahua is smart and energetic and they require a lot of attention. If they are feeling lonely or not being attended to as much as they need they will start to whine and cry.
What to look for: Similar to excitement, but more direct eye contact with you with intentions of trying to get something.
Questions: Has your dog had enough exercise and mental stimulation today.
Most Chihuahuas need at least 30-60 minutes of exercise a day as well as plenty of mental stimulation.
What is he trying to get your attention for?
Is it worth giving the attention or not?
Is your Chihuahua whining to get food? (Check out this article I wrote to see why your Chihuahua eats weird stuff!)
Solution: Your first task is to make sure they’ve had enough exercise and mental stimulation.
Trying out a fun training program together like this widely popular program Brain Training for Dogs can help unlock your dog’s hidden potential and help them learn how to avoid problem behaviors.
Remember you only want to reinforce behaviors you would like to see repeated. If she’s whining because she needs to go outside to go to the bathroom, then yes you should respond.
If he’s whining to get you to share your dinner then don’t reinforce that behavior.
Even telling your dog “it’s ok”, or to “calm down” in a loving voice is giving them the attention they are wanting. To truly get this behavior under control you need to completely ignore them.
Your Chihuahua Has Separation Anxiety
What to look for: Constantly jumps and whines for you to touch them pet them or cuddle them. Cries or howls when you leave them alone, destroys things when you are gone, is overly excited when you return. Follows you everywhere.
Constantly stares at you or wants to be with you all the time.
Questions: How much exercise has my dog had today. How long have I been gone? Have I trained my dog to be ok without being near me every hour of the day?
Solution: You need to teach your dog that it’s not a big deal when you leave. When you leave, make it subtle and no fussing or kisses goodbye. Make your return no big deal and ignore your pup until they are calm.
When they are puppies it’s best to start with small increments of absence like 5 minutes at a time until they learn to stop crying then moved to longer times.
Try not to leave your dog alone too long if you can manage it. If you need to be away for more than 3-4 hours and your dog does not do well then it’s a good idea to find someone that can come and let them out and give them some attention and exercise during your absence.
Your Chihuahua is Fearful
Puppies are very impressionable and teaching them and socializing them starts in the very beginning stages of their life. Because of this, it’s important to only support reputable breeders who take good care of their puppies.
Unfortunately, there are many people that run puppy mills (link to information on how to stop puppy mills) that are breeding Chihuahua purely for the money and do not take very good care of them when they are young.
When a puppy starts their life in this type of environment it can be very damaging and set them up for a lifetime of fear or aggression. Thankfully there are things that you can do to help if you do end up with a puppy that has been treated this way, it will just be more difficult to get them feeling and behaving confidently.
What to look for: Tucked tail, shaking, lowered ears and or head, trying to hide behind you or something else.
Questions: How was your Chihuahua treated as a puppy? Is your Chihuahua a rescue? Was your dog properly socialized when they were young?
Does your dog get frightened when they hear a loud unrecognizable noise?
Solution: If your dog seems overly fearful of many things and you suspect that your Chihuahua is whining or crying a lot because of this, you will need to work very hard at building a solid foundation of trust between you and your dog.
Once this foundation of trust is established it will be easier for you to teach your dog that the rest of the world is not as fearful as they suspect it may be.
DO NOT use any coercive methods of training or yell or be too firm with your Chihuahua.
You may also need help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who has experience working with fearful dogs. They will help you come up with and implement a training plan.
If you think their fear is a one-time circumstance that has been brought on by something unexpected in their environment, like sudden fireworks or the sound of a car misfiring, then you can isolate that particular thing and work towards training them to tolerate it.
I always encourage my students (check out my classes) to play sound recordings of fireworks starting quietly in the background and working up to very loud and life-like in order to prepare their dogs for coming celebrations like New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July.
You could also try something like this anxiety wrap from Amazon (affiliate link) that has been useful for dogs afraid of loud noises like thunder.
Your Chihuahua is Bored
When our dog Bear gets playful he lets us know by barking and whining and begging us to play. Most dogs will let you know when they are tired of laying around not doing a whole lot.
What to look for: Short high pitched whines, usually accompanied by a sigh, may seem lazy or disinterested in their favorite toys or games.
They might be digging in the yard, getting into things they shouldn’t like the trash or chewing up your favorite things like shoes or furniture.
Questions: Again you need to think about how much exercise and mental stimulation your Chihuahua is getting. Chihuahuas do better when they have something to do to occupy their time. It helps if they are constantly learning new things.
When was the last time you taught your Chihuahua a new command, game, or trick?
Solution: Provide your Chihuahua with some mental stimulation. Teach them some new tricks, work on training, or give them a fun new toy like this fun crinkle toy from Amazon (affiliate link).
Try not to leave all their toys available all the time. If you keep all but 2 or 3 put away and rotate them that will keep your Chihuahua from getting bored too easily.
You can also try this awesome program called Brain Training that can give you a huge boost in your training methods and plans.
If you are on Facebook I would suggest that you join a group like this Canine Enrichment group where you will find a plethora of great ideas from other dog owners. While you’re at it feel free to join our Dog Group and follow me on my Facebook page at Paws and Learn for fun ideas and new announcements.
Your Chihuahua is in Pain
Chihuahuas are generally a very healthy breed and don’t usually have major health issues. If you have a rescue or your Chihuahua is aging then pain or discomfort may be a reason your Chihuahua is whining.
What to look for: Look for any kind of physical signs such as limping, constantly licking a sore area, or yelps and whines when picked up or moved.
Questions: How old is my Chihuahua? Has his energy been waning? Are there other red flags such as growling or biting when handled a certain way or untouched food?
Has your dog had a recent dental exam? Poor dental health can cause pain for your Chihuahua.
Solution: If you suspect your dog is in pain take him to your vet right away. If you can’t figure out the cause of the whining and it doesn’t appear to be any of the above reasons then you will want your dog to have a complete checkup as soon as possible!
Pro Tip: If you are not able to get a hold of a vet near you, or you want to avoid an unnecessary ER trip, there are online resources that you can turn to. Here is our best recommendation!
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Whatever the reason for your Chihuahuas whining the best thing you can do is make sure that your dog knows you are in charge! That doesn’t mean yell at your dog or be mean, but be firm and consistent in the ways that you respond, let them know that you expect them to be well behaved and they will. If you continue to have problems with your Chihuahua crying please seek help from a professional dog behaviorist or a Vet.
While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.