A Chihuahua’s communication is carried through by barking, but what does that mean for us humans? Is barking a form of language among dogs with precise significance, or just playful noise?
Like all dogs, Chihuahuas exchange information less by voice than by a wide range of facial expressions like body postures, gestures, and scents. Pups who bark at night are probably working off excess energy or announcing their presence. This is undoubtedly the only message conveyed to other dogs within earshot.
Communication Through Barking
When a Chihuahua goes to its owner and deliberately barks, it is meant to attract attention. You must try to guess his general behavior from the circumstances or the particular form or pitch of bark he makes. The howling or baying of hunting dogs is an instinctive hunting cry informing the pack that the dog is on a trail. Barking at strange noises is a warning as well as a threat display.
A lonely Chihuahua who howls may be sending out a gathering cry to other dogs nearby. Wild dogs, on the other hand, never back; they only howl. A pet dog that shares a close relationship with his owner and has been taught to understand many words obviously makes an effort to give meaning to his own utterances.
Paying Attention to Body Language
A Chihuahua who wishes to assert his importance and boldness instinctively employs all of the effects that make him look bigger and more frightening. This means raising his back to increase his height and holding his head high in defiance. A dog who wants to show submission does just the opposite. He makes himself look small by crouching down with his tail between his legs and his ears laid back flat.
A pup who wishes to assert his dominance takes a perpendicular position with his head over the other dog’s shoulders. He will also nudge or push, with his neck arched, head and tail raised and tense. The conventional play invitation is a posture with the forehead crouched, the hindquarters high, a wagging tail, bright eye, and a little yap.
A rigid stance with a steady gaze and a high, trembling tail is hostile. A high, steady tail signifies self-confidence, and held low indicates inferiority, fatigue, ill health, or a bad mood.
Positive Forms of Paw Play
Pawing at the neck is an expression of affection, as is nose-nudging. Paw-giving is a conventional canine gesture with two possible meanings. When he gives his paw to his owner while avoiding eye contact, he’s saying, “Please forgive me”. For attention, he is saying, “I’m here, don’t forget me”. When he offers his paw to another dog, it’s a sign of submission.
An owner who takes the trouble to observe his Chihuahua can establish a simple two-way communication system with his pet. Canine messages are generally very elementary, as he asks much less of us than we do of him.
“I’m hungry,” “I’m thirsty,” “I need to go out,” or “Come with me, I think something is wrong” are among the messages Chihuahuas manage to convey very well. Lastly, his most eloquent utterance is the emotional gurgle of barks that means to say, “I’ve missed you!”