There are few things that sound as moving and pitiful as listening to a Chihuahua cry at night.
Although this behavior can be difficult to deal with, it is a common problem for this smaller dog breed.
Read on to discover the reasons why your Chihuahua might be engaging in nighttime crying or barking.
Learn how to resolve it using proven tactics and strategies from dog experts.
Why Do Chihuahuas Cry?
Since Chihuahuas are a smaller dog breed, these precious pups often learn to act tougher by becoming aggressive and barking ferociously when the dog feels threatened in some manner.
Smaller Chihuahua puppies do not yet know how to vocalize their needs, and these tiny balls of fur often cry at night because they instinctively are mourning the loss of their “pack” group.
Perhaps it’s a coincidence, given their relatively large ears, but Chihuahuas have excellent hearing, and these dogs can hear noises and people or other animals possibly approaching their perceived “territory” so may whine if frightened.
Make Sure Your Pet Isn’t Hurt, Hungry, Cold, or Frightened
Just like human babies, smaller pups often cry or whine if they are in pain, feel sick, are frightened, or feel too cold or hot.
If your puppy begins to whine at night, do a quick check to ensure the sleeping environment is safe.
Teach Your Puppy a Wind-Down Routine to Signal Bedtime Is Coming Soon
It also helps to have a bedtime wind-down routine to signal that it’s soon time for your Chi to go down for the night.
Many pet owners use baby monitors to keep an eye on their pup without having to be in the room.
Usually, this sobbing behavior will gradually decrease as the pup gets used to his new home environment and routines.
Chihuahua Puppies May Miss Comforting Noises from Litter Siblings
Smaller puppies may be used to a lot of noise from their litter siblings in their previous home.
The sudden loss of those comforting sounds can spark crying at night when everything is quiet and their new “people pack” members are asleep.
During the day, puppies are focused on the excitement of new surroundings and attention from their new human owners.
The sudden quiet may trigger these small ones to become anxious because they feel the loss of their siblings, mother, and caregivers.
Sometimes, chihuahuas are also known to lick very often when they miss some company.
How to Resolve It
Use Soothing Background Noise
Making the new addition to the family feel safe and comforted is a good first step. Try turning on some soft music, or utilize a calming sound machine at night.
Even a running fan can help provide reassuring background noise that is steady and nonthreatening to a younger puppy.
Turn on Animal TV Shows
Some dog owners swear by certain television animal channels when training their dogs to remain calm when crated or in their nighttime areas.
This is often an effective tactic when human owners need to be away from home for work or other reasons.
Purchase Heartbeat Emitting Toy or a Ticking Clock
Consider purchasing a safe puppy-proof comfort toy that emits the sound of a heartbeat mimicking what puppies hear when nestled together near their mother.
This can soothe a puppy back to sleep by the reassuring sound.
A ticking clock can also work. Just be sure to keep everything in the puppy’s sleep area safe for curious pooches that love to chew on everything.
Why Do Chihuahuas Cry At Night?
Small dogs like Chihuahuas are social creatures at heart, and these little ones love to be showered with attention from their new human pack members.
This separation anxiety can happen early on, and your new chihuahua puppy may simply be barking just to show how much it is missing you at night.
How to Resolve It
Get Your Dog Used to a Crate or Night Sleeping Area First
If your dog will sleep on the floor of your bedroom, make a cozy bed and encourage your pup to use it throughout the day.
This will help your chihuahua puppy associate that bed as a safe place.
Crate training is often suggested as a good technique to help Chihuahuas not cry at night. Be sure to introduce the crate to your Chihuahua puppy slowly.
At first, the Chi probably won’t like the crate, but after a few nights, they tend to get used to them.
Some dogs howl like crazy for the first couple of nights when they are alone in the crate. Try leaving their favorite toy with them.
It’s important that during potty training, the Chihuahua is given a proper potty break before going to bed at night.
During crate training, the young puppy will soon learn that a nighttime potty trip is another signal that bedtime is coming soon.
The dog whining sounds will make you uneasy at first.
There’s nothing like the sound of a Chi puppy crying to pull at the heartstrings. It might take a while for the pup to fall asleep, but it will eventually.
Praise & Reward Good Behaviors
If your pup will be sleeping outside in the hallway or in another room, giving your pup treats when the pup follows your simple commands to go to bed or when the pup does so on their own can help train the dog in a positive manner.
Consider Using a Pet Gate
Many dog experts advise putting up a dog gate and allowing your pup to place his bed next to it where he can still see his people and hear them.
Get your dog used to this by staying within sight or earshot for the first few nights.
Create a Cozy Dog Bed Where Your Pup Feels Safe
Chihuahuas like to burrow under the covers when sleeping.
Using a washable cover that has an opening over a small dog bed cushion/pillow gives the puppy that warmth and enclosed feeling they desire.
These dogs have been known to pull their beds over to a spot where they feel closer to their human family members during the night.
Use a soft voice when reassuring your puppy during the nighttime sleep training without actually going over to where your puppy is.
Gradually increase the time period before speaking quiet reassurances during the night.
To help with your Chi’s separation anxiety, praise your puppy for being quiet at night and give small treats for good behaviors to reinforce training.
Trainer tip for domestic dogs:
Give your Chihuahua pup an article of clothing that has your scent on it at night.
This could be a sock or T-shirt. Just reinforce which items the pooch can sleep with, as these dogs are known to sneakily snatch dirty clothes and hide them under their beds or another favorite spot.
Reward Good Behavior & Ignore/Redirect Bad Behavior
It is important to teach your puppy how to stay in their sleep areas early on. It’s wrong for a dog to feel they are being punished for their separation anxiety.
Chihuahuas can be exceptionally stubborn, but these animals love to please their owners.
There is a fine line that must be established between giving in to a Chihuahua puppy’s whining at night and providing comforting reassurance that the pup is alright.
Experienced Chihuahua dog trainers caution that giving in to a puppy’s bad behavior can initiate an unwanted behavioral problem.
This occurs when a puppy learns that bad behavior, in this case crying, will be rewarded eventually by the owner coming to comfort the pup.
This tactic will only delay the process of getting your dog to remain quiet at night.
Chihuahuas are rated as smart dogs, they’ll quickly pick up on what you deem to be good behavior.
Crying May Be a Frightened or Submissive Response to Other House Pets
Your Chihuahua crying or whining at night or anytime could be because other animals in the home are making the new furry family member feel threatened.
Dogs often revert to whining and displaying humility to appease the alpha older dog or cat already established in their new environment.
These behaviors are signs of submission from the smaller or younger dog. You might even notice that your Chihuahua is shaking when in this situation.
How to Resolve It
Dog owners should understand the natural tendency for dogs to determine their status among the other household pets.
Although this is something that is innate, the dog owner should take steps to even out the playing field to help prevent some of these behaviors.
Give All Household Pets the Same Attention
Dogs become very protective and attached to their owners.
It is common for already established household pets to become a bit jealous (most dog breeds) when a new pup arrives amidst a lot of attention.
This can upset your older pooch or cat, and they could then become aggressive with the newcomer.
Be sure to give the older pets the same attention that you do for the little one.
Adult dogs in general revert to bad behavior when they are ignored.
Give all the pets jobs to do by training them to sit, shake or beg before meals or during playtime.
This can turn the newcomer into a possible hero as your other household pets will be thrilled by the extra attention and treat too.
Introduce the New Puppy to Other Pets in a Calm & Nonthreatening Way
Take the time to introduce your new puppy to other household pets in a calm and nonthreatening manner.
Dog experts recommend keeping your voice low and using encouraging commands. Allow other pets to see that this little one is not a threat to you or them.
Supervise playtime in short intervals throughout the day. Gradually increase togetherness playtime as the pets remain on good behavior.
Watch Out for The New Puppies Food & Drink Intake
Chihuahuas are small, and other pets may show dominance. This is a common method of asserting who’s boss in the pet world.
This may result in the older dogs, and sometimes cats, pushing the other puppy away or scaring them from eating.
Other pets may steal food and drink from the puppy’s food/drink bowls.
Mealtimes should also be supervised closely at first.
Monitor how much the Chihuahua puppy eats and drinks. Discourage food stealing or bullying from the other house pets.
Put the offending animal in a timeout if they revert to this behavior.
Remember, a dog will often begin to shake, appear fearful, and whine, whimper, or cry if they sense a threat from other pets in the home.
Multiple pets may need to have separate feeding sessions until all is well.
A Special Needs or Abused Chihuahua Needs Extra Patience & Comfort
Sadly, there are many Chihuahuas that have been abused or neglected by their previous owner.
Special needs dogs too will need extra time when training in general.
These vulnerable pets will require an extra dose of patience, a calm, quiet and soothing environment, and close supervision.
If you’re concerned about your anxious dog or a new puppy, as a responsible pet owner, please don’t delay discussing further with your vet.
Your local vet will advise the best course of action.
Some Final Thoughts Regarding Chihuahuas Crying During the Night
Chihuahuas are delightful pets that can bring a lot of happiness to a home. They do need boundaries set early on by the owner.
Crying is common for this breed, and addressing the crying using the above steps as a guide can help soothe your pup and teach him to obey your commands.
Don’t let the small size of these dogs fool you into coddling them without setting proper socialization and behavior boundaries first.
These dogs are highly intelligent and sensitive to even the slightest changes in their environment.
These little pups will quickly learn that certain behaviors will get your attention even if that attention is negative.
So, use positive training tactics and make learning fun. If using a crate, keep the door open during the day and encourage your pup to go inside leaving the door open.
Your Chihuahua should stop crying at night within a week or two in most cases. Always ensure your pup gets lots of love, attention, and exercise.
Wait for the pup to quit crying, and then reward him with a treat and praise.
Before long, your entire household should be thankfully quiet and enjoy a peaceful sleep at night.