How to Stop Dog Barking When Left Alone. A Helpful and Useful Guide.
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Most dog owners have had to deal with this problem at some point. However, some dogs will bark fiercely at nothing, or even at the sight of you simply taking a shower. This is because your dog has mastered your schedule. You probably leave home at a particular fixed time and your dog is not exactly amused.
Some dogs, however, will not be able to withstand you leaving the house. Unfortunately, we cannot afford to spend all our time with our dogs, despite how much we love them. This article is going to focus on the reasons why dogs may bark relentlessly, as well as how to stop a dog from barking when left alone.
Keeping a barking dog is problematic to you and your neighbors. In fact, you might get into legal issues with your neighbors because of your barking dog. You will need to come up with a way to solve this immediately you notice this behavior.
If you are having trouble trying to stop your dog from barking when left alone, do not despair. One, you are not alone in this mess, and number two, you can be able to curb this behavior. However, we must understand why our dogs engage in certain behaviors when they do. This is the only way we can be able to approach and solve barking problems.
Why is my dog barking whenever I leave him alone at home?
Well, before you can go on to get a solution for your barking dog, it is important to know why he is doing so. There are different reasons that could lead your dog to bark excessively. Let us now discuss some of the common reasons why your pup might be making unnecessary noise in the neighborhood;
This is the number one thing you should look for, especially when your dog is barking only after being left alone. For instance, you may notice that every time you start preparing to leave for work, your dog cannot contain himself. He will bark at you even as you close the door behind you. Unfortunately, it does not just stop there. A dog with separation anxiety will not only bark excessively when you are leaving home but also during your absence.
This will not only be your problem to solve but your neighbors might have an issue with your dog. Dogs with separation anxiety usually cannot stand being on their own and will often be clingy towards their owners.
Some dogs are prone to separation anxiety more than others. Dogs that have been from one rescue to another may be experiencing this kind of anxiety. If you have recently adopted a puppy, you might as well be dealing with this kind of anxiety. In fact, change of residence or anything in the household could bring about separation anxiety.
Some of the signs and symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs may include house-soiling, destruction of the household items, barking and howling the entire time as well as attempts to escape the house. Other symptoms may include pacing around the house, and coprophagia. Separation from family is also a possible cause of separation anxiety in dogs. For examples, the death of a family member may lead to this separation anxiety which will definitely lead to barking unnecessarily. The first step you should take to stop your dog from barking when left alone is checking for separation anxiety and treat the issue.
This problem is not something that you can just ignore. Understand that allowing barking to go on for a long time is only promoting long-term behavioral issues. Therefore, you should make sure that this problem is handled as soon as you recognize the anxiety.
Some dogs are genetically prone to barking. This is especially in the case of smaller breeds of dogs that will usually have a barking problem. In other cases, breeds that were meant for security purposes will have the same problem. This is why most dog owners will consider the type and breed of dogs they are adopting, based on their purposes.
The smaller breeds of dogs like Poodles and Chihuahuas are basically barkers. They will bark at the slightest movement near your house, especially if you are not around. This means that even your doorbell or a stranger approaching your house will prompt your pup to start barking.
Larger breeds like the German Shepherd Dog were specifically bred for security purposes. They would alert farmers and herders whenever there was something unusual. However, we keep dogs for various purposes, and rarely will you find a home bred dog for security. Therefore, getting this breed of a dog means that you may have to deal with an excessive barking problem.
The good news is that you can be able to train your dog in order to stop him from barking when left alone. We shall look at that later on in this article.
Boredom and Loneliness
When you leave your puppy at home, there is a chance that he will get bored, I mean, he has nothing to do other than wait for his owner to come back home. This is not a very good routine as your dog will find things to do, and barking tops the list.
Unfortunately for us, dogs are barking to communicate or express themselves. Boredom will make your dog start thinking and looking for you in the house. Often, you respond to his barking and so he will use the latter to call for you in the house.
And since you cannot spend your entire day with your dog, you will definitely have to provide an alternative. In the next section, we are going to discuss what to do in order to make sure that our dogs are not bored or lonely whenever we leave our homes.
Tips that will help you stop dog barking when left alone
If you are trying to stop your dog from barking when left alone, then do not panic. Over the years, we have been able to study dog behavior, which has enabled us to domesticate dogs without any issues. As much as we understand them, they have no idea how human being work or reason. This leaves us with the task of equipping them with knowledge of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Luckily for us, we can be able to modify dog behavior in order to facilitate harmonious living in the same household.
The following tips are going to guide you through the process of curbing unnecessary and excessive barking;
Treat Separation anxiety
Like we mentioned before, your dog is only trying to communicate his fears through barking. It is therefore important that you pay attention to your dog and identify separation anxiety. Understand that this type of anxiety is characterized by an extreme fear of certain situations, and in this case, being left alone. If your dog has the signs and symptoms of separation anxiety, you will need to handle it immediately.
Treating separation anxiety is not exactly easy. This is because all your dog wants is for you to spend every minute of the day with him, which is impossible. You can, however, train your dog how to be alone and not cause any problems. You can be able to do this in two different ways, which will take a lot of caution; desensitization and counterconditioning.
Counterconditioning involves you training your dog to be alone by occupying him with pleasant activities. You see, this can be tricky because you are exposing your dog to exactly what he dreads; being alone. However, you can reduce the anxiety by replacing the loneliness with an activity. For instance, you may get food puzzles and leave it in the room with your dog. This way, the entire time he is alone, he will be trying to solve the puzzle.
Desensitization, on the other hand, is an extreme kind of training. It means that you are exposing your dog to the fearful situation directly. You can start by leaving him alone in the room for many short intervals until he stops barking on his own. To reinforce this, you may consider offering a treat every time he stops barking on his own.
Do not punish your dog
Most people may end up treating their dogs as fellow human beings. This means that you want him to learn from his mistakes and therefore punishment serves better. However, when we punish, yell or hit our dogs, we are only making it worse. Your dog does not understand the concept of punishment, which makes administering it useless.
Once again, your dog is only trying to communicate with you, and thus the fuss. He wants to tell you that he is not okay with you leaving him alone every other day. When you yell at your dog, the only thing he understands is that you are upset but not by what. He will pick your negative energy only to bark at you in return.
Instead, it is advisable to remain calm through the entire process. Wait for your dog to stop barking and then calmly command him to keep quiet. You can do this by training him the command ‘quiet’. It is a good thing that dogs tend to learn quite fast. Once he stops barking, you can then go ahead and reward his good behavior. Repeat until he stops barking. You can incorporate this training when you are using the desensitization method to calm him down.
Exercise your dog to exhaustion
This is a very important point when we are trying to stop a dog barking when left alone issue. Exercise should always be a part of your dog’s day. Not only will this help keep him happy and healthy, but it will also help keep him calm when you are away from home.
It is advisable that you exercise your dog thoroughly prior to leaving the house. This way, you will leave him tired and in need to rest for some hours. In addition to this, exercising your dog will get rid of boredom and loneliness which also contributes to barking when left alone.
Walking your dog prior to leaving the house will expose your dog to the outside world. This will stimulate your dog both physically and mentally, leaving your dog with no room for boredom. Once again, you will have spent enough time with your dog and thus he will not be anxious in your absence. Spending time with your pup assures him of safety even when you are out of site.
Even though barking is a normal dog behavior, barking for no reason should not be tolerated. The fact is, the more you leave your dog to bark unnecessarily, the higher the chances of developing aggression. It is important to make sure that you figure out the exact reason why he is barking.
It might not affect you when you leave your dog barking at home but your neighbors will tell you all about it, perhaps even take legal action against you. In addition, as mentioned before, barking and howling for petty reasons is the mother of aggression in dogs. Once you allow him to bark at your friend without taking any action, he might even jump and attack them.
Take some time to understand why your dog is barking and address the issue as soon as possible.
Rule out dog dementia
Dog dementia is also another possible reason why your dog is barking when left alone. This is a common problem in older dogs that leads to confusion and loss of some abilities. For instance, a dog with dementia may experience dysthymia which is the loss of awareness of his body length. If your dog is getting stuck in places in the house, soiling the house or even experiencing sleep disorders, consider checking for dementia.
Dementia will also come with increased aggression and he might even bite. Therefore, do not ignore any other above discussed symptoms of this condition. Your vet should be able to give a full diagnosis based on whether your dog had dementia or not. Since there is no treatment for the vice, managing the environment will help your dog. Your vet may also prescribe medicine to correct the sleep disorder.
If your dog has dementia, part of taking care of him is making sure that you do not remodel your house. You might end up confusing him and thus lose his way around the house. This will only promote more barking and house-soiling. You should also check with your vet on matters of his nutrition as well as try to retrain him.
Limit access to windows and doors
When you want to stop a dog from barking when left alone, it is important to make sure that he does not have access to the door or windows. This is because, as we had identified earlier in this article, excessive barking can be as a result of the sight or scent of strangers on the outside. This is especially important if you keep a protective dog.
It is essential to understand that your dog is genetically accustomed to living with his pack. Because of domestication, instead of other dogs, you become his pack when you adopt him. Dogs will naturally have the need to protect their packs, which in this case you are his pack. Therefore, anyone approaching your house is a potential threat and in order to eliminate it, your dog is going to bark. This becomes very problematic when you live in an apartment building or a busy street.
You should limit access to the windows and even doors. Alternatively, you can always leave the curtains down to ensure that he does not have the view of the outside.
If you have an outdoor dog, then you may consider fencing your backyard with solid wood. This will keep him from seeing anything out of your homestead.
Whenever you leave your dog at home, he is prone to boredom. This is because he has nothing else to do when you are away but wait for you. Waiting on you the entire day is definitely going to cause your dog a lot of anxiety leading to barking excessively.
Toys are an excellent way to keep your dog occupied for the entire day. You can get sophisticated toys that will take a lot of your dog’s attention. Leave toys in different places in the house, and also a few treats. This way, your dog is going to be excited every time he finds a treat.
Not only will the toys keep your dog busy but also excited throughout the day. This way, he will not be upset or frustrated that you are not around.
In order to stop your dog from barking when left alone, you will have to understand the source of the behavior. This way, you can be able to address any underlying behavioral or health issues. Make sure that you are taking good care of your dog both physically and mentally.
As exercise is important, so is mental stimulation for your dog. You should always make sure that he is tired before you leave home. This way, all he can think about is how exciting the walk or play was as well as rest. In addition to this, if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, it is important to have it treated as soon as possible.
The goal is to keep your dog happy and healthy at all times as well as prevent your dog from unacceptable behavior like excessive barking. Good luck!