We must make sure our dog’s behavior does not affect others, so knowing how to stop your dog from barking when left home alone, it’s part of being a responsible pet owner.
The constant barking of our dog, when left alone in our home, can be a serious problem. It can cause from our neighbors and landlord. It can even reach the point we are evicted or that our contract is not renewed.
In some cities, some laws penalize the constant barking of a dog by a nuisance or noise ordinance. Also, if an owner allows his dog to bark after several warnings from the police, he can be arrested for disturbing the peace.
But more importantly, a dog does not need to bark to be happy. Barking can be a sign of anxiety, frustration, or stress. A happy and relaxed dog rarely barks.
Stopping your dog from barking when left alone at home requires working together to solve a problem. This allows you to get closer and create stronger bonds with him and prevent later problems such as destructive behaviors.
The secret to ending your dog’s barking more effectively is to find the triggers and understand why he barks when left alone. Understanding what he feels allows you to address the causes and not just treat the symptoms.
Why Do Dogs Bark When Left Home Alone?
It is not difficult to identify which are the triggers that make your dog bark. Barking is a way he communicates with his environment and us.
We must be attentive to our dog behavior when we are at home and watch when and why he barks.
There are common barks resulting from our relationship and daily interaction with him. They can bark to ask you to take him out to potty, to remind you it is mealtime, among many other things.
But we must recognize the types of barks and triggers that can happen even when we are not home. They may be the result of stress and anxiety.
If he does it when we’re with him, he surely does it when we’re not there. Even more intensely since he will not have the attention and distractions of our presence.
The following types of behaviors can help you detect and understand why your dog is barking.
Alarm Barking Dogs
Many breeds were bred to bark to alert their owners of potential hazards. They tend to bark at any noise or movement near them. Either the sound of the elevator or the arrival of your neighbors can trigger the bark.
Watchdogs like the Dobermann and the German Shepherd have this tendency. Also, the Beagles, Terrier, and small breeds such as the Schnauzer, Chihuahuas, Poodles, or Maltese are prone to alarm barking.
The Anxious Dog
Some factors in your dog’s life can stress him out and make him anxious. Moving to a new home, the arrival of a new member to the family or even a change in your routine can confuse and stress him.
Likewise, his life history can cause him to be an anxious and nervous dog. This is common in dogs that have gone from house to house and in Shelter and Rescue dogs.
Also, overprotected dogs with a lack of adequate socialization and those that have been in isolation, are often insecure and fearful.
These dogs usually suffer from separation anxiety when they are left alone, even for a short period. They are the ones that most commonly bark all the time when left home alone.
The Bored Dog
Some high-energy and intelligent breeds like Retrievers and Border Collies tend to get bored if they do not have the mental stimulation and daily physical activity they need.
It is common for dogs that live in apartments not to have the daily exercise they need. They get bored fast if they are not busy, and boredom quickly turns into barking and destructive behaviors.
Even low or medium energy breeds need daily exercise and stimulation. The amount and type of exercise and stimuli vary from breed to breed.
The Demanding Dog
This dog does not like to stay alone because what he wants is attention.
He usually barks at its owner to get his attention, demand rewards, food, toys, or just for playtime.
If your dog starts barking when you prepare to leave, he is telling you that he doesn’t want you to go. It’s his way to convince you that it’s a better idea to stay home with him.
The problem is he will probably continue to bark after you leave, even for several hours.
The Territorial Dog
They are mainly Alpha males with a dominant personality and watchdogs breeds. These dogs have the instinct to protect their territory from other dogs, pets, or intruders.>
They are protective of their own space. Whether hearing a neighbor pass near the door or seeing another dog, pet, or any other animal through the window, can cause him to start barking incessantly.
The difference between the territorial and the alarm dog is territorial behaviors happen only in known places they want to protect, while alarm barking can take place anywhere.
What Can I Do If My Dog Barks All Day While I Am at Work?
There are several things we can do to stop our dog from barking when he is left home alone. We must take into account that this does not happen overnight. It requires time and perseverance.
2 Basic Things to Start With
To begin with, there are two things we can do that can help prevent and stop the barking regardless of the causes or triggers that affect your dog when he’s left home alone. They help to have a dog with a more balanced and calm temperament and improve his overall welfare.>
Exercising your dog on a daily regular, not only benefit his health but also has excellent benefits in his behavior. It helps to have a more calm and even-temperament dog. Exercise, as in humans, releases serotonin in the brain of dogs, causing a feeling of happiness and calmness.
If your dog does not have the necessary daily exercise, he will get bored quickly. This leads him to bark and eventually to find other ways to keep himself entertained and release his extra energy.
When choosing the breed of the dog that will be part of our family, it’s important to take into account their exercise needs. We need a pet that fits well into our lifestyle, and seriously consider how much time we can commit to meeting his needs.
If they are medium or high-energy dogs, they usually need at least two sessions of walking or intense exercise per day. Other breeds with only two short walks of about 30 minutes a day are more than satisfied.
It is important that just before leaving him alone at home, mainly in the mornings before leaving for work, take him for a walk and exercise. With a long enough session that will tire him out, it is very likely that he will sleep and rest while you are away from home.
Daily exercise helps control barking in most dogs, no matter what the cause or trigger is. But mostly it helps stop the barking in Anxious and Bored Dogs.
Exercise Options That Can Help You
- Find a Dog Walker that takes him for a walk in the middle of the day. This is an excellent way to exercise him more and allows to reduce the time he is alone at home.
- Take him to a Dog Daycare. If you can not take it daily, once or twice a week will help him socialize, exercise, and play. At the end of the day, he will be exhausted.
Establish a Routine
Most dogs feel more confident and calm if they have a consistent and reliable daily routine. It reinforces their confidence to know when and what activities to expect during the day.
It is important to set up a schedule of his activities such as mealtime, potty walks, exercise, and even playtime. Even if your schedules vary constantly, try to keep his routine as stable as possible.
Having a routine has good results in Anxious Dogs. But in general, it benefits all dogs. If it does not entirely stop the barking, used together with some of the tips explained below has excellent results.
Tips To Stop a Dog From Barking When Left Alone
Depending on the reasons and triggers that cause your dog barking when left home alone, here are six extra tips that can help you stop the behavior.
Tip 1: Changes in the Environment
Keeping the curtains closed creates a darker environment that has a calming effect on most dogs. It helps muffle the sounds from outside that disturb Alarm Barkers. Likewise, it helps to eliminate the visual stimuli that trigger Territorial and Bored Dogs.
Tip 2: Turn on Your TV or Radio
In many homes, when someone is at home, the radio or television is turned on for long periods of time. Leaving the radio or television on when you’re not at home, helps mask the outside sounds that disturb the Territorial and Alarm Barking Dogs. It also gives the auditory appearance of your presence that helps the Anxious Dogs with separation anxiety.
There is even music specifically designed to calm and relax dogs. It can help to leave the music on during the periods that your dog is left alone.
Tip 3: Interactive and Mentally Challenging Toys
Toys can be a fun way to keep your dog entertained and busy while you’re not at home. Puzzle Toys or a Kong stuffed with prizes can keep him entertained and stimulated mentally during the day, so he does not get bored.
It is also a good idea to leave a really special toy that he only gets when you’re not at home.
Tip 4: Training
Adding training time to his routine or enrolling him in an obedience program provides many benefits. Dog training improves his overall life quality.
A training routine helps stimulate his mind and is a great exercise. It also helps to have a more balanced dog and helps strengthen and improve the ties between you and your dog.
Tip 5: Adopt a Companion
For some dogs, it works to have a new canine companion. Remember that dogs are pack animals.
Finding a friend and companion that is calm, playful, and of good temperament can have very positive effects on your dog. It can help him to be more calm and relaxed.
A companion helps a with Bored, Anxious, and Demanding Dogs.
Tip 6: Building Up the Time He Is Alone
This technique is useful with Anxious Dogs with Separation Anxiety and Demanding Dogs.
The purpose is to gradually leave your dog more and more time alone until he can be without barking for up to two hours. If he can be alone without barking for two hours, it can be up to 8 or 10 hours without barking while home alone.
This takes time. The gradual increase in time and consistency are essential to achieve results.
Simulate your daily routine before leaving home. Whether it’s putting on your shoes or grabbing your keys, a bag or backpack.
Make him think that you are leaving home like any other day. But at the end just sit down and don’t go out. Repeat this until he does not get anxious or starts barking.
Make him feel comfortable with your routine. The goal is to begin to desensitize him from your departure.
After imitating your daily routine, open and go out the door, but come back right away before your dog has the opportunity to bark. Praise him gently for not barking and repeat this step several times.
You do not have to make a lot of fuss or big and emotional scenes when you leave or return home. This can emotionally charge your dog and stress him out.
Gradually increase the time and distance of your departures. Start with one or two minutes. If you usually use an elevator, call it and go down one or two floors and go back up the stairs.
If he doesn’t bark, enter and praise him. But if you hear him bark, mark the behavior with a loud knock on the door with a solid object and start taking the time again.
Every time you hear him bark, knock the door and take the time again. It can take up to half an hour to get a minute or two without your dog barking. When you no longer hear him bark, enter and praise. Wait for 15 to 30 minutes and start the exercise again.
Things to Remember
The duration has to be increased gradually. Set specific goals, do not wait for an indeterminate time to correct your dog when he starts to barking. Begin with a minute and increase the time to two, five, 10 minutes gradually and congratulate and recognize each time he doesn’t bark.
Take into account that there will be setbacks, but this is normal, so do not be discouraged and keep going. Be patient and constant. Getting an hour of silence can take several days. Take the time to do it well, and you will have great results.
2 Things to Consider When Your Dog Suddenly Start to Bark when Left Alone
Any new behavior that your dog presents must be taken seriously. If he has always been quiet and suddenly starts barking a lot, it is important to consider two things.
If he has any pain or discomfort, it may be that barking is his way of trying to communicate his soreness. It’s important to take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible to be sure that there is no problem.
Old Dogs Barking
Sometimes when dogs get old, start to have hearing or vision problems or lose their mental abilities. Commonly, this can cause them to develop anxiety and manifest it by barking.
You must make sure your dog has everything necessary to be comfortable and safe. Although his exercise needs will be less, some recommendations and tips mentioned above can help him.
Helpful Things to Consider
In order to help your dog to stop barking when left alone, it is useful to consider some things that, although they seem small and obvious, are very helpful.
- Identify the behavior as soon as possible before it becomes a deep-rooted habit and is more difficult to stop.
- Your emotions and feelings affect your dog. They are very perceptive to the emotions of their family. If you feel worried or anxious, he can feel it and have a negative effect on him.
- Do not yell at him when you’re trying to stop his barking. This may encourage more barking.
- Use training based on positive reinforcement and use a calm and firm voice to help your dog change his behavior.
If none of these suggestions and tips work for you, do not hesitate to consult a dog trainer or canine behavior specialist.
Never be afraid to ask for help when you feel you cannot handle the situation.