..Here’s a good question, How to stop dog barking when left alone?
Dog barks are one of the most annoying things in the world for any pet parent. Most dogs bark at almost anything. It could be at an on coming passerby, other dogs, a chew toy, or simply when the dog’s anxiety starts hitting the roof.
Usually, the only way the dog stops barking is if you give it attention, when you give them positive reinforcement, or when you take the dog’s attention away from what’s making it bark excessively for a few minutes. If you’re struggling with how to stop your dog from barking when left alone, you’re the only pet parents with this problem. Dogs bark for many reasons, including boredom, fear, anxiety, and hunger.
While it may be tempting to try to silence your dog’s excessive barking by scolding them or using punishment, these methods are often ineffective and can even make the problem worse.
The good news is, there are a number of things you can do to help your train your dog as well as make your dog feel more comfortable, stay quiet, and stop them from barking when left alone.
With a little patience and some training sessions, you can get your dog to stop barking and finally have the peace and quiet you (and your neighbors) so desperately crave.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Do Dogs Bark?
- 2 What is Separation Anxiety like in Dogs?
- 3 What Are Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
- 4 How Do I Prevent Separation Anxiety in My Dog?
- 5 How Can I Stop My Dog’s Excessive Barking?
- 6 How to Change Routines to Prevent Excessive Barking in Your Dog’s Behavior
- 7 Is my Dog Reactive?
- 8 Should You Use Bark Collars to Stop Your Dog From Barking?
- 9 Natural Supplements You Can Use to Reduce Excessive Barking
- 10 Conclusion
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Okay, so the first thing any pet parent needs to understand is why your dog barks in the first place. Well, there are a number of reasons for why this happens.
Whining, mild separation anxiety, behavior problems, and canned dog food are just a few of the reasons.
Dogs are natural pack animals, and they do not do so well when left alone especially when their dog parents go out without them.
If you notice that your dog barks more persistently, then separation anxiety may be the major cause.
But in case you were wondering what other causes there are here are a few:
It’s In their Nature
Dogs are a lot like humans in many ways. Just like how you may have inherited a significant characteristic in your parents like being a good musician, having a great sense of style, or your flair for community service – dogs also pick up their behavior to bark because it is simply in their DNA.
A lot of small breeds like terriers, Pomeranians, and etc are natural barkers. Many of them were born to bark on alert, or when someone is at the door, or when their owners instruct them to do so. They will also joyfully bark when the mailman is about to drop of your mail at your door step, or when they see a squirrel outside of your window, or when they hear an unusual noise coming form behind your garden.
The only problem with his however, is when they keep barking excessively you cannot curb it anymore especially when you are not around.
Since there are a lot of dogs that are bred to bark, this can be a good tool for you to use if you know how to train the dog properly.
If you want to stop the barking, you need to train your dog to know when it’s time to stop or when it’s OK to bark. A lot of trained professionals are able to stop dog barking and only use it when it’s needed, you can do the same for your dog.
They Bark Because They are Bored
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When was the last time you felt okay being by yourself? Let’s face it – no one really does well with boredom. In fact, some people try to get rid of the boredom by going out, hanging out with friends, watching television and a slur of many other things.
It’s the same thing for dogs. They get bored very easily when their owner is not around or when they have nothing to do in the house all day. Sleeping is not really considered a past time, and it can be a bit frustrating to a dog if they get no exercise or have too much pent up energy.
As a result of that boredom, they may end up barking, pacing, chewing furniture, or howling which no pet owner is comfortable with. Some of the more intelligent breeds, like retrievers or collies naturally have high energy and can be more prone to getting bored easily.
In order to get rid of a dog’s boredom, you need to make sure that your furry friend gets the exercise he needs to get rid of all the energy he has. You can entertain your pet with a chew toy or playing fetch with them in the house.
If you are not around to get rid of his boredom, make sure that your dog has something healthy to chew on or to play with like a bone or a squeaky toy. That way, you won’t come home to excessive barking or a mauled couch.
They Bark Out of Fear
Just like humans, dogs have a reason to get scared too. Sometimes, they could get scared of thunderstorms, or visits to the doctor. For some dogs, fear is what makes them anxious, which mostly brought by mistreatment or a traumatic event.
It can also be because they have been in an adoption shelter and have been moved too many times, had a tough time fitting in with other animals, and have been abandoned by their owners.
Fear also stems from not being socialized with other dogs at an early age. But that doesnt mean that puppies who have learned how to socialize couldn’t suffer from anxiety, which gets worse when they are alone.
If your is already fearful and nervous all the time, they tend to bark and will also bark when you are out of the house. The only way to fix this is, is if you give your dog the proper training and introduce them to other dogs so they can socialize.
Of course, this will not be easy and it needs consistency and patience to achieve. It’s best to introduce your dog gradually to other animals so that they get used to it. When your dog starts to get more comfortable, thats when you start introducing him to bigger crowds.
Again, dogs are a little like humans – if they do not feel comfortable in large groups of dogs just yet, it’s best to get them used to it first one baby step at a time to eliminate the barking.
They Try to Dominate You or Order You Around
Have you ever experienced trying to leave your house, but then your dog suddenly starts barking at you but you don’t know the reason? For any pet owner, this could be a little startling to see, especially if your dog has never done it to you before.
If your dog starts barking at you as soon as you put your hands on the door knob, that could be him telling you that he doesn’t want you to leave. Instead, playing might be a better option for you both.
The only problem with this is, if your dog still barks even after you have left the house, it could mean that your dog may be having anxiety issues.
If this happens, make sure that you assure your dog first that you will be back home after work. Sometimes giving your furry friend a little assurance works wonders, but ofcourse if even this does not solve the problem – its best to try training instead.
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They Feel Territorial
Do you sometimes notice that when another dog approaches you, your dog seems to get uncomfortable or starts to growl? this is because your dog feels territorial over you and is a way of telling other dogs to back away.
This behavior could also lead to unwanted barking when you are gone, which is never a good thing. Sometimes good training or even neutering your dog may be the best solution to this problem to curve the territorial instinct.
To help your dog keep quiet, you can put him in another part of the house where the curtains are closed so that your dog does not see anything from outside the window. This will also help him keep calm and will be less likely to be upset by anything that gets in the way of his territory.
What is Separation Anxiety like in Dogs?
A lot of dog owners make the mistake of leaving their dogs alone for longer periods, and as a result your dog learns a lot of barking problems, & destructive behavior.
Although excessive barking dogs can also be more common in some breeds than others, severe separation anxiety can also be caused by a lot of other things as well, like traumatic experiences or the dog associating crate confinement as a form of punishment.
What Are Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
In order to get to know your dog a lot more, dog owners need to know what signs they need to look out for to know if the dog has separation anxiety:
As mentioned, excessive barking is only one of the immediate causes of separation anxiety and for other dogs it could also be any form of vocalization – like whining or howling.
Other signs may include:
- Self harming – this can be in the form of excessive skin chewing and itching
- Escape attempts – sometimes, when you go out as a pet owner and you leave your dog with a family member, at a doggy daycare, a dog walker, or with a dog sitter, they sometimes attempt to escape so they don’t get left alone with someone that they are not familiar with.
- Excessive salivation – dogs normally salivate but if you notice that they are salivating too much even if they are not doing anything, that could be an indication of separation anxiety.
- Depressive Behavior – if you try to take your dog to a dog park, and they are unusually sad instead of happy to go out that could also be another indication of separation anxiety.
- Excessive excitement when you go home – your dog loves to welcome you home after a day or a few weeks of work. But if they begin barking or your dog experiences a little too much excitement that could be an indication of separation anxiety.
Note: Take note that depressive or pacing behavior. When they are alone are things that might not be so obvious. If they only happen when you are out of your house.
It’s nice to check up on your dog every once in a while. So getting a CCTV to connect to your smart phone is a good idea. If your dog continues to show signs of excessive barking. Unusual behavior make sure to seek help from a veterinary behaviorist. Or a professional dog trainer so you can minimize the dog barking.
How Do I Prevent Separation Anxiety in My Dog?
It’s frustrating to see your house in a mess. After leaving your dog a lone for a few minutes to run some errands. If your dog has separation anxiety, it can also trigger your own anxiety to see that no matter what you do, your dog seems to keep barking excessively and your training methods haven’t been working.
It’s okay, you are not the only person with this problem. Most dogs just don’t know how to handle their separation anxiety. Which is why they result to barking or unwanted behavior.
So what can you do to help your dog?
It’s important to train your dog that their crate is their best friend. Your veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied animal behaviorist may suggest to crate train your dog.
It’s totally safe, and it is in no shape or form considered cruel. If you know how to make use of the crate properly.
The trick is to use mental stimulation to keep your dog’s barking at bay. It’s also important to associate good things with his crate.
Dogs learn very fast and if you tell him that the crate is associated with chew toys, yummy treats, and other nice things he will be okay when left alone. There are also other dogs that like to be alone and settles right in.
Try to asses your dog from time to time while you leave him inside his crate. If he starts to bark excessively, you have to teach him the right way to stop barking as well.
Remember, that the goal of this method is not to put him in the crate all day. As a solution to his separation anxiety.
Exercise With Your Dog
dog lots, doggie daycare, and dog parks, are all great ways to exercise with your dog.
Although exercise cannot cure your dog’s separation anxiety. Giving him a dog’s day is a great way to nurture calm behavior in your dog.
This will also keep your dog from barking too much or at least stop the barking one way or the other.
Dog sports are also a good idea. Sports keep your dog’s attention away from his separation anxiety and prevents dog barking.
Physical exercise is great for larger dogs, dog breeds with high energy. A tired, and satisfied dog who’s had a lot of fun with either you or a dog trainer will be more likely to be more settled down when left alone.
Don’t forget to train your dogs mental muscles as well. A lot of puzzles, cognitive games, and a lot of fun entertaining mental stimulation. These are also good ways to prevent separation anxiety. A brain workout, could be just as tiresome as any physical exercise.
Don’t Over Tolerate Clinginess
Clinginess could be cute but up to what extent? If humans experience separation anxiety and start to become clingy towards you – it get’s annoying at times right? It’s the same thing in dogs.
When it comes to dogs, important not to keep tolerating or encouraging the clingy behavior. Instead, help your dog develop independent behavior. By teaching your dog to be on his own in another room even while you are at home.
Dog attention is adorable. But eventually you will need to teach him that it’s okay if you leave his sight for a few minutes.
Medication and Bark Collars
Sometimes, even with all the physical and mental training it still isn’t enough to make your dog stop barking. Drug therapy, and bark collars, as prescribed by your dog’s veterinarian help too.
There are many kinds of bark collars available for your dog like shock collars, a citronella collar, and spray collars. Citronella collars are the most common which help prevent barking. Always remember to consult with your dog’s physician first before medicating your dog.
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Leaving Your Pet With a Pair of Your Shoes or Socks
When you feel close to a person, sometimes the quickest way to remember them is through their scent. It makes you feel comfortable. And almost at peace because you have a piece of that person lying around your home.
It’s the same thing for dogs. If you leave your home, you can leave your shoes laying around the house. Or maybe even leave them with a used sock so they feel comforted after you leave. Dogs are also like humans. And if you give them a little bit of you accompanied with a bit of nurturing words. Their anxiety goes away.
How Can I Stop My Dog’s Excessive Barking?
Pet owners always ask the question, How to stop dog barking when left alone?
Dogs bark at almost anything. But it becomes annoying when your dog doesn’t stop barking. And you have to constantly scold or remind your dog to stop.
When your dog is barking, it’s important to note that separation anxiety requires a a combination of different techniques. Start with talking to your vet, and find out which medication is best. This will also rule out any other possible causes that may be causing your dog’s barking.
How to Change Routines to Prevent Excessive Barking in Your Dog’s Behavior
If you are eager to stop dog barking in your household. You need to start setting up some ground rules for your dog to follow. Having a set of rules around your house will not only train your dog to stop barking. But also train him to feel comfortable when left alone.
Here are a few methods to try:
Don’t Be in a Hurry to Leave Your Home
Your can start to trigger your dogs bark if you come off as too excited to leave your house. Vets always urge pet owners to slow down. Or pace yourself for as long as you can before heading out of the door.
If this seems a little impossible for you. You can try leaving your coat on for a while. Or putting on your shoes ahead of time before leaving the house. A dog bark starts when dogs notice that you will be leaving without taking them with you.
Always make it a habit to make small changes so that your dogs get used to you leaving.
Don’t Over Exaggerate Your Welcome Home
A dog bark is a way of saying “i missed you while you were away”. If your dogs get too excited, they can keep barking until they grab your attention in some way. It’s important to not make so much of a fuss when you come home.
If you left your house for only a short time and immediately you make a loud fuss, you start to reinforce the idea to your dog that leaving is a terrible thing.
Of course, missing your dogs is a normal reaction for dog owners. But spoiling them with treats, belly rubs, and games especially while the dog is barking will just make it worse.
Try not to give too much attention that associates with your return home. Just a quick pat on the head, without giving them too much attention. Too quickly will minimize your dogs barking, as well as the need to seek excessive attention.
Try Counter Conditioning or Systematic Desensitization on Your Dog
As we all know, barking is a very annoying dog trait. Counter conditioning your dogs has been known to work to get rid of barking. This includes leaving your dogs for short periods alone to help them get over the fear.
Slowly building up your dogs to it is also a great way to get them used to the idea. Make sure that you make your dogs feel as comfortable as possible, so that they resist the barking urge.
Manage Boundaries Around Your Dogs at Home
Your dogs may result to barking as a form of comfort. Or as a way to get your attention and this will poorly develop their need to feel secure and relaxed. If you are concerned about your dogs behavior. Make sure to consult with your vet about how to fix your dogs barking problem.
its important to instill boundaries with your dogs. This will allow them to form healthier emotional stability and independence as time goes by.
Make Sure to Check in With Your Own Anxiety
As a dog owner, it’s important to also be calm and collected when you are around your dogs. Dogs can sense when their owner is not well or going through something. Sometimes, they may start barking as a way to get help from others.
It’s also very easy to forget about yourself when your dog is becoming hard to manage. Your dog will start picking up your behavior cues. So, if you are also anxious your dog will likely start showing signs of emotional instability. Which is a huge triggering factor for barking.
If you stay calm around your dog. They will eventually pick up from you and learn how to stop barking.
Is my Dog Reactive?
You may have heard of this term before but incase you haven’t, what is reactivity? Reactivity means that your dog overreacts to normal non-stimulating situations on a daily basis.
When this happens, this is often a signal that your dog is feeling intense emotions. And their natural way to cope with this unfamiliar feeling is by being reactive. This is a way to make them feel safe as well. When they do not like the emotion or the way they are seeing the situation.
As a result of that, the dog will start barking. Understanding how a reactive dog thinks and its triggers will help you stop your dog from barking as well curbing the bad behavior. By seeing how your dog thinks and acts. You’ll also be able to get rid of the anxiety that they feel.
If you are unable to handle the situation alone, however, its best to consult with a vet or at trainer to fix the problem or help the dog come up with better coping methods to get rid of the barking.
Should You Use Bark Collars to Stop Your Dog From Barking?
One of the most common tools that professional trainers use on a dog is a bark control collar. Even though this may seem like the best solution and a quick fix. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be good for your dog.
While it may get rid of the barking, it will not keep the problem away in the long run. Sometimes, if you use this the wrong way, the dog could associate the collar with a negative consequence and therefore become invasive for the dog.
Keep in mind that when dogs bark it is a way for them to communicate with their owners, and while it can be a bit annoying at times, the need to eliminate it completely from your dog is something that you shouldn’t do.
It also wont solve the anxiety or the fear that your dog feels. If you do not know how to handle dog properly, its best to get a professional dog trainer to help your dog learn the proper obedience, tricks, and ways that they can cope with their anxiety in a healthy way.
Also keep in mind that training your dog takes a lot of time, dedication, consistency, and effort to come up with good results. Always make sure that you reward your dog with yummy treats. And belly rubs so that they know what they are doing is right.
Not all training or bad behavior should result to destructive ways of correcting like using a shock collar. Although, for some this method may work. But a lot of people think it is inhumane to use one on your dog.
If you want good results, you need to address the real problem which is the dog’s anxiety and fear, and to do that – you need to change the way your dog feels towards certain situations.
Natural Supplements You Can Use to Reduce Excessive Barking
If going with medication is not in the books for you. To help your dog overcome his fear and anxiety. There are a couple of natural supplements you can use as an alternative which include:
- Ashwagandha – this is a natural extract that is used both in animals and humans. That helps control the level of stress hormones in the body. It has also been found to reduce stress in humans – and is completely safe for your pets to use.
- L-Theanine – This is type of amino acid that is mainly used to boost productivity and brain activity. It also causes relaxation without making your dog feel drowsy or tired. If you have a dog that has a phobia with noise. This will be the best option for you to try.
- Bark Extract Magnolia – A bark extract is good for lowering cortisol levels in your dog which regulates their mood. This extract also works well with humans. And the general effect of this would be to lower your stress and improve your overall mood throughout the day. If you have a dog with severe anxiety, this extract will work well.
Of course, before you try any of these supplements. Its best to get approval from your veterinarian before giving it to your dog. If your dog has any allergies or health issues that need to be addressed, it may be a good idea to ask your doctor first if you can use it.
As a pet owner, we all want a happy and cheerful dog. Stopping your dog from barking excessively. It will not only give you and your neighbors peace of mind. But it will also make your dog feel less fearful.