How do I stop my dog from barking when I leave the house? Do you recognize this question? When we leave our dog alone at home, we want him to stay calm and not to destroy objects or bark to avoid inconvenience with the neighbors. When a dog barks when left alone at home, it can be due to different reasons: boredom, separation anxiety, alarm bark (when he hears noises outside), fear,...
In this article, we will see some tricks so that the dog does not bark when he is alone, as well as important aspects to prevent behavior disorders that can manifest with barking and howls when we are absent.
It is very important to accustom our dog to stay alone at home without this causing anxiety or stress. In different articles, we have treated the issue of separation anxiety and how we can accustom our partner to stay alone. It will be important to do it in a progressive way and avoid an excess of attachment, dosing the attention that we give him during the day to promote his independence and avoid him having a bad time when we are not home.
Giving him a good walk before leaving him alone for several hours also helps him to stay calmer. A good walk should include physical activity, sniffing, and social contact. If our dog enjoys a good walk before being left alone, we will prevent him from barking or breaking things home due to boredom and lack of activity.
Leave dispensing and interactive toys. These are toys in which the dog must use his skills to get a reward (usually some prizes). The best known is Kong, but any ball dispenser will do; toys that can be programmed to issue prizes periodically, puzzle games where the dog must move pieces to get the reward, etc. It is important to take into account the difficulty of the toy. Some are very simple and we can leave the dog alone with the toy with no prior practicing. For the most difficult ones, it will be necessary to teach the dog to use them before leaving them alone. Keep in mind that these toys will not work to keep the dog distracted for several hours, so they should not replace other aspects, such as the ones mentioned in the previous points.
Leave the radio or television on. Some dogs appreciate this because it makes them feel accompanied. The sound of the radio or TV breaks the absolute silence of the house and generates a sense of companionship. Although, not all dogs identify this sound with the presence of people at home, for some of them it is enough to avoid problems such as barking in our absence.
If our dog shows an alarm bark, that is to say, barking when he hears noises outside the house or when people or other dogs pass by the window, isolating the windows or closing the curtains will prevent or, at least, significantly reduce the barking by this reason.
Finally, more a tip than a trick: if when leaving by the door of the house you hear your dog bark, it is not advisable that you return to see him. If you do that, it will reinforce this behavior since the dog will learn that barking makes you go back.
If your dog barks when left alone, we recommend contacting an animal behavior specialist. As we have commented in the introduction, there may be several reasons. With these tricks, you can prevent barking by staying alone, but if he already does it and trying some of them cannot seem to solve it, a professional can help you identify the causes and give you more specific guidelines.
Borja Ros Villanueva, veterinarian and ethologist in Adetcan.
Adetcan is a project formed by two veterinary ethologists and canine educators who provide counseling, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of behavioral problems in dogs and cats. The service is at home. We are in Santiago de Compostela but we work throughout Galicia.