You may feel that every thing is going well with your dog training and your relationship with your “best friend”, that is until you either have a conversation with your next door neighbor or even worse an unsigned letter, letting you know that your dog barks when left alone at home.
Obviously you don’t want to upset your neighbors, plus the fact you want to get to the bottom of why your dog is barking while you are away from home.
So what is really going on here? Why is your dog barking, when you are not there?
#1 Become the Pack Leader
By nature dogs are pack animals. Now your dog has progressed from the packs of wolves that roamed the wild, but none the less they are now part of a social pack, that includes you as the owner and your family. A pack requires a pack leader and if you have not trained your dog correctly then your dog is likely to think that he or she is the pack leader.
So what does that have to do with your dog barking when he has been left alone? Well as the pack leader he or she will have the need to protect his pack, but as his pack is no longer around him he is getting stressed and is calling out to his pack, as best he can, which is by barking. So the solution to this is for someone else to take over the role of pack leader and that should be you as the owner of your dog.
Once you become pack leader your dog will have a sense of security and safety as he knows he is being looked after and need not worry if he is left alone. Becoming the pack leader is another topic in it’s own right, which will be discussed in another article.
In the meantime, while you become pack leader, here are a number of additional items that will help in getting your dog feel less stressed when left at home alone.
#2 Exercise to Relieve Pend Up Energy
A good idea is to leave your dog in a relaxed state when you leave them alone. One way of doing this is to exercise your dog before you leave home. This could be via a long walk, or by doing some training exercises in the back garden that should get your dog mentally tired as well.
#3 Where Is Your Dog Most Content
If you are like most people you will have considered one location in or outside your property that best suits you, as the owner, were the dog should stay. Now, you may be lucky and will have selected a location that the dog is happy with as well.
However, this might not be the case and this is why your dog may be barking, getting stressed, when you leave them alone. So it may be worth investigating if other locations in the house might be more suitable. So instead of say outside, try indoors. Or instead of a main room, try a smaller washroom.
# 4 Your Dog Needs to Be Fed and Watered
Your dog needs to have water 24/7. This is not an option, this is being humane to your “best friend”. It is best that you feed your dog before your leave them. This will give them a sense of contentment.
Also it is advised that you allow them to “do their business” outside, or where they normally go, if they are toilet trained. This will stop them being frustrated that they cannot get outside to go to the toilet when you are not there.
#5 Be Safe and Pick Up Bones
There are now adays a wide selection of toys that we can give our dog to keep them occupied. There are such items as “Kongs” that can be filled with various dog friendly foods, that will keep the dog “entertained” for a period of time. You can also provide various bone treats for your dog to chew on.
While a dog will love these, they must be supervised while eating them, in case the bone splinters and they attempt to shallow it and potentially chock. If you are there your will be able to extract the bone from the dogs throat. if you are not there, then they may die.
#6 Calming Effect of TV and Radio
As humans music can have a calming effect on us, or it can be used as a distraction to take our mind off things. Also television can be used as a distraction. I have lost the sense of time watching the TV on many occasions.
Well the use of music and TV can have the same effect with your dog. So either turn on the radio of TV which you are out of the house and you have left the dog alone.
#7 Natural Methods of “Medication”
There are now available a number of herbal remedies that can help calm and relax a dog to help them stop barking when they are left alone. A common one is an air spray that is dispensed the same way as an air freshener. While these may calm and relax your dog, they are unlikely to resolve the underlying issue.
#8 Provide a Break During the Day
Let’s face it, the reason why the majority of people get a dog is because they want it as company, as a “friend”. Now due to the fact that a lot of people who get a dog have to work, then the dog is likely to have to spend time alone for along periods of time.
As a dog will typically like your company, then they will tend to feel lonely if left too long. So a solution is to get someone to pay a visit during the middle of the day. This might be to feed them and to get them a play session or a walk. I am sure the dog would appreciate it.
#9 Be Calm When You Leave and Come Home
One of the skills of owing a dog, is, in the main, to keep them calm. Now this is particularly true when you are going to leave your dog and when you are returning home. When you leave a dog stay calm and say good bye say 5 – 6 minutes before you leave. Then just leave as a matter calm manner.
With regards to not getting your dog excited when you return, the reason why you want to do this is because then your dog does not get worked up in anticipation of your return.
#10 Crate Training
When you first hear about “Crate Training” you may think that it’s a bit odd, keeping your best friend “trapped” in a cage for long periods of time. However, this is actually not the reality of the situation. What create training can provide is a safe haven for your dog, a place where they can feel secure and safe.
Like they would in a “den” out in the wild. So they are less likely to want to bark if they are felling safe and secure. Also it means for you as the owner, your dog cannot get into any “mischief” while you are not their, like chewing cables, biting furniture or scratching doors or walls. So this might be something that you might want to consider.
In Summary… Did You Catch The Solution?
Whether it’s barking when left home alone, or any of the other actions that your dog will undertake when he is alone, such as destroying the house, chewing the furniture or trying to dig his way to freedom under your fence, there is a long term solution.
The reason why your dog is doing these actions is because they are stressed and they want to see you safe and sound at home. Barking and these actions is their way of communicating this.
So now it is over to your as the owner of your dog. The next stage of this is to put into action the information provided so that your dog does not bark while left at home alone. Become the pack leader and have a dog that feels safe and secure when left alone.
All content on this site is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be nor can it be considered actionable professional advice. It must not be used as an alternative for seeking professional advice from a veterinarian or other certified professional.
PuppyandDogHQ.com assumes no responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of what’s written on this site. Please consult a professional before taking any course of action with any medical, health or behavioral related issue.