Your pet pooch is a great companion and part-time home security system all rolled in one. Barking can alert you to danger, but if your dog constantly barks all day when you are gone, it can be a nuisance.
Depending on where you live, a dog that barks all day may disturb the neighbors or other pets in the area. If you are wondering why dogs bark when they are alone and how you can help yours quit, we have some suggestions that may help.
There are a few things you can do to keep your dog from barking when you are not home. To start, you should understand what is causing their distress and rectify it. A simple solution would be to leave them with plenty of toys and treats to keep them entertained during your workday.
You can also consider leaving your dog with a sitter while you are at work.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Dogs by nature are companion animals, leaving them at home on their own can trigger all sorts of reactions. There are a few reasons that may lead to barking sessions when dogs are left alone.
The most common cause of the barking, when left alone, is separation anxiety.
Dogs may also feel lonely or bored which can also trigger a barking jag. Dogs that have too much pent-up energy and those who want attention may also bark when left alone.
Curbing separation anxiety is a long and difficult process.
Barking is self soothing and self reinforcing, which means you'll want to correct this bad behavior and nip it in the bud before it escalates.
Of course, dogs are also very territorial, if they feel their space, mainly your home is under threat by outsiders, they will bark to bring attention to the invader.
Is It Bad For A Dog To Bark All Day When Alone?
Regardless of the reasons for barking all day, you may be wondering if it is actually harmful to your pet.
The longer a dog barks without garnering attention, the more stress and anxiety it will feel. Most dogs, when bored, will bark to gain attention which will result in other negative behaviors once they get a chance to leave the house.
Excessive barking can lead to minor dehydration and increased stress levels, but in general, it is not physically dangerous.
My Dog Barks When I Leave...Will He Eventually Stop?
Excessive barking when left alone can annoy your neighbors, and you may be wondering if your dog will stop eventually.
The cause of the barking is usually what determines if they will stop.
Dogs suffering from anxiety may not stop barking until you come home. Others may only bark for a short while until they find something to hold their attention.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Barking When Left Alone?
There are several solutions to help your dog stop barking when you leave it at home alone.
Once you have identified the cause of their barking, you can choose an appropriate solution. Training them not to bark is the best course of action, but if that is not effective, more aggressive methods may be required.
We have put together a list of our top solutions to help your dog stop barking when you are at work.
1. Increase Your Pet’s Exercise Routine
Most dogs need a regular amount of playtime in the form of walking, running, or tousling. Even low energy dogs need at least an hour or two of physical activity each day for proper health.
Are you properly exercising your dog? The recommendation is 5 min/month of age twice a day. So for a 10-month old puppy, that would mean 50 minutes of walk twice a day.
Increase the amount of time you spend giving your dog walks to help it burn off extra energy.
If you have a yard, consider letting them spend time outside before you leave for work each day - chasing a ball or a lure or a teaser. Play a game of tug of war and end it for at least an hour before you leave for work, allowing him to settle down.
Tiring your dog out before leaving will do wonders. Often, too much energy will make it difficult for dogs to relax and boredom will cause pets to bark until their owner returns from work.
If you have a long workday ahead, you can also schedule a dog walker to come by once or twice a day. This will give your pet a chance to burn off steam and get outside.
2. Add A Companion Pet For Your Dog
Certain breeds are not suited to being alone. Most dogs require at least some form of companionship unless you have chosen a breed that prefers its privacy. If you have space, consider adopting a companion pet for your dog.
This can be another dog of the same breed, a smaller dog, or even a cat if your pet is amicable. The animals will be able to give each other company while you are away at work. This will help reduce or eliminate barking altogether.
3. Improve Your Pet’s At-Home Entertainment
For those who don’t have space for another pet, consider adding more toys around the house for your dog.
Most dogs need some form of entertainment in addition to physical activity. You can find a wide selection of interactive dispenser toys at most pet shops. These will release treats or perform certain actions that keep your pet entertained while you are away.
Dogs are also pretty smart, they can solve simple puzzles or even listen to music as a way to soothe their boredom.
Many dog owners swear by stuffed Kongs or other treat-stuffed toys to keep their dog busy while they're away. Stuff them with peanut butter, liverwurst, cream cheese, canned dog food, or cheese cubes.
The point is that your pet should have something to keep them busy while you are away so they don’t annoy the neighbors with their barking.
4. Focus On Training
Sometimes barking when no one is home is just a result of poor training. If you have not taken the time to train your pet, it is never too late. Desensitizing your dog to your absence is an effective form of training.
The older your pet gets the harder it will be to change their habits, so start as soon as you adopt your precious canine. Reward your pet for staying silent for short periods on their own and work on increasing the time to match with your typical workday.
Consider limiting your pet's ability to roam freely until they have learned how to behave.
When you do leave, give them special toys that have your scent. Just make sure to retrieve them when you return.
This is a simple reward system that can help reign in out of control barking before it becomes a serious problem.
Finally, consider hiring a certified and reputable trainer to work out a training plan and help.
5. Try a Thundershirt
If all else fails, you may want to consider trying a Thundershirt. This tight fitting garment is heralded by many dog owners as the perfect solution for canine anxiety.
It’s designed to wrap your dog snuggly and making him feel calmed by the pressure sensation. Some owners have found that an anxiety wrap provided an instant and drastic improvement in stopping a dog from barking.
Remember to put it on your dog about 20 minutes before you leave.
Here's some other anxiety-relieving strategies you could try:
- Try a calming dog bed (a type of dog bed with attached blanket)
- Anti-anxiety medication. Talk to your vet first
- Calming supplements, typically offered in a soft chew.
- Natural remedies such as pheromone dispensers.
- Leave the TV on for your pup to watch or play classical or other chill type of music.
- Try CBD. Some owners have found that CBD supplements can help ease stress in dogs.
6. If The Problem Persists, Get Further Help
There are two online video based training courses we recommend for dogs that bark while you're away - Doggy Dan's The Online Dog Trainer and Adrienne Farricelli's Brain Training for Dogs.
Both are equally as good.
The Brain Training for Dogs is a program by Adrienne Farricelli, a force-free professional CPDT-KA certified dog trainer. Her online training course revolves around force-free methods for canine brain development and behavior training. This is a great dog training course for bored dogs to help with anti-destructive behavior stemming from not being sufficiently stimulated.
The Doggy Dan course is a behavioral training course using a mixture of ‘correction-style' training with aspects of positive, no-force methods, tackling problem behaviors like barking, phobias, separation anxiety and hyperactivity - in ways that are innovative and effective.
Next Read: Why does my dog only bark at one person?