How Do I Stop My Dog From Barking When Home Alone?
In order to stop your dog from barking when he is home alone, you'll need to address the triggers or environment that causes the barking. The solution could be as simple as crating him rather than leaving him outside or playing some soft music to soothe him. Of course, not all barking is bad, and you don't want to eliminate all of your dog's vocal contributions, but if the barking is excessive or causing problems with neighbors, you'll want to find a way to control it.
Solving Excessive Barking
If your dog were to come up with a solution, it would probably be for you to quit your job and stay home with him all day. Unfortunately, becoming full-time stay-at-home pet parents simply isn't in the cards for most people. The good news is that there are plenty of other things you can try such as:
- A Change in Environment - Try changing the environment of where your dog is left when you're gone. For example, if you normally leave him outside (which is never ideal,) try crating him, using a slow introduction to the crate to make it a positive experience. Or if he's normally crated, try confining him to a single room instead.
- Wear Him Out - Lots of playtime can go a long way in helping your dog deal with being alone. Before you go to work, make time to take him on a long walk or run. Do the same at night. When your pet doesn't get enough exercise, it can make him anxious—which can lead to barking.
- Mid-Day Visit - If possible, arrange for a mid-day dog walker to come by to break up the time your dog will be alone. This is also another way to ensure your pup gets more exercise.
- Reduce Triggers - If you notice that your dog barks at people walking by the windows, keep the curtains closed. If he barks when the mailman comes to the door, keep him confined to the back of the house when you're away. You can also help to reduce the effects of noise triggers by playing soothing music or leaving the TV on while you're gone.
You and your dog (and your neighbors) will be happier if your dog's barking can be controlled. If nothing you try seems to work, or if the barking is excessive and accompanied by destructive behavior, it may be separation anxiety. If you suspect this, check out this article or talk to your vet or an animal behaviorist, as this condition does not go away on its own, but can usually be resolved with professional help.
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