Your pooch might be the bestest behaved dog in the neighborhood when he’s with you. But when you have to leave him at home, he turns into a little devil that barks for hours on end. Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone.
Some dogs hate to be left alone and cry out, much to your neighbor’s annoyance. And some dogs are just downright naughty and bark for the fun of it. Whatever his reason for the barking, we have 12 effective tricks that will hopefully put a stop to his howling.
So, in no particular order, here they are.
1. Leave Him As a Pup
If you have a puppy, this is one of the most crucial training steps to take. If he is an adult pooch, this is something you, or previous owners, should have done. Not all is lost though, so keep reading…
As a puppy, it’s essential that you leave him a little, so that he can get used to being alone and feel comfortable in his own company. Start by ignoring him when you are in the same room, then take it to the next level and leave him alone in a different room for a while. Then, when you think he is settled enough, leave him home alone for a short period each day.
This way, he knows that nothing awful is going to happen if you leave him. Do this every day as a pup, and you will reap the benefits when he is an adult. Not doing this is one of the biggest mistakes that dog owners make, and probably the reason why you’re reading this article right now.
2. Get Him a Comfy Bed
Something as simple as getting him a comfy bed can prevent him from barking. His barking might be as a result of being restless and anxious. But if he has somewhere comfortable that he can call his own, it might be enough to chill him out. Choose a high-quality bed that has a thick base, and somewhere that he can rest his worrisome head.
- Check out our top picks: Best Bolster Dog Beds 2020: Reviews & Top Picks
3. Make Sure He Gets Enough Walkies
A common reason why dogs bark is because they are bored. So, if you leave Fido alone and he is bored out of his mind, he’s going to bark for attention. It’s his way of saying, “get back here now and walk me, mom or dad.”
If your dog is barking because he is bored, your best bet is to walk and exercise him before you leave. That way, he can rest his tired paws and set sail to snoozeland while you go to the grocery store. After all, he isn’t going to bark while he’s sleeping.
Or, if this isn’t possible, hire a dog walker to come in the middle of the day to walk him. Dogs need exercise, and they also get cabin fever just as we do.
4. Give Him a Toy
Following on from trick number 3, if he is a live wire and you’ve exercised him as much as you can, but he’s still barking, now what? This is when you need to give him a toy to play with.
And not just any old toy. A splendiferous toy that will distract him away from the fact that you have left him home alone. Giving him an amazing toy will create happy associations, and he might just get excited for you to go.
Kongs are a great way to entertain him. They are treat-filled chew toys that you can stuff with his favorite snack, which can take hours to extract. Who’s got time for barking when you’ve got Scooby snacks to save?
- Read our top picks for Kong toys here: Best Kong Dog Toys 2020: Reviews & Top Picks
5. Turn On the Radio
When you’re home with him, there’s always going to be noise in the background. And this is a source of comfort for Fido. Whether it’s you chatting on the phone, or the kids playing in the background, the buzz of humans settles him.
But when you leave, the noise is gone. And silence is something that triggers barking behavior in many dogs. An easy way to alleviate this is to switch the radio on or turn the telly up. This replicates the familiar noises that soothe his mind.
6. Give Him Something of Yours
Dogs are indeed a man’s best friend. But its probably more accurate to say that a man is a dog’s best friend. Even when you go to the bathroom, he’ll sit by the door and wait (or by your side if you let him!)
So when you actually leave him for a few hours, he might be beside himself. So, why not give him something of yours to soothe his anxiety. Something that will have your smell on, like a blanket or something from the laundry basket that is already due a clean. This will comfort him until you get back, and hopefully, prevent him from barking after you.
We wouldn’t suggest your best suit or blouse, though…
- Related Read: Crate Training Your Pup While at Work
7. Close the Curtains
Some dogs bark because they are triggered by movement, or someone approaching their property. And while you are away, Fido might see it as his job to protect the house.
To prevent him from barking at movement, the easiest solution is to close the shutters and block his view. Or, if this isn’t possible, leave him in the rear of the property where he can only see his yard. That way, there are fewer people to bark at.
8. Don’t Confine Him to One Room
Another big mistake that dog owners make is to choose a room to lock your pooch in. Either for easy clean up if he messes or to prevent him from having access to your favorite sofa. But confining him to the same room time after time means that he creates a negative association with that room, and this is a big barking trigger.
By shutting him in that room, you are basically telling him you are leaving him, and it’s time to be sad. And this will trigger his anxiety. Why not let him have access to the whole of the ground floor. Use stairgates to prevent him from getting into certain rooms if you need to, or upstairs. But leave the doors open so that he doesn’t feel trapped.
Or, if you have to confine him to one room, limit him to the place that he spends most of his time in when you are there, such as the kitchen or the living room. As he already spends quality time with you in that room, it won’t be a trigger for him. Instead, it’s full of good memories, your smell, and comfort.
9. Get a Camera & Treat Dispenser
Technology is enabling us to stay in touch with our loved ones, and why should it be any different with Fido. If your dog is an occasional barker rather than a constant barker, this is a great option. It will enable you to talk to him sporadically throughout the day, which is a great way to alleviate his anxiety.
You can log into the camera and see what he is up to, and it will send you a notification when he barks. So, it may help you to understand why he is barking too. Not only that, but you can chuck him some treats also just for being the goodest of boys.
10. Use a Citronella Collar
If your dog is a serial barker and the previous steps haven’t worked for you, this could be an option. Not all owners like the idea of this anti-barking method, but it is humane and completely safe. And many dog trainers support the use of spray collars.
Citronella is non-toxic to dogs. It just has a pungent smell that dogs aren’t a fan of. So when the collar detects a bark, it releases a spray. You can place this on him when you leave, and hopefully, after a few sessions, he’ll learn not to bark.
Due to the design, this isn’t suitable for long-nosed dogs or small dogs.
11. Anti-Barking Device
This is a small device that detects the sound of your dog barking and emits ultrasound that will silence most dogs. Humans cannot hear the sound, but Fido can. It keeps going until he stops, and he’ll soon learn to keep it schtum.
It can work up to 50 feet away, so if your neighbor’s dog is guilty of barking as well, it could stop him too. It is waterproof and can be left in the yard. Making it an ideal solution if he is a gate or perimeter howler when you are not there. Just like all of our suggestions, this method is entirely safe for pets.
12. Get Professional Help
Okay, so this might not be the trick that you want to hear. But some dogs will bark forever unless you take this step. If a dog is suffering from severe separation anxiety, no amount of toys, noise, or collars can help him.
So, for Fido’s sake, and your neighbor’s sanity, speak to a canine behaviorist who might be able to work out why he is barking. And maybe they will be able to put an end to his barking behavior once and for all.
The Wrap Up
So there you have it, 12 of the best tricks on how to stop your dog from barking when left alone. Some of them might work, and it might just take one simple step to alleviate his barking tendencies. Or, it might take a combination of them to soothe his mind.
But, be patient with him while you work through our list. And hopefully, he’ll soon learn not to bark and be the angel that you know he is.
Featured Image: dahancoo, Pixabay
- 1. Leave Him As a Pup
- 2. Get Him a Comfy Bed
- 3. Make Sure He Gets Enough Walkies
- 4. Give Him a Toy
- 5. Turn On the Radio
- 6. Give Him Something of Yours
- 7. Close the Curtains
- 8. Don’t Confine Him to One Room
- 9. Get a Camera & Treat Dispenser
- 10. Use a Citronella Collar
- 11. Anti-Barking Device
- 12. Get Professional Help
- The Wrap Up