How Can I Prevent My Dog From Barking When They’re Home Alone?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Dogs are very affectionate beings, and can form incredible bonds with their owners – but this also means that they would love to be by their side at all times. Sometimes, however, this is just not possible. Their owners have to  work, go to the store, or finish chores out of home and they can’t always take their pets with them. And when you leave your pooch all by their lonesome, they often think it’s the end of the world – you’ve abandoned them for good, even when you’re away for like 25 minutes. This can result in anxiety, restlessness, and a lot of barking. Some dogs – in fact – just won’t stop barking or howling until you come back. How can you bring an end to this behavior, and prevent all the excess barking? And how can you let your pet know that leaving for a little bit is no big deal? Let’s find out. 

Battles with Barks: Why Dogs Bark When Alone and How to Stop It

Excessive barking when a dog is home alone can be a common issue for a lot of owners, and addressing it requires a combination of training, environmental management, and sometimes, the help of professionals. Above all, it requires patience. However, there are a number of factors that come into play when such situations occur. To make your dog calmer, quieter, and ready to accept your absence, you should take a closer look at the daily routine the two of you share.

First, consider if you're providing enough physical and mental stimulation. Physical exercise is crucial for a dog's well-being. Keep in mind that a tired dog is generally a content and quieter dog. So, before you leave, make sure that they have ample exercise, fun, and outside time. If they “emptied their batteries”, they are more likely to remain calm and just snooze while you are out. Of course, to make sure you always fulfill these exercise requirements, you will have to establish a consistent daily routine. Just like humans, doggos too depend on the routine they can follow. This routine helps them feel secure and understand when to expect certain events like meals and walks. If they get used to a daily chain of events, they will expect you to leave and be okay with it. 

Interactive toys that provide mental stimulation or dispense treats are also a great thing to utilize when battling anxiety or boredom-induced barking. They can help your dog stay occupied during your absence. As they get involved in playing with the toy, dogs will tire out, keep themselves busy, and not make such a big deal about your absence. With a toy, alone time can actually be enjoyable for a dog.

Of course, training is of utmost help with anxiety and barking. Positive reinforcement and patient training can help modify your dog's behavior. Reward them for calm behavior and gradually increase the time you spend away. Make departures and arrivals low-key to avoid building up anxiety. At first, you can be out for just a few minutes, and if they remain calm, reward them. Increase this step by step and in no time they’ll be just fine staying alone. 

To make the situation better, you should ensure that your pet remains calm and cozy when they are alone. Remember that a comfortable and secure space can help reduce anxiety and that dogs have a natural “den” instinct, seeking a cozy nook for snoozing and comfort. Create this space with  a comfortable dog bed or nook, where they’ll snooze contentedly while you are away. 

Ultimately, if you can’t get your pet to stop barking while you are away, you should consider getting some extra help. A professional dog trainer or behaviorist can assess your dog's specific situation and create a customized plan or routine. They may identify factors contributing to the barking and provide targeted training techniques. Don’t be ashamed to seek an expert’s help – sometimes, the challenge of excessive barking is too great for the average owner to tackle.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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