I had a Westie years ago and like most people, I had to work. One day I was told by my neighbor that she barked for a while after I was gone. I had no idea, obviously, because I wasn’t home. I felt badly, I didn’t want my neighbors upset with me. What could I do?
I realize this is a problem others have as well. Someone was recently telling me about her neighbor’s dogs and how they bark most of the time they are gone. She was wondering if there was anything they could do, or if there was something she could do to help them. Here are some suggestions that might help to stop (or at least limit) the barking when you leave.
Tips to Stop Your Dog from Barking when You’re Not Home
Quality time: Yes, your dog needs to spend quality time with you. Make sure he gets enough attention and exercise when you are home. This is just for starters.
Crate training: This is not just for house training! Just like you have your own space (your bedroom) your dog needs a space that belongs to just him. And he needs to know that it is ok to be in there, it is not a punishment. Be sure to get a crate large enough for him to turn around in, but not large enough where if he soils his crate, he get far away from it (dogs typically don’t ‘go’ where they sleep, but accidents happen especially if he is a pup). You don’t want to shock your dog by placing him in there for the first time and then leaving for work, this will only increase his barking!
Practice and get him used to it first. Place a blanket or sheet in there for him and couple toys or a bone. Not too many toys, and make sure he has fresh water. Do not give him food, he might not be able to ‘hold it’ and then you have another problem when you get home. Put him in his cage, with all the things above, and let him be in there for 5 minutes. Do not leave the room yet. He will cry, this is all new to him. But stay strong. You can’t give in to his cries, because you won’t be able to do so when you leave the house. He is learning that the crate is a safe place for him.
Practice this a couple times a day, increasing the time as you go. Also, start to leave the room for just a few minutes at a time, increasing this time as you go along. When you leave the room, pay attention to how long he cries or barks. Chances have it, it will not last as long as you think it might. The more you do this, the less he barks and cries.
Hire a dog walker: If you can afford to, or trust someone with the keys to your home, you can hire a dog walker. If you are gone for long periods of time at work, he can get bored and restless and a nice long walk or run can help to ease that for him. If you are the neighbor of someone who’s dogs bark a lot while they are gone, maybe you can offer to walk them for them while they are not home. Getting your dog out of the house and with people can go a long way to helping stop your dog from barking when you’re not home.
Chances are pretty good that you (or your neighbor) are not aware of the amount of barking your dog does while you are gone. How would you? If you are the dog owner, try not to take offense when your neighbor speaks to you about your dog barking. If you are the neighbor, be aware that your neighbor probably has no idea how much his dog is barking while gone.
Have you had to deal with this before? What have you done to stop your dog from barking when you leave the house? Post your experience below!