Your dog barks all day while you’re at work, and your neighbors are starting to complain. It’s one of the toughest training problems because it occurs when you are not around to do anything about it.
While it’s difficult, at first, to get your dog to stop barking, this problem is totally solvable without the use of pain or punishment.
Find Out Why Your Dog Barks When Home Alone
There’s many reasons why dogs bark when they’re alone. You’ll need to find your dog’s motivation for barking before you can find the right training technique for getting them to stop.
Set up a phone or webcam near your dog and hit “record,” just before you leave. Your video will reveal how often your dog is barking, and the emotion behind the bark.
Your dog might bark because they have nothing else to do. They’re full of energy. The last thing they want to is quietly take a nap.
Solution: Things to do. Puzzle toys, long-lasting chews or a Kong can keep your dog occupied. You may also want to take your dog for a long walk or have a fun play session to tire them out before they’ll be confined so they’ll be able to sleep while you’re gone.
Separation Anxiety Barking
Your dog has not learned to cope with not being near you. It’s generally paired with whining and squeaky cries of despair.
Solution: Training. Your dog needs to get used to being alone, gradually. Exercise and puzzle toys can help break down that nervous energy. Some owners swear by calming music and essential oils.
Also, be sure to slip out quietly, rather than leaving with a dramatic goodbye.
Your dog will not bark the entire time you are away. They’ll bark when they believe a person or animal is trespassing on their property.
Solution: Management. Alert barking is typically desirable when you are home, as it can scare off intruders and let you know when someone has arrived. Confining your dog to a crate or a quiet room can help. Your dog should not be able to stare out windows when you are away. Close the blinds or use window film to make windows less exciting.
How NOT to Stop Your Dog from Barking
Many well-meaning owners get frustrated with their dog when they cannot find a humane way to stop the barking. So, they may resort to methods that seem to stop the problem immediately, but these tools and methods come with undesirable consequences.
Anti-bark shock collars have been shown to only work on 50% of dogs. Manufacturers claim that they’re not very painful, but these devices only work if they cause pain. Dogs quickly learn to ignore a low-level “stimulation,” and the collar might automatically emit more and more painful shocks until your dog is quiet.
Bark collars are also known to be inaccurate. They may be set off by another barking dog, or might not be able to detect a whine, growl or howl. Cheap devices can short-circuit, shocking your dog continuously until the battery dies out. It’s extremely unsafe to trust a device to train your dog when you are not around.
Citronella bark collars are marketed by manufacturers as “more humane” than shock collars, but this is completely false. They’re more likely to get a dog to stop barking, but like shock collars, they only work if the dog finds the spray aversive… at first. Like shock collars, dogs can become “immune” the citronella sprays over time. Dogs may bark until the spray cartridge runs out, then continue barking even more.
Bark collars create anxiety, which dogs may express in destructive ways – by chewing up furniture, injuring themselves, or trying to escape.
Your dog needs to know when barking is and is not appropriate – not become afraid to make any noise at all. There’s no substitute for training and management.
Your Home Alone Barker Will Love Ready Pet Go!
A fun walk during the day might be just what your dog needs. Always rely on a professional, experienced dog walker to stay consistent with your training and provide friendship, exercise and relief.
Work with a Westminster dog walker from Ready Pet Go – give us a call at (240) 221-5335 or send a message through our handy contact form.