All dogs bark. However, a dog that barks continuously when left alone can be a big problem, especially if you are not lucky enough to live in a detached house out in the countryside. And there is nothing worse than facing a hectic day in the office, only to come home to complaints from your neighbors that your dog is barking all day and his incessant yapping is driving them mad.
Dogs don’t bark just for the sake of it. There will always be some kind of trigger and whether that be that they sense an intruder in the vicinity of the house, or they want to let you know that it is time for their breakfast or time to go potty. So, if you find that you can’t get the excessive barking to stop and maybe the dog’s behavior has changed a little too, then the first thing you need to do is to try and figure out why—after all, we know that all dogs bark from time to time. Therefore, it is not as simple as placing him in a crate all day, using anti-bark collars, or asking the local dog trainer to stop the dog from barking.
Why Does Your Dog Bark So Much?
There are a few factors that could be causing your dog to be especially vocal, even when left alone. The most likely reason is probably boredom paired with separation anxiety. When we go out and leave our dog, they have no idea when we are going to come back and even though most devoted dog owners will reassure their dog that they will be home soon before making their exit, our pooches simply cannot rationalize or understand the time frame.
Separation anxiety in dogs is something that a dog owner will have to deal with at some point in their lives. Some dogs simply cannot deal with being left on their own, or even temporarily separated from their owners when they are in a different room, so they act out to get our attention and communicate their needs. If you have ever heard your dog frantically barking from down the street after you leave, then this is a firm indication that he is essentially crying out for you to come back. And guess what? If he’s still barking once you are out of sight, he will probably continue until you come back! That’s why simply adding bark collars or trying to teach your dog simple crate training. It takes time.
Dogs are pack animals, which is why they form close bonds with both their canine siblings and with their humans. They seem to want to do everything with someone else, such as playing with another dog, sleeping in the bed with us, sitting by our feet when we go to the bathroom—the list is endless! What they don’t want to do is to be left on their own with nothing but their thoughts and surrounding silence to occupy them. Boredom can quickly turn into destructive behaviors like whining, barking, chewing, and escape efforts.
So now that you understand the primary factors that will cause your dog to bark when you aren’t around, let’s take a look at what you can do about it.
Reduce Their Anxiety and Set Them Up for Success
Prevention is always better than dealing with the aftermath of negative behavior in dogs, especially when angry neighbors slip into the mix. Put a plan in place to make sure that your dog’s anxiety will be limited while you are out and this could include making sure that you have done the following before leaving:
- Exercise. A tired dog will be too pooped to waste his remaining energy barking, so a long walk with your pup before you leave him alone will ensure that he can get rid of any pent-up nervous energy.
- Food and Water. Just as we can get “hangry” so can our dogs. A hungry or thirsty dog will do everything they can to alert someone of their needs, so always leave some food and water out for your dog in your absence.
- Comfort Blanket. Our dogs experience separation anxiety because they miss us, so anything we can provide them with to make them feel less alone is going to contribute to the silence that we so desperately wish for while we are out at work. An old shoe can work wonders to soothing their emotions, as what better way to really smell and feel us being close to them than a dirty, smelly old sneaker?!
- Entertainment. Durable toys can be an excellent solution to relieving boredom, as your dog can safely chew on them to occupy his mind. Some toys offer you the option to hide treats within them, which will provide a fun puzzle-solving game for your pup and hopefully distract him from barking at an empty window all day long!
Supplement Your Efforts
Some dogs have stronger and more stubborn characters than others and some are just simply more set in their ways. If you have been struggling with a noisy pup and nothing seems to be working to make things better, then you could look into natural anxiety supplements and behavioral training.
Introducing CBD-infused Dog Treats for Anxiety
Anxiety and boredom go hand in hand with regards to the emotions that our dogs feel. CBD dog treats have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years, as many people swear by them for reducing anxiety in their dogs. Unlike traditional anti-anxiety medications that your vet would prescribe, CBD treats work to soothe your dog’s nervousness by triggering receptors in his internal endocannabinoid system. Once these receptors have been triggered, the body automatically starts to produce increased amounts of Serotonin, which is the chemical responsible for mood regulation. While all medical professionals have not yet accepted CBD products as a surefire way to treat canine anxiety, many reputable vets are now adding CBD to their repertoire, as there is already incredible anecdotal evidence that it really does work. The best part is, it’s completely natural, free of any nasty toxins or chemicals and it doesn’t cost the earth.
Everyone wants to be lucky enough to have a dog that can be trusted to behave itself at all times—in public, at home, and, most importantly, when left unsupervised. The reality is that there is no such thing as perfection and with a little bit of tweaking and some adjustments here and there, you will eventually find that you can solve many of the emotional issues your dog is experiencing by learning more about why these negative behaviors are taking place. Once you know what you are dealing with, you will be better equipped to overcome many of the issues that are causing your pup’s negative behavior.
This article by Jennifer is originally published at FOMO Bones.
Author bio: Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She’s pretty sure in her past life, she was a Great Dane. However, we peg her as more of a labrador. Regardless of her breed, she’s a dog enthusiast who has 15 years experience training dogs and owners.