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Dog Barking When Left Alone

Updated on May 21, 2014
As your dog barks, and barks, AND barks, it's going to become annoying to neighbors. All of the barking may signal a deeper problem, healthwise or emotionally, that needs to be addressed for your canine. Barks mean something!
As your dog barks, and barks, AND barks, it's going to become annoying to neighbors. All of the barking may signal a deeper problem, healthwise or emotionally, that needs to be addressed for your canine. Barks mean something! | Source

Why Is My Dog Barking When Left Alone?

Unfortunately, our dogs can be quite noisey when we leave them alone. There are many reasons as to why your dog may bark when all alone, so you should be ready to determine the cause of your dog's barking. If your dog is making too much noise, it can really get on your neighbors' nerves. This problem should be handled as soon as possible so everyone can have peace of mind; including the poor dog!

The thing about a loud pooch is that there is probably something that is giving them reason to bark. On a glance, you'd probably think not if there's no one outside or no one playing with him. It's just air he's barking at, right? Nope! There's definitely more to it. But by this time, you probably have neighbors yelling at you morning, noon, and night; and you're probably willing to do anything just to make it stop.

However, you have to be able to understand the reason behind your pup's bad behavior in order to rehabilitate your noisy dog, calm down the barking, put him or her at ease, and satisfy the upset neighbors. This task probably will not be easy since you are trying to manage dog behavior that takes place while you are away, so be prepared for a long, difficult journey.

Anxious dogs tend to look scared and worried, while barking out of distress. They feel as if this will help to encourage someone to pay them attention, so they won't be all alone.
Anxious dogs tend to look scared and worried, while barking out of distress. They feel as if this will help to encourage someone to pay them attention, so they won't be all alone. | Source

Does My Dog Have An Anxiety Problem? Do Dogs with Anxiety Disorders Bark a Lot When Alone?

Dogs tend to bark out of anxiety when they are left alone. When a dog is anxious, they will bark out of distress as a way of relieving stress and soothing themselves. The barking makes them feel as if they are accomplishing something, anything, to get someone's attention on them. This behavior will usually be accompanied by other symptoms of anxiety as well.

Many dogs have separation anxiety, as they are pack animals and do not like to be left alone. When you leave for work or school and your home is sitting empty, the dog is not going to take it very well. This is especially true of dogs who are used to round the clock companionship and dogs who have faced abandonment issues (such as adopted shelter dogs). If your home really is a one dog household, it might be a good idea to get the dog a new friend. Otherwise, you and your family could make it a point to ensure that at least one person is home at all times.

The key to resolving a barking issue that stems from anxiety is to find a way to treat the dog's anxiety. Since there could be several different solutions, you can mix and match them to find the one that is right for your dog. See our solutions for this issue, along with the solutions to the below issues, towards the bottom of this hub. If you have additional methods that have helped, please leave them in the comments section below.

Do You Suspect That Your Dog Is Suffering From Anxiety?

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Is My Dog Barking When Left Alone Because He Is Bored? Do Dogs Bark Incessantly When They Are Bored?

Also, a dog barking when left alone may be a result of boredom. Some dogs become highly vocal when they are bored and have absolutely nothing to do. This does become rather annoying for anyone who has to listen to it, especially if it happens the entire time that you are working. It means only one thing: your dog needs something to do!

Investing in toys for your dog can be incredibly helpful. I would suggest investing in a variety of toys; rope toys, chewable rubber toys, plushies, squeaky toys, and chewies (such as rawhides or standard bones) are all great ideas. Leaving the toys scattered in an area will make them much more appealing to your dog rather than stuffing them in a storage bin.

Your dog should also have plenty of space to roam and explore as well. If you do not have a need to keep them locked in a room or crate (so that they don't potty in the house or chew on anything), then you shouldn't lock them up while you are gone. You'd probably go crazy too if you were stuck in one small area for up to 10 hours or more every day.

These two dogs are engaged in play. Allowing your dogs several outlets to expend energy will reduce the chances of a dark barking when left alone.
These two dogs are engaged in play. Allowing your dogs several outlets to expend energy will reduce the chances of a dark barking when left alone. | Source

How Many Dogs Do You Currently Own?

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Guarding the Home: A Great Reason for Dogs to Bark Too Much!

Another reason your dog is barking when left alone may be due to strangers, animals, or other suspicious happenings occurring outside of the home. If your dog sees an animal or person, he or she may go into a barking fit to alert anyone who could possibly be inside of the home, and to attempt to scare off the intruder.

Your dog's job is to keep you, your family, and your home safe. So if a stranger happens to wander on your property, your dog is going to be alarmed. The same goes for large animals such as deer. The dog just wants to ensure that the premises is secure.

If he or she sees other dogs, it could be because it wants to play. If I were a dog who was home alone every day, I would get excited to see another dog too! Again, bringing another dog into the home can help to ensure that your dog has company and does not feel left out, lonely, or bored. You might not be too thrilled about the idea of having to raise another puppy especially if you spend a lot of time at work; however, you can adopt an adult dog from the shelter who is already trained, which saves you a lot of time and hassle. You would also be saving a life in the process!

The key to stopping excessive barking when a dog is left alone is to understand the cause of the problem!
The key to stopping excessive barking when a dog is left alone is to understand the cause of the problem! | Source
Anxiety Symptoms
Elimination Inside the Home
Extended Periods Alone
Traumatic Events
Destruction of Property
Injuries and Illness
Self Mutilation
Loss of a Family Member
Being Rehomed
Clawing at Doorways

What Other Solutions Will Keep My Dog From Barking?

No matter why your dog may be barking, you must find a way to keep them quiet. Sometimes, a dog's incessant barking can warrant a neighbor to take action if the owner fails to take control of the situation. Usually, this will result in a noise complaint; noise complaints can be made to a landlord, subdivision committee, or to the police in the most serious of cases. If noise complaints are filed against a dog owner, the notified individual or committee will leave a written or verbal notice, or will show up at the residence to discuss the complaint. Officers will show up to the home to investigate.

If the dog continues to cause the neighbors to submit noise complaints, the situation could become incredibly serious. Some dog owners wind up losing their homes and dogs over a barking problem! Therefore, you can see just how important it is to find a useful solution to the issue so that all parties remain happy.

Solutions for Anxiety

If the dog is suffering from anxiety, you can try a few different methods. First of all, you can try leaving a television playing when you're away from home, or try a few recordings of your voice. You could have these on a loop playing through a CD player or a computer. The Thunder Shirt that I linked to earlier is also said to help ease anxiety by a lot. If none of these seem to help, along with the other solutions below, you should have your dog evaluated by a vet. It is possible that the dog has extremely intense anxiety that needs to be treated through a veterinarian's recommended prescription.

Solutions for Boredom

With a bored dog, you're going to have to ensure that the dog has plenty to do. If toys, chewies, and extra inside space do not help, you're going to have to try a few other methods. A second dog is the first option. If this still doesn't help, then I would suggest allowing 24/7 access to an outdoor area. If there are still issues, it is clear that the animal will need a companion throughout the day, perhaps through pet sitting. A dog walking service while you're at work might even help this issue.

If Everything Else Fails: Anti Barking Devices, Collars, Noise, and Scent Therapy

If none of the solutions above help, your last option is going to be to utilize an anti bark collar or other anti barking device. Some plug into a wall and make a noise (or release a pheromone/chemical) that keeps the dog from barking. Not all of the noise (and scent) bark repellent methods work for all dogs.

Anti bark collars tend to come in two different forms. One of them uses small surges of electricity to shock the dog. This is very uncomfortable, but is USUALLY fairly harmless. Much like an electric fence for livestock, only the voltage is adjusted for dogs. BE WARNED: dogs with heart problems or anxiety problems can face serious consequences from these devices, and they should never be used for long periods of time; only for training. This should be a LAST resort. The safer alternative is an anti bark collar that sprays the dog (using citronella or water) every time he or she barks, teaching the dog that there is a very unpleasant consequence for barking. This is a less extreme alternative to shock collars.

When the Going Gets Rough, and Nothing Works

If you have tried everything in your power to fix a barking issue and you feel like giving in the towel, your last bet might come in the form of an animal whisperer or a talented dog trainer. This will probably cost a dog owner a lot more money that expected. However, this may be a last resort if the dog owner does not want to have to lose his or her dog or home simply because they cannot get the barking situation under control.

Incessant barking is actually a very common issue among dogs, and many trainers have had to work through several cases of "the barks". Perhaps they have their own little training method that has proved quite successful that you can take advantage of! If even a trainer cannot help you to figure out how to make your dog stop barking, then don't give up. Trying several different trainers will hopefully yield the desired outcome.

If a trainer is not an option financially, there are thousands of self help books available for dog owners that you can quickly and easily get your hands on. You can even download kindle books, like the one to the upper right, onto your smartphone for easy and convenient reading. No matter how hard the problem is, every issue has its own specific solution. Your dog depends on you, and doesn't expect you to give up on him or her. I wish the best of luck to everyone who is facing these issues!


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