If your dog keeps barking when you leave you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you six common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog bark when I leave? Possible reasons why your dog barks when you leave are that it has separation anxiety, is hungry, needs to pee, has a problem with the room it stays in, or has learned that the behavior is rewarded.
It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Why your dog barks when you leave
Below are six common reasons why dogs bark when their owner’s leave and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours has been doing it.
The cause might be that it has separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and it gets anxious when it is left alone. This would be more likely if it has started doing it since you have been leaving it for longer. It would also be more likely if it starts getting anxious when you normally leave home.
It might help to follow the tips given in this book on Amazon which is about how to deal with dog separation anxiety.
Another possible cause is that it is hungry and it does not have to wait a long time before getting fed. This would be more likely if you tend to feed it when you get back home instead of before.
Another possible cause is that it gets bored when you are away. This would be more likely if it does it more when it is not able to get exercise before you leave home. In this case, it might help to try and exercise it before leaving home and to make sure that it is getting the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
Encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that you have been encouraging it by giving it things it wants when it starts barking. If you tend to give it things such as treats, toys or exta attention when it barks when you leave, it might have learned to do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not unless necessary.
Wanting to pee
The reason why it barks could be because it needs to pee and it does not want to have to wait a long time to pee. This would be more likely if it tends to bark when it is not able to pee before you have left. It would help to make sure that it does get a chance to pee before leaving it.
It could be the case that something has been causing it to become fearful when you are not around. Things that might make it afraid could include noises like construction works or possibly someone else or another pet being around that it does not like.
If it does seem to be fear that is causing it to bark when you leave, it would help to try and figure out what it might be afraid of and to remove it from its environment if possible. Other options would be to have your dog stay in a different area or to do desensitization training.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider about your dog barking when you leave.
What else happened when your dog first started barking when you leave
If it did not always bark when you leave, it would help to consider what else changed when it first started doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to a change in the time that you feed it, you might have stopped letting it out to pee before leaving or it might have stopped getting as much exercise.
When your dog barks most
If it does not always bark when you leave, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not bark.
For example, if it only seems to bark when you are leaving for work, it would make it more likely to be due to separation anxiety, not wanting to wait for food or wanting exercise.
What to do about your dog barking when you leave
Below are some things you can do about your dog barking when you leave.
Deal with its separation anxiety
It would help to take measures to reduce how anxious is becomes when you are leaving.
To do this you could do as follows:
- Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
- Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
- Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
- Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
- Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your dog
- Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer
It might be worth following the tips given in this book on Amazon about dealing with dog separation anxiety.
Feed it before leaving instead of after
If you normally feed it when you arrive back home, it might be worth feeding it before leaving instead since it might be barking due to hunger.
Let it pee
It would also help to make sure to let it out to pee before leaving so that it does not have to wait too long before getting fed.
Exercise it sooner
It might also help to give it exercise before leaving and it would help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
Ensure that your dog is comfortable when you’re gone
It would also help to make sure that the room it stays in is not too hot, loud and that there is an area that it can lay down comfortably.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged it to bark when you leave by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not do it and to avoid rewarding it when it does start barking unless it might be due to something such as needing to pee.
Try to leave your dog for shorter time periods
If you have been leaving it for a long time, it would likely help to try quickly come back home in order to let it out to pee, give it food and maybe to give it some quick exercise so that it does not have to wait so long.
Another option would be to try giving it crate training which is meant to give it an area where it can feel secure. Giving it crate training properly should help to make it feel less anxious when you are leaving since it will be able to stay in its crate when you’re gone.
You can watch the video below for more tips on how to crate train your dog.
In addition to the above, you could also try giving it things to be distracted with such as toys, bones and puzzle games.
If you are unable to get it to stop doing it or it has been doing it excessively, consider getting help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and how to get it to stop effectively.
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