If your dog has been becoming anxious when you leave you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of possible reasons why it does it and what you can do to get it to be calmer when you leave home.
So, why does my dog cry when I leave? Possible reasons why your dog cries when you leave are that it has separation anxiety, wants to pee or eat, is fearful of something or you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
There are actually multiple reasons why your dog might become noisy when you leave and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.
Why your dog barks, howls and cries when you leave
The different reasons why your dog does it will likely come with a number clues.
Below are a number of possible causes of your dog doing it and what would make them more likely.
The reason why your dog barks when you leave could be because it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like it when it is left alone and it becomes anxious when it is left alone. This would be more likely to be the reason if your dog also starts showing other signs of being anxious when you leave such as pacing.
It would also be more likely if it behaves abnormally while you are away by doing things such as become destructive, crying or continuing to be anxious the whole time you are gone.
You have inadvertently rewarded the behavior
It might be the case that you have encouraged it to do it by giving it things that it wants when it does it. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it starts barking or crying when you’re leaving then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not bark or cry when you leave and to make use of the other tips mentioned below.
It wants to pee or eat
The reason why your dog does it might be because it doesn’t have to wait a long time before being able to eat or pee. This would be more likely if your dog barks or cries less when you’re leaving if you have just fed it or let it out to pee.
In this case, it would help to make sure that your dog is able to go out to pee just before you leave so that it doesn’t have to wait a long time to be fed.
It might 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.
If your dog has not been getting the recommended amount of exercise for its breed it could be the case that it has been barking because it wants to get exercise. If it hasn’t been getting the recommended amount of exercise then it would help to make sure that it does.
Things to consider
When your dog first started crying when you leave
It would help to consider when your dog first started barking or crying when you leave since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly then it would be more likely to be due to things such as suddenly leaving it for much longer periods, not walking it before leaving or not letting it pee or eat before leaving.
If your dog has always been noisy when you leave, it would make it a lot more likely that it is due to separation anxiety. However, it could still be the case that you inadvertently trained it to do it from an early age.
When your dog seems to cry more
It would also help to consider whether or not there is a certain time that it tends to do it more since the timing might have something to do with it.
If your dog does not bark or cry when you leave if it has already been walked then it might be the case that it only does it when it wants more exercise.
How to get your dog to stop barking, howling and crying when you leave
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to be calmer when you leave. You will likely find that making use of a combination of them will work best.
Deal with its separation anxiety
Since it might be doing it because it has some separation anxiety it would help to try to reduce how anxious it 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
You can see more tips on how to do this in the video below:
Make sure to let it out to pee before leaving
Since it might be doing it because it doesn’t want to have to wait to pee or eat, it would help to let it out to pee and to feed it just before leaving.
Make its environment comfortable while you are away
It would also help to make sure that the area it will be staying in is comfortable for it while you are away. You can do so by ensuring that it can stay in a cool room and that it has an area to lay down.
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.
Give it exercise before leaving
It would also help to make sure that your dog is able to get the recommended amount of exercise for its breed before leaving if possible. You can walk it yourself or you could get a dog walker to do it for you when you are away.
Give it distractions
In addition to the above, you could also give it some things to be distracted by so that it is occupied when you are not around.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you can’t get your dog to stop doing it then consider getting help from a dog behaviorist in your area. By doing so you should be able to get expert advice tailored to your particular dog and to see how to go about getting it to stop doing.