If your dog has been crying when you leave, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why it might have been doing it and what you can do in order to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog cry when I leave? Possible reasons why your dog cries when you leave are that it has separation anxiety, it is hungry, it wants exercise, you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior or that something has been causing it to be fearful when you’re gone.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog cries when you leave
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might have been doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
The reason could 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.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards if it cries when you’re leaving. If you tend to give your dog things such as extra attention, treats or toys, when it cries, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not cry, to avoid rewarding it when it does unless necessary and to follow the other tips mentioned below.
Wanting to pee or eat
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. It could also be the case that it tends to need to pee, while you are away, so it would help to ensure that it gets a chance to pee before leaving it for long time periods.
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.
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 cry 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 when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it and what you can do in order to get it to stop.
What else happened when your dog first started crying when you leave
If it did not always cry 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.
What is different when it does it
If it does not always cry when you leave, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not cry.
For example, if it only seems to cry 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 crying when you leave
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Positive reinforcement training
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has been doing it due to having some separation anxiety. It would help to take measures to reduce how anxious it becomes when you leave by doing things such as exercising it, letting it pee and feeding it before leaving. It would also help ensure that it has a comfortable area to stay.
You can also watch the video below to see how you can train it to be less anxious when you are leaving.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
Since it might be the case that it has been doing it due to getting rewards for crying, it would help to avoid rewarding the behavior and to try to reward it when it does not cry instead.
Give it lots of exercise
If it is healthy, it would also help to make sure to give it lots of exercise so that it is not understimulated. It would also likely help to give it exercise before leaving it for a long time so that it is more likely to want to sleep when you are away.
Give it a more comfortable place to rest
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.
Reduce reasons why it might be anxious
It would also help to try to reduce the reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as exercising it, letting it pee and feeding it before leaving it.
Another thing you could try would be to give 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.
If you can’t get your dog to stop doing it or it becomes very anxious when you are leaving, consider getting help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing your dog to do it and how you can get it to stop effectively.