If your dog has been howling when you leave, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog howl when I leave? Possible reasons why your dog howls when you leave are that it has some separation anxiety, it is hungry, it is bored, you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior, it wants to pee or that something has been causing it to be fearful.
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 most likely cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop.
Why does my dog howl when I leave?
Below are some common reasons why dogs do 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.
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 also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards if it howls when you’re leaving. If you tend to give your dog things such as extra attention, treats or toys, when it howls, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not howl, to avoid rewarding it when it does unless necessary and to follow the other tips mentioned below.
Wanting to pee
The reason why it howls 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 howl 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 howl 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 a number of things you can consider in order to figure out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started howling at you leaving
If it did not always howl 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 not do it
If it does not always howl when you leave, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not howl.
For example, if it only seems to howl 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 howling when you leave
Below are some things you can do in order to get your dog to stop howling when you leave.
Deal with its separation anxiety
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.
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 howling 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 could also help to give it exercise before you leave home instead of when you get back. By doing so, you should help to get your dog to sleep while you are away.
Ensure that it 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 howl 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 howling unless it might be due to something such as needing to pee.
Try to leave it 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 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.
You could also try giving it things to be distracted with while you are away in order to keep it occupied. Things you could give it would include toys, puzzle games and bones.
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.
Why is my dog suddenly howling when I leave?
Likely reasons why your dog has suddenly started howling when you leave are separation anxiety, you stopped feeding or exercising your dog before leaving, you started making your dog stay in a different part of the house or something else causing your dog to have trouble when you are away. It would help to consider if anything changed when your dog first started howling when you leave.
Why does my dog howl when I leave the room?
Likely reasons why your dog howls when you leave the room are that your dog is hungry, wants exercise, has some separation anxiety or has learned that the behavior is rewarded. It would help to consider if your dog always howls when you leave the room and what is different when it does not.