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How To Stop Your Dog From Barking When They're Home Alone

 by alexandra on 03 Dec 2014 |
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As annoying and distressing as it is, barking is normal. It's your dogs way of communicating. However if this becomes excessive when you leave him or her alone it can become a problem. Not only will you feel guilt, but you will also be stressing all day long about when you'll get the angry call from a neighbor about the endless barking. However there are ways to manage your dogs barking while you're gone.

But first lets explore why your dog is barking in the first place. When you leave your dog, he or she may become distressed about being alone, that you may not return or out of general fear. It isn't uncommon for dogs to experience separation anxiety just as humans do. However unlike us, they cannot sit us down for a chat over a cup of tea about their fears, they will simply bark and bark and bark when you're gone. 

But why bark? The answer is simple. They bark because they think this will get your attention to get them back in the house with them. But never fear- separation anxiety is something that can be treated by changing behaviours, their environment or even with some stop barking agents. 

Separation anxiety can be treated over a period of time so that it is non-existant and you are able to leave home stress-free. When you are about to leave make sure you ignore and do not interact, play or pat your pooch for 30 minutes before going out. Allow them to go about their business and the decreased attention will mean they will not know something is coming up. If possible, leave quietly and without saying goodbye to reduce distress. Your pooch may not even notice that you've left the house. When you return do it calmly. Take a deep breath before entering the house and do so quietly. Only greet your dog when he or she is calm, quiet and not at all exasperated. This will teach them that they will get affection when they are at their calmest.

Exercising your dog prior to leaving will also benefit your pooch. A long walk, a run or even a swim will burn excess energy and your dog will return home in a much more relaxed state. He or she may even settle in for a nap and will be too tired to bark when you're gone, or not bark for long. It is also really important to make sure your dog has plenty of entertainment while you are gone. This means interactive toys and chew toys, simply to keep them entertained and to give them a distraction while you are absent.

However if these management techniques are not working, it might be worth seeing a vet or an animal behaviourist about your dogs barking. Some might recommend stop barking agents which have changed vastly in the past years so that they are more animal-friendly and cruelty-free. 

Citronella sprays are attached to a collar which sprays your dog when it barks. The spray will deter it from barking but is perfectly safe for your dog. It will simply learn not to bark so it will not get sprayed. Static bark controls are much safer than the old-fashioned electric shock collars that were used in the 80s and 90s. These simply emit vibrations via a collar to stop your pooch from barking. These are safe and do not bring harm to your pet at all. Simply, it will be an annoying correction for your pooch and he or she will learn not to bark in order not to feel the vibrations from the collar.

However if you have tried and tested these methods it is highly reccomended that you see an animal behaviourist who will be able to treat your pets separation anxiety individually.

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