It’s hard to leave our dogs when we go to work or on a trip. And it’s hard for our dogs too! They hate when we leave and can become lonely, bored, and even anxious. You probably watch your dog barking on a doggy cam, making you wonder, “Is there a reason my dog barks when I leave?”
Yes! There are a lot of reasons dogs bark in general, including when we leave the house. And if you don’t want your dog barking while you’re away (and getting complaints from the neighbor because when a dog barks excessively, it’s quite annoying), the first thing to do is pinpoint why your dog’s barking and what’s triggering it. Then, you can find natural ways, maybe even seeking help from a certified applied animal behaviorist, to stop your pup’s ferocious dog bark when left alone.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Dog barking is one of the louder ways pups communicate with each other and with us. To better express themselves to humans, dogs will use a variety of different barks. A dog barking when they’re hungry sounds different from their dog bark when they feel threatened by an approaching dog or are battling some separation anxiety. Here are some common types of barking you should learn to identify to better understand your dog.
A lot of dogs are territorial by nature. You can tell this is the case if your dog’s behavior changes when a person or animal approaches their territory, which is usually your home or yard. A dog’s territory might even include your car or the sidewalk in your neighborhood, as well as other places your dog frequents.
Alarm barks are in response to a noise or sight that triggers your dog. This is a bark that is meant to warn you something is off, whether it’s strange weather or a stranger coming to the front door. But unlike territorial barking, alarm barking can be done outside of a familiar location and isn’t just about defending a familiar spot.
Unlike an alarm bark’s aggressive sound and stiff body language, a greeting bark is often more relaxed. You’ll often see your dog’s tail wagging and hear your dog whine as well. Greeting barks are in response to people or animals that your dog is excited to see.
Dogs will quickly learn that barking (or being loud in general) will get your attention. They’ll often bark to get your attention, food, toys, pets, or playtime.
Dogs will often bark when frustrated, much like a child yelling or wailing. Your dog might start barking when they are tied up but want to be where you are or see another dog they want to play with that’s outside or far away.
Sometimes when dogs get bored, they’ll start barking. Dogs need stimulation, whether it’s social interactions, playtime, training, dog exercise, or mental stimulation. When they are cooped up or bored, your dog might start to make some noise, whether it’s to get your attention or amuse themselves, or just out of frustration.
Compulsive barking is repetitive, often with your dog repeatedly barking while also doing other repetitive behaviors like running back and forth or pacing. This might be a nervous or anxious behavior.
Some dogs will often start barking as an automatic response to other dogs barking. When your dog even hears a dog from the neighborhood barking in the distance, they might feel obligated to join in. This is one of many reasons it’s recommended you socialize your dog at an early age.
What Does It Mean If My Dog Barks When I Leave?
Dogs are social creatures. They love to hang out with us, even if we are reading in bed or doing laundry. And they like to be brought with us to the park, on errands, and even on trips. So it’s no surprise that dogs get upset when we leave.
Some dogs will react to us leaving by barking. But what does this mean?
Barking is often a behavior associated with separation anxiety. This is when a dog feels anxious and upset about being away from you. It goes beyond just being sad you’re gone and leads to many destructive and anxious behaviors.
According to the ASPCA, here are some common symptoms of a dog with separation anxiety:
- Urinating or defecating
- Destructive behavior, like chewing and scratching
- Excessive barking and howling
- Trying to escape
Here are some reasons that dogs excessively bark when you’re gone:
Change of Family
Dogs get extremely attached to their owners. So when they are surrendered to a shelter or given to a new family, dogs can develop separation anxiety. They get scared that you may be gone forever when you leave.
Change in Their Schedule
Dogs can adjust to patterns and schedules, sort of like us. When that schedule changes, dogs can get a bit anxious. If you leave for longer than usual or go on vacation, your dog may start to feel stressed about the sudden change.
Loss Of a Loved One
If a family member, two-legged or four-legged, passes away or leaves, dogs can sometimes develop separation anxiety. They might become worried about you leaving as well whenever you leave the house, not understanding what’s permanent and what’s just a new in-office job.
Is It Common for a Dog to Bark When Left Alone?
Yes! When dogs are alone for long periods, they grow bored or sad. This can lead to an unhappy barking dog. Howling, barking, and whining are common ways dogs express themselves.
But when the dog barking is excessive and repetitive, it may signify that your dog has separation anxiety or another serious problem.
How to Train a Dog That Barks When You Leave
Don’t worry if your dog barks while you’re away. This is completely normal. If it’s just a case of your dog being sad and lonely, there are, luckily, natural home remedies and training tips that’ll keep your dog calm and comforted while you’re gone.
Don’t Respond to Barking
When you’re home and hear your dog barking, don’t respond or react. This will teach your dog that barking gets attention, which encourages them to do the same when you’re gone. Instead, say “quiet” in a calm, firm voice (not loudly) and then only acknowledge your dog once they are silent. Reward them with a treat or attention once they stop barking. Stay consistent, and your dog will realize that barking gets them nowhere.
Get Them Tired
Before you go, tire your dog out. Please have a play session or let them run around in your backyard. A tired dog is far less likely to bark excessively. Your dog will relax when you’re gone instead of being destructive and loud.
Try CBD Treats
Your pup doesn’t want that old canned dog food. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid within the hemp plant. It’s a natural compound that benefits your dog’s overall well-being due to the way it interacts with their endocannabinoid system (ECS). Not only that, these treats taste great and often carry tons of healthy supplements to keep most dogs crate training ready!
The ECS controls your dog’s balance and well-being due to its receptors throughout their systems, including major systems like the digestive, immune, and nervous systems. When the CBD interacts with these receptors, it calms your dog, reducing destructive and anxious behaviors.
Give your dog CBD treats before you leave, soothing and relaxing them. It will take your dog about 30 minutes or less to feel the effects. Your dog will be less nervous and stressed, which will help them to feel calm while you’re away. You can even add a little CBD oil for dogs to their kibble to give them additional benefits!
Give Them Distractions
For most dogs, to hush all the wailing and excessive dog barking, provide them with activities and toys that will help stimulate your pup mentally and keep them occupied. A dog barking in away may need a puzzle that dispenses treats or a squeaky ball.
Hire a Dog Sitter
Some dogs may stay bored, even if surrounded by toys if there’s nobody to play with. To break up the day, have someone come and walk your dog. This will let out some excess energy, which will make your dog calmer in the house. It will also allow your dog to socialize a bit and not feel as frustrated and lonely.
If you’re leaving for a longer amount of time, like for the weekend, you might even want to consider leaving your dog at a daycare or doggy inn. You can also hire a live-in dog sitter who keeps your dog company throughout your vacation or business trip.
Final Thoughts – Dog Barks When I Leave
Barking is a form of communication, along with howling, whimpering, and growling. Dogs bark when they’re hungry, threatened, or left alone. Dogs don’t like when we leave, and it can even make them feel anxious.
Separation anxiety is quite common for dogs to experience, especially if they are rescue dogs or you recently moved homes. But there are ways to help relieve your dog of stress when you’re away, including CBD for dogs and hiring a dog walker. This will ensure that your dog is calmer and less stressed when you’re not home.