In this article, we’ll go into what can cause your dog to bark, how to help a dog with separation anxiety, and how to break up your dog’s day so that they aren’t bored at home the entire time you’re at work.
Table of Contents:
Why does my dog bark when I leave the apartment?
If your dog barks when you leave your apartment or house, it’s likely they are feeling insecure, bored, or nervous.
If a dog feels insecure being left alone, it may overcompensate by barking at neighbors or those passing by. They may be on high alert and notice every little thing outside the house.
This is because they rely on you to feel safe at home, and when you’re away, they have to work that much harder to protect their territory.
Dogs may also feel very nervous when left alone. They might not understand why they’ve been left, or worry over whether you’ll return home.
When a dog is left at home with nothing to do, especially for long periods, they might bark to keep themselves occupied.
If your dog is barking for long stretches of time while you’re away, and they don’t do so while you’re home, it’s likely they have separation anxiety.
What is separation anxiety?
PetMD describes separation anxiety as “a stress response that happens when a dog is bonded to person, and that person is away from home or not in close proximity to the pet.”
Separation anxiety can form because a dog is too attached to their owner, suffers from other forms of anxiety, has abandonment issues, or is being left alone for longer than they can handle.
Here are some solutions you can try if your dog has separation anxiety:
- Have family, friends, or other pets stay home, or visit, to keep your pup company
- Hire a service such as a dog walker, pet sitter, or doggy daycare
- Break up your pup’s day yourself by returning home during your lunch break
- Train your dog to be alone, or hire a dog trainer to help you
- Spay or neuter your dog
The most important thing to remember is not to leave any dog, whether or not they have separation anxiety, alone for extended periods.
This sets your dog up for failure, as you aren’t even meeting their basic needs.
In addition, training will more than likely be required in order to move forward. It’s very unlikely your dog will never be alone, so they need to be prepared for that reality!
My dog barks at every sound
If your dog barks at every sound they hear, there are a few solutions you can try:
- Drown out sounds with radio or television
- Keep your dog in a quieter area of your home while you’re away
- Train your dog to stop barking on command
- Help your dog to feel secure while alone
The most effective of these while you’re at home will be training your dog to be quiet on command. If your dog barks while you’re gone, your best chance is training your dog to be okay while alone.
How to stop dog barking when home alone
When it comes to stopping your dog from barking when you leave, the most important aspect is making sure they are comfortable alone. We can break this into two elements:
- Ensuring your dog has everything they need, including comfort items
- Teaching your dog that it’s okay to be alone
First, you need your home set up in a way that maximizes the comfort of your pooch. They should have water, toys to stave off boredom, and beds, toys, blankets, and other items to help them feel comfortable.
If your dog is crate trained, having their crate available will help them feel secure. However, you should never lock your dog in a crate for long stretches of time, as this is cruel to them.
Some people choose to keep their dog in a certain part of the house. This is fine as long as they have room to move around. It can also help to keep them out of things they shouldn’t be getting into.
Removing Causes of Barking
When it comes to problem barking, keeping your pup away from the front door or even closing the blinds on your windows might help, so that they aren’t as likely to see anyone passing by or hear so many sounds from outdoors.
Another key aspect is not leaving your dog alone for a long time. You simply can’t expect them to stay home alone with nothing to do for eight hours and be okay with that!
Even dogs who will put up with being left alone for those periods don’t like it, and it’s detrimental to their emotional well-being.
It isn’t healthy for dogs to hold their bladder all day, either!
If you’re going to be away for more than 3-4 hours, someone should be checking in on your dog, letting them outside, and paying them some attention.
You could spend thousands of dollars making the most dog-friendly space possible, and only leave your pup for an hour at a time.
But if your dog has separation anxiety, this won’t be enough.
Separation anxiety stems from a dog feeling lonely and anxious, and no material items are likely to change these emotions.
Instead, you’ll need to help your dog work through them. Teach them that it’s okay to be alone and that they don’t need to depend on you completely.
How To Train Your Dog
Training your dog to be alone starts while you’re at home. Go into another part of the house, or even in the hall or front yard, away from your dog. Make sure you’ve provided everything they need, just like we talked about above.
Do this for short periods of time, 10-15 minutes, until your dog is no longer panicking when you leave. This takes a ton of patience—unfortunately, there’s no rushing the process.
Once your dog is more comfortable with having time to themselves, you can leave them for longer and longer stretches.
Then, try leaving home completely. Again, try this for longer periods of time.
During this process, try to treat your dog being alone like it’s a normal thing. Don’t make a huge fuss about you leaving or returning.
Eventually, your pup will be able to stay calm and confident while you’re away.
Training a dog to stop barking
Although it’s not the best solution when you’re away (and thus can’t give your dog commands), you can train your dog to be quiet on cue.
Keep in mind that yelling at a barking dog doesn’t work—it just frustrates you and makes the situation worse.
Your dog will likely just think you’re yelling along to their barking, and won’t understand that you’re actually expecting them to stop.
Teach Them To Bark on Command
The best solution is to teach your dog to bark on command. Most dog owners use “speak.”
This is useful because once your dog knows how to speak, you can then get them to bark when you want. It’s easier to teach them to stop barking when you can get them to begin barking predictably.
When your dog stops barking after you say “speak,” you can tell them “quiet” and give them a treat. This allows them to learn what quiet means.
Eventually, your dog will learn the command and stop barking when you tell them to be quiet.
My neighbor is complaining about barking
Unfortunately, even if it feels like they’re being difficult, neighbors who complain about constant barking are in the right when it comes to both the law and your dog’s well-being.
Most areas have noise ordinances that specify how long loud noises can go on, or at what times. These apply to a variety of noises like fireworks, lawnmowers, and, of course, barking dogs.
Some cities also have laws specifying that excessive barking is not okay.
In addition, many apartment complexes have their own rules that must be followed.
It’s also not healthy for your dog to be barking all day long, as it’s indicative of a problem with their care. If your dog is home barking the entire time you’re at work, that behavior stems from the fact that your dog is being neglected.
It’s different, of course, if you’re working on separation anxiety but need to make a quick trip to the grocery store. Your dog isn’t being neglected during the hour or two that you’re away, but they may bark constantly due to being so anxious.
How To Deal With Neighbors’ Complaints
Dealing with neighbors’ complaints can be tough when you’re doing everything you possibly can for your dog. It might help to explain your situation politely to the neighbors, but remember that a harsh confrontation will only make matters worse.
Though it might seem unfair, it is mostly up to you to keep your dog from disturbing others and breaking any laws or rules that are in place.
Dealing with problem barking can be frustrating, but having patience for your dog and working with them, not against them, will help you resolve the problem.
It may take time, but you will get there!