Few things in life can drive you crazy as a constantly barking dog. Whether they have that deep shuddering “Woof, woof, woof” or that ear piercing “Yap, Yap, Yap” it can do your head in very quickly. The great news is that barking is not something that dogs need to do in order to be happy.
In fact, generally speaking barking is a sign of stress, frustration, anxiety or over excitement and none of these emotions are particularly good for your dog. Or you! Remember a content, relaxed dog does not bark! So lets take a look at one specific type of barking and get you started on putting a stop to it… Dogs who bark when you are not at home is a very common issue.
Usually people have no idea that they have a problem until the neighbour or even worse the dog control officer pays you a visit. Understanding why your dog is barking is the key to stopping it so you can actually address the cause of your dogs problem and not just treat the symptoms.
Now bear with me on this one because… you MUST remember you have to see it all through your dogs eyes! So think of it like this… Your dog is a pack animal and understands that there are leaders and followers. And one of the pack leader’s jobs is to protect the pack. So when on Monday morning everybody leaves the house to go to work and leaves the dog at home alone they become stressed… and so would you if you lost your pack!
That’s the reason why they’re stressed and barking. They are calling out to you to come back. They just are trying to do their job. Think about it… If you are a parent with a young 3 year old child, one of your main jobs is to keep that child safe, so you keep an eye on them. All the time. All over the house you know where they are. They are safe. You are relaxed. If they suddenly walk out of the house and shut the front door behind them locking you in what would you do? Chase after them? Of course… But.
What if the door was locked and you couldn’t open in. And all the other doors and windows are locked. Then what would you do… Phone for help? Your dog doesn’t have that option! Shout for help? Well that is exactly what your dog is doing… You certainly wouldn’t sit down, relax and have a cup of tea, knowing your young child was wandering around the streets alone. Are you starting to see why your dog is stressed and barking when you leave now?
All those other annoying behaviours such as chewing, destruction and trying to dig under the fence, or jump over the fence that only happen when you’re not around… Yep, that’s right. They are all symptoms of a stressed dog that’s desperately concerned about you not being home and safe.
Remember your dog can’t speak English to tell you any of this! So what’s the solution? Well it’s almost certainly not by giving them a bone to chew on whilst you are away. Imagine saying to the parent who is totally stressed that their young child is out on the streets… “Don’t worry, here’s a box of chocolates”! You may love chocolates but it is not going to work in this situation.
Toys jammed full of food and other distractions do not treat the cause of the problem either. They are only treating the symptoms and so may work, if you’re lucky, for half an hour or so – max – but not long term. Most of you will know that this doesn’t work because you’ll have already tried it!
The solution is actually very simple. You need to become the pack leader in your dog’s eyes. Once you do this correctly your dog will not see it as their job to protect you. You will be able to come and go as you please and they will be totally relaxed. This is the real solution to having a calm relaxed dog. No tricks here, just an honest understanding.
Now. Becoming the pack leader is not complicated. Anyone can do it, however it’s not really something that I can explain in 2 minutes here. If you take a look at Doggy Dan’s website Click here he explains very powerfully how to establish yourself as the pack leader and stop dogs from barking when you leave them.
Here though are additional tips that you can use in conjunction with becoming the pack leader that will help stop your dogs barking.
• Exercise: Exercise your dog before you leave them – a tired dog is more likely to relax
• Find the right space: Try leaving your dog in different areas – some dogs will relax more outside, others inside and some prefer smaller areas such as a washroom
• Fed and watered: Always leave water down and make sure that your dog is warm and fed before you leave • Pick up the bones: Leave toys around for your dog but not bones
• Music and TV: Consider leaving music on for your dog or the TV – these distractions can help
• Herbal remedies: There are some herbal products for dogs which can help relax them – but again they do not really treat the cause of the issue, they simply help relax them, and are also quite costly
• Dog walkers: A break in the middle of the day can certainly help break up your dogs day
• Leave calmly: Leave your dog calmly – whilst it’s fun to get excited when you leave your dog it’s better if you leave calmly. Try to say goodbye 5 minutes before leaving to help them stay relaxed as you go
• Comfort jackets: There are also jackets and shirts available that are designed to comfort them – however they are very expensive and have limited success in my experience. I even know of one dog that ate it!
Unfortunately the popular idea that getting another dog is going to stop the problem is something I would stay well away from. Remember the source of your dogs issue is not boredom. After all, many dogs who bark all day when the owners leave are the same dogs who lie around the house doing nothing most of the weekend when they are at home!
So with all that said hopefully now you have a far better understanding of your dog’s problem! I would suggest if you are really serious about stopping the barking immediately then take a look at Doggy Dans site and become the pack leader. That will be the end of your issue. It’s not hard but you have to understand your dog’s problem through their eyes rather than human eyes! They do not want more bones, or biscuits shoved into a ball – what they want is a strong pack leader. So get started now, don’t hang around. The sooner you turn things around the sooner your neighbours will be thanking you for it!