Why Dogs Cry When You Leave

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Introduction

Dogs are incredibly intelligent, loving, and emotionally-sensitive creatures. They get attached to their owners, remain loyal and dedicated, and form unbreakable bonds with them that last lifetimes - no wonder they hold the title of being a man’s best friend. A dog’s enamored gaze towards its owner cannot be compared to that of a cat or a different pet. Your canine companion sees you as its world, its pack member, its family and the source of everything interesting and amazing. Thus it comes as no surprise that many dogs cry when you leave, even if it’s just for an hour or two. But how can you tell if your dog is just showing you his disapproval of your leaving or has developed separation anxiety? More importantly, what can you do to ease your dog’s worries during your absence?

The Root of the Behavior

Dogs are highly social animals and thrive on interaction with others. In the wild, their relatives such as wolves live in packs and rarely stray from them. Just because your canine lives in an air-conditioned house with a stable food supply and sleeps on a cushioned bed, doesn’t mean his instinct or natural traits that have evolved over time have disappeared. A domesticated dog considers its family its pack, its owner its pack leader. Our canine companions not only love being around us but need that interaction to remain mentally healthy and happy. To them, you being away is an unnatural situation and not the default one that feels right. In addition, dogs are vocal animals and use their barking, howling, and crying to communicate with you. When you leave the house your dog cries because it doesn’t want you to leave him alone and wants you to know that.

Regardless of breed, all dogs are capable of growing attached to their owners and experiencing sadness in their absence - though some are more vocal about it than others. Breeds such as Basset Hounds, Beagles, Huskies, and Yorkshire Terriers are known for their vocal abilities, displays of dissatisfaction, and throwing tantrums when their owner leaves.

Owners should also remember that though their dogs do love them unconditionally, they also rely on them for their walks, food, playtime, interaction, and affection. This can intensify your furry friend’s fear of you never coming back when you walk out the door. It is therefore also important to walk your dog before you leave to make sure to leave your canine with a full water and food bowl as well as plenty of interactive toys to play with. This usually helps lessen the dog’s crying, especially if the walk was long or included some playtime that tired your dog out. Lastly, the key to preventing your dog from crying when you leave is proper training from an early age. Since it is not natural for them, dogs need to be trained to be alone and taught the ability to entertain themselves.

Encouraging the Behavior

Though the crying behavior should not be encouraged, you should also not scold your dog for it either. Your dog’s cries are just his way of communicating with you and telling you he’s sad and that should not be discouraged. Instead, make sure to provide your dog with the proper training from an early age by preparing him for different circumstances, including the one when you’re away from home. Even though your dog will not want to be left alone as a puppy, at that stage he is still very open to learning and accepting different rules. It is best to desensitize your dog to your leaving as early as it is possible. You can do this by getting a professional trainer or by patiently and consistently training your puppy yourself. Leave the room that your furball is in for a few moments and see how he reacts; if he barks, discourage it and don’t come back. If he doesn’t bark, return and praise him or give him a treat. Continue doing this for longer periods of time and avoid coming back when he cries as this can teach him that his cries make you come back.

Regardless of age, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise on a daily basis. The more tired your dog is the less likely he is to get bored, miss you when you are away, and even potentially destroy some things around the house. Exercise stimulates endorphins meaning your dog is less likely to get sad when you’re away, especially if you leave some interactive toys as well, such as a snack puzzle toy.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Dogs might also cry when you leave because they want to follow you but they can’t. They don’t deal well with uncertainty and when you leave the house, there is a lot of it. Your canine companion doesn’t know when or if you’re ever coming back, he doesn’t know what to do without you and that can be scary. Your dog misses you and most likely gets bored without you. All of these seem like valid reasons even for a human to be sad about, it’s only understandable your dog feels that sadness too and displays it through his cries. If you’re having difficulty teaching your dog to cope with loneliness consider seeing a professional dog trainer as it is possible that your dog has developed separation anxiety. 

You can also consider leaving the radio or TV on, especially if you have noticed that your dog follows what happens on the screen. Alternatively, you can consider getting a dog sitter or leaving your dog at a daycare where he won’t be alone and will be well taken care of. Lastly, you can adopt another dog for your four-legged buddy to have a sibling he could always play with.

Conclusion

Dogs love their owners and would spend every minute of their day with them if it was up to them. When their owner leaves, it causes a lot of uncertainty, anxiety and sadness thus dogs vocalize it through cries in hopes their owner would return sooner. That state of loneliness is not pleasant for anyone to endure, hence it is crucial to teach your dog to cope with it in a healthy way.