How to Train Your Dog to Not Bark When Left Alone

Hard
1-6 Months
Behavior

Introduction

When you walked around the local shelter, one particular dog stole your heart. You felt compelled to offer her a loving home. The early days with her new family went well. She is a delightful placid dog, who is loving and gentle and can generally do no wrong. However, a week or two into the adoption, your neighbors knock. 

When you are out, the rescue dog barks...and barks, and barks. Indeed, she barks so much that she's disturbing the neighbors. 

Shocked, you're unsure what to do. After all, the problem happens when you're not there, so other than stay home all the time, how do you retrain her behavior? 

Never fear, for this guide will show you how...

Defining Tasks

Dogs bark for many different reasons when left alone. For some, it is a sign of a deep insecurity, called 'separation anxiety'. For others, they are bored and find an outlet for their energy in making lots of noise. Other dogs are highly territorial and hear noises outside and feel duty bound to defend the house against intruders. 

Training a dog not to bark when left alone, in part, depends on working out why the dog is barking, and then minimizing the risk of trigger factors starting the dog barking. 

A dog of any age can be retrained, so don't be disheartened if yours is an older dog. However, this isn't a behavior the dog is going to unlearn overnight, so be prepared for the long haul...it will be worth it in the end. 

Getting Started

Barking is self-rewarding so it does take a while for a dog to unlearn the habit. However, most dogs, even the most determined barkers, can usually turn over a new leaf when you are patient and apply the methods consistently. 

To retrain the dog you will need: 

  • A quiet room or a covered crate
  • A fantastically tasty long-lasting treat that the dog gets when you go out
  • Treats to give as a reward when you return
  • Plenty of time and patience

The Desensitize Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Understand the idea
When leaving the house, we give the dog lots of clues that we're going and therefore might be gone for some time. When the link between your departure routine and being left is broken, the dog is less likely to bark when you're gone as he will generally be calmer.
Step
2
Prepare to go out
Chose a time when you aren't in a rush, and can spend time pretending to go out. Get ready as if to go out. Put the dog in his crate or the spot where he's supposed to rest in your absence. Speak to the dog in a calm but firm voice, telling him you'll be back soon.
Step
3
Leave for a couple of minutes
Leave the house for a short time. Listen at the door and if the dog is not barking, re-enter. Praise the dog for being quiet and give him a treat.
Step
4
If the dog is barking....
Wait to re-enter until a gap between barks. The idea is to reward his silence with your return, rather than the dog think his barking has summoned you. Most dogs will pause from barking from time to time, to stop and listen to see if anyone has taken notice. Take advantage of this brief lull if your dog is a determined barker.
Step
5
Gradually extend the amount of time you are gone
As he learns barking isn't required because you do come back, gradually extend the time you are away before returning to praise him. You'll also find it helpful to use some of the strategies from the What Not to Do method while doing this.
Recommend training method?

The What NOT to Do Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Don't make a big thing of leaving
Don't plead with the dog before you go or spend time reassuring him that everything will be OK while your gone. This sends the wrong signals to the dog, that he is right to be anxious and bark. Instead, try to slip out when he's not looking so as to avoid him getting upset before you even leave.
Step
2
Don't keep your departure routine the same
Think about how you prepare to go out: You put on a coat, then your shoes, pick up the car keys, and grab your bag. The dog notices this too and reads it that he's about to be left, which gets him worked up even though you're still there. Instead, vary your routine. Perhaps put your coat on half an hour before you go. Collect your stuff together but leave through a different door... anything you can do to make the departure less predictable.
Step
3
Don't allow the dog the run of the house
A barking dog is liable to run from room to room, over sensitive to stimuli which are likely to make him bark. However, a barking dog has not earned the right to such freedom, and should be kept confined to one room. That space should preferably be a quiet room, away from noises that might disturb him.
Step
4
Don't punish or shout at the dog
Never shout or punish the dog for barking. At best, he'll think you're joining in and it will encourage him. At worst, it will make him more anxious, which again will provoke him to bark more.
Step
5
Don't rush things or get disheartened
Barking can be a deeply ingrained habit, so don't expect things to change right away. If necessary, take the pressure off yourself by explaining to neighbors you are in the process of retraining the dog and that you are aware the noise is a nuisance. When disturbed neighbors realize you are doing your best, they will usually be more tolerant.
Recommend training method?

The Set Up Right Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Understand the idea
Dogs bark for all sorts of reasons, such as they see someone walking by and bark to defend their territory, or bark because they are bored and want someone to take notice. This method focuses on addressing the triggers that can cause a dog to bark, and hence make noise less likely.
Step
2
Plenty of exercise
Before leaving the dog alone for any length of time, make sure he is well-exercised until pleasantly tired and that his bladder and bowel are empty. A dog with energy to burn or one with a full bladder is much more likely to bark.
Step
3
Calm and quiet environment
Choose the quietest room in the house as the dog's home base, in which to wait for your return. This is so that there is less stimulation from noises in the street, which could disturb the dog and make him bark. Consider strategies such as drawing the curtains, to make the room dark and peaceful.
Step
4
White noise
It can also be helpful to leave a radio on low volume, to act as white noise to blur the sounds from outside.
Step
5
The 'Only-When-I'm-Gone' treat
Prepare an ultra-tasty, very distracting treat for the dog. This could be a puzzle feeder full of wet food that's been popped in the freezer, or a bone steeped in tasty meat gravy juices. The idea is to have something irresistible to draw the dog's attention when you go out. When you go out, give this to the dog. Not only will he be distracted, but he'll start to view his time alone as a good thing as super-tasty treats appear.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Milo
Mixed
13 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Milo
Mixed
13 Months

Hi..I adopted Milo in June. He had no real issues adjusting to my parents house. I now moved out with my boyfriend to an apartment complex and barks whenever we leave. I panic that the neighbors will get pissed off so I've been leaving in small increments. I hired a dog walker for Monday but i'm afraid the dog will be barking ALL day and is not ready to be alone in the new place yet...

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mal, At this age I suggest correcting the barking. There is a slower, gentler protocol that doesn't involve correction but in the long run the dog ends up staying anxious for longer (which is hard on them and you), it takes longer, its not always 100% effective, and can be an issue with neighbors. Since he was previously fine in the crate when left alone, the behavior could also be attention seeking or boredom based, which would be treated very similarly to anxiety, but is usually an easier thing to address through the below training. The first step is to work on building his independence and his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of his life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar should be low to medium, within the first forty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for her. If he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy in the crate when you leave. First, he needs his anxious state of mind interrupted so that he is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give him a food stuffed Kong in the crate for him to relieve his boredom instead, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Milo
Bernedoodle
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Milo
Bernedoodle
4 Months

we have had Milo now for a month and at the breeder's he would go into his own crate by himself at night and wouldn't cry.
Upon arrival home, we had another dog at home who was not crated at night and attempted to crate Milo. Milo screamed bloody murder and we let him out as we live in an apartment.
During the day we started teaching him the crate, feeding him in the crate, placed a water bottle there. He will go into the crate by himself for treats, for water, for his food, but the minute we leave him there and leave the house he raises hell. He ripped out a metal rod of the crate (not wired crate, it is a metal rod). He has stuffed frozen kongS, he has stuffed heartbeat buddy and toys to chew on.
I will walk him before putting him in the kennel and play fetch until he stops; he goes to the bathroom before this happens. We have purchased a bark collar that supposed to chock him if he barks. that did nothing for him. Absolutely nothing.
I am lost and no longer see any options of how to break this. Help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Continue with the daytime training, the food stuffed chew toys, and exercise...Add to that a different form of correction for barking and more structure into his routine. First, work on teaching the follow commands to teach calmness in general - all of this should be done with super calm energy: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo First, does the bark collar have a manual setting or just the auto-rise setting that chooses the level of stimulation for you? Some bark collar's autorise setting don't work effectively, the progression is too gradual and by the time the collar gets to a high level the dog is already highly aroused and has a hard time calming back down. I prefer remote collars or bark collars that will let you set the level manually - many auto-rise collars also have a manual way to set the stimulation level. See if your does. If yours does, then set the collar to the lowest level, knock on the door to get your dog to bark. See if that collar's correction level stops your dog from barking after a few repetitions - ideally have have someone else bark so your dog doesn't just realize it's you knocking on the door. If the dog continues barking after a few repetitions of this, increase the stimulation level one, and repeat the whole process again with a different outside door. Continue increasing the level one stimulation at a time until you find the level your dog indicates they feel - that level they feel will be the level you will keep the collar on when you leave them in the crate. Having the right stimulation level is super important. If your collar doesn't have a manual setting and you need to buy a new one, the garmin delta XC with bark limiter is both a remote collar and has a bark collar feature with a manual setting on the bark collar setting also I believe. Make sure you get a new model though because the old version of this collar doesn't have the manual setting on the bark limiter. Call Garmin and confirm with model number from what you are about to order online that the collar's bark feature can be adjusted manually, and isn't just the autorise option. That two in one collar option will give you more adjust-ability of a remote collar if you need to use a remote collar first, and transition to a bark collar for consistency later once pup is trained and you are gone to work to can't be pushing buttoms. To use this collar at first, you will hide outside, watching pup from a camera set up to spy on pup. Two smart devices with skype or facetime on mute can be used for a camera, or GoPro with live app, baby monitor, or security camera. While working on the structure training (like heel and place) during the day you will probably have to experiment with a few things for the barking. The manual setting on a remote or e-collar is the easiest thing for most dogs. Check out the video below for additional suggestions on things to try to see what works for your pup if you need other options though: E-collar training: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdMv69QNczU How structure and calmness helps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk How to use a towel and hidden camera for a more extreme case - in most cases you can transition to a collar later once the dog is calmer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcfkUauuBq0 How to make - you can use hand towel if pup is small: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw3r1F_M5dA Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Luna
Belgian Malinois x Staffie
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Luna
Belgian Malinois x Staffie
4 Years

Hi

We are struggling to leave Luna on her own for a period of time, we have tried extending the time left bit by bit, giving her treats, giving her a big space, putting her in her crate etc.

She was used as a breeder dog and then abandoned, so we understand why she has separation anxiety, but because of this she doesn’t know how to play with toys or the benefits of treats.

We have had her at home for 7 days now and just wondering what else we can do to help as we will be returning to work soon and she’ll be left for up to 4 hours at a time.

I hope you can help.

Thanks
Luke

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello Luke, There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. The first step is to work on building her independence and her confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into her routine. Things such as making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate while the door is open. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Change your routine surrounding leaving so that she does not anticipate alone time and build up her anxiety before you leave - which is hard for her to deescalate from, and be sure to give her something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs and she likely needs something more like the protocol below also. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs, and ends the self-harming and anxious behavior sooner. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building her independence and structure in her life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of Luna's life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on her. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear her but she will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on her while she is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on her, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if she responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning her head, moving her ears, biting her fur, moving away from where she was, or changing her expression. If she does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when she is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing her reaction at that level until she indicates a little bit that she can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for her and have it correctly fitted on her, have her wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours or days (depending on the amount of time you have before before returning to work - take off the collar at night). Next, set up your camera to spy on her while she is in the crate. Put her into the crate while she is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on her from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear her barking or see her start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time she barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate her again. If she does not decrease her barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. She may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because she has not learned what she is supposed to be doing yet. If she continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to her or pay attention to her for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When she is being calm, then you can let her out of the crate. When you let her out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want her to be calm when she comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore her when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with her. Once she is less anxious she will likely enjoy it and that will help her to enjoy the crate more. First, she needs her anxious state of mind interrupted so that she is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give her a food stuffed Kong in the crate for her to relieve her boredom instead, since she will need something other than barking to do at that point. If you crate her at night, then don't give food at night. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Chilli
Australian Cattle Dog
9 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Chilli
Australian Cattle Dog
9 Months

We have just found out Chilli has been barking when we’re both out. She wasn’t doing this 8weeks ago.

She doesn’t appear to be anxious, perhaps bored or just wants us home. We also have a 13yr old cattle dog who does play occasionally and has accepted her very well.
She is walked around 6kms each morning and 5kms each night. She knows all her obedience commands and obeys very well for a young pup.
She has plenty of toys, and dry food to pick at anytime.
Because we have the old girl, we can’t give bones, I have given them both a treat ball at times.
She is submissive in nature although very confident, and I do believe she sees us as boss.
When I’m home she can be outside or inside makes no difference to her. She sometimes chooses to be outside of an evening rather than with us.

She rarely barks when we’re home. She is just starting to make “watch dog” barks when she hears/sees something. I react by going with her to check, then telling her to stop, and she does.

I really have no idea how to stop this barking, having had dogs my whole life, I’ve never had a dog like this ?

Thank you.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello Francis, If she is not crated while you are away she may be practicing being territorial - watching things through the window, barking, then the things she barks at leaves - even though a walker or animal leaving has nothing to do with her barking, to her the barking was rewarded - she barked to get something away from her territory and then the thing left so the barking appeared effected and she was encouraged to do the behavior even more. Territorial barking tends to increase when a dog gets closer to 1-2 years old and is maturing mentally and sexually. The solution for this type of barking is to keep her somewhere where she cannot practice this behavior over and over again while you are gone - such as in a crate away from windows, or in a part of the house without windows to look out. While you are home, let her know that you don't want her practicing the behavior by reminding her to be quiet as soon as she barks, rather than letting her bark several times before interrupting her. Barking is actually a self-rewarding behavior because of the chemicals released while a dog barks, so many dogs will learn to bark just to bark the more they practice it. She may also be feeling nervous or suspicious - especially if she tends to be a bit more timid or high strung in general. She may be over- reacting to random noises or sights she sees. If that's the case, then also keep her away from windows while you are gone so the behavior doesn't get worse, and working on desensitizing her to different noises and sights while you are home to work on it with her. Check out the video linked below and the barking video series link below for help on desensitizing to noises and sights: Barking at door: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Barking video series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a Finally, the barking could be boredom barking. Like I mentioned above, barking is a self-rewarding behavior so some dogs will bark just to entertain themselves. This type of barking needs to be interrupted with a corrective device like a bark collar - to make the barking no longer fun and to stop the cycle before they get highly aroused and have a hard time stopping and calming back down. I also suggest making sure the dog has something else that's fun to do instead of barking after the barking is corrected, such as a food stuffed hollow chew toy, puzzle toy with treats inside, or Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer that automatically dispenses treats when it senses your dog has been quiet for a certain amount of time. For a bark collar, do your research and only purchase a high quality one. I suggest stimulation and not air or Citronella. Citronella lingers a long time and because of how sensitive a dog's nose is, it can actually be much harsher than a good stimulation collar. unscented air only tends to work for very sensitive dogs so is often a waist of money - but you could try it first if you want to. A quality collar is not something to skip. You want a good one that has reliable technology, not some cheap, no-name brand online. You can get ones that will adjust the level automatically, and ones you can program the level, many collars have both options. I prefer the ones you can control because you can start on a lower level and set up a camera to spy on your dog and gradually go up in levels if your dog doesn't respond to that level (give the dog several opportunities to respond so that they have time to realize the barking is what causes the correction). Once you determine what the lowest effective level is for your dog, you can just leave the collar set at that level instead of the collar moving levels constantly on your dog. When your dog gets used to the level, it is normal to need to go up or down one level for your permanent level also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Thank you for the great information.

We just tested her, let the dogs get excited, went through the usual routine
for walking.
I usually walk Chilli, then throw her a treat while I walk the old girl.

This time, Chilli had NO walk, I threw her treat and took the old girl out.
Hubby walked her and I slipped inside quietly.
Chilli tested the gate, then walked back and forth twice whining quietly.


She then disappeared from view. Other neighbors came home. Stood in driveway
loudly talking and laughing, she went for a look, then disappeared from view again.

Dogs across the road barked, she didn’t respond. The neighbors visit
or left on a loud bike.
She was still quiet.

Hubby was gone for approximately half hour. When he got home, she was sound asleep
in the laundry. There had been no barking

Another neighbor commented that all the dogs in the street were barking on that night.

So I’m thinking my neighbor may be over reacting.

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Freckles
Dalmatian
1 Year
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Freckles
Dalmatian
1 Year

My neighbours are talking to each other about the noise freckles makes when I leave him in the house on his own. It's getting beyond, when I'm in work my mother in law comes up to watch the baby and the dog together so they dont say nothing it's caused several arguments I have tried tips off Google but he will not stop he shakes so bad befobefore i leave I alalways feel bad and rush back. But I don't know what more I can do

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katrina, There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. The first step is to work on building his independence and his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of his life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar should be low to medium, within the first forty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for her. If he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it and that will help him to enjoy the crate more. First, he needs her anxious state of mind interrupted so that he is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give him a food stuffed Kong in the crate for him to relieve his boredom instead, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. Practice all of this during the day at first. Once he has learned that e-collar corrections are for barking and is able to calm himself back down during the day, then you can transition the training to night time when he tries to bark then - if you are certain that he does not need to pee at that time. If you can find a trainer in your area who is very experienced with behavior issues, comes well recommended by previous clients, is experienced with e-collar training, and also uses rewards, you may want to hire someone to oversee and help you implement the training carefully. If you need additional help, check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training.com. He offers paid Skype consultations. He regularly deals with severe separation anxiety cases. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Charlie
bichon poo
5 Years
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Charlie
bichon poo
5 Years

My dog is an aggressive reactive dog, has been doing good until we moved into a new place. We moved from a house to a coop. Have a lot of the same furniture and his belongings bed toys etc. We’ve only been there about 3 weeks. I have been taking him to a doggy day care which we started using about 6 months before our move, on the days I am working. Previously in our old home he had no problem staying at home alone. Yesterday for the first time I left him alone for about 45 min. I took him for a long walk (which he loves) gave him his trazadone which our vet recommended for the move, and a special treat before I left. I also left the tv on but he constantly barked the whole time. Any suggestions? I am invited to an engagement in the coming weekend and am wondering if I should put him in his doggy day care overnite or what else I can do to make him more comfortable in his new space and not be barking the whole time I am gone.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elaine, Adding a lot of structure and boundaries can help with separation anxiety. Working on independence building commands. can help. Keeping your departure super nonchalant and ignoring pup for 10 minutes after you get home, and leaving pup with something pleasant to occupy him with can also help. Structure and boundaries: Work on building his independence and his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place" commands while you move away or leave the room, practicing a long, distance Down command using a long training leash outside, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Working and Consistency methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Changing departure and arrival routine: Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from. When you get home, ignore pup for 10 minutes so that he associates your arrival with calmness and doesn't work himself up anticipating it. When you do let pup out, use the crate manners protocol below to help pup calm down before exiting: Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Entertainment: Be sure to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on). Eventually you should be able to leave him home alone out of the crate if he used to do well that well also. At that point, you can also purchase something like AutoTrainer or Pet Tutor - which can be programmed to dispense treats every once in a while when it detects pup has been quiet for a certain amount of time. Confirm that the one you are purchasing has that feature before buying though. Check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. Take it with a grain of salt in terms of his bluntness but hear what he has to say about the value of structure and calmness when dealing with anxiety. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Finally, if pup is still struggling there is a protocol that involves correcting pup remotely for the barking to interrupt his anxious state of mind, then returning and rewarding pup with a few small treat sprinkling into a crate without opening the crate, and leaving again. The corrections are repeated when pup barks and the rewards are repeated when pup is quiet. Going inside and back outside over and over again - and spying on pup from a camera outside so that he thinks you are gone. This protocol requires the use of a remote training collar or bark collar and is a good thing to hire a professional trainer who is very experienced with e-collar training, behavior issues, and anxiety to help you implement it. When doing this protocol, don't use citronella - Citronella is actually far harsher than an e-collar and lingers too long to be as effective. Dogs noses are very sensitive, so although citronella seems gentle to us, to a dog it is not. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Tootsie
Morkie
6 Months
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Tootsie
Morkie
6 Months

Tootsie sleeps in cage goes in by her self at night I close cage when I go to bed, but if we attemp to cage her when we go away she is like a manic barking crying ,I aways give her a treat when I put her in there. She barks until we leave and quits after we close outside door.do she lives cage to sleep but not if We go away

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sandy, Since she stops barking once you leave, it does not sound like separation anxiety, but simply protesting being confined...After all playing is more fun than being confined, but it's not safe for her to be left out of the crate yet so it's still worth crating her. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. Go ahead and skip to the part where the crate door is closed, rewarding her for being quiet whenever she gets quiet when you are home. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If she will eventually get quiet for you to be able to reward her, then she should adjust with practice just doing the protocol above. If she doesn't get quiet after a couple of hours while you are home, or you live somewhere where letting her bark is an issue for others, like an apartment, you can correct the barking in addition to using rewards. To correct, first teach the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once she knows Quiet, when she barks, tell her "Quiet". If she gets Quiet and stays quiet for at least two minutes, reward with a treat dropped into the crate without opening the crate door, then leave again. If she keeps barking, use a Pet Convincer, which is a small canister of unscented, pressurized air (don't use citronella- it's too harsh and lingers, just unscented air canisters). Spray a small puff of the pressurized air through the crate wires at her side (NOT face) while calmly saying "Ah Ah". This is a gentle discipline and bark interrupter for disobeying your Quiet command. If she gets quiet after the Pet Convincer correction and stays quiet for two minutes, return and reward with a treat without opening the door, then leave again. Repeat correcting when she continues barking and rewarding when she stays quiet. At first, practice this for about an hour consecutively while you are home. You will work up to crating her for longer while you are home - up to 3 hours generally, and you will still have to crate her while you are gone, but she is already quiet after you leave for that. As she improves, gradually make her wait longer between rewards so that she is staying quiet for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 25, 40, and 60 minutes, before receiving a treat. Once she is staying quiet for longer periods of time, you can also give her a dog food stuffed chew toy like the surprise method mentions doing. Pet Convincer example: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000QWPWDM/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk?fbclid=IwAR3yW6ZBMGPOTeufifRK1uiJdzDPGNW9dI7xdkJzALoCikrfpd69XDwTRxI Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Yoda
Yorkshire Terrier
4 Months
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Yoda
Yorkshire Terrier
4 Months

Hello,
I have a rabbit, so my dog is in another division. When I leave that division he always barks till I go there again. At night he sleeps near me so there isn't a problem. What can I do to make him bark less?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello Joao, Check out the free pdf e-book from the website linked below. I suggest following the tips on crating, chew toy training, and teaching independence found there. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads If you live in a place where you are able to let pup bark a while without getting in trouble with neighbors or a landlord, I suggest ignoring the barking, and following the Surprise method from the article linked below to teach pup to be quiet and self-entertain better. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Leaving pup with a dog food stuff chew toy is also important. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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