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...
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.
To retrain the dog you will need:
we leave our dog all day whilst we are at work, we have cameras set up to watch her throughout the day as she has been known to destroy things in our home. she barks constantly, will not eat and it takes a very long time for her to settle down
Hello Ashleigh, I would work on building pup's independence when you are home. I would work on things like pup gradually being able to obey a 2 hour Place command while you are home, sometimes in the same room but sometimes in other rooms. I would work on a distance Down Stay outside using a long training leash. I would work on a structured heel, and building trust and respect through some of the methods I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ For the barking specifically, I would choose a way to interrupt her, such as a Pet convincer. DO NOT use a citronella spray, make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh and the smell lingers a long time so the dog continues to be corrected even after they stop the behavior). 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. Set up your camera to spy on her while she is alone and leave. Spy on her from outside or another room - whatever normally triggers the barking. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear her crying or see her start to try to destroy anything from the camera, quietly return, spray a small puff of air from the pet convincer at her side, then leave again. Every time she barks or tries to destroy something, correct, then leave again. After five minutes to ten minutes of practice, as soon as your dog stays quiet for five seconds straight, go back into the room where she is and sprinkle several treats in front of her without saying anything, then leave again. If she doesn't eat them. That's okay too. She might not at first, but may choose to later in the training process. Practice correcting when she barks, going back inside and sprinkling treats when she stays quiet, for up to 30 minutes a session at first. After 30 minutes -1 hour of practicing this, while she is quiet, go back into the room and sprinkle more treats. This time stay in the room. Do not speak to her or pay attention to her for ten minutes while you walk around and get stuff done inside. When she is being calm, then you can let her out of the crate. When you arrive home, ignore her for the first ten minutes. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Regularly practice her staying on Place and in the open crate while you are home and leave the room as well. You may find that in addition to the above, pup needs to be crated and this protocol done with pup in the crate to help her settle better instead of barking. You may also need to use low level remote collar stimulation on pup's working level, instead of something like the unscented pet convincer, to correct the barking, so that pup can be interrupted without you having to re-enter when pup barks, and only re-enter when pup is quiet, so that you are not giving attention for the barking. Ideally, any remote collar training would be done with the help of a trainer experienced with "working level" remote collar training, which is the lowest predetermined level a dog indicates they can feel on a stimulation based remote training collar, opposed to a higher level shock. The goal of it would be as an interrupter to the barking, in addition to rewarding the quietness, without giving pup extra attention by returning in person to interrupt. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I adopted Quincy about three months ago after his previous owner passed away. Said owner had issues with people trying to enter his home uninvited, so Quincy had/has obvious issues with noises outside the door.
I've managed to get him to stay mostly quiet when I'm at home, but my neighbours tell me that once I leave for my work (~5h) that's a different story. If something sets him off, he can go for up to an hour and a half of uninterrupted barking and howling. Even the neighbours dog is retreating into the shower scared...
I refuse to use shock collars. But I've tried restricting his access to a quieter room only (he howls even more), putting on music as white noise (no effect), leaving toys/treat toys (they remain untouched until I return) and the obvious longer walks until he's exhausted, but I'm at my wit's end. Any more ideas please?
Would love to hear from you, Manu
Hello Manu, Check out the article I have linked below on desensitizing a dog to guest coming over - even though the details are different than your situation, the basic idea of desensitizing to noises and things associated with guests is the same. I also recommend her entire channel on reactivity and counter conditioning for some other examples of desensitizing to things like strangers, noises, and other animals. Door: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Noises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhc2jlc6dmc Reactivity and barking playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a Keeping things Quiet and away from the door is also a great idea. Desensitizing pup to the noises that are triggering the barking to make pup less sensitive to them even while you are not there is the main goal. Once pup is less sensitive to those noises, I would give pup something to do also. There are devices like autotrainer and pet tutor, which have models that can be programmed to detect when pup has been quiet for a certain amount of time and release a treat, to help enforce the quietness in the long run as well. If those options aren't an option financially, then I would stuff a couple of Kongs, one frozen and one normal, or two frozen if pup is really good at emptying a kong, for pup to work on while you are away - it's hard to chew a kong and bark at the same time so they can be good quiet reinforcers for some dogs too, plus they keep pup happier and entertained. To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. You can also purchase several durable hollow chew toys and stuff them at the same time so that you have a stash in the freezer to grab from as needed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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He has bad separation anxiety. He will bark for hours while alone! We’ve been doing all the training non stop and nothing is working. He is in crate while we leave . We put special treat in but he won’t even look at it until we get home .
Hi there. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.
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We need safe yet super desirable treats for Jeffie to have when we try to leave the house. Nothing we have used keeps him from noticing us leaving the house. We have worked on many methods since we've got him but we need him to have a special toy
Hello Alana, I would stuff a Kong if pup is food motivated. Generally this is done using just pup's dog food mixed with something tasty, like a bit of liver paste, peanut butter or soft cheese. If you really want to increase the excitement of the toy, you could stuff the dry version with freeze dried liver treats (without added fillers or unhealthy things), these are often found in the dog food isle as kibble toppers or patties. Stella and Chewy and Natures' Variety brands offer these. The dog food Ziwi Peak is also a freeze dried meat and veggie option that some dogs really love, but the freeze dried liver alone would probably be more enticing. To make it last longer, another option is to stuff a kong with plain liver paste that's very low in sodium then freeze the entire thing, making several at a time so you can just grab one from the freezer to give to pup when you go out. To stuff a kong with dog food or freeze dried liver you can put smaller pieces of liver loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food or liver will dispense more slowly. To give a frozen one, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. To do just the liver, place a straw through the kong, stuff liver paste globs around the straw loosely, place in a baggie and freeze overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup a frozen kong, and just grab a stuffed kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. The hole created by the straw prevents suction while pup licks and chews it. If you need variety, you can do the same thing with small pieces of real meat like boiled chicken shredded, both frozen and unfrozen, depending on the how finely you shred. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I just got the sweetest rescue Poodle,previous owner didn't have time. He is so good,completely house trained and very well behaved..Except when I leave him alone ,it's to hot 🔥 to take him with me.,or leave in car.
Hello Deb, What is pup doing when left alone? Having potty accidents, chewing, barking? Depending on the details of pup's behavior, I would work on crate training pup. The crate training is very important for potty training and chewing. If pup is barking in the crate, that can be addressed as well. For basic crate training, check out the Surprise method I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If pup is barking, destructive, or having accidents related to anxiety, in the crate, pup still needs to be crate trained to help build independence, but there are additional steps to take. Use the Surprise method from the aticle I linked above still. She also needs to build her independence and her confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into her routine if you haven't already done so. Things such as making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets by obeying a command like Sit first. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate when the door is open as well as closed. Give her something to do in the crate or on Place during the day while you are out of the room (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on). Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ If doing the above is not sufficient, I recommend doing the below in addition to it, as needed. Purchase a Pet convincer. This can also be done with a low level remote training collar, but I recommend having a professional trainer help in person with any e-collar training to prevent over stressing pup. With the Pet Convincer, DO NOT use a citronella spray, make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh and the smell lingers a long time so the dog continues to be corrected even after they stop the behavior). 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. Set up your camera to spy on her while she is in the crate and leave. Spy on her from outside or another room - whatever normally triggers the barking. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear her crying or see her start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, quietly return, spray a small puff of air from the pet convincer at her side through the crate wires, without opening the door, then leave again. Every time she barks or tries to get out of the crate, correct, then leave again. After five minutes to ten minutes of practice, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back into the room where she is and sprinkle several treats into the crate without saying anything, then leave again. Practice correcting when she barks or tries to escape, going back inside and sprinkling treats when she stays quiet, for up to 30 minutes a session at first. After 30 minutes -1 hour of practicing this, while she is quiet, go back into the room and sprinkle more treats. This time stay in the room. Do not speak to her or pay attention to her for ten minutes while you walk around and get stuff done inside. When she is being calm, then you can let her out of the crate. When you let her out, open and close the door again whenever she tries to rush out, until she will wait in the crate with the door open. Once she is waiting calmly, tell her "Okay" or "Free!" and let her come out. You want her to be calm when she comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home - so that she isn't building up those emotions habitually anticipating your arrival home each time. That is why you need to ignore her when you get home right away also. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Also, for longer alone times give her a food stuffed Kong into the crate/room with her. Once she is less anxious she will likely enjoy it even if she didn't pay any attention to it in the past, and that will help her to enjoy alone time more. First, she may need 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 of barking, since she will need something other than barking to do at that point. Regularly practice her staying on Place and in the open crate while you are home and leave the room as well. Finally, teach pup the Quiet command to make communication with her clearer. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark When you are home, also make sure you are exercising her both mentally and physically - regularly teaching and practicing obedience commands or tricks, and incorporating those commands into her day is one way to stimulate mentally - such as practicing heel, sit, and down during a walk or game of fetch, having pup do a command before giving her something she wants, and feeding meals in dog food stuffed chew toys or or things like automatic treat dispensing devices like autotrainer or pet tutor, or kong wobbles. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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