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My 11 years old Bishon Frise constantly barks when there's no one at home. Even if we stay away for 4, 5 hours. She got raucous once for barking too much.

What could be causing that and how can I train her not to do it anymore?

  • Does she bark constantly at nothing or is she barking at noises, passersby, etc? It might hint at different reasons for why she's barking and hence different strategies for addressing it. – ThomasH Oct 10 '13 at 18:38
  • Is this something that developed recently, or has the dog been barking like that most of her life? – Esa Paulasto Jan 27 '14 at 6:37
16

You can't expect your pet to keep mum if you are not with him. Solutions:-

1) Give the dog someone to give him company. When there is no one at home, you can consider leaving him at some neighbors home awhile.

2) You can request somebody to look after him while everybody has gone from your house.

3) You can provide him something to play with. This is not very effective in every cases. But in 50% cases, it would work. Give a bone toy or a ball to chew with. My own dog likes to play with them and we got rid of the barking problem.

4) Dogs do not like being locked. Just letting him be may work.

  • 3
    Adding onto this, you can also give the dog a good, long, tiring walk in hopes that the dog is too tuckered out to do anything but sleep while you are gone. A walk will help with boredom issues, too. You can also look into behavior collars; the citronella collar seems the most humane out of all of them, but it should really only be seen as a last resort. – rlb.usa Dec 18 '13 at 18:44
14

I think she misses you. Dogs are pack animals and you're part of her pack. When you leave, she has effectively been separated from her pack and that can be very distressing. One way to address that is to add to the pack, another dog, but if you can't do that, then another animal (surprisingly, even a cat) may give her that sense that she's not alone enough for her to stop. I don't think, without that pack substitute, you're going to have a huge amount of luck working her out of it.

9

I would like to propose another idea.

I've experienced the same problem and noticed that proper exercise, especially in the hours prior to them being left alone, can help calm their behavior.

In many occasions, anxiety causes them a high level of distress, to the point any noise or movement results in them barking for an extended period to an invisible threat. However, the most exercise they do, the more physically and mentally relaxed they are (socializing with other dogs also helps). The more relaxed they are, the less likely they will be bothered by your absence (especially when they spent four of those hours sleeping!).

Previously, I've got many complains from neighbors of incessant barking; and so I started to take her to park or for extended walks/runs very early in the morning before work. It has both improved her psychological state (she's less anxious, less insecure, more calm and happier) and reduced the complains from neighbors.

Also, remember that in your absence the dog will do its best to protect your/their home. It is part of their instinct. For them it is a purpose, a 'job' if you will; and barking is one the tools they use to get the job done. Be very careful when repressing this instinct (with collars, gizmos, etc) as it can cause further psychological issues and/or sense of uselessness in the dog.

  • I never open the door when I come back home before it is completely silent on the other side of the door. Our two dogs know it's me, and they are anxious to greet me, but usually make no sound and I don't have to wait. When they were younger I sometimes had to stand outside, hand on doorknob, for ages before their noises died down. This method is probably not possible in the OP's case, that dog will not shut up, so I don't post this as an answer. – Esa Paulasto Dec 12 '13 at 16:21
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She is probably lonely. Also, she wants to protect the territory - and since the rest of her pack is away, she must do so herself.

In addition to the great suggestions by @Mistu4u, you could make a recording of your own voice, and have that play while you're gone. 4 or 5 hours might be a bit long, but for shorter periods of time this could work. (I'd prefer to try @Mistu4u's suggestions first though).

If the dog can't be brought to the neighbours, they can still help - if the dog can hear them and they can hear the dog, they can talk to her to comfort her.

5

People here has answered very well but if nothing helps then barking control collars can help as a last resort. I know its little rude to your pet but giving pet a company doesn't always helps and sometimes building/neighbor restriction can force you to do so with your pet. My sister Labrador also constantly barks when he is alone, even in presence of her second dog French mastiff. We didn't used the collars but there are some collars in market which doesn't give electric shock but just vibrate on barking which are less effective then electric collars but it doesn't harm the pet.

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    This sort of intervention should only be used as an absolute very last resort and if the consequences of not stopping the barking are severe (throat injuries or your landlord kicking you out). Electric barking collars will give your dog a painful electric shock every time it barks and even the sound and ultrasound based ones can be very distressing for the dog. – ThomasH Oct 10 '13 at 18:36
  • @ThomasH there are two kind of collars one use electric shock but there are second kind of collars which only vibrates. See the new edit. – Ankit Sharma Oct 10 '13 at 19:19
2

I got a lot of complaints about my dog barking, and I've gotten that under control, so the advice I found might also work for you. If your dog is barking due to separation anxiety, you can try the following:

  1. take it for a walk just before you leave. Nothing super exciting, just a casual wander and sniff kind of walk.
  2. put your dog in a smaller space. For me, I put mine in the bedroom with a bowl of water. It's comfy, and further away from the noisy hallway. This has 2 benefits - her barks are less annoying to others, and also their noise is muffled, and less likely to make her want to bark. This should be a predictable, quiet, safe space.
  3. keep your goodbye minimal - just a casual pat on the head. The reason for this is that a long drawn out goodbye could worry your dog that you won't be coming back home, but a chill 'see ya' gives the impression that this is a normal thing, and there's nothing to worry about.

I also purchased a cheap wyze camera and set a sound alarm - This helps me to know if my tactics are working. It took a week or so before my dog settled down, and now when I check in from my phone, she's mostly sleeping. I believe you can talk through the camera, but I wouldn't recommend that unless you've given the above a proper try, because it could cause more worry rather than helping.

  • +1 for the camera, it supports finding the reasons for barking, only knowing the reasons you can imagine solving – Allerleirauh Aug 23 at 6:27

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