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How do I stop my dog from barking when I am gone?

asked 2016-11-02 18:17:06 -0500

For the first 6 months that I had my dog I was home with him and I recently took a job that I am now gone 8 hours a day. I have a sitter that is able to check on Bordeaux at lunch time but during the 4 hour stretches before the sitter comes and when I get home he barks. I have started to get complaints from a sensitive neighbor and I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how I can teach my dog to be a silent roommate while I am away.

Thanks

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answered 2016-11-02 18:40:29 -0500

Hi, Eric! I had a similar issue when I moved into my own apartment after college and my dog was there by herself while I was at work. I initially used a bark collar that sprayed citronella when she barked to deter the barking, and after about two weeks, once she realized that I would in fact return every day, the barking stopped. You may want to try a similar bark collar, there are also ones that vibrate to startle the dog when they bark, so they don't have to be shock collars which I personally think are a little extreme. Another option would be to take your dog to daycare, if there is another Rover sitter nearby or on your way to work that offers daycare? Perhaps Bordeaux would benefit from being around others during the day, since he was used to being with you when you were home. I've also seen cases where bringing in another dog as company has helped some dogs overcome their separation anxiety. I am sure others will chime in with more ideas!

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I've had the same experience. I highly recommend citronella collars, I like that they only spray a lemony scent and I even tested it to my throat before I ever put it on my dog and aside from a spray of air and citronella scent it is harmless.

Anna P.'s profile image Anna P.  ( 2016-12-08 02:45:18 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2016-11-03 17:27:50 -0500

You (or your sitter) could try leaving a radio or TV on for background noise so the dog feels like there is someone home. I have many clients that do that, and the dogs are calm when I walk in the door. When no TV or radio is left on, those same dogs are very loud and agitated when I walk in the door.

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answered 2016-11-03 11:33:20 -0500

You can also practice leaving the house for just a few minutes at a time to get him more used to it. The first few times you do it, I would grab your keys and everything, head out the door, and then just wait on the other side for a few minutes to see what he does. If he starts barking right away, open it, tell him to stop it, and then close it right back.

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This is a good idea, too! However, I think that if you open the door when he barks, you are reinforcing the barking. I think it would be better to ignore the barking altogether, otherwise he is going to think that by barking you will immediately come back inside.

Hillary H.'s profile image Hillary H.  ( 2016-11-03 14:21:56 -0500 ) edit

But you just open the door, yell at him, and close it again. Don't even walk inside! If you "come home" then you really are rewarding him. Just lean in, give him a scolding, and shut the door again. That's certainly not the outcome that Fido has in mind! haha

Jessica M.'s profile image Jessica M.  ( 2016-11-03 14:25:59 -0500 ) edit

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