The barking dog. It can be the bain of your (and your neighbours’) existence. If your dog barks and misbehaves when you’re not home at your Baseline Apartment, it could be separation anxiety, or they could simply be entertaining themselves and don’t know that it’s wrong. Panoramic Properties wants to help you figure out how to get your dog to behave when you’re not home.
Anxiety or Just Acting Out?
Before you take corrective measures, you need to determine if your dog is acting out just because they can and think it’s fun, or if they are suffering from separation anxiety. If your dog barks immediately after you leave and continues until you return, it’s likely separation anxiety. You need to teach them that being alone is okay. Begin by desensitizing them to your ‘leaving behaviour’ – picking up your keys, putting on your shoes etc. Go through these actions repeatedly, without leaving, until they are comfortable. Next, practice walking out the door, then leaving for short periods of time until they are comfortable with that. Don’t reward or punish their behaviour during this time. You’re showing them that you coming and going is no big deal.
Whether your dog has separation anxiety or is simply acting out, crate training can be crucial. Teach them to love their space. To feel safe there. That being in their space is their job when you’re not there. A chewy treat that they only get when in their crate can go a long way.
A dog who isn’t anxious, but simply misbehaves when you’re not home, has too much excess physical energy, insufficient mental stimulation, or doesn’t have a sufficient reward history of good behaviour (doesn’t know ‘good’ from ‘bad’). They don’t have enough to do when you’re away. When you are home, tire them out more. Reward good behaviour. When you’re not home, try switching to a food dispenser toy rather than a bowl or a puzzle toy to stimulate them mentally.
With some time, determination, and lots of positive reinforcement you can have your dog feeling comfortable and acting well-behaved, even when you can’t be there.