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Dr.Tail

Separation Anxiety: My Dog Keeps on Barking When Left Alone

A dog waiting for pet parents.
Photo by Don Agnello on Unsplash

During the pandemic, most pet owners spent a lot of time with their dogs. But now, we’re going back to work, and dogs might not be comfortable with this situation.


Cause: Dogs are not mentally strong

Some emphasize the importance of independence in dogs, but dogs have a mental age similar to a two-and-a-half-year-old baby. Rather than acting like mature adults, they act on how they feel based on situations. Therefore, being left alone by themselves creates separation anxiety.


Signs: Show abnormal behavior

When pet owners start preparing to leave the house, dogs start to get anxious; it’s similar to forcefully taking away a toy from a kid. Normally, kids cry or show anger when someone takes away their toy, and it’s the same with dogs. They show anger in the following ways:

  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Destructive acts, such as chewing or digging
  • Accidentally urinating or defecating in the house.
  • You also have to closely monitor for the following behaviors

  • Trembling, whining or pacing, excessive salivation, and repetitive behaviors

  • Solution: Make your dog enjoy being alone

    Like the phrase “make yourself at home,” your dog also has to feel at home. To rephrase, the home can’t just be a place where dogs wait for their pet owners.

  • Puzzle Toy: Give your dog food puzzle toys before leaving for work. Your dog will feel that your act of leaving for work is a reward. As soon as you get home from work, put away the toy. If your dog’s conditions are severe or your dog does not show any interest in puzzle toys, please find help from an authorized dog trainer.
  • Training Independence: Train your dog to be alone and separated from you even when at home. Start with shorter time periods and slowly increase the time. When you see your dog again, gently touch your dog with affection.
  • Exercise: Appropriately exercise your dog according to the dog’s age. Your happy, but the exhausted dog will be fine when left alone
  • Your dog’s anxious behavior is not an act of showing anger toward you; it’s an act to cope with overwhelming stress. You should treat and monitor your dog with love.


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    References

  • https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-behavior-issues/separation-anxiety
  • https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/separation-anxiety-dogs-puppies/
  • https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/does-your-dog-freak-out-when-you-leave