Post # 1
I am afraid we have become THOSE neighbors: the ones with the dogs that won’t shut up.
Tonight, our next door neighbor made me aware that since January, our dogs have taken to barking constantly when we are away. Why only since January? Not sure. Darling Husband thinks that its the stray cat that keeps patrolling our yard but I am not so sure. My thoughts go to separation anxiety but why then only since January? Whatever the cause is, however, this cannot continue. We live in a townhome with an apartment complex behind (they have apparently complained to our neighbor about it). I also feel horrible that this has been an ongoing problem and we had no idea!
Our younger bigger dog Camo is the main culprit. He has run of the backyard and dining room in our absense. Our older smaller dog Lolli is crated when we are away. She apparently only gets going after Camo starts in. The first thing we are thinking of is to get a walk in first thing in the morning before we leave to tire him out. We have also ordered an ultrasonic outdoor barking deterrant. We had short success with something similar a few months ago but I’m concerned that like last time, he’ll get used to it. We are also going to get him back into obedience class in hopes that establishing Darling Husband and myself as head of the pack may lessen some anxiety.
Has anyone else dealt with a similar situation? What did you do to correct it? We really want to be good pet owners and neighbors!
Post # 2
Cut off access to the backyard when you’re not home and get training asap for their separation anxiety. Something obviously has triggered this behavior and having a trainer come by when you’re at work to witness their behavior and barking should help.
Post # 3
What happened in January? Did you move? Move furniture? Bring in new furniture? Did you get new neighbors? If your neighbor is home all day, does he/she make a lot of noise? Is there construction anywhere nearby?
Sometimes SA can be triggered by things that seem inconsequential to us, like rearranging furniture or bringing in something new. Could be a new piece of electronics that emits a strange noise, could be the sound of construction equipment… For my SA dog, it was the fact that my neighbor was home while I was gone (townhouse), and she could clearly hear the neighbor through the walls and, to her, it sounded like I was home but hadn’t taken her out of her crate yet. We never could solve it (turns out that she needed other dogs, too, but I think hearing the neighbor sounds made it worse).
Training. Don’t let him outside when you’re not home. If you haven’t, read “I’ll be home soon”. It’s a little booklet or pamphlet about SA. Goes through alone training and you might need to give that a try. If all else fails, anti-anxiety medication be helpful while you’re working on the training, but it doesn’t sound like he’s quite at that level.
Post # 4
loudsilence99 : your neighbor is telling you now because they’re probably at their wits end by this point and it’s easier to share that multiple people have issue with it. You’ve used a barking deterrent device in the past so you know barking is an ongoing issue with your dog. I feel so bad for your neighbors having endured prolonged dog barking noise myself! You have to try to keep your windows and doors closed and when you go outside your relaxation is ruined! I feel sorry for your dog too. Some dogs are just barkers. They really need an environment where they’re free to be themselves without disturbing others. I don’t think an apartment/townhouse is that environment. I hope you’re able to find a solution before the neighbors get local authorities or renters/homeowners assoc involved or someone does something physically to your dog! Sadly I’ve heard of that happening….
Post # 5
loudsilence99 : Obedience class isn’t going to prevent him from barking when you’re gone. And if it’s some kind of “pack” training class, it isn’t a good idea at all. General training will help though. It’ll give him confidence, and tire him out.
You absolutely need to walk him before you go to work. I take 10 to 15 minutes every day to walk my dog, and yes it sucks to get up 15 minutes earlier, but it’s an enjoyable time for both of us.
Why are you giving the dog access to the backyard? If I was your neighbor I’d be so mad. You need to confine him to a smaller, indoor space. If crate training doesn’t work, give him a small room. Preferably one that doesn’t share a wall with neighbors. Close the curtains so he can’t see outside and bark at cats. And if giving him backyard time is because you’re gone too long for him to wait to pee, hire a walker.
Here’s my routine: Every morning, I walk my dog for 10 to 15 minutes. Before I leave for work, I turn on a white noise “waterfall” video on YouTube for him, which is 10 hours long. I give him a Kong toy with some peanut butter in it, and make him do some tricks (mental stimulation) to earn it. I close the windows and turn off the light. He is confined to the bedroom, which has his crate in it (but he isn’t locked in the crate). He gets at least a 30 minute walk in the evenings, on top of at least 5 minutes of training and mental stimulation games.
Post # 6
You absolutely need to exercise your dog properly. A dog who isn’t exercised gets bored, and bored dogs often bark (or become destructive). A morning walk might not even be enough, depending on the energy level of your dog. We have to take ours on a run every morning to ensure they’ll behave during the day.
Post # 7
I think you are taking good steps foward. A dog behaviorist should be able to help sort out the barking. How much exercise does he get a day? My Springer Spaniel requires at minimum a 3 mile run in the evening and playing fetch in the morning. Bored dogs are always getting into trouble.
Exercise in the morning is a great start. Maybe also give him a strong time consuming dental bone that he likes when you leave the house that will take awhile to chew. Maybe bully sticks as well.
You could also get one of those dog nanny cams where you can talk to your dog and it dispenses treats. This would allow you to spy on him and see if he is barking but also give him treats when he isn’t or call him indoors.
Does the anxiety and barking improve if the other older dog isn’t crated? Mine are great together but the younger one barks for a little while if we take the older dog with us and leave her. Kenneling isnt the same but…just a thought.
I can’t imagine leaving my dog in a dark room for 10 hours a day! My dogs love to look out the window and watch what’s going on, people, pets, cars, thoroughly entertained though they don’t bark unless someone is at the door.
Post # 8
Start running or walking briskly in the mornings to tire him out. Added bonus you’ll get fit too 🙂 I couldn’t imagine a life sitting in a dark room listening to a waterfall for ten hours…. Have you looked into a local dog walker or sitter to check in during the day? A little bit of company can break up the day and with morning exercise he’ll probably snooze in between until you get home.
Post # 9
Why is the smaller dog in the crate all day? I really don’t agree with crating dogs for long periods of time regularly. You’re basically locking them in a small cage for 8 hours or longer because you haven’t trained them or set up a suitable environment for them to be in while alone. I think crate training is okay as a training device during the night when you’re in the house or for short periods of time, but it shouldn’t be used as a permanent solution as it’s cruel and doesn’t teach a dog how to behave. So first thing I would do it take the smaller dog out of the crate.
I also would not allow them access to the back garden when you’re not around, the bigger dog is bored and has become territorial, so is probably barking at any noise they hear outside during the day, and maybe cats or other animals. My dog barks a lot when she’s outside, but rarely barks indoors. When we’re at work we leave her inside with the radio on because she will bark if she hears people banging or talking loudly outside, I’ve recorded her all day and she might bark three times in 8 hours for less than 30 seconds if she hears something loud, but that’s it.
Post # 10
I agree with previous posters re getting the morning walk in, and also leaving distracting toys such as kongs filled with yummy treats. My sister freezes (dog safe home made) baby food in a kong for her retriever and spaniel to keep them occupied and they love it! I would also say that dog behaviouralists are amazing for things like this, and will probably save you time to resolve the issue.
As a last resort perhaps doggy day care is the answer, although costly. I have a colleague who swears by it.
Post # 11
Poor pups. Something is upsetting them. I agree that the backyard is a no no while you are out of the house. Too much risk. Perhaps hiring a dog walker for a mid day walk would help them get energy out.
Post # 12
Id get him a puzzle toy with a treat inside. Some dogs need smentsl stimulation.
Plus you may need to hire a walker for mid day. My friend did that. She walked her dog in the am and pm and had a walker come mid day.
Post # 13
I’m not tagging because I did get a lot of similar questions/advice.
We will block off access to the backyard at least as an intermediate solution. All of my dogs growing up had backyard access during the day so I really didn’t see it as a potential issue. Clearly it is, however. At minimum, while we are addressing deeper issues, it will dampen the sound.
Doggie exercise: I will admit fault here for not providing enough exercise. No excuses. That said, we do need get Camo back into training as he is a TERRIBLE leash walker. I think we will need to get a trainer to work with us at home as he walks like a dream in training and yanks me off me and my husband off our feet when out for walks. He was definitely more confident and happy when we were in training. Our trainer was actually fired from the store (we did training through Pet Co) and we never got hooked up with another trainer. Clearly, not a good call on our end. If it comes to it, we will find the budget for a dog walker. I’m also looking into where we can take the dogs to run around, play fetch, etc. Our backyard is very small.
Crating: We crate Lolli when we are away for the safety of both dogs. Lolli was rescued as an adult and through no fault of her own has a somewhat questionable past which manifests in resource guarding. As the dogs have fought (and I do mean fought, not play fought) in our presence, we do not currently feel comfortable leaving them out together unsupervised. Lolli’s resource guarding is definitely improving. Through accidental exposure (she’s too smart and opened the gate separating them), she actually let Camo grab her Kong without so much as a growl. Lolli gravitates toward her crate and will voluntarily hang out there even when we are home. Camo, despite extended attempts at crate training, will only tolerate a crate at night. Otherwise he barks frantically for hours on end.
Location of the dogs: They stay in the dining room when we aren’t home currently. Camo has a history of trying to use our sofa cushions as chew toys. This is not an anxiety thing as far as we can tell, btw, as he has dont it right in front of us.
History of Barking: Both dogs had a very obnoxious problem of staring out the front window and barking at anything and everything passing by. As there is a convenience store across the street, this was near constant. We started with an ultra-sonic barking deterrent given to us by a friend. It worked WONDERS for about a month (January, now that I think about it…) before Camo decided he wanted to bark more than he didn’t want to hear the noise. Our solution to this issue was to pull the curtains and remove access to the windows which has curbed 95% of that particular set of barking issues. They still bark whent hey hear their mortal enemy: the garbage truck. I won’t say I never wondered if Camo barked during the day but I assumed that if it was a problem, the neighbors would tell us. They’ve told us it’s a problem now so we are going to address it.
The current plan of attack:
- Block off access to the back yard when unsupervised
- Increase exercise (morning walk at minimum and add more as necessary)
- Get Camo back into obedience class including home visits from trainer
- Add more stimulation to the environment when we aren’t home such as interactive toys, doggie nanny cam, etc.
- Turn on the TV when we aren’t home (Camo does love Marvel movies…)
- I’m going to read “I’ll be Home Soon” to pick up more suggestions