Barking while home alone

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Barking while home alone

Post by Lena124 on Wed Aug 16 2017, 22:41

Hi everyone Smile

We've been having some issues with our new boy Buster if we ever need to leave him alone. Since bringing him home he's only been left alone twice, the first time I set up a recorder (it died after half an hour) but for that first half an hour he barked the whole time, only stopping for maybe 2 minutes and then starting again. Then tonight he was left for 1.5 hours and not only did he bark, he also chewed up his duvet. I'm just looking for some advice to stop this, I'm terrified the neighbours will report us.

The dogs always get a stuffed Kong each. Harvey and Tara stay in the living room and will happily chow on the kongs while we're gone. Buster stays in the hallway however he will not touch the kong until we're home, then he will start playing with it.
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Re: Barking while home alone

Post by lexii on Thu Aug 17 2017, 01:31

Classic anxiety behavior. I don't know your story, so can i just ask why he is left in the hall rather than with the others? Have you considered a baby gate in-between the two doors so he can at least see the others and is not so totally alone?

What is your "going out" routine? as this can be a trigger for a lot of dogs. The kong obviously to buster might mean "im being left alone" so thats why he wont touch it so maybe try to give it to him while you are still there, let him play with it for a while then just go out...leave it a few mins, then go back in and give don't make a fuss of him just walk back in as if you had never left - it can be hard not to fuss them before or after you have left but give it a go. Repeat until you can leave it a longer time. Being in the hall i assume he is the one to see you leave and come back, so another thing to try might be to put him somewhere else so he can't actually see you leave is at least is not as aware of you going out the door.
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Re: Barking while home alone

Post by Lena124 on Thu Aug 17 2017, 12:44

We have only owned Buster about 2 weeks so far and I really don't feel keen on leaving all three dogs in one room. He and our other staffy, Tara, have had squabbles in the past and although they haven't had one in a while I am not chancing leaving them in one room unsupervised. The hallway doesn't actually lead to the door we use, our layout is really strange in that the 'front' of the house (where the hallway is) leads to the back garden and the "back" of the house is actually our access in and out of the property. The hallway itself is a rather spacious room, it isn't long and narrow so Buster has lots of room.

When leaving we try not fuss, just pick up our things, dish the kongs out and leave. We will certainly try giving him the kong a while before we leave to allow him to play with it Smile I asked for advice about buying a baby gate, I'm sure it was on this site in fact. Most people advised against it as they had bought one and their dog cleared the gate. I certainly don't doubt Buster has the ability to jump over a baby gate so we decided against putrchasing one.
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Re: Barking while home alone

Post by -Ian- on Sat Aug 19 2017, 10:08

It's a tough one to crack and may well take some time. There's the tough love method which is to just ignore and hope it settles down or the method of leave for a few mins and then return and slowly build up the absence. With the latter it will take time in more ways than one but it should do the trick eventually.

The tough love option will also work but will depend on your neighbors being particularly tolerant and possibly new skirting boards.


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Re: Barking while home alone

Post by Lena124 on Tue Aug 22 2017, 15:26

Just a quick update. Buster was left for an hour today and we've come back to a chewed up door frame and scratches all up the door Sad I feel like such a bad owner as he was obviously stressed out/bored to cause this damage but I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I took him out for a walk before we left to burn off some energy; then on return I took him out to the back garden and played fetch for a while. I thought if anything he'd be more likely to curl up and rest. Am I doing the right thing keeping Buster separated from Tara and Harvey? Would he be more likely to settle? My logic behind separating is in case they have a fight while we're out. I'm at my wits end Sad

We've tried the tough love method I think our next thing to try will be leaving him for a few minutes like you mentioned Ian.
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Re: Barking while home alone

Post by LizP on Tue Aug 22 2017, 16:18

This is classic separation anxiety and I'm afraid 'tough love' almost never works. As his anxiety builds, the awful feeling for him builds and so the anxiety increases even more.

There is, I'm afraid, no quick fix. Given the toy issue you've had, I can understand your reluctance to leave them all alone together but might it be an option to try him and Harvey together? Or would that be too upsetting for Tara?

The best thing is to invest time (and that might mean a lot) in training. Have a look at this:

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t66717-separation-anxiety

It's the best method I know of.


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Re: Barking while home alone

Post by Lena124 on Tue Aug 22 2017, 18:05

It might sound stupid but Harvey and Tara are like best friends, she often enjoys cuddling up with him so I think separating them would cause Tara to fret. I'm determined to sort this issue out no matter how much time it takes, is there anything I can do in the meantime to ease Buster's anxiety? I'm sceptical when it comes to plug-ins but maybe they'd help until we find a permanent solution? Someone mentioned something called Zylkene but I haven't a clue what this is/how effective this is. Thanks for your help! It's reassuring me that this can be sorted and Buster can happily be alone.
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Re: Barking while home alone

Post by LizP on Tue Aug 22 2017, 20:17

Give it a go, Chenise. My gut feeling is that it won't make much difference but you never know till you try!



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Re: Barking while home alone

Post by Mia05 on Wed Aug 23 2017, 13:29

Hi the only option is for someone to sit in with your dogs checking them during the day.
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Re: Barking while home alone

Post by browndog on Sun Oct 22 2017, 10:34

Hi there. Have you tried crating him and leaving him in the room with the others to save on destruction?I sympathise. I had a rescue dog a few years ago and he was the same for quite a while. Bark, bark, bark, as soon as I was out of sight. He was worried, as he had been passed around and was insecure.I just had to ignore him when he could see me and let him out after a few minutes. Then I started leaving the room with him barking for a few minutes and coming back in, ignoring him again till he was quiet. He then knew I was there but was not getting rewarded for his barking. I continued this for a few weeks and saw a tiny improvement every day- very tiny but it was working. When he got to know us better and our routine he settled more and more and eventually when I knew it was safe, I could leave him uncrated with the other dogs for short periods, to test it out. He still barked for a few minutes when we went out but we used to stand in the driveway and listen to how long it lasted and it fizzled out eventually. He was always needy due to his past but his behaviour improved immensely with time and patience, and with no fear for him of being hit or shouted at.That is what his past had been.
It is not a quick or easy process but it worked for him. Smile

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Re: Barking while home alone

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