Dear Neighbor Your Dog Barks and Cries All Day,
Davinia checking out the crate for the very first time.
Last month while I was sick and out of town I apparently received a new neighbor. One whose dog cries all day long. I am pretty tolerant and figured the dog was just unused to its surroundings. Plus its owners apparently thought it was just fine to walk the dog with no leash which is against the rules here and dangerous for their dog and mine. But that is another post this one is about dogs with separation anxiety.
Separation Anxiety is apparently contagious because I went to leave the house earlier today and Indiana started carrying on like she was being tortured. Since this is not normal behavior for either of my dogs I went back in to check on them to make sure everything was ok. I think the fact that the dog upstairs cries and barks all day coupled with the fact that they both saw and heard me taking out some bog boxes they got upset. So instead of getting reported for barking dogs I decided to take them with me on my errands to show them I wasn’t doing anything special. My first stop was to drop off something at my mother’s office. They stayed in the car while I ran in with the box my mom was in a meeting so I left with the bigger box. But as we were leaving “grandma” saw us and I really wanted the case of dog food out of my car and not in my apartment so I turned around. I took the box out of my trunk and put it in hers. “Grandma” said hello to the girls but they weren’t allowed out to play or say hello (she is a professor and there is a no dogs allowed policy anyway). We left and went to put gas in my car and then I drove them back home. I had a bunch of other errands to run but they could not stay in the car and I don’t think Publix and Best Buy take too kindly to dogs in their stores. I stayed for a few minutes took a few pictures of them and then put them in their crate. They did not make a peep and so I left and they slept.
Of course the dog upstairs was still crying when I got back with them and still making noise when I got back home a few minutes ago. At this point it really is out of control. All the dogs in the building now cry when before I rarely if ever heard them. Half the time I wasn’t sure if the dog across the hall even lived in the apartment on a regular basis. Now I will randomly hear crying from the apartment when I walk by. So not only do I feel it is unfair to just leave your dog without trying to come up with a solution to their separation anxiety but it is unfair to all the other dogs around you who were trained to only bark if there is a problem or possibly someone at the door or walking by the window. Normal things most dogs tend to do whether it is because they think a friend is there and want to play or if they are trying to warn someone not to get any closer. Most dogs are easily distracted from their barking and crying when you leave if you put a plan in place and stick with it when you first get them if you move a few days of reminder training and they should be back to normal.Your Dog Barks and Cries All Day!
In case you are unaware of this your dog barks and cries all day. Its really not their fault they want to be with you and go where you are going. But we know that you can’t always take your dog everywhere you go. So we thought we would put together a list of a few things you can work on so your dog does not bark and cry all day when you are at work!
1. Crate training your dog really helps. They know they have a special place that is all their own to go and rest. Maybe it has some soft blanket and pillows or some toys to play with or a doll to cuddle with. There is water inside the crate for when they get thirsty and you could even give a small treat when you put them inside.
2. Do not make a big deal of leaving. Make sure all of your stuff is ready to go put your dog in its crate say goodbye and leave. When Indiana was younger they each had their own crates but for years now share a crate when I am away. They rest with each other and keep each other company and that works for us and I know it works for other people as well.
3. Work your way up to staying in the crate for prolonged periods of time. I know most dogs are not like Davinia who ran into the crate I put together for Indiana and didn’t want to come out. Most dogs are like Indiana and are not too excited about the crate at first. Start off by giving them breakfast or dinner in their crate with the door open. Then after a few times do the same with the door closed and then let them out as soon as dinner is over. The next step is to close the crate and walk away whether to another room or to go outside and check the mail. If your dog is fine when you get back you know you are ready to try to go for an hour or two of crate time and before you know it your dog will be an old pro and love their crate running in when you tell them “crate” or “house” and not caring one way or the other if you are going out. I prefer wire crates. We have the puppy version with a front door and a top door and a regular dog version with a front and side door. Though you may prefer a solid plastic crate with air vents on 3 or 4 sides. The ones with the door and then air vents on all sides also happens to be FAA approved for flying. In case that makes a difference for you.
4. If you can’t crate your dog leaving on the tv to a relaxing station or the radio to classical music will help keep your dog calm while you are away. Davinia really likes classical music while Indiana doesn’t really have a preference. Whatever you leave on just make sure that it is not the same type of music you would listen to in the car on a road trip because you don’t want your dogs to get excited.
5. For puppies who have never been away from their mother‘s and siblings before they will miss the warmth and heart beat so a stuffed animal might just not be enough to help calm them yet. An option would be to check out Snuggle Puppies. They come with 2 heat packs that last up to 24 hours exposed to the air or longer if put in a plastic bag when not in use as well as a rhythmic heartbeat. I was walking by a booth at a pet expo and they reach out and handed me one to feel and I thought it was amazing. The warmth was soothing and I know that a young puppy would find the heart beat extremely soothing.
6. Buy a special enrichment toy like a kong, or puzzle that your dog only gets while you are away. This will give a more energetic dog something to do to occupy its time.
7. And this is a really big tip. Go on a long walk or jog before putting your dog in its crate! This will ensure it has gone potty before you leave, will tire them out, and they will want to get in their crate and take a nap from their adventure.
Do you have some tips you think might helps others dealing with separation anxiety with their dog?