How to stop your dog from barking when alone: 7 easy steps!

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Last Updated: December 2nd, 2023

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If you are wondering how to stop your dog from barking when alone, you are not the only one. Many dog owners are facing the issue of dog barking when left alone and we are providing solutions.

chihuahua dog barking on the couch How to stop your dog from barking when alone


A common issue faced by pet owners is dealing with dogs that bark excessively when left alone. This behavior is not only disruptive but can also be a sign of distress in your furry friend. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior and implementing strategies to manage it, is essential for the well-being of both your dog and the surrounding environment. This article explores the science behind why dogs bark when left alone, assesses its dangers, and provides a simple seven-step guide to managing and preventing this issue.

Understanding the Barking

Dogs bark for various reasons such as alerting, excitement, seeking attention, or expressing frustration or anxiety. When alone, dogs may bark due to separation anxiety, boredom, or lack of proper training. Understanding that barking is a form of communication is crucial to addressing it effectively.

According to Hungarian research, humans, even those who aren’t dog owners, are better at classifying dog barks than you might think. Prerecorded dog barks were played to human listeners, then the participants were asked to categorize the barks. They were given a list of different situations that could have triggered the barking and asked to choose the most appropriate one. They also marked the emotion that the barking dog was feeling. The results showed that people can match the bark to the situation with impressive accuracy and can identify the dog’s emotion using the pitch of the bark and the pause between barks.

Why Does Dog Bark When Left Alone?

  • Separation Anxiety: Some dogs find it challenging to cope whit loneliness and they express their anxiety through barking.
  • Boredom: Dogs left alone without enough mental or physical stimulation may bark to express their frustration.
  • Environmental Factors: Sometimes, dogs are triggered by environmental noises or movements, causing them to bark.
Two dogs home alone, looking through the window

The Science Behind Dog Barking

When dogs feel anxious, bored, or stimulated by their surroundings, their brains release stress hormones, which, in turn, trigger barking as a coping mechanism. Dog barking is a complex vocalization rooted in evolutionary, physiological, and environmental factors.

  • Evolutionary Origins: Wild canids, like wolves, coyotes, and foxes, use vocalizations, including howls, growls, and whines. Domestic dogs evolved from wolves and have inherited and modified some of these vocal behaviors. Barking, as we commonly recognize it, is much more prevalent in domestic dogs than in most wild canids. Some researchers believe that domestication selectively favored dogs that used barking more frequently, especially as a means of communication with humans.
  • Physiological Mechanism: When a dog barks, it uses its vocal cords and adjusts the shape of its mouth, throat, and respiratory system to modulate the sound. The diaphragm pushes air out of the lungs, and as this air passes through the trachea and over the vocal cords, it causes them to vibrate, producing sound.
  • Breed Differences: Some dog breeds are more predisposed to barking than others due to their historical roles. For example, breeds developed for guarding, hunting or herding often have a strong barking tendency to alert or control their charges. One of the dog breeds that are known for being vocal is Dachshunds.
Small white dog barking

Is Excessive Dog Barking Dangerous?

Excessive dog barking in itself isn’t directly dangerous to the dog, but it can be an indicator of underlying issues that might be harmful, or it can lead to situations that are detrimental to the dog or others. Here’s how:

  • Physical Strain: A dog that barks continuously can strain its vocal cords and throat, leading to hoarseness or even loss of voice temporarily. While this isn’t ypically dangerous, it can cause discomfort for the dog.
  • Indicator of Stress or Anxiety: Continuous barking might be a sign of distress, separation anxiety, fear, or other psychological issues. If these underlying causes are not addressed, they can lead to other undesirable behaviors or health issues.
  • Risk of Alienation: Dogs that bark excessively can become a nuisance to neighbors or others in close proximity. This can strain relationships within a community and might even lead to legal issues or the risk of the dog being surrendered to a shelter.
  • Impaired Socialization: A dog that barks excessively, especially aggressively, may have difficulty socializing with other dogs or people. This can limit its positive interactions and training opportunities.
  • Underlying Medical Issues: Sometimes, excessive barking might be due to pain or some medical issues. For example, older dogs might bark more if they have cognitive dysfunction syndrome, a form of dementia in dogs.

It’s crucial to understand the cause of excessive barking and address it. Whether it’s training, environmental changes, addressing medical issues, or seeking the help of a professional like a veterinarian or a certified dog behaviorist, there are ways to manage and reduce excessive barking, benefiting both the dog and its human companions.

How to Deal with Excessive Dog Barking: 7 Easy Steps

  1. Ensure Physical Exercise: Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercises before you leave. A tired dog is less likely to bark excessively.
  2. Provide Mental Stimulation: Leave toys or puzzles to keep your dog mentally engaged in your absence.
  3. Create a Comfortable Environment: Ensure that the dog’s environment is safe, comfortable, and free of triggers that may cause barking.
  4. Consider Crate Training: Crate training can provide a secure feeling for dogs and may help reduce barking due to anxiety.
  5. Maintain a Routine: Keeping a consistent daily routine can help reduce anxiety and uncertainty in dogs.
  6. Use Technology: Consider using dog monitors or calming music playlists designed for dogs to create a soothing environment.
  7. Seek Professional Advice: In cases of severe separation anxiety, it might be helpful to seek the advice of professional dog trainers or veterinarians. In some cases severe trauma or improper upbringing may cause long-term behavioral problems and a vet might prescribe medication to your pup.


In essence, the science of dog barking revolves around a blend of evolutionary biology, physiology, and behavioral science. Each bark serves as a vocal window into dog’s emotions, needs, and reactions to its environment.

Dealing with a dog that barks excessively when alone involves understanding the underlying causes and implementing strategies to manage the behavior. By ensuring sufficient exercise, mental stimulation, and a comfortable environment, along with leveraging technology and professional advice when necessary, dog owners can effectively address and prevent excessive barking, contributing positively to their pets’ overall well-being. Remember, patience and consistency are key in managing and modifying dog behavior.


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