Q&A: What Works for Puppy Barking When I Leave?

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Just bought a 7 lb Maltese puppy. She cannot wear a dog collar because she works her lower jaw into it and it becomes a harness holding her mouth open. I cannot leave the condo if there is a collar on her – an obedience or barking collar. My neighbors are beginning to complain and I hate to irritate them. But I need to have a dog to live with.

Sounds like separation anxiety, a common cause of barking for puppies since they are now in a new environment, away from their pack. Uncertainty creates stress. Dogs use barking as a stress reliever like humans use crying or yelling.

I don't recommend using any ultrasonic sound devices for this type of barking. Imagine if you were stressed and you had an irritating sound bombarding you – It wouldn't make you feel better. In fact, we have found that dogs bark more not less.

While there are products, such as the ThunderShirt®, you want to incorporate other trainings. If used properly, the crate can be an excellent way to keep your puppy feeling secure – along with keeping her from chewing your furniture (or brand new shoes like my pup did!) and relieving herself on your carpet. But you can't keep her in a crate for long periods of time. (Puppies under 6 months should only be left for about 3–4 hours.)

Exercise is often underestimated. Give your dog a nice long walk or a robust bout of play before you leave. I can never say it enough, “A tired dog is a happy owner” – and a happy neighbor. Your pup will be tired, so sleep will most likely be what she does when you leave versus barking.

We have more training tips and tricks   as well. And, above all of else, don't give up. Separation anxiety isn't necessarily relieved quickly. It will depend on the dog and the severity; although, puppies usually only need 1–2 weeks of good training.

With time, consistency and training, your dog will become confident and secure with being left alone. Your dog will be happy, you will be happy, and so will your neighbors.

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