How to Stop a Dog Howling When Left Alone

Dogs aren’t the happiest when they’re left alone at home. Imagine spending half a day with no loved one to play with or talk to. Our furry friends get bored, anxious, or scared and that is why they howl and cry when you’re not around.  

You may think that it is normal because howling is how they often communicate, but your neighbors are probably making noise complaints because of your pup.

Although separation anxiety is the most common cause as to why your dog barks when they’re left alone, there are other possible reasons. Territorial behavior, over excitement, or even pain and health problems can cause a dog to howl.

We will take a look at some of the common reasons your four-legged friend gets noisy and how to stop a dog howling when left alone.   

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howling dog

Howling Due to Separation Anxiety 

Aside from excessive whining, separation anxiety can be manifested in the way your dog destroys your furniture and other belongings when you’re not in the house. It’s as if they have forgotten all their training just because you’re away! 

This distress and the behavioral problem is often not merely boredom or rebellion, but an actual condition that needs to be treated like any other illness. The root cause may be due to hormonal fluctuations, or social and environmental factors like having a new baby in the house or the death of a friend.  

The good news is, you can stop your dog’s anxiety with enough mental stimulation and training. While this may take some time and effort initially, it will provide a long-term solution and save you from noise complaints, damaged belongings, and a sad little pooch! 

Let’s take a look at what you can do to help your dog through this. 

Change Your Morning Routine 

Dogs are among the most curious and observant creatures. They notice your daily routine before you even start heading for the door. They know you shower, eat, get your keys, and walk out the door. Seeing you do this will trigger their anxiety until builds up when you leave and they panic. 

Start by making small changes in your own routine. Try to mix up the order a bit, like eating first before taking a shower. You could also get up a bit earlier so you can add a 10-minute play session with your pup. Keep making small changes until your dog no longer sees your routine as triggering.  

Start Small with Time Away 

This may be time-consuming but you have to do this for the sake of your dog’s wellness! To do this, step outside the door for a short amount of time then go back inside. Give your dog a moment to relax then step outside again. Make sure that your dog does not drool, cry, or howl when you step outside. 

Start increasing your amount of time out of the house. You may go out for five minutes and return, then go out for a few more minutes again. Make the time random and increase very gradually until they can endure being alone for longer without howling.  

You can leave your dog for an hour, then two, and build up until you can leave them all day. This training takes commitment but it can work and can improve your dog’s separation anxiety in just weeks!  

Try Natural Anxiety Remedies 

The brand we recommend the most is the Kinpur Hemp Oil for Dogs. This seed oil is known for soothing anxiety and calming their behavioral problems. This 100% organic brand not only provides mental relief, but also reduces pain and inflammation of the joints for more mobility, agility, and energy. 

Looking for the best remedy will be challenging since you must make sure that the product is free from fillers and additives for optimal effect. We think this brand is a champion for being all-natural. We prefer adding a few drops of this on their treats in their food, but you may also add a few directly in their mouth.  

For more help with this, see our article on how to stop dog separation anxiety

Howling Due to Territorial Presence and Responding to Noises 

We know that dogs’ territorial behavior is inherited from their wolf ancestors. They can become more alert when they are alone and they howl as soon as they hear or observe other dogs or people coming near their boundary.  

If it isn’t their territorial attitude, it’s just their natural pattern of howling when they hear other dogs howl. Or it could be other noises that set them off, like an ambulance, fire truck, fireworks, or neighbors playing musical instruments. 

Systematic Desensitization and Counter-conditioning 

Sometimes, it is not enough to teach your dog a new behavior, especially when their howling is rooted in something deeper. It doesn’t really matter if they’re noisy when they’re alone due to aggression, being territorial, or alert. What you need is to change your buddy’s feelings toward their triggers. 

Counter-conditioning is a type of training for animals that helps them to behave differently when exposed to a certain stimulus. On the other hand, desensitization is exposing the animal to a stimulus starting at a very low intensity. 

Here’s a video by Instinct Dog Behavior & Training LLC showing the basics of behavior modification training. 

These are important treatments for behavioral problems in dogs, whether it is anxiety, aggression, or excitement. You may need the help of a professional behaviorist or dog trainer.

These experts are somewhat like therapists for dogs, so make sure you hire one who has all the experience and qualifications to properly deal with your doggo. 

Howling Because of a Medical Condition 

Since dogs cannot speak, they communicate by howling and barking. Sometimes, it is because they feel hurt or sick. This may not only happen when they are alone but also when you’re around the house.  

Make sure to take them to the veterinarian when you notice something unusual. If the doctor recommends examinations and lab tests, immediately adhere in order to rule out any sickness or injury.  

Other Tips to Keep Your Dog Quiet When Left Alone 

There are lots of other things you can try to reduce or eliminate your pooch’s crying when they are isolated at home. Remember that your dog’s behavior is not only affected by their environment or emotions, but also by their physical fitness and mental stimulation. 

The key to a well-balanced pup is a holistic approach! Here are some tips to consider. 

Regular Daily Exercise 

Make sure that your dog’s energy is well spent on mentally stimulating and physically healthy exercise. It’s can be as simple as running around the block or playing fetch with them! Make it long enough to exhaust them so they will feel sleepy when you leave the house. This not only promotes fitness but it also releases serotonin or happy hormones in them!  

We love a game of frisbee with dogs using West Paw Zogoflex Zisc Durable Dog Frisbee! We like how it comes in two sizes that are suitable for all dog sizes. If it lands in the pool, no worries because it does not sink.

It is also very easy to find because of the very bright colors. This toy is also BPA-free, non-toxic, FDA-compliant, recyclable, and dishwasher-safe!

Leave Toys for Them 

An interesting toy that will keep your dog busy throughout the day is a food puzzle toy! A ball like Idepet’s Tooth Cleaner and IQ Enhancing dog toy is our top pick. It’s a treat dispenser and chew toy in one. 

It is made with a soft and safe rubber material that can remove dirt from your dog’s teeth and gums and it also holds treats in the teeth that your pup can get at!  

This will surely keep them busy for some of their day. Be sure to leave a number of interactive dog toys around so your pup has plenty to keep them amused.   

Hire a Sitter or Enroll in Doggie Daycare 

This can be done daily or only occasionally for those days when you cannot walk your dog or feed them. Instead of leaving them alone, having someone to help give your dog extra attention and exercise will go a long way to stopping their howling. 

Occasional noises from your dog are completely normal. When it becomes more frequent, especially when they’re home alone, then it’s time to make a change.  

Knowing the root cause of your dog’s howling is the first step to keeping them quiet when they’re left alone at home. 

It takes time and effort to train them and examine any underlying condition, but the results will surely be worthwhile for you and your doggo! 

P.S. Know someone else with a dog that howls when left alone? Please share or pin this article! Thanks! 🙂