How to Stop my Dog from Barking Every Time I Come Home

It’s been a long day at work. You finally pull in the driveway and your eyes meet his as he stares intently at you through the window. Before you even exit your car you hear it: the incessant barking from your dog as if you were wearing a ski mask and holding a chainsaw and were there to kill everyone inside. You are getting mixed signals. Besides feeling annoyed you wonder, “If he is really happy to see me, why is he treating me like an intruder?”

The truth is, your dog really is happy to see you. He is letting you know in the most vocal and flamboyant way he knows how. Unfortunately, this is not the method that most owners prefer to be acknowledged by. There could be some underlying anxiety driving this over the top performance.

Part of the problem may be that your enthusiasm has driven a ritual of anxiety that you are unintentionally encouraging. Any positive reinforcements such as petting, holding, or just speaking soothingly to a dog during these wild times can give your dog the idea that he’s being rewarded. Instead he needs an early correction. At times like these it is important to ignore your dog (as difficult as that may be) and not speak to him or look at him directly in order for your dog to understand that his is not a condoned behavior. Then consider using a tool such as a Promise head halter, which your dog can wear comfortably while you’re gone. Adjusted properly it will allow her to eat, drink, pant, and even bark normally.

Then, as soon as he starts barking grab the lead on his head halter and pull so that his mouth closes. Tell him “No”. Speak quietly but firmly. Wait until he begins to calm down before you say “OK”. When he’s collected himself you reward him with a yummy biscuit. End of lesson. Repeat hundreds of times.

Want a faster solution? You can add a citronella anti-bark collar. These work well for most dogs but they discourage all barking. And there could be other causes for all the noise. Some dogs may have serious anxiety or a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). For these dogs medications may be necessary. But whatever you do correct this problem early and correct it often. Consistency is key.

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