Stop your dog from crying all day

Most dogs or puppies will settle down and stop crying or barking within a half-hour after they are left alone.

However, some dogs simply cannot relax. They bark or cry for the entire eight hours their owner is at work.

Obviously, this can result in some angry neighbors or an apartment eviction. Some people are even faced with giving up their dogs because they feel like they can’t leave the dog alone barking all day. They feel like they have no choice but to find the dog a new home.

Stop your dog from crying

How to stop your dog from barking and crying all day when left alone

There are ways to overcome this problem. Some people will call the problem separation anxiety. You can call it what you want, but in most cases what the dog really needs is more exercise and rules. “Separation anxiety” is an overused term by vets and trainers. Most dogs do not have anything wrong with them, but they are crying or barking because of pent-up energy and boredom.

Here are some tips to help your dog feel more relaxed when left alone.

Run with the dog every single morning.

A lot of dogs are said to have “separation anxiety” when really they are not getting enough exercise.

So, run with your dog for an hour in the morning before you go to work. Some people will laugh when I say this, but it’s not a joke. Run her (or at least walk fast) for a minimum of 45 minutes every single day, even if she is a small dog.

How can you expect a dog or puppy to sleep all night and then go in her kennel all day while you are at work? Leaving her loose in the house is no different. To a dog, a house is just a big kennel. To stop your dog from crying all night or day, more exercise is a must.

If you are not a runner, then take your dog biking or rollerblading or to the dog park.

Buy a dog backpack.

A backpack for dogs will help drain even more energy during the dog’s morning run. A dog can carry a small amount of weight in the pack and it will make her physically more tired. It will challenge her mentally by giving her a job to do. This will make it easier for the dog to sleep when you are gone, and you will stop telling people, “My dog cries all the time.”

Buy a kennel.

If you don’t already have a kennel, get one. Don’t use it as a punishment for the dog. Give the dog a treat when she goes in the kennel, and tell her she’s a good dog. Leave her in the kennel for a few minutes at a time, maybe one minute at first, and only let her out if she is not crying.

If the puppy will not stop crying for 20 minutes and is quiet for 30 seconds, let her out during those 30 seconds when she is actually quiet. Work with her until you can leave her in the kennel while you are away. The goal is for your dog to feel safe and secure in her “den” and know it is a place for her to rest quietly.

Once you have a dog that can stay quietly in a kennel all day, you can begin to leave her loose in the house.

Ignore a dog that is crying or barking.

The worst thing you can do is return to a dog or let the dog out of her kennel when she cries or barks. Make sure she learns she can only come out if she is calm. If the barking or crying really escalates, then firmly tell her “No!” Yelling at her will not help. It will only increase her anxiousness.

Just let her know that the behavior is unwanted. Putting a blanket over my dog Ace’s kennel helped when he was learning to stay quietly in his kennel.

Gradually leave the dog for longer periods.

Once the dog can stay in the kennel for 10 minutes quietly, increase that time to a half-hour. Try this while you are home with the dog. Once she is OK with that, you can act as though you are leaving by just stepping outside for a few seconds. Then leave for five minutes.

Slowly increase the time until you can leave for a half-hour or an hour to go shopping. Eventually the dog will be able to be left while you are at work all day.

Ideally, you could practice leaving her in the kennel on the weekend or days you are home with her so she is prepared to be left during the work week.

Don’t make a big deal about coming and going.

When you leave, just quietly exit like it is no big deal. Don’t tell your dog she is a good girl over and over. Don’t say “Goodbye, Honey! It’s OK! Mommy will be back soon!” This just gives her a reason to feel anxious because she will pick up on your excited, worried energy.

Put your dog in her kennel a few minutes before you go to work, and then leave without saying anything. When you come home, wait a few minutes before you let her out. When you do, just calmly let her out and take her outside. Don’t throw a small party for her every time you come home for work or you will be encouraging your puppy to cry all day.

You do not want to “reward” your dog when you return because then she will anticipate your return. You want to “reward” her when you leave so that she actually looks forward to getting a treat when you leave.

Ace the black lab mix dog does not cry or bark when alone.

Exercise your dog again when you come home from work.

Another hour-walk or run would be ideal for a dog that has been left home all day. If this isn’t possible for you, then at least take your dog on a brisk 20-minute walk and then play with her in the backyard. If you are someone who says, “My puppy will not stop crying” what you should really be saying is “Why don’t I make more time to exercise my puppy?”

Use Kong toys to entertain your dog.

Buy three of four Kong toys and stuff them with different goodies like treats, peanut butter or squirt cheese. Then put them in the freezer overnight and give them to your dog before you leave for work. These should keep your dog entertained for at least a little while. The chewing will help her relax and getting the treats out will give her mind something to focus on. Also look for any kind of interactive toys that make the dog work to figure out how to get a treat.

Buy a dog Thundershirt.

There is a product called the Thundershirt that basically fits snuggly around the dog so she feels “swaddled.” I have not tried this with a dog yet, but many people swear the product helps dogs feel much calmer. It’s not going to cure the problem, but it might help.

Stop a dog from cryingDid your dog ever have crying/barking issues when left alone? How did you solve the problem?

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  1. Manuela marhanka on August 12, 2014

    I just got a mixed female dog all she wants to do is whine we say the word no and reinsure her she is OK. I think the people before her hurt her or something. I was wondering if there is anything I can do for her.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on December 2, 2014

      Is she any better now? Usually sticking to a consistent routine really helps, along with regular exercise, obedience training and just ignoring the whining and rewarding calm behavior.

  2. Jay on August 29, 2014

    OK I would REALLY love to hear your opinion on this. I have a 16 month old rescued dog, dachshund/beagle, that is fine in her crate all day but goes bonkers howling when she is finally let out. I usually run with her in the morning before leaving.

  3. Linda on December 3, 2014

    I have 2 dogs. the male dog growls and aggressively attacks the female dog when it is feeding time, or when I give the dogs bones or treats. He never lets her eat food or treats at all unless I chain him up during feeding/treat time. Is there any other way to handle this situation?

    Also, this is bizarre, but my dog refuses to learn good behavior with treats. When I try to train him to do anything at all, he just turns his nose up at the treat no matter what kind of treat I give him. He would rather not take the treat than learn a new behavior. Any suggestions?

    • Allison on October 8, 2015

      Hi Linda,
      I don’t know if anyone replied, but here goes. A hungry dog is an obedient dog. If your stubborn guy doesn’t want the treat, it sounds like he’s not properly motivated by hunger. So, don’t just feed him when it’s feeding time, but make him work for every morsel. He won’t starve himself out of spite. It may take a couple of missed meals for him to get the message, but dogs in nature usually don’t eat daily.

      Until my puppies were fully trained, every mealtime was a training session. My dogs learned quickly that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. And, they didn’t learn food guarding or other jealous behaviors because they realized that the food came from me and being a good dog–it didn’t just magically appear or be magically whisked away.

      The people who advocate “leave out food for 15 minutes and then pick it up” are really just giving advice to get a dog to an elimination schedule, which teaches dogs food scarcity, so then they bolt and guard because the food will go away. But when you feed from the hand, you bond with your dogs, you teach them bite inhibition, and you gently reinforce your position as the boss.

  4. Melissa on December 31, 2014

    Hello, I have a 6 year old Australian Shepard mix. I got her when she was 8 weeks old, from the day I got her until 2 years ago she was in a truck with me 24/7. I’ve since stopped driving and recently moved into an apartment. I get calls or emails from the landlord at least twice a week that she is crying. I have a bark collar on her (I don’t like it but she wouldn’t stop barking). I leave the radio on for her and give her a Dramamine before I leave. We walk in the mornings from 1/2 hour to an hour before I leave. I don’t know what else to do to get her to stop crying. Any suggestions? She doesn’t like toys, I’ve tried that. I giver her rawhide’s and she chews them up in a matter of minutes…

    • Jocelyne on July 29, 2015

      Whatever you do, don’t give her a rawhide! She can choke on a piece of it. I have had this happen to me with a Rottweiler but luckily I was there and able to retrieve the piece that was stuck in her throat. PLEASE! NO RAWHIDES!

  5. Elise on October 10, 2015

    I have a foxterreir/ jack russel x. She is about 7 weaks old and have something like epilepsy most of the time she is shivering and crying, day and night even if she sits on my lab she don’t
    stop crying

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on October 10, 2015

      I hope she is OK. Do you think she is just missing her littermates?

    • Christy on November 4, 2015

      She needs to be evaluated by a vet. A thundershirt might help as well if they make them that tiny. She is likely missing her family and needs security and warmth. Please update if you are able.

  6. Diane on November 24, 2015

    I have a jackrussel puppy, 8 weeks old,sleeps at night now,but I can’t leave her at home in the day NOT for 1 hour she won’t stop crying howling! I have given her water bottle treats lovely bedding radio,I can’t take her for walkers or run,as she has another injection jab to go. Help would be so great any tips thanks. I really need to go shopping .

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 24, 2015

      Have you tried a small kennel/crate? Do you have Kong toys or other puzzle-type toys you can stuff with peanut butter/jerky treats? I’d leave a TV or music on. Most puppies will cry for the first couple of days but get used to being alone if they don’t get attention for crying. Might just need a few more days to get used to being away from her littermates.

  7. Andrea on November 30, 2015

    I’ve had my rottweiler/shepherd puppy for a couple of weeks now. We crated him during the day for the first couple of weeks but have just started leavung him in the kitchen because he just wouldn’t stop crying during the day. He’s great when we’re home and he sleeps in his crate through the night. I play with him outside in the morning for between a half hour and 45 minutes but he still cries all day. Any ideas on what we can do or will he just get used to it? We do leave the TV or the radio on while we’re at work as well..

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 30, 2015

      Can you walk him twice a day for 30-45 mins each time? That might help. Do you have some Kong/puzzle type toys you can put in there with him? They do generally get used to it with time.

      • Andrea on December 1, 2015

        I tried a walk this morning, though a little short – about 15 20 minutes – just prested for time. So hopefully that helps until I can get home for lunch! Thank you ☺

        • Lindsay Stordahl Author on December 1, 2015

          I know it’s stressful! Good luck! Are you in an apartment where the pup could be bothering neighbors? Or is he not really bothering anyone?

          • Andrea on December 1, 2015

            We’re on the upper floor of a house and there have been comments frI’m the guys downstairs. It wouldn’t be a big issue except for them!

  8. Patricia g on January 6, 2016

    There is two dogs next door that cry all day. I feel bad for them. The owner never takes them out of thier area area which cold concrete no shelter to be out of the rain

  9. CJ on February 4, 2016

    I have a jack Russell mix, 12 weeks old and I work graveyard shift. He sleeps fine at night in the crate with my husband but he yelps, barks and cries the entire time I try to sleep during the day. He even bites and claws frantically at the baby gate and ex-pen fencing, which worries me. This has been going on since we got him at 8 weeks old. I don’t cater to his cries and I leave music on, a treat puzzle, a couple toys, a stuffed kong, food & water and he wears a thunder shirt, but nothing seems to help. I have him in an ex-pen in the kitchen with access to his little crate and a pee-pad. He’s both house trained and trained to the pad.

    There’s 8″ of snow outside and it’s 17 degrees so outdoors isn’t an option for exercise for a while. I usually run him up the stairs until he’s tuckered out. He’ll fall asleep in my lap afterward and even tolerate being moved to his kennel, but the moment I step out of his sight, the anxiety begins.

    I’ve also tried crating him in the bedroom with me and putting him in a bathroom instead of the pen in case the openness of the ex-pen is too stressful. Neither of those locations worked and he definitely prefers the pen. Oh and he doesn’t act like this when I leave the house, just when I leave his sight. He definitely knows the difference. Any suggestions? I’m at my wits end and so, so tired…