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Stop Your Dog From Crying All Day

How do you stop your dog from crying all day while you’re at work?

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.

How to stop your dog from crying all day

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.

1. 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 with her (or at least walk fast) for a minimum of 45 minutes every single day, even if she is a small dog.

Tip: Use a hands-free bungee leash to make running more fun!

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.

2. Buy a dog backpack to decrease the dog’s whining

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.”

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3. Buy a kennel to prevent separation anxiety

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.

4. 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.

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.

See my post: How to stop a dog from whining for attention.

5. 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.

6. 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?”

7. 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.

How to stop your dog from crying all day when you're not home

8. Buy a dog Thundershirt to stop your dog from crying

There is a product called the Thundershirt that basically fits 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. See these Thundershirt reviews.

Make sure your dog is used to the Thundershirt by having him wear it a couple times before you leave him alone with it on. Some dogs might try to chew it off and you don’t want your dog to eat pieces of it.

9. 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.

Did your dog ever have crying/barking issues when left alone? How did you solve the problem?

Let me know in the comments!

*Enjoying this article? Get realistic dog training tips emailed once a week. Click Here

Related articles:

Get all of our training tips HERE.

Favorite dog products to help

1. Kong Toys. Stuff with peanut butter or canned dog food and freeze. Entertain your pup when home alone!

2. Hands-Free Dog Leash. Use for walking or running your dog before and after work.

3. The Farmer’s Dog. Real, fresh food is the healthiest way to go for most dogs. Get 50% off your first order. Click here.

Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training, dog exercise and feeding a healthy raw diet.


Monday 28th of August 2023

What can i do. My dog had puppies on 6/27 and 3 puppies left 3 weeks ago and the lady puppy left yesterday and she keeps crying and looking for the puppyz


Wednesday 17th of August 2022

We just got a 4 month old GSD 3 days ago. His house training is coming along well. He gets minimum 90 min of exercise plus 90 min of training--learning manners, finding kibble in the grass, sit, stay, lay down, recall. We play a crate game-he enters the crate upon hearing "crate" and gets a treat. He is to sit quietly until the door is open again and he hears "free". He does not get a treat until he is back in the kennel and sitting quietly. When exhausted, he will nap in the crate as long as one of use sits right beside the kennel. He will happily sleep well with the old dog on the floor or in the bed. He cannot tolerate the crate alone for more than a minute. I'm told to let him cry...he was home yesterday for 2 hours in the crate. I had a recording of him. He cried, whined, and barked for the entire 2 hours. The longest he was quiet was 5 seconds. He had toys, had pottied just before we left. He will eat his meals in the kennel if the door is open. I realize we have to increase his tolerance time. We are working on this. What I don't get an answer to is-if we leave him to "cry it out", how long is too long? 2 solid hours with no slowing down seems terrible and I fear has the potential of creating a bigger problem. Letting him sleep with the old dog isn't a huge problem but am I making it harder to increase his time in the crate with the door closed? We can continue to play the "crate game", feed him in it and accommodate naps outside the crate but he will need to be crated when my teen returns to school and I a at work. I don't want a dog with separation anxiety. Am I just being impatient and it WILL come over the next couple of weeks? Am I making the problem worse in any way? I need specific info--suggesting that he spend more time in the crate is fine, where does he sleep otherwise? Where does he go when he has to be unsupervised? Please dumb it down for me. The old dog was into everything but was independent enough to not mind her crate time.


Monday 20th of June 2022

I have an 8 week old French Bulldog puppy. She’s been with me 2 days now and the last 2 nights I gave in and let her sleep with me, getting up every 2 hours to let her use the bathroom. I don’t mind her sleeping with me, but I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. She has a super cozy crate with blankets and toys and I always make sure she goes to the bathroom before. Every time I try to crate train her leaving the house, she absolutely freaks out. She is very attached me and doesn’t even like me going into the next room without squealing at me. I’m a hairstylist so I will be taking her to work with me and she will have her own kennel in the back room, but I’m nervous she will be too loud and crazy while I’m with a client and need her calm in her crate. I live alone and am exhausted and would just love some advice. I’m trying my best but can’t help but feel like Im doing everything wrong.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 21st of June 2022

I would try having her crate right by your bed for now and see how that goes. You can drop your hand down so she can smell it and see it. Just ignore the crying except when you know she needs to go potty. It will get better with time. She is adjusting.


Monday 20th of June 2022

Also I try to play with her for hours every day and she will go and sleep in the crate if the door is open and I’m there with her, but she just absolutely hates being alone and I have yet to have that moment when she stops whining and barking to get out.


Tuesday 7th of December 2021

I recently began my own animal wifery (because why should husbands have all the fun?!) business and most of my clients have dogs, so your blog is invaluable. I always benefit from your insight on pups' common behavioral traits and intuitive/holistic ways of implementing desired changes to the unwanted/un-useful behaviors❤️ thanks for all the help!

Sandy Weinstein

Sunday 11th of June 2017

i dont really mind that my dogs bark when i am not home. i live in the country and they bark when someone comes to the house. i think of it as a deterrent if someone wants to try to break in even though they are little dogs. i dont mind them barking when i am at home, if they are barking to let me know someone is coming down the road to the house. otherwise they know better. they do bark at the deer, which does not bother me, b/c i go out and chase the deer away to keep them from eating my flowers. my girls dont bark in public or when we are out.