How do I live with my dog when my dog isn’t happy where I live?

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I Heart My Dog Key Fob by NewfoundApplique
I’ve had my dog ever since she was able to leave her mom. She’s four now, and really is the best behaved dog for the most part. We have both lived with my parents in the country (no neighbors). When I leave her home alone, she goes outside with our family dog and they play and sleep and bark at passing deer.

Recently I moved to a new city and apartment. I thought my dog adjusted perfectly; she learned not to bark at neighbor’s noise (we are still working on greeting new dogs), and established a routine of going for walks, ect. However after a month and a half, my landlord called to say she was barking/howling/crying during the day while I was at work and that they wouldn’t tolerate it anymore and that I had to do something.

I started researching and got to work. I tried crate training, and giving her puzzle treats, etc. She hates her crate unless she’s sleepy and ignores the toys. Eventually I broke down and bought a spray collar, but that only worked if I was with her. The moment I left her, she would frantically start to bark and howl.

Doggy day care is too expensive in my area, and I’m at my wit’s end. Right now, my doggie is living with my parents, but it’s breaking both of our hearts to be apart. What else can I do in order to be able to live with my dog again? -Kel

Hey Kel, my advice may not be what you want to hear, but I’d suggest letting your dog live at your parents’ house. Sometimes what’s best for the dog isn’t so much what you’d prefer. Trust me, I speak from experience…

Ayla and myself at my parents house the day I got her, and us 10 years later on a day that Ayla visited me at my apartment.
Ayla and myself at my parents house the day I got her, and us 10 years later on a day that Ayla visited me at my apartment.

Just out of high school, and still living with my parents, I fell in love and brought home a Boston Terrier puppy. I named her Ayla, and trained her, and slept with her at night. Then, years later, when it was time for me to move away, I realized that I couldn’t bring Ayla with me — she was far too happy at my parents’ house, surrounded by family, with a yard she could laze about in any time she wanted. With me it’d be long days alone while I was at school, and only enjoying the outside when I took her out on walks.

So I left her with my parents, and visited her as much as I could, and some weekends we’d have sleep overs. While I was sad about it, and missed her every second I was away from her, she on the other hand was perfectly happy. That bitch. 😉

Ayla went on to become the whole family’s dog, and lived a full love-filled life. I went on to adopt two more dogs who were just perfectly happy to have ANY kind of home — no compromising necessary.

Of course, you and I are both lucky in that we have parents who are willing to let our pups live with them. Not everyone has the luxury to let your dogs live in country homes with our folks. So…

If any other Homies have a no-fail solution for getting your dogs adjusted to a new home situation, let us know!

Comments on How do I live with my dog when my dog isn’t happy where I live?

  1. It sounds like she may have separation anxiety – she’s never been by herself all day before, she at least had the other dog to keep her company. She might also just be bored but I would think that would result in destructive behavior more than barking/howling for attention.

    First off, how much exercise is she getting? If she’s not able to exercise herself by running around a large yard, she’s going to need more walks. In particular, walk her in the morning so that when you go to work she’s tired. There’s a bunch more information about separation anxiety here:

    Also, while you’re working on this, make cookies for your neighbors and deliver them with a note saying that you’re aware of the barking problem during the day now and you’re actively working on correcting it and you really appreciate their patience in the mean time.

    Good luck to you and your dog!

    • I don’t have advice for the dog portion of the situation, but having been the neighbours to a dog who constantly barked and howled all day, please communicate with the folks around you if you possibly can. I cannot tell you how aggravating a constant howling/barking/noisy dog is, especially if you can’t do anything about it and you’re not a dog person, and it feels like there is no acknowledgement of the problem and no end in sight. My patience with my neighbours was directly correlated to how much they were willing to acknowledge there was stuff going on and thank me for putting up with it. I was much more willing to let other crap slide if my neighbours occasionally left me a note or spoke to me about howling dogs/loud parties/etc. When they didn’t and when they wouldn’t talk to me when I went over to complain directly to them, I was on the horn to the landlady far more often because I felt like there was no other recourse.

      So yes — knock on the door and talk to the people around you. Don’t just do the note thing, it can come off as passive-aggressive if you’re not super careful and sometimes even then. Just apologise, say you’re aware of it, you’re working on it, and you have a time frame for dealing with it. (Make sure this isn’t an open-ended problem that you are willing to let go on for nine months before you say that, though.) Having a sense of how long it might go on, that you’re working on it actively, and you’re aware of how damned inconvenient and obnoxious it is for the people around you will help take the pressure off. Your neighbours will be less likely to keep calling the landlord and putting pressure on them to do something about it.

    • She gets almost two hours of good exercise if not a little more. I was walking her for 30-60 mins before I left for work (which made her tired, and why i never noticed her anxiety when i leave, it’s when she wakes back up that the barking begins I guess) and we go for a walk again when I get home for at least one hour, sometimes more if she seems extra wound up.

      • Have you tried wearing her out mentally? For some dogs, they really need a mental challenge (mainly, training – learning new tricks, etc. If your dog already has the basic ‘sit’, ‘down’, etc. then start training fun useless tricks like ‘spin’ or ‘sit pretty’) and physical exercise alone isn’t enough.

  2. Our dogs (first one then two) have lived in apartments, houses, sometimes with yards and sometimes not. Some things that we have found that works include:
    – dog walker – sometimes even just the high schooler in the neighborhood who can come by after school or the SAHM next door, often having that break can be really helpful
    – regular dog park trips – our recent move ended up without a yard accidentally (long story) so for our 2 dogs including a young one we go to the dog park at least every other day so they get off leash activity and socialization
    – routines – our dogs know that when we leave they get a super tasty kong (usuall peanut butter and a great stuffed inside) so they happily rush to their beds when we are getting ready to leave (they have to wait there for their kong) instead of being anxious about us leaving
    – dog activity – when we just had one dog we took a flyball class with him and it was a great energy outlet (even though we had to drive a bit out of the city for one we could afford) and kept him more content at home, agility is another great option, we could just never find an affordable class
    – make sure your dog gets plenty of physical and mental activity, learn a new trick every week! Have a 20 min practice session or dog park trip before you leave so she is tired for the day
    – dog share daycare? Is there someone in your area that is home during the day and could have your pup stay at home with them for cheaper than a doggy daycare? And you could watch their dog when they are gone or something similar? The last city we lived we never paid for dog sitters because we had a great network of friends with dogs and we just all shared dog watching duties – maybe something similar could work with a friend who works from home or works evening shifts or something

    Good luck! Sometimes it may be best to leave them at your parents if they are happier there but I know how much it means to have your pup with you!

  3. I am in the same situation! Dog walker didn’t help and she doesn’t like to play or walk often (she’s a lump, in the best way). She love love loves my parents’ house though. It’s hard because I miss her and I feel like I am not being responsible, but I remind myself that it’s the best for her and for my apartment. Stay strong!

  4. First things first, make sure you are giving her enough exercise in her routine. I’m talking a full hour walk if need be to get her adjusted and then maybe finding a way to take the time to go home during the day if you can to walk them again.
    Of that doesn’t work then try getting her a friend. If she had company during the day where you lived before from another canine then she might find this enjoyable. If you can’t adopt another pet try seeing of any of your friends have another dog friendly dog that would be willing to share their space with a playmate during the day.
    The only other thing I can think of is to see if there are any dog sitting services in your area that give discounts to regulars. I used to have my own side business where I would babysit dogs in people’s houses and if I had someone that I would be working with on a regular basis for months I would take at least half my daily rate off (even more of I really liked their dog). Then again those types of situations ate risky ultra you go through an agency and even then a last resort.

  5. Try a Thunder Blanket. It’s guaranteed or you can get a full refund. Also when you are crate training make sure really amazing things happen in the crate. When you are lazing around the house bring the crate to where you watch TV or relax. Throw random treats in the crate while your dog is in there, like the best treats the dog has ever had. Eventually the crate will be her den. Try putting a blanket or bed in the crate to make it more comfortable.

    • Making the crate magical is great advice! Our poor guy hated being crated at first -because my boyfriend would just unceremoniously corral him in there. Once I took over, I started putting one of his stuffed toys in there, and giving him cookie treats (which he LOVES but are just too expensive for him to get all the time) he began to go in voluntarily, without me even putting the cookie in first. Now he dashes in there so hard he’ll rock it a little. AND he goes to it when he’s feeling the need for downtime, even when we’re at home with him. He’s a snuggle bug, so it’s not often, but if he’s feeling like he’s done with us, or needs a nap, we can find him in there. Space is important to us -we are lucky enough to rent a 3bdrm aptmt for just the two of us, so that we can each have an office- it makes me happy that he has his own little room in our place.

      • This this this this! My pup is VERY people-focused, and loves to snuggle…but even on days where I’ve stayed home from work, she’ll still sleep and hang out in her crate most of the day rather than curl up on the bed with me. It’s her safe little happy space.

        We’ve got a big snuggly bed in there for her (I always splurge on a decent bed for the crate, rather than just a “crate pad” type thing), toys that she can be trusted alone with (use your judgement on that of course – know your dog!), and she gets a frozen Kong sometimes when we leave in the mornings.

      • I agree, making the crate a happy place is great advice! When we crate-trained our pup, Olive, we found we had the most success with:
        – putting a blanket over the crate to make it more den-like
        – moving her crate so it was in the living room with us during the day and in the bedroom with us at night
        – always giving her a kong with peanut butter when we crated her and left the house
        – sprinkling little pieces of salami in her crate when she wasn’t looking…I swear she thought the create was a magical salami generator.

        That said, there are some dogs whose separation anxiety is worse than others. Olive also has separation anxiety and it manifests in destructiveness. But it’s very manageable with a crate and 2 days of doggie daycare per week to provide LOTS of exercise. If your pup still has trouble and doesn’t adjust to the crate, even when it’s a magical place and she’s getting lots of exercise, it might be best to keep her at your parents’. UGH it’s so sad and heartbreaking, but maybe it is for the best right now.

        ETA: I also agree with talking to your neighbors! I was the neighbor once in a very similar situation, and the woman came by every few weeks to say hi and share the progress she and her dog were making, and ask how we were doing with the barking. It was really nice to feel included and to know the person was aware and proactively trying to fix the issue.

    • One of my proudest dog mom things is knowing that my dog is happy and comfortable in his crate. We’ve finally moved on from needing to be in the crate all day while were at work, but he still goes in there when he needs his own space. I am so proud that the crate is not a scary or bad place. It is so easy to turn them into the “bad” place. And so much better for everyone if it isn’t.

  6. I have a hound mix puppy in an apartment. She is a barker and beginning to howl. She would carry on all night and I was terrified my neighbors were going to complain. Luckily, they are understanding. I found a product on amazon that is a bark deterrent that you leave close to the crate or in the middle if the room where the dog is- it detects barking and will generate a dog whistle noise that your pup won’t like. A red light turns on to let me know when it’s working, but I can’t hear a thing. It took a week or so, but it has trained my pup to be quiet inside. It lets her bark a few times before it kicks in, so she knows she can bark a quick greeting or while playing- but it deters the constant barking and howling. I don’t recall the name of the one I purchased, but it was only $20-25. It also works while I am away. My neighbors haven’t heard a peep while I’m at work, and the maintenance guy says she barks hello but quiets quickly.

  7. Like other people said, it sounds like separation anxiety or isolation distress. When we adopted our pooch he suffered the same. He was prescribed puppy prozac (same as human prozac) the generic is called fluoxetine. He was one 10mg for about 2 months, and then we slowly weened him off. He was using fluoxetine for just over 6 months. It allowed him to be more interested in the Kong toys and treats, and it also allowed him to get used to his environment without panic. Hope this suggestion is helpful.

  8. Tragic. There are a lot of resources on positive-only training that can help this situation and possibly avoid rehoming (though it’s really great that the rehoming situation would be to your parents’ house!). Crate training requires letting the dog have time to make positive associations with it – toss treats and toys in there, put the dog’s favorite blanket in there, and let the dog go in and out as it pleases. Don’t let it be predictable that when you ask the dog to go into the crate, that it means you’re leaving for hours at a time. Sometimes I’ll crate my dog with a treat for 5-10 minutes a couple times a day, giving her a safe high-reward chewy to munch on. Be calm when you leave and when you come back, and make it a habit to come and go periodically for short amounts of time. Giving your dog punishment or a spray collar only makes them more unhappy 🙁 They miss you! And definitely, definitely communicate with your neighbors about it.

  9. If there is any way at all that you can work with a (reputable! positive reinforcement!) dog trainer, I would recommend it. If money is an issue (I know you said dog-sitting wasn’t an option due to cost), see if you can barter somehow.

    Failing that – there are some amazing folks out there on the internet writing about this stuff all the time. I don’t have a lot of specific resources to offer you but here’s one – She’s a dog trainer in Toronto with a dog who suffers from severe isolation distress, and she’s written a lot about the work she’s done with him (click on the tag labelled “Parker” at the top).

    I can also recommend using frozen Kongs stuffed full of goodies as a way to keep your dog happy and occupied in their crate. I’ve heard amazing things about using Thunder Shirts for anxiety but I’ve never had an anxious dog so I can’t personally say how good they are…but it seems like most people rave about them.

    Doggy antidepressants are also a thing, a family friend had a dog who was extremely destructive when left alone due to his separation anxiety and getting him on prozac helped a lot.

    The big thing is not to punish your dog for her distress, and to make the crate a good thing. You want her to feel like it’s a safe refuge.

    • I was just going to recommend the Kong!

      We have a rescue dog, and soon after we adopted him he started to get separation anxiety – he’d start barking whenever we left the house for longer than 15 minutes. I tried the positive reinforcement thing where we slowly increase the time spent alone… with no success.
      Then I stumbled across this:

      And seriously, the Kong totally solved the problem from the first time on that we tried leaving him alone with it. As the article suggests, we had him give it a go a few times while we were in the house before we actually left him alone with it (we didn’t feed him ALL his meals in the Kong, but he did get one every 2 days or so for a while). Which was a good call, because he needed to figure out what he was supposed to do first.

      Puzzle treats would not have worked with him, he’s not smart enough for those and gives up easily. But licking a frozen Kong until it’s empty is much easier, and much more fun, because the filling is always REALLY good. Not usual doggie treats. Leftover chicken and meat, that sort of thing. Stuff that really makes him forget about whether he’s alone or not. 😛
      And he almost ONLY gets the Kong when we leave him alone, so he’s always super excited when he gets it!

      It usually takes him from 30 to 60 minutes to empty a frozen Kong, depending on the filling. Interestingly enough, we found that if he was busy with it for the first part of the “alone-time”, he would indeed be fine even if we were out longer. Sure, he might get up and pace around a bit, checking if maybe we’re back yet. But most of the times, we come home and he’s asleep, so he seems to be quite alright.

    • I’ve tried making her crate a positive place, but she just isn’t into being in anything like a “den”, she hates anything that’s over her head, even bigger dog houses. She’s always tolerated it, but if she’s in there for too long, so starts to bark and howl.

      I’ve never considered medicating her for anxiety, I’ve never actually seen her act upset. She knows when we leave to go get on her bed, and she’ll get treats. And she’ll be quiet for a while, but at the 10 min mark she starts to bark. When you come home it’s like no big deal she goes right back to being normal. I’ll have to talk to her vet about it.

      I’ve tried filling a Kong bone with peanut butter, but she really couldn’t care any less about it. Maybe I should try Jen’s suggestion with the different treats.

      A friend’s dog is afraid of thunder, and the thunder jacket didn’t work at all. Similarly, my girl doesn’t like clothing. She’s a schnauzer and has a pretty thick coat, so if you put anything on her (sweater, blanket, ect) she stays very still until you remove it. There’s only one sweater she doesn’t mind wearing when it snows, but she only tolerates when she knows we are going outside.

      • My dog doesn’t care for peanut butter either. They say all dogs love it, but apparently, some really don’t. Whatever you fill the Kong with, it has to be something they LOVE.

        I haven’t tried the Kong bone myself, but from the pictures it looks like the openings are really small and there’s not much room for food in it, compared to the regular Kong. At least my dog would probably try it a little but get frustrated very quickly and give up. Too much effort for too little good food.

        Don’t make it too hard for your dog. Especially at the beginning. Near the opening of the Kong I put the food in a way that’s not too difficult to get out. The immidiate payoff is important. The further down the Kong it get’s harder anyway because the opening gets smaller, especially if the food is tightly packed in. But by then the dog should be hooked. 😉

      • My dog didn’t give a shit about the peanut butter-stuffed Kong either, and I chucked it out. Apparently she doesn’t much like peanut butter.

        When we started leaving her alone longer, I was so worried she wouldn’t be happy so I looked up what else you can put in them. The overpriced Kong liver-flavoured filling was a bit hit, but I was giving her one every day and I knew it would get expensive. Turns out she goes crazy for yogurt and cream cheese (test this out first – apparently a lot of dogs are lactose intolerant and it gives them pretty nasty gas), or even baby food (plain meat and veggie flavours, nothing with garlic or onion). I’ve even put a leftover piece of bacon in the middle as well as a surprise.

        Is there any way you can monitor her via camera somehow so you know exactly how she reacts when you’re gone? It might help you determine for sure if it’s just boredom or actual anxiety. If you’re not already familiar with the ways dogs display stress (lots of people aren’t, so please don’t think I’m assuming you’re an idiot or anything! I had dogs my whole life and only learned some of this recently), have a little look around online. It may be that there are behaviours you didn’t connect with the barking before that can help you find a solution.

        I’m sorry you’re struggling with this, I’m sure it’s stressful for you both 🙁

      • Also: if you think it’s an issue with being “closed in” – is there any way you could block off a little area that would be reasonably safe to leave her in? I’m picturing putting a cozy bed in a walk-in closet or something, maybe. Either with the door shut or a dog gate across the doorway.

  10. My family used to have a rescue dog – she was an old lady dog really, but she wasn’t used to being left on her own when she first came to live with us. One day, as punishment to us for leaving her at home she went through the shoe rack and chewed off every single shoe lace on every shoe! She didn’t eat the laces, just nibbled them off and left them by our shoes.

    We were all very cross, although it was hilarious, but obviously a sign that she was very distressed and cross with us. A trick that worked for us was leaving the radio on, switched to a chatty station with discussion rather than music, whenever we went out. Gradually over a few months she got used to being left and it wasn’t a problem again, as long as the radio was on.

    • Aw. We’ll never forget the time that Ayla (pictured above) went into every family members’ room while we were all out, and snatched one object of theirs — a shoe, a bra, a stuffed animal (whatever was left on the ground) — and brought them all downstairs to her crate. It was freaking adorable. Fortunately she didn’t DESTROY the items she snatched.

    • Sadly, the radio doesn’t work for her. She takes as more of a challenge to get louder.

      And like Megan’s dog, mine likes to steal socks off the floor and hide them in her crate! She doesn’t chew on them, so I let her have a pair to keep in there, along side her mini teddy bear.

  11. I wanted to pipe in and give an example of our dog, just to let you know this may pass.
    Our little dog was a rescue, shes very people-focused and is always seemingly starved for love. She also used to bark when she was crated, but we noticed it was only in places she wasnt familiar with yet. Every month we visit friends and she would bark when we left her alone there. It took a little while, but now shes comfortable there as home.
    Perhaps your dog is the same way and s/hes not used to the place yet? If so, “this too shall pass”.

    A little trick we did once; we set up the laptop near her crate and opened skype on it. When we went out to dinner, our phone would be on connected to that skype (muted so she couldnt hear us but we could hear her). The plan was if she started to bark, we could verbally tell her no or give some comforting words, which would stop the barking.

    Another tip for your neighbours: you could leave a note on your door saying that if the dog is barking / annoying, to call you at work.

  12. I rescued a dog while I was married & living in a large loft-style apartment in the Seattle area. Winston had 2 humans to love on him & take him out on walks or runs. I was a student at the time, so I was home most of the time even when my then-husband was at work 8 hours a day. When the marriage dissolved, I left, and the first thing I told my then-husband I’d need when he began packing my things was the dog’s stuff. There was a moment, a beat, and I said, “I think we both know he’ll be better off coming with me to my mom’s.”
    My mom was 1750 miles away in Wisconsin. Winston and I road tripped for 4 days through Washington, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota & Minnesota. He was confused, but he was taken care of, and it kept my heart soaring that he did so well to adapt to all of the crazy shenanigans required of travelers on a cross-country trip. He looked to me every step of the way to see what we were supposed to do next. He trusted me, he cheered me up, and he enforced breaks in the drive where I otherwise would’ve kept on like a zombie. It was the healthy thing to do.
    When we got back to Wisconsin, Winston stayed a few nights with me at a friend’s place & her miniature pinscher proved too aloof for my weirdo mutt (dachshund-chihuahua/beagle). So we slept on a double-high air mattress in my parents’ garage for almost 2 months while I searched and applied for apartments.
    He had to adjust, again, when we got into the apartment & again when we moved to the next one. For a brief time, he came with me to live on an old hobby farm, but proved to be too much for my roommates there to handle. So my mom and I worked out living arrangements and he ended up with the Puppy Taj Mahal in their basement–his own little apartment, with access to their enormous, fenced-in back yard & a “grandma” who spoils him daily. Now I’m moving into a house in the city with a tiny yard & tons of house to roam & nice sidewalks for walking & 2 humans who’ll love him…

    Every step of the way I’ve had people telling me I should just get rid of him, that I was doing myself a disservice trying to accommodate him. Winston was a rescue dog, like I said. He’s been a lot of work as he deals with what I refer to as “Puppy PTSD” & being introduced to strangers. He’s been a lot of work to train on a leash & to keep after so that his anxiety doesn’t cause him to have accidents indoors. But it’s not just work. Winston isn’t a project. He’s a dog–dare I say a soul–who’s needed rehabilitation & kindness & love. He chose me at the shelter fair the day I brought him home. He’s been looking to me for comfort & kindness & assurance & guidance ever since. He’s my dog. I’ll do everything I can to keep him.
    I’ve been fortunate that I, too, had parents who would help not just me but Winston during the unexpected transition of divorce & all it’s aftermath. But I’m Winston’s caregiver. We belong together. We’ve helped each other grow & become better in this world. To have given up on that relationship at any point in the journey would have been not only a failure, but a mistake. We would both have been worse off if I’d listened to anyone or everyone who told me he was an anchor, an albatross, a nuisance, a set-back.

    I don’t know how to close this. I’m just so glad to have had the experience I’ve had & it seems so similar to the ones I’m reading about here. I’m hopeful that even time apart for those who’re facing it will be what’s needed & that everything will shake out for the best.
    I’m counting down the days to move-in so that Winston & I can live together again. It’s definitely worthy of celebration.

  13. We adopted a rescue BT last fall, and shortly afterwards we discovered she has separation anxiety that is less about barking and more about peeing all over our living space. The first thing we did was take her to the vet to make sure she was in good health, which resulted in a short stint on antibiotics. When that didn’t work, we started using a Thundershirt and a Dog Appeasing Pheremone (DAP) plug-in in the room she stays in when we’re not home. These have been working pretty well, but I know our vet said the next step (if needed) would be puppy prozac.

    Other things that could work: try playing music while you’re not home. Leave a sweatshirt or blanket that smells like you for comfort. Get to know a neighbor or two who are at home during the day, and see if they’re willing to pop in and love on your pooch for a few minutes in the middle of the day.

  14. a neighbor of ours used a diffuser with dog pheromones for the dog they left home all day and was huge and strong and destroyed things. idk if that’s a good idea but if you check with a vet, it might help you, too. good luck!

  15. This is going to sound weird- but get another dog if your land lord will allow it. I adopted a dog that had been adopted and returned twice because he had severe separation anxiety, would bark all the time and destroy things. I am lucky enough to have the luxury of bringing my dog to work with me, so until he got used to his surroundings I brought him with me everyday. After awhile I started leaving him alone for an hour or so, then leaving him home all the time. He’s never in a crate, and I set up a camera once to see how he acts and he sleeps on the bed with my other two. Your dog might welcome the company of another dog especially if he used to hang out with your parents dog at their house. Again, only if your land lord will allow something like that.

    • If you decide to try this, I recommend getting in touch with a rescue and seeing if you can foster one of their dogs at first, to see how it goes. If it turns out brilliantly and they become nice quiet besties, great! You can adopt! But if not, at least you helped the other dog out temporarily and aren’t stuck trying to rehome it right after adopting it. The rescue should be able to give you good advice about which dogs might be a good fit.

      • oh, that’s a really good idea! I considered adopting her a friend, but my husband and parents were concerned that a new dog wouldn’t be as well behaved as my girl (we are spoiled by her as much as she’s spoiled by us) and we’d have to find the new dog a new home, since my parents are at their limit with their dog and mine. I really didn’t consider fostering, but it’s something to look into! Thank you!

  16. I’m going to second the “leave her with your parents” advice.
    With time and training, this problem very well could go away and you guys could have a totally happy, howl-free life together. The problem here is that you’re already on borrowed time. It kind of sounds like your landlord called you at the “this is your first and last warning” point. Maybe you can talk to your landlord and see what kind of timeline you’re working with. Know that in all likelihood, your landlord can evict you for a noisy dog. That would SUCK, and it could come back to bite you when you try to rent in the future. Find out when your landlord would take that step–I’m going to guess the response will be that they’ll have to do something the next time someone complains. Apologizing to your neighbors might help. And maybe in that time, you’ll find the magic solution. But I suggest you begin to emotionally prepare yourself for the possibility that what’s best for your living situation may be for your dog to live with your parents.

    My experience is with a cat. My roommate in college rescued her as a kitten from under a car–she’d been chased up in the engine by a big ol’ lug of a dog who didn’t mean to hurt her, but the engine was a very real threat. My roommate dashed back into the room and just sat the kitten down on my chest and ran to class… and that’s how we got a cat. We named her Mr. Satan. She really enjoyed living in our dorm room, but cats were very much not allowed. Everything was fine until we took her to visit my mom’s house when she was about half-grown. She HOWLED when we brought her back to the dorm. We tried everything, but our options were to either be kicked out of our dorm–and college–or take our kitty to my mom’s house. It broke my heart because she was such a needed presence in my life. She was a snuggler just when I needed one the most and she was just best friend status right away. I also knew my mom didn’t really have the time or attention to be biffles with Mr. Satan–she had pets of her own and a job.
    Well, Mr. Satan (my mom calls her Itty Bitty Kitty) is still there. Fortunately, I get to see her a couple times a month. She’s a half-inside-half-outside cat now. She roams the hills, hunting and lounging in the sun. If she stays inside too long, she still howls.

    • yeah, normally we get 3 warnings, but the landlord said that the neighbor that complained isn’t just complaining but basically throwing a tantrum. My other neighbor had to get rid of his dog and get a cat due to barking complaints while he was at work as well, but even now he gets calls about his cat meowing too loudly. I had already visited my two neighbors upon moving in to let me know if there’s any issues with her, because I would address them quickly, but he never came to me, just straight to the landlord’s office. So really, I just have until he complains again, and then no more dogs or no more me. Which is why she’s at my parent’s house while we figure it out and maybe buy us some time. But I do understand that she might need to stay with them, as much as I love her and need her, I wouldn’t want to jeopardize her happiness and comfort for my own.

  17. I don’t know how plausible of a solution this will be for you, but when I lived in an apartment and worked long hours, I left my dog at my parents’ house during the day and picked her up after work. Granted, my parents lived about five to ten minutes away from my apartment, so even if I wasn’t going to stay and visit after work (which I usually did) I could just drop by and grab her on my way home with little interuption to the rest of my evening. It was an ideal solution. She kept my mom and dad’s dog company and was able to run around a large yard and socialize all day and I was able to spend time with her at night and on the weekends.

  18. Poor pup! I am sorry you are going through this. While getting rid of your dog is one solution, if you want to help her overcome her anxiety the first place to start is your veterinarian. Get her in for a check up to make sure there’s no medical reason for her behavior. Establish a good relationship with your vet and explain what is going on and the results you want to see.

    The normal course of action would them be for your veterinarian to prescribe anxiety medication and either create a behavior modification plan OR refer you to a veterinary behaviorist who has experience with treating this condition. Behavior modification is hard work, especially if you are dealing with anxiety. It takes a good plan, the right medication and a good amount of time and devotion on an owner’s part to help an animal recover from anxiety and learn to be comfortable in their own skin. Best of luck to you both!

  19. Our first rescue dog, Red, has separation anxiety. Even if we were just in a separate room (like taking a shower) she would bark, whine and chew herself bloody. Pills didn’t work, spray collars didn’t work, none of those mythical natural calming sprays worked. We could run her ragged, play this game or that game, crate her. . . . nothing stopped it.

    So after a full year and a half of our dog being a hairless, bloody anxious mess, and our wits and wallets almost at an end, we adopted a second dog. He is much more confident and easy going than Red is. Two weeks went by and I noticed that even tho she still chewed herself and barked, it was less. A month passed and the chewing changed to just obsessive licking and grazing herself with her front teeth.

    Unfortunate that the second dog picked up the barking. . . . so since we had been through everything else, we caved and got the bark/shock collars. We also use this thing that plugs into the wall- an electronic dog whistle. The chewing has stopped 100%, the barking has stopped, sometimes we don’t even need the bark/shock collars. An added plus is that our houses are so close together that the electric dog whistle thing has stopped our neighbor’s annoying dogs from barking on that side of the house too!

    I know so many people are against the shock collars, but it is seriously the only thing that worked. Our vet kept trying to push the drugs, but all they did was make our dog lay around like a zombie. She would stay in her crate lazily chewing her front feet until they had to be bandaged. She was in a trance and you couldn’t stop her from chewing herself. Yes she didn’t bark anymore, but she was seriously a zombie. I wish that we had just used the collars and gotten her a friend in the fist place!

  20. If you have a bit of money on the side, you may be able to find a proper dog trainer. Maybe your dog is just afraid you won’t come back, and that is something you can work on. IF she is unhappy being alone, on the other hand, you had probably best let her live with your parents.

  21. Even if professional day-care is to expensive maybe there is someone living near you who doesn’t work (retired, unemployed etc. ) and who would be willing to look after your dog during the day, in exchange for the company (and maybe a smaller fee). I’ve gotten the this is quite a common solution where I live.

    You could put a notice up in the local grocery-store or check with your Facebook-network.

  22. Please don’t use spray collars/shock collars/whistles etc. Find a good trainer (preferably a member of the Pet Professional Guild) who only uses positive reinforcement training.

  23. So happy to read that many people have had to leave their dogs with their family because their dog is unhappy living with just them in an apartment. I feel so much guilt for leaving my best friend who will not be around for another ten years… it is always nice to get a reminder that she belongs where she is happiest because she will be at her healthiest as well.

  24. Don’t know if anyone else has suggested this yet, but have you checked to see if there’s a dog park in your area?

    We adopted an australian cattle dog a couple months ago (a breed known for ENDLESS ENERGY HOMG). Recently we started taking him to a local dog park every day for about 45 minutes, and his behavior has improved IMMENSELY. He used to be pretty hyper, even when we would take him for long walks or play lots of fetch with him. But now, EVERY day, he gets to interact with other dogs and run around a lot. He’s much calmer, since he’s getting the right amount of physical exercise, but he’s also becoming better adjusted and socialized because he gets to engage with other dogs (and other humans, too!). He’s learning appropriate ways to interact with other dogs, and those skills are carrying over to our home life. (less play-biting/mouthing, less jumping, less barking at visitors, etc.)

    It may be worth investigating to see if there’s a dog park, or even dog meet-up/play groups, to get your dog some interesting interaction every day that isn’t just with you.

    Best of luck in finding a solution!

  25. I don’t know if this has been suggested yet (there’s a ton of comments), but we use CBD infused treats for two of our four dogs who suffer from anxiety for different reasons. One is a puppy with just generalized anxiety that bothers him in the crate or just hanging out. He has anxiety about life. The other dog has dementia which creates it’s own level of anxiety daily. We exercise both a TON before we crate them and do everything in our power to make crates a positive happy place, but it doesn’t matter, anxiety rears its ugly head and there are some things we just can’t fix for these two babies of ours. Our other two are perfectly happy in their crates. So we use CBD treats from CBD is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It’s typically made from hemp in products like these treats. Between the treats and exercise we are conquering the anxiety in our puppy successfully in a really natural and easy way. They also help our dementia basset hound with his old age chronic pain, and anxiety from being blind, deaf, and life in general. I hope that helps if you’re up for looking at alternative methods. CBD treats can be shipped anywhere in the US (they’re federally compliant) and they’re just amazing, so I’d encourage anyone to try them out. If anyone has ever been at their wits end with training and doing everything in their power to make it right and you’re considering medication – skip it and go with CBD treats! 🙂

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