Doberman pinschers, like all dogs, may bark when left home alone. According to the American Kennel Club, the ideal doberman is "energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient." These traits can combine to create a dedicated watchdog who takes it upon himself to guard your home by barking continually when you're absent. Separation anxiety or boredom also contribute to home alone barking. In almost all cases, home alone barking can be greatly reduced or eliminated through lifestyle changes and positive reinforcement.
Exercise your Doberman before you leave home. At least 45 minutes of brisk exercise is necessary each day before you leave a dog home alone. A run or an energetic game of fetch will be more helpful than a walk.
Place your doberman in a crate 10 to 15 minutes before you leave the house. If your doberman is not yet crate trained, you will need to spend several weeks slowly accustoming him to the crate. With proper crate training, your dog will see his crate as a comfortable den rather than a cage.
Provide several chew toys for your Doberman to enjoy during your absence. The best toys for this purpose are durable rubber or hard plastic toys that can be filled with food items to keep a dog busy for hours. For example, a Kong toy can be filled with canned dog food and frozen overnight before you offer it to your Doberman as a reward for entering her crate before you leave the house.
Return home during the day to offer your dog a bathroom break and additional exercise. Ideally, your doberman shouldn't be crated for more than four hours. If you can't let your dog out during the day, consider hiring a dog walker or trading services with a neighbor. Dogs will often bark when home alone if they are uncomfortable due to a full bladder. A midday break also helps to alleviate boredom, which is a primary cause of home alone barking.
Practice with your dog to ensure that he is able to stay quiet when left alone. Leave the house for a brief period, but stay just outside your front door and listen for barking. If your dog stays quiet for a few minutes, go back inside, reward him, then repeat the entire process. Do this a few times every day and soon your dog will remember that being calm and quiet when left alone earns him a reward.
Never hit your dog or shout at him for barking. This will only exacerbate any anxiety problems.
If your dog is destructive as well as a problem barker, she may suffer from separation anxiety, which should be treated by a professional.
Always check with your veterinarian before increasing your dog's exercise level substantially. Some senior dogs and dogs with health conditions may be unable to tolerate vigorous exercise.
If you follow these steps and your dog continues to bark when left home alone, consider hiring a professional animal behaviorist.
A citronella bark collar is a humane alternative to collars that use electric shocks to correct problem barking. However, any type of bark collar is only a temporary patch, not a permanent solution; for that reason, use citronella bark collars only if advised to do so by a professional as part of a comprehensive behavior modification program.
Consider participating in canine sports with your doberman to help her burn off extra energy. Agility and rally obedience are fun for dogs and handlers of all skill levels.
Items You Will Need
- Assortment of chew toys
- Canned dog food
- Citronella bark collar (optional)
- dobermann image by dogist from Fotolia.com