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Howling at home

I don’t leave my dog for long during the day, but he is a bit of a barker and the neighbours have complained recently that when I’m not there he howls constantly. I have tried leaving Kongs for him, and he seems happy enough to be left, but I think he gets through them quite quickly. Do you have any other ideas of how I might be able to keep him quiet when I’m not there? The longest he’s left is four hours and that is just once a week.

Kirsten Dillon advises…

Howling is a dog’s way of communicating that he wants to make contact with his ‘family’ and is basically calling out to them.

Leaving him with a stuffed Kong is an excellent idea. Put his breakfast, divided up into two Kongs, and freeze them, so they last longer. Licking and chewing a frozen Kong provides dogs with a brain bath of feel-good hormones, which may help your dog relax a little more. Have you also thought about leaving him with a large knuckle bone or similar? Natural Instinct has some great advice on size-appropriate raw bones.

Failing that, could you provide him with a friend? Do you know anyone with a dog that he really likes? Could they visit, or could you offer to look after their dog at the same time? Often what we class as separation anxiety is nothing of the sort and our dog just requires a companion.

If this isn’t possible, can you ask a friend to pop in, or pay a dog walker to visit or walk him? It may be worth the money if it keeps him and the neighbours happy.

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