Doggy daycare or a dog sitter can help reduce your dog’s barking when you’re not home. They provide companionship and activities that can distract and tire your dog out, reducing anxiety and boredom that often leads to excessive barking. However, underlying behavioral issues should also be addressed with proper training for a more permanent solution.
Benefits of Doggy Daycare or a Dog Sitter
Doggy daycare exposes your dog to other animals, helping them learn how to interact and play in a group setting. This can lead to better behavior at home and in public spaces as they become more accustomed to the presence of other dogs.
At daycare, your dog will have plenty of opportunities for physical activity, including playtime with other dogs, games, and walks. Regular exercise can contribute to your pet’s overall health and help alleviate behavioral issues from excess energy.
With a dog sitter, your pet is supervised throughout the day, ensuring their safety. Sitters can prevent accidents, detect early signs of illness, and provide immediate care if necessary, giving you peace of mind.
Reduces Loneliness and Separation Anxiety
Both doggy daycare and dog sitters provide companionship for your dog when you can’t be home. This can greatly reduce instances of separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behavior.
Structure and Routine
Daycare centers and professional sitters often adhere to a schedule that can provide your dog with a comforting routine. Dogs thrive on structure, and a consistent meals, walks, and playtime schedule can contribute to a well-adjusted pet.
Daycare providers and dog sitters are typically well-versed in dog behavior and care needs. This expertise can be valuable for ensuring your dog’s physical and emotional needs are met during your absence.
Drawbacks of Doggy Daycare or a Dog Sitter
Regular use of doggy daycare or a dog sitter can be quite expensive. Depending on the quality of the service and your location, costs can add up quickly over time.
Exposure to Illness
Although most daycare centers require dogs to be vaccinated, there’s still a risk of exposure to contagious illnesses from other dogs. Dogs can also potentially pick up fleas or ticks from other pets.
Potential for Stress
Some dogs might find the daycare environment stressful, particularly if they are not used to being around a lot of other dogs. Similarly, some dogs may not react well to a new person (dog sitter) in their home.
Dog sitters and daycare staff may not reinforce the training and commands you use at home, which can lead to inconsistent behavior.
Dog sitters might not always be available when needed, and daycares often have set hours that may not align with your schedule. Holidays and peak times can be particularly difficult.
Doggy Daycare vs. Dog Sitter
Social Interaction: Doggy daycare provides a great opportunity for your dog to socialize with other dogs, whereas a dog sitter typically offers one-on-one interaction.
Environment: With a dog sitter, your dog remains in your home’s familiar and comfortable environment. In contrast, doggy daycare involves a new environment which may be stressful for some dogs.
Cost: Doggy daycare can be more cost-effective, especially for daily care. Hiring a dog sitter may cost more, particularly for overnight stays.
Availability: Doggy daycares usually operate during set hours, which may not accommodate atypical schedules. A dog sitter often offers more flexibility and can be available for overnight care or during holidays.
Activity Level: Daycare can provide more physical activity through group play. A dog sitter might offer more tailored activities, but the home environment may limit these.
Training Consistency: A dedicated dog sitter might be better equipped to follow your specific training protocols, while staff at a busy daycare might not provide the same level of consistency.
Health Risks: The risk of catching contagious diseases might be higher in a doggy daycare setting due to the larger number of dogs. A dog sitter minimizes such risks as your dog will have less contact with other pets.
Other Ways to Reduce Dog Barking when you are not Home
Working with a professional dog trainer can help address the root cause of the barking. They can provide strategies and exercises that you can practice to reinforce quiet behavior when you’re not home.
Create a Calming Environment
Keeping your home quiet and calming when you’re gone can help reduce your dog’s stress. This could involve leaving the curtains closed, playing calming music, or using a white noise machine.
Keep your dog entertained with puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys. These can help to keep their mind engaged and reduce boredom, a common cause of excessive barking.
A tired dog is less likely to bark out of boredom or pent-up energy. Regular and adequate physical activity can ensure your dog is content and tired before you leave.
Desensitization and Counter-Conditioning
If your dog barks due to specific triggers like passing cars or people, slowly desensitizing them to these triggers can help. Counter-conditioning, associating these triggers with positive experiences, can also reduce barking.
Some devices, such as ultrasonic bark control devices, emit a high-pitched sound in response to barking. While not a long-term solution, they can be an effective deterrent.
If your dog’s barking is caused by severe anxiety and other methods have failed, consult a veterinarian about the potential use of anti-anxiety medication. This should be a last resort and used under the supervision of a professional.
Why Dogs Bark When Home Alone?
- Separation Anxiety
- Attention-Seeking Behavior
- Fear or Distress
- Response to Triggers in the Environment (such as other animals, sounds, or people passing by)
- Habit or Learned Behavior
- Lack of Proper Training
- Needs Not Being Met (hunger, need to use the bathroom, etc.)
- Medical Issues or Discomfort
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a doggy daycare cost?
The cost of doggy daycare can vary widely depending on your location, the specific facility, and the level of care provided, but on average, it can range from $15 to $35 per day.
How much does it cost to hire a dog sitter?
Hiring a dog sitter also depends on several factors, such as the sitter’s experience, the number of dogs, and the specific services needed. On average, you might expect to pay between $20 to $50 per visit. For overnight stays, the cost can be between $50 and $100 per night.