Dear Miss Behavin’:

Our neighbor recently left a nice note in our mailbox letting us know that our dog, Bruiser, has been barking during the day when we’re gone. We had no idea! How can we work on this if we aren’t home?

 First of all, it was kind of your neighbor to leave a nice note letting you know, especially since you had no idea and you’re more than willing to work on this.

Barking complaints are quite common this time of year as the weather warms up and we leave our windows open during the day. Not only does Bruiser hear more noises from outside, but the neighbors hear more of his barking when he sounds the alarm.

There is no easy fix for barking, especially when you aren’t home. However, there are a handful of things you can do to significantly reduce the barking.

Your first task is to make sure Bruiser is getting plenty of exercise appropriate for his age and breed. Make sure he gets a long brisk walk, time at the dog park or a good game of fetch before you leave for the day.

If you haven’t done so already, close the blinds or block access to any visual stimulation that might make Bruiser bark. For instance, if Bruiser barks at squirrels in the back yard, close the blinds so he can’t see them.

If you know that Bruiser barks at certain sounds, you can leave on some background noise before you leave the house. This will drown out the noises that might be triggering Bruiser’s barking. What does Bruiser like to listen to? I typically suggest a mellow music play list, the golf channel on TV, or tuning in to some talk radio.

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