Barking issues in an apartment

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


I am a pretty,- pretty princess.- Feed me
Barked: Wed Jun 13, '12 11:35am PST 
My pup has an issue. She barks initially when left alone. Otherwise, she's a well-behaved twelve week old puppy, but she cries for a little while when initially left alone. It used to be worse, but I nixed the crate in favor of the guest bathroom, with room for her to roam and so on. It was a dramatic improvement with her barking for five minutes instead of hours. I was pleased, especially considering that I live in an apartment, and my neighbors had filed complaints while I was trying to crate-train her.

I thought this was going to be the end of the issue, but it's not. My upstairs neighbors complained to the landlord on Monday night when she barked momentarily in the evening, and now my landlord is threatening to evict my dog if another complaint comes through. I'm panicking, and I need to remedy this as soon as possible.

I went up to talk to the neighbor (the landlord wouldn't tell me who filed the first complaints initially, but when this complaint came through, they did tell me so that I could perhaps talk to them) and while I explained the situation, and even brought the pup to put a cute face to the situation, I don't think I made any progress with them. He was nice, but I got the distinct feeling he was being polite because I was on his doorstep, not that he actually understood or was going to have some understanding an patience.

I've tried all the standard separation tools. T-shirt I've worn, ticking clock, stuffed Kong and other toys, but nothing works. I'm afraid to leave her alone now, lest my neighbor complain again and the landlord gets involved. Help?

Ready for- anything!
Barked: Fri Jun 15, '12 9:52pm PST 
I'm sorry to hear about your trouble. I live in an apartment but am staying with a friend right now. I just got a new Popple about a week ago and it has been a great help to stay in a house with a friend while I house break him and teach him not to bark. My usual method for barking is to ignore them until they are quiet then reward them for being quiet, but in an apartment this is hard to do, especially since you have already received complaints. I had to revert to a squirt bottle with Popple since he would bark continuously without fail and not be quiet. I mean for hours on end. I would sit in another room and wait for him to calm down and he would just continue to whine. A squirt from the bottle the second he barked worked great for him. To be able to untrain a barker however he will have to bark so you can correct the behavior, so I would warn your neighbors that you are teaching your dog not to bark and to please allow you a week to work on this behavior. I write a note and stick it on the neighbors doors that are all around you on all sides. This has helped me with foster dogs in the part and my neighbors were thankful i was teaching the dog not to bark.
On another note, barking can be a sign of boredom. I would be walking you pup at least 3 times a day for short sessions and doing some basic training with her every day for at least 3 times a day for 5 - 10 minutes each session. If you do all of this is can help your pup calm down, and when you leave she'll just sleep.
Also, when you leave give her that kong filled with frozen can dog food. Give it too her also when you are home so that she doesn't think that the kong always means that your leaving.
You can also take her doggy daycare when your not home or schedule dog play dates for her to be at while you are at work. Petsmart has good prices.
I hope this helps, good luck!

Barked: Sat Jun 16, '12 7:33am PST 
First of all, how much exercise is your pup getting? If she gets plenty of exercise before you leave, it will help with the barking. A tired dog is a good dog.

If she's emptying the Kong too fast, try putting wet dog food in it and freezing it before giving it to her. That way it'll be more difficult for her to get the food out, but it'll still smell meaty.

You can look up video tutorials for how to deal with separation anxiety on YouTube. Kikopup's "Home Alone" video is a good place to start. You can find a list of videos at dogmantics.com.


I am a pretty,- pretty princess.- Feed me
Barked: Thu Jul 12, '12 7:50pm PST 
Sorry I didn't get back to this post!

Ellie gets plenty of exercise. During cool days she goes on walks. On hot days, we play fetch in the hall until my arm hurts. It doesn't matter if she's about ready to collapse from exhaustion, she will still keep herself awake to riot. She was even on injection benadryl from the vet (she has reactions to shots) and was falling asleep, but the moment she was put away, she was up and barking.

I've tried making her pen a fun place where she gets treats, ignoring her when she does bark, covering the pen (she pulls the blanket into the pen!), even a static collar (which she just started to ignore after a while), but two months later, we still have a problem.

I purchased her a Thundershirt, and it calms her down for the most part, but she will still bark. I picked up a citronella collar, since research shows there is a more favorable response to it than the static collar, but I'm just so frustrated. I really do not want to re-home her, since this is our only issue besides occasional puppy nipping. I love her to bits, but I'm walking on such a thin wire. I don't know what to do. frown

Barked: Thu Jul 12, '12 9:14pm PST 
You put an ecollar on a puppy?! eek Throw it away, it is just making things worse! You will end up with a dog who becomes anxious because when her person leaves it means she gets a shock. Many dogs don't relate barking to getting shocked or get used to the shock and keep barking through the shock. Same with the citronella collar. Work to desensatizing her to you leaving. Baby steps at first, just pick up your keys and put them down or put on your shoes and sit down, etc and ignore her. Build up to doing your normal routine and ignore her then just sit down and reward her for being calm. Step outside then come in right away and build up the amount of time you wait before coming back in. Keep crate training her to the room. Ignore her fussing but reward her when she is quite and calm. Play crate games in the room where you keep her. Search for crate games on youtube to get some ideas. The previous posters also have wonderful suggestions.

Edited by author Thu Jul 12, '12 9:19pm PST


I am a pretty,- pretty princess.- Feed me
Barked: Thu Jul 12, '12 9:40pm PST 
I certainly wasn't happy about the e-collar, but I was panicked when the landlord handed over the ultimatum.

I've tried desensitizing her to my leaving. It's when she realizes that I actually left, she starts barking. I set up Skype to spy on what she's doing, and she's not going berserk. She's not running around, whining, pawing, or otherwise freaking out. She's sitting or standing and just barking. I know my neighbors have been very patient with me, and I've given them to call me if she starts being a nuisance, but I don't want to stretch that luck too thin. I'll give the desensitizing another go. Maybe now that she's a little older than when I first tried it, it might catch on.

The cheese ninja
Barked: Fri Jul 13, '12 7:31pm PST 
If you live in a building where a few minutes of barking during waking hours is going to cause nuclear fallout, you need to move or rehome the dog. Using a shock collar on an emotional puppy is cruel. Just because everyone around you has lost all perspective doesn't mean you should. You are her caregiver, and that means advocating for her and taking care of her even when it's not convenient. Puppies that age can only go about 3 hours between potty breaks, and being alone for more than a few hours a day is bad for socialization and training.

Pocket Wolf
Barked: Sat Jul 14, '12 7:02pm PST 
Oh dear, the neighbors sound awful and your landlords are not being nice either. I live on the third floor in a dog friendly complex, and I have a philosophy about barking: ignore it unless it goes longer than an hour, or if the dog is outside. Five minutes worth of barking is just a little bit of nothing. Long periods of barking makes me think something is wrong. We had a neighbor whose dog would bark for hours on end in the apartment and out on the back deck. Turns out he was not letting it out, he was lazy, just letting it poop and pee on the deck. These people abandoned him for 3 weeks over christmas in 2010 with a 20 lb open container of food, an open toilet, and the door open wide enough for him to poo out there. Off the 3rd floor. Oh and they left the heat on, so not only were they neglecting the dog, they were wasting resources. Yeah, I did cal the NEHS on them for that. The dog would howl for hours on end, and then they put a zap collar on it. What got the problem solved is I finally took pics of the dog standing on the porch surrounded by its feces in the -10 degree weather at midnight and I showed the pics to the manger which got their dog removed by the HS and them removed from the complex. THat is a reason to be concerned about dog noise.

Your neighbors, on the other hand, need to realize that they signed in to a lease at a dog friendly apartment and they need to get over themselves. You put up with their loud music, or their stomping around, or their kids tearing up the hallway, or excessive rhythmic thumping, or a myriad of thousands of different auditory annoyances. If people are bothered by it, they should get a single family dwelling. Puppies will grow up, and if you're a dedicated pet parent and work on your dog's training, the howling will stop.

So, what else have you tried? thindershirt? essential oils? music? something other than a zap collar or a spritz collar. With puppies, sometimes separation anxiety is something that will have to be trained out. they just sometimes need desensitized. there are quite a few methods.

Edited by author Sat Jul 14, '12 7:03pm PST