Our 13-year-old Havanese has begun barking when we are not home. We only discovered this after installing a video camera in our home that turns on when there is noise. He barks every 10 to 15 minutes when we are not at home. Since we live in a detached home, we have never heard from our neighbors that this has always occurred. He is seldom left alone, since my wife and I are both semi-retired, and he was essentially raised after I retired.
I’ve tried waiting for this behavior to occur by staying in our driveway, so that I can admonish him when he does it, but I think he either can smell my presence or in some other way knows I’m there and doesn’t bark. Any behavioral suggestions would be appreciated. We live in a semi-quiet area and the camera does not pick up sounds that he would be responding to.
– Frank, Williston Park, New York
Barking inside the home is a harmless behavior unless your neighbors can hear it and are complaining about it. While there is really no way to catch him in the act (yes, your dog knows you are still in the driveway), you can purchase an ultra-sonic bark control device for inside the home that emits a sound only animals can hear and that interrupts the behavior and stops most dogs from incessant barking.
However, if you think it’s a new behavior, please get his hearing checked. Some dogs “alert” bark more as they age because they are losing their hearing.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal