My Dog Barks When I Leave [Help!]

Do you have a dog that always starts barking as soon as (or soon after) you leave the house? Maybe you haven’t heard it yourself, but neighbors have made you all too aware of the issue. 

As a dog expert, I can assure you that you are NOT alone in dealing with this noisy issue. I get asked by caring dog owners all the time about problem barking.

When this barking arises, it’s hard to know what to do. This is especially true if you’ve just recently adopted your pooch and aren’t fully acquainted with its personality. Let’s discover some possible reasons why your dog barks when you leave the house.  

dog barks when i leave
Help! My dog barks when I leave. What can we do?

Reasons Why Your Dog Barks When You Leave

There isn’t just one possible reason why your canine companion starts barking when you leave. Let’s explore three possible causes of your dog getting really vocal after you step out the door. 

Lack of Exercise

A dog that doesn’t get the exercise it needs is more likely to act out in every context, and being alone is one of them. Your canine companion needs to get a certain amount of exercise to feel settled and calm indoors. 

If you go out and leave your dog without enough exercise, it may panic about not being able to get outside and enjoy the exercise it needs. As a result, it may well end up barking up a storm. 

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need? 

How much exercise your canine companion needs depends on certain factors. One of the most significant is its breed. While some breeds need more exercise (and sometimes a lot more) than others, others need less. 

Mixed breeds get even more complicated, as each individual varies so much. For example, if you have a golden doodle, your individual dog may take more after the poodle side while another might be more like a golden retriever. This may play a part in its exercise and other needs, as well as its appearance and personality. 

Overall, the time dogs need for daily exercise ranges from 30 minutes to two hours. If you have a small dog, it will probably only need between 20 minutes and half an hour. This applies to most small dog breeds. 

Breed History is Important 

If you have a breed originally meant to be a herding dog or a hunting dog, it will need more exercise than others might. For example, standard poodles were originally hunting dogs. This means that they certainly need plenty of exercise—more than you probably imagined. Another example is the border collie. This high-energy and clever dog needs top-notch physical activity and mental stimulation. 

If you have a poodle-mix that combines a poodle with a herding dog (such as an Australian sheepdog), it will need even more exercise and mental stimulation than a poodle (and that is saying a lot). Given that the poodle is a hunting dog, combining it with a herding breed will give it an abundance of energy and independent spirit, as well as the need to be with (and work with) its humans. 

Have a small dog? Don’t assume this means minimal exercise needs. Certain small canine breeds, such as miniature and toy poodles, need a lot of exercise. Others, such as pugs, are much more laidback as they were bred to be lap dogs. 

an australian cattle dog
An Australian cattle dog. They are whip-smart and talented workers (and one of the most famous breeds with pointy ears)


Dogs are like people in quite a few ways, and one of them is that they get bored. Canines need mental stimulation. If your dog starts barking quite a long time after you leave, boredom is likely to be the root cause. Bored dogs often get destructive, and torn-apart furniture isn’t outside the range of possibilities if you leave your pooch bored for hours on end. 

In other words, your pet may look for things to do for a while but then realize that there’s nothing for him to do. That’s when he’ll start barking, hoping it’ll bring you home. The cause of barking may also simply be that your dog can’t think of anything else to do. 

More active and intelligent dogs, like poodles, tend to need more mental stimulation. Sometimes dogs will bark just to have fun and see what will happen. Make sure your dog doesn’t get bored enough to succumb to this pressure. 

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs is more common than you think. This term is really self-explanatory: it’s when your pet feels overwhelming anxiety when it’s separated from you, its human companion. 

Unlike lack of exercise and boredom, separation anxiety is trickier to handle. Let’s take a look at some well-known separation anxiety symptoms, so you can consider whether you’ve seen them in your pet. 


Excessive barking, as well as howling, are two common symptoms of separation anxiety. When your dog barks and howls because of separation anxiety, they fear you won’t come back. 

Remember, your pet doesn’t know where you are going and what your plans are. And unfortunately, dogs don’t understand human language (at least not enough for you to explain your reasons)! 

can dogs be tickled these puppies are being tickled at the beach
Tummy rubs and tickles anywhere!

Trying to Escape

If there are signs that your dog has tried to escape from the house while you were out, this is probably a sign that they’re suffering from separation anxiety. Your dog was probably trying to get out so that they could find you. 

Destructive Behavior 

A dog that starts getting destructive when you’re out may be dealing with separation anxiety. Your pup’s separation anxiety and fear are leading them to act out. Some canines with separation anxiety will go to extreme lengths with this, trying to find a way to make you come back. Of course, destructive behavior can also be linked to boredom. 

Helping a Dog With Separation Anxiety 

Talk to your veterinarian if you think your dog may have separation anxiety. The kind of help your dog may need depends on the severity of their separation anxiety. Some of the most important parts of separation anxiety treatment rely on counterconditioning methods. 

A huge component of this is getting your dog used to the idea of you going out, as well as being attuned to the reality that you always come back safe and sound. 

One approach involves you going out for extremely short periods at a time, always coming back and praising your dog for staying calm while you were gone. Start at just 30 seconds, and work upwards from that. 

My Dog Barks When I Leave [Help!] 1
Happy dog sitting in the sun. Why do dogs love the sun so much?

Final Thoughts

Dogs barking when their owners go out is a common problem, and it can certainly be problematic. It’s terrible for your dog to feel distressed and anxious, and neighbors may object to the barking and confusion. 

Fortunately, understanding separation anxiety is a big step towards dealing with it. If your dog is barking when you go out, take time to think about the potential cause and how to address the issue.

More Barking Questions Answered