It’s getting hard for you to leave your dog…
That’s because every time you go, they begin crying!
So, as you walk away from the door and hear that poor whining…
It makes you worried about Fido. It also makes you question its causes and what you can do about it…
Good thing that this article’s here for you.
Read on to discover:
- 13 reasons why your dog cries when you leave.
- 7 tips on how to stop your dog from crying every time you part.
- How you might have encouraged your dog to cry when you leave.
- And many more…
Table of contents
- Why do dogs cry when you leave?
- 13 reasons why dogs cry when you leave
- #1: They’re sad that you’re leaving
- #2: Begging you to stay
- #3: They’re still hungry
- #4: They want to go with you
- #5: They need exercise
- #6: The behavior is encouraged
- #7: Apologizing to you
- #8: Fear of abandonment
- #9: They have a containment phobia
- #10: Something scares them while you’re gone
- #11: The house is boring without you
- #12: They’re a clingy breed
- #13: Separation anxiety
- How do I get my dog to stop crying when I leave? 7 tips
- People also ask:
Why do dogs cry when you leave?
Dogs cry when you leave because they have separation anxiety. Other times they could be sad, begging, hungry, lacking exercise, clingy, or apologizing. Sometimes it could be due to fear of abandonment, containment phobia, or boredom while you’re away.
13 reasons why dogs cry when you leave
#1: They’re sad that you’re leaving
Yes, your dog is capable of experiencing the blues.
However, your fur baby experiences sadness differently from how humans do.
Moreover, Fido’s sadness could sometimes be subtle.
Let’s take it from a neuroscientist, Dr. Gregory Berns. He investigated 20 dogs and read their brain responses through MRI scanning.
According to him, dogs experience emotions, too. They’re not just able to tell us directly with words.
It’s also because dogs are known to live in the moment. And if you’re around, then they’re happy…
Now that you’re leaving, here comes a wave of sadness for your dog.
And so, your pup cries when you walk out the door…
- Changes in their daily routine.
- Loss of a fellow canine companion.
- Alterations in their environment. An example is moving furniture or changing it.
Notes: Some dogs are more sensitive than others. That’s why reactions to the given examples could differ from dog to dog.
There are also other signs of sadness to observe. Those are:
- Low energy.
- Squinty eyes.
- Refusing to eat.
- Behavioral changes.
- Changes in their sleep patterns.
Warning: Those signs of sadness could also be a symptom of illness in your dog.
Furthermore, vets tell us that your pup might lay next to the door. They do that to wait for you…
And once you’re home, Fido will be back to their usual self.
#2: Begging you to stay
As highly social animals, dogs flourish using interactions with others.
That’s what makes it essential for them to make you stay.
Plus, in the wild, your dog’s ancestors stay together as a pack.
And even with domestication, that innate drive to stay together is still in your pooch’s system.
Now, in modern times, you’re part of your dog’s pack.
For them, it’s such an unusual and unbelievable idea to part ways.
And so, they’re begging you to stay by vocalizing.
Although all dogs could show this behavior, some dog breeds are known to be more vocal.
Dog parents note that these dogs are constant displayers of unhappiness. Plus, they throw numerous tantrums, too.
These breeds are:
- Basset hounds.
- Siberian huskies.
- Yorkshire terriers.
#3: They’re still hungry
Sometimes, that cry is not from sadness because you’re leaving for a while…
Your pup’s just feeling hungry…
This situation is highly applicable. It’s more plausible if you feed them after you arrive back home.
Your pup might be telling you to go home immediately. Or to feed them now, before you leave.
Fido doesn’t want to starve. They want to make sure they get their meal as soon as possible.
Oh, how demanding they could sometimes be…
“Right? And what if I feed them before leaving instead?”
That’ll work, too.
However, your dog might still cry if they remain dissatisfied with the meal.
Now, the cry is replaced with a demand for more food. Your muncher won’t let you leave without receiving another meal.
“So, how can I make sure that doesn’t happen?”
You’d have to make certain that you feed your dog the proper amount of food they need.
The amount depends on their:
- Type of food.
- Activity level.
- Health status.
- Metabolic rate.
As per the amount, it’s measured through calorie intake. You could ask your dog’s vet to calculate that for you.
Timing your dog’s meals
Experts tell us that you should feed your canine twice a day. Those meals should be given in an 8 to 12-hour interval.
Moreover, research warns us about food and circadian timings.
The study’s results show that the wrong timing of meals could contribute to obesity in animals.
Feeding your dog too much might result in many things. And those outcomes aren’t good for them.
I’m talking about:
- A short lifespan.
- Labored breathing.
- Congestive heart failure.
- Reduction in their quality of life.
#4: They want to go with you
As I said in reason #2, dogs are pack animals. And that they thrive when the group’s together.
With that, your dog could be crying to ask you something…
They’re requesting to be taken with you…
For your pup, the best choice is to stay together.
And if you have your errands, they might think it’s best to just take them with you.
“Why do they think that?”
Your pup might’ve learned to be that way.
Unfortunately, it could be through your encouragement.
Small instances count. An example is repetitively bringing them to the bathroom with you. Or petting them as they sit next to you.
Another scenario is letting them follow you around the house. Then, you praise them for it.
With that, your dog has learned to become clingy. (To be explained more in reason #12)
Reading tip: 19 Reasons Why Dogs Follow You To The Bathroom + 3 Tips
#5: They need exercise
Your Fido is requesting to be outside, too.
Maybe they want to go out for a walk with you.
Or they expect that they’re indeed going out for a walk. They’re just excited.
Whichever it is, your pup might be needing exercise.
They have a lot of energy to burn…
And it’s evident in their endless crying before you leave.
Moreover, some dog breeds have higher energy than others.
Take a look if your dog’s on the list:
- Border Collies.
- Yorkshire Terrier.
- Belgian Malinois.
- Siberian Huskies.
- Labrador Retrievers.
- German Shepherds.
- Australian Shepherds.
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
Warning: If your high-energy dog cries when you leave, then that’s only the beginning.
While you’re away, your dog might redirect their energy to other things.
Your dog might target your belongings. They might also try to escape.
I’ll reiterate those further in the article…
#6: The behavior is encouraged
Your pup’s a genius…
They learned that crying could get them what they want. It could also prevent something they don’t want from happening…
And you leaving them is a no-no.
With that, your pooch cries their heart out.
“How could I have encouraged ‘crying’?”
Encouragement could happen even subtly or unintentionally.
So, let’s replay those times that your dog cries…
Did you go in and comfort them?
Or did you add to the drama by copying them?
Do you give them treats every time they cry?
If you answered ‘yes’ in those questions, then it sparked encouragement when crying.
How about scolding? Do you yell at them when they cry?
If it’s still a ‘yes,’ unfortunately, that’s encouragement, too.
“Scolding is encouragement?”
Yes, it’s an unintentional validation of your dog.
But they don’t know that it’s unintended. All that matters for them is that you can hear their cries. Meaning you can do something about it.
Moreover, scolding is ineffective because:
- It makes your dog fear you.
- Your dog will only get confused.
- It causes repercussions in your dog’s training.
- Your dog doesn’t understand what you’re saying.
#7: Apologizing to you
Imagine this scenario:
Before leaving, you see that your dog chewed something.
You’re in a rush and have little time to deal with it.
However, you have to. Leaving it might only make things worse for the object.
And so, you pick it up and show Fido your disappointment.
Fast forward to when you’re about to leave…
Your fur baby begins to cry as you walk to the door.
That cry and whine could be their “I’m sorry, hooman…”
According to AKC, this behavior is an innate one. Apparently, dogs got it from their wolf ancestors.
When a wolf does something wrong, they can be kicked out from the pack in the wild.
The defendant has to whine, bow their head, and tuck their tail. Doing that is equal to an apology.
That’s why if you look at your dog, they’re showing the same posture.
Read your dog’s body language. They might be:
- Licking their lips.
- Tucking their tail.
- Flattening their ears.
- Avoiding eye contact with you.
- Looking up, which makes the white of their eyes visible.
“Wait…are dogs really capable of being guilty?”
It’s quite a dilemma for researchers.
It’s because guilt is a complex emotion.
Despite that, experts don’t disregard this phenomenon.
Dr. Burch, a certified behaviorist, tells us that guilt could show in dogs. It manifests after numerous scoldings and disappointment.
Your dog has learned that when they do something wrong, your reactions are strong.
With that, they aim to appease you by asking for your forgiveness.
Take a look at this pup:
#8: Fear of abandonment
For your pup, your relationship with them is important.
You feed them, give them love, and shelter them. You’re everything for your pooch and they trust you!
So, what more if your pooch is rescued or adopted by you…
You become their hero, too.
And if your rescued pooch cries when you leave, it may be due to abandonment issues.
What causes abandonment issues in dogs?
Frequent changes of their guardians could create this problem.
It’s due to being abandoned first in the shelter.
There, your pup might have experienced numerous foster families. Sometimes, they may have been under so many failed adoptions before you.
With that, every time that Fido gets passed around, they get hurt.
Science claims that dogs have a wide array of emotions. However, they only have the mental capabilities of a 2-year-old child.
So, imagine your dog being left…again and again. With only the mental understanding of a child. They don’t know what’s going on…
And so, as soon as your pup sees you leave, they cry.
Did you know? Statistics show that over 3 million dogs enter the shelter each year in the United States.
At least 64% of those dogs are adopted, while 12% get euthanized. The remaining 24% are the ones who are returned to their original dog parents.
#9: They have a containment phobia
If your dog cries when you leave, it might be due to a phobia.
It’s called containment phobia. It’s when your dog is scared of being restricted in an area.
Note: It’s more than being trapped in a crate
I say that because the condition’s usually referred to as being scared of the crate. However, it manifests differently from one dog to another.
And so, the area in which your dog feels confined could be large or small.
Yes, they could be scared of being confined in a cage. But your pooch could also fear being locked in the bedroom.
It’s often mismatched with separation anxiety, too.
That’s because you could witness the trigger for this every time you leave.
Moreover, it causes your dog to panic and misbehave.
Once you get home, you might spot a thing or two that’s destroyed by your pooch.
If your dog has a fear of containment, other signs will show. One of those signs is crying, along with:
- Dilated pupils.
- Spinning around.
- Excessive drooling.
If it’s recurrent, you’d also notice that your dog has scratches and injuries. It may be from their many attempts to escape.
Unfortunately, this type of phobia isn’t often seen. There’s also little information about this.
Note: This type of phobia could occur even when you’re there. That’s what compares it to separation anxiety.
Other things make it different from separation anxiety. But I’ll jump back to that later on, reason #13.
#10: Something scares them while you’re gone
Have you ever been left alone in the house and experienced something peculiar? The kind of thing that makes you wish you weren’t by yourself in there…
If I asked your crying dog that question, they might answer with a ‘yes.’
However, it might be a different kind of peculiar.
That’s because humans and dogs fear different things.
“So, what could they be scared of?”
A lot of things…
I can only give a few examples.
Like, maybe before you leave, the construction near your home hasn’t started.
It’s only after a few hours that excavation starts. Or there are power machines and trucks here and there.
All those noises could bother your pup.
Your neighbor is mowing their lawn or backyard every afternoon. And every time, your dog gets scared of the sound of the lawnmower.
It could also be:
The sirens from police cars or ambulances that pass by. These could be so loud that you have to cover your ears with your hands. Sadly, Fido can’t do the same.
It could even be the noises from people who pass by.
The power and sensitivity of your dog’s ears
Dogs hear better than humans. That’s a frequently stated fact.
It’s because they can hear more high-pitched sounds than us.
AKC tells us that dogs can hear from a range of 47,000 to 65,000 Hz.
Such frequencies are too high-pitched for us!
Not only that, dogs can detect even the quietest sounds.
In physics, decibels (dB) are the measurement of a sound’s loudness or intensity.
With that, sounds with a negative dB are too quiet for humans.
But not for dogs!
They can hear from -5 to -15 decibels…
That means your pup can detect sounds you don’t even have an idea of.
With that, your dog’s ears are subject to sensitivity. That’s why they’re not fond of loud noises.
And because of that, your pooch cries when you leave. They know that they’re going to face something scary later in the day.
#11: The house is boring without you
In reason #5 I said that your high-energy dog might develop unwanted behaviors.
Let’s rewind for a bit.
Imagine that time you’re about to leave.
On the side of the door, your pup cries.
Now, fast forward to when you get home….
There, you’re greeted by an over-excited pup…as well as a mess.
Some of your shoes are chewed. A few pillows are on the floor. Toilet papers are rolling on the floor…
Your canine got bored while you’re away. And so, they decided to entertain themselves.
What causes a dog to get bored?
- Lack of training.
- Insufficient mental stimulation.
- Not enough physical exercise.
- Lack of socialization with other dogs and people.
Other signs of boredom are:
- Licking excessively.
- Barking uncontrollably.
- Attempting to escape by scratching doors.
- Panting without reason ( no heat, physical exertion, or pain).
#12: They’re a clingy breed
Your pup might be more clingy than other dogs. That’s why they cry whenever you leave.
Other than that, how can you tell that your dog is clingy?
Notice that when you’re home, they follow you everywhere. Fido wants to be close to you as much as possible.
You’d also frequently catch them staring at you…
Oh, you’re the star of their life.
Other than clinginess being a learned behavior (from reason #4), it could also be due to their breed.
While some dogs could be left alone for hours, others are clingy.
I’m talking about these breeds:
- Great Danes.
- Border Collies.
- Golden Retrievers.
- German Shepherds.
- Labrador Retrievers.
- Doberman Pinschers.
With that, you might still have a question:
“How can I tell between clinginess and separation anxiety?”
Unfortunately, you’ll not be home anymore to see the difference.
Yes, your dog might cry before you leave, but only for a short time.
And when you get home, you won’t receive the welcome of a dog with separation anxiety.
But, I’ll talk about it specifically in the next section…
#13: Separation anxiety
This might be the most expected reason for your dog’s behavior.
Your pup might be crying before you leave because of separation anxiety.
And it not just cries, it could be a full-blown panic.
A dog’s separation anxiety gets triggered every parting. When the person they’re attached to is leaving, related behaviors show.
It starts in anticipation of your absence.
Your pup knows that you’re about to leave. And so they:
- Bark uncontrollably.
As for the other behaviors, you might not see them live. However, you could clearly see some of what happened once you got home.
These could occur when you’re not around:
- Trying to escape.
- Constant panting.
- Excessive salivation.
- Urinating and defecating inside.
- Injuries due to desperate escape trials.
- Chewing your belongings, like your clothes.
- Displaying over-excitement when you get home.
- Coprophagia or eating poop. Your dog might eat their own feces that they expelled inside the house.
The practices above are what differentiate separation anxiety from clinginess.
If your dog’s just clingy, they won’t show any destructive behaviors. It’s still alright for them for you to leave.
Continue reading: Why Does My Dog All Of A Sudden Have (Separation) Anxiety?
How do I get my dog to stop crying when I leave? 7 tips
#1: Distract them before you leave
This trick aims to keep your dog occupied before you leave.
You could sneak out from your pooch by distracting them.
Before you leave, give your dog a treat to munch on.
Make sure it’s something that could last long, like this ring turkey tendon chew treat.
If you don’t want the risk of leaving your pup unattended with a hard chewable…
There’s another way, and it’s:
Leaving them with an interactive toy filled with treats.
Here are some recommendations, and you could choose the level for your pup!
- For the easy category – Level 1 Dog Smart which includes tubes that hide treats.
- In the intermediate category – Level 2 Dog Brick that has 2 types of obstacles for your pup.
- Now, the advanced bracket – Level 3 Dog Casino requires your dog to solve the puzzled knobs.
- For your expert canine – Level 4 The Dog MultiPuzzle consists of numerous obstacles for a treat mine!
Note: Make sure you leave these with your dog in a different room. The place should be the farthest from your front door.
#2: Walk them in the morning
It’s been reiterated numerously in the reasons…
You should walk your dog before you leave.
Doing so will make use of your dog’s energy for the start of the day.
Plus, an exercised dog is:
- Easily relaxed.
- More attentive.
Moreover, your pup might take a nap after walking. Doing so will recharge them.
With that, it’ll be awesome to leave them the toys I mentioned in the previous tip. That’ll prevent your dog from being bored for the rest of the day.
#3: Leave a great environment for them
Don’t let your absence dread your pup too much. And so, provide them with the best environment while you’re away.
Your canine companion has many needs that are required to be met. And if you’re not around, some of those are hard to meet.
So, what can you do?
Turn this into a checklist:
- Leave a radio on.
- Play soothing or classical music.
- Provide them with enough water.
- Draw the curtains to muffle outside noises.
- Make temperature adjustments depending on the weather.
- Place their crate in a quiet place. Doing so will create a safe space for them if they need it.
- Give them something that smells like you. It could be an old worn shirt or your blanket.
#4: Schedule attention-time
One way to prevent this behavior is to set a scheduled attention time.
Since dogs thrive in a routine, it’ll be wise to train them when to expect attention.
And when you’re gone, you can’t give them any. That’s why you may need to make up before and after you leave.
Use that to your advantage and set it as your dog’s bonding time.
With that, your pup will learn to expect when you’ll be around to play or hang with them.
And during your day off or a leave, still follow the same attention routine.
This trick will require a little time and effort.
#5: Desensitize them
Before leaving, you must deceive your pooch first.
Step 1. Leave for a while. Take a little walk and come back after at least 5 minutes.
Step 2. Don’t pay any attention to your pup, who might be excited to see you again. Instead, take your things and leave for real.
Optional step. You can repeat step 1 for another time to really make it effective.
What it does is change your dog’s expectations.
It might lessen their anxiety because, for them, you’d be back after 5 minutes.
Note: If you choose to do this, then practice it consistently.
#6: Don’t make it a big deal
It’s best to ignore your crying pooch before you leave.
You don’t want to risk adding to the drama.
Don’t coddle them before you finally walk out the door.
This applies when you arrive, too.
Let yourself settle for a while. After a few minutes, that’s where you greet your pup.
#7: Consider anxiety medications
If all persists, your dog might need anxiety medications.
Note: Consult their vet first.
The doctor will prescribe the right medications and proper dosage for your pup.
For further reading: 19 Proven Ways To Calm Your Anxious Dog (How-To Guide)
People also ask:
Is it normal for dogs to cry when you leave?
It is normal for dogs to cry when you leave. Your absence might cause uncertainty for your dog. However, this happens when they’re not properly trained.
Moreover, it’s normal for dogs with separation anxiety to cry when their guardian leaves.
But, that doesn’t mean that it should be encouraged.
It’s because crying could be stressful for your pup. It could be detrimental to their health.
Do dogs feel sad when you leave them?
Dogs feel sad when you leave them as they have complex emotions, too. They’re able to experience the same feelings as us. The only downside is that they can’t tell us precisely with words.
That’s why they cry and whine when you’re about to part for the day.
You’d also notice other body indicators that your dog is sad.
Look into their eyes and see that they might be squinting. Those blinky eyes are a sign of the blues.