Everyone wants a warm welcome from their pooch.
You feel loved. And it’s a pat-your-back-for-a-great-job moment.
But what if…
Your eardrums are getting pierced because your dog barks at the top of their lungs every single time.
You start wondering:
Are they greeting or scolding you for leaving them?
Keep reading to find out:
- What makes your dog so noisy when you come back.
- Whether it’s out of excitement, frustration, or their instincts.
- If you’re doing something that ignites the ‘rock singer’ within them.
- 5 useful tips on how to return peacefully and make their welcome mellow.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog bark when I arrive home?
Your dog barks when you arrive home because they’re excited to see you, confused, and don’t recognize you at first, suffering from separation anxiety, hungry, or in a hurry to pee/poo. It could also be due to boredom, loneliness, attention, reinforcement, old age, or guarding instinct.
9 reasons why your dog barks when you arrive home
#1: Your dog welcomes you
“Hey, you’re back!
Come quick. I wanna kiss you!”
Aside from high-pitched barks, do you also see some tail-wagging? And a stance that’s ready to pounce at you?
Don’t worry. It’s just an excited bark.
They’re so happy to see you after a long day. And couldn’t wait to greet their favorite human.
Also, some doggos might be naturally more vocal than others. So they express their feelings by yapping, and not so much with actions.
#2: Separation issues
“Where have you been?!? Don’t leave me alone again!”
Does your dog also do it before you leave?
If so, they could be suffering from anxiety when you’re out of their sight.
So when you return, they act like you’ve been gone for years. Even if you’re only away for a few minutes. And they might drool and pace a lot as well.
It can be due to being extremely attached to you. So you may notice that they always follow you around. And don’t want to be separated from you.
Do they also act weird and transform your house into chaos?
Well, that’s because of stress and loneliness. So they destroy things and make a mess while you’re out.
You might also like: Why does my dog all of a sudden have anxiety?
#3: They didn’t recognize you right away
“Oh, is that my human?
Wait, it could be an impostor…
I must scare them off first!”
Your Fido could also bark because they thought you were a stranger.
It might happen when you’re still far away from them. Or if your windows are tinted, or you have a light shining upon you.
You could also be just standing still in the gate without saying anything. And they’ve seen you, but they’re still not 100% sure if it’s their parent.
Why is that so?
That’s because their eyes have motion sensitivity. So they react quickly if a thing is moving but can’t see it clearly.
They usually know it’s you because of your specific gestures. And without seeing them, they’re in disarray.
Also, humans rely greatly on sight, right? But canines use their sense of smell and hearing more than that.
I remember a story my friend told me about her pooch, Sky.
He would often bark angrily when he spots his owner walking towards their home.
But when she started saying his name, his attitude had a total 360-degree change. And started wagging his tail.
Can dogs discern their parent’s ‘inner face’?
A study was made to determine if they could distinguish their human’s face in photos.
The images only show their eyes, nose, and lips. So their hair and the shape of their heads were covered.
It was done by observing their brains through MRI. And by showing them two photos at once. One with their parent and one with an abstract picture.
It’s hard for them with a lack of information. Such as their human voice, emotions, and scent.
So, it could be that you have your hoodie on which is covering your head. That’s why your buddy didn’t know it’s you right away.
#4: They’re bored and lonely
How much exercise does your pooch get every day?
Do you walk and play with them before you leave?
If their daily stimulation is low, it might be due to boredom.
So when you return, they become so excited as they want to play right away. It could also happen if they were left for too long.
They bark to express their frustration as they can’t contain their pent-up energy anymore.
Imagine wanting to do something so badly but can’t do it all day.
You may feel uneasy, right?
So they might want to be entertained by some toys and games. Or have a walk outside.
#5: Your dog’s in a hurry
“Ugh. Glad you’re home. I can’t take it anymore.
Make it fast, or else…”
Your pooch might also bark if they want to go outside to pee or go potty.
They could also be hungry or thirsty when you come home. And these might happen if no one’s walking or feeding them while you’re out.
#6: They got used to it
Dogs usually bark to get noticed. And some might vocalize their emotions more than others.
And if they always get what they want by doing it, they would do it again.
So have they just started doing it? How do you act on your arrival?
If you often pick up your pooch and cuddle them right away while they’re barking, that might be it.
They’re good at associating. So they might think that when they whine at the door, you’ll automatically give them attention.
This behavior could look so cute and adorable for a few days. But it might be annoying for you and your neighbors when they do it every time.
#7: Old age
Does your Fido bark furiously at you all of a sudden?
If so, they might have trouble recognizing you due to poor vision. It might be due to old age or cataracts.
According to PetMD, the latter can be passed on in their genes. Or it can be a result of aging, diabetes, or eye injuries.
Their eyes will become cloudy. And if left untreated, it might lead to blindness or glaucoma. But experts said it’s not always the case. So it might only cause the reduction of sight.
Apart from the vision problem, they could also have hearing loss.
#8: It’s a learned behavior
Does your pooch also react when they hear the doorbell ring? Or when somebody knocked at your door?
It could be a behavior they learned after observing. They might know that someone’s behind that door. So they’ll bark when they hear those sounds.
And they might also be very social. So they’re excited to greet whoever it might be.
#9: Innate guarding instincts
It’s past midnight, and you just got home.
Your dog is sleeping peacefully in their bed. Until…
They hear your footsteps. And see your silhouette by the window.
They got alarmed. So they barked with all their might. Waking everyone in the area – including your neighbors. Oops!
Why do they do that? They should know me, right?
Yes, they know you. You’re their favorite human. But, they could also not recognize you at once.
But I’ve heard they see better at night. Is it true?
Well, yes and no.
Experts say their eyes can adapt very well in the dark, unlike humans due to their ‘tapetum lucidum.’
It’s found under their retina. And it reflects light which makes them see better. That’s why their eyes glow in the evening.
But because it spreads light, it blurs their vision. So, your Fido might think you’re an intruder from afar.
You might also freak them out as you try to walk sneakily towards the door. All crouched down and with no greetings at all.
Reading tip: 15 Reasons Why Your Dog Growls At Night + 7 Tips
5 tips on what to do if your dog barks when you arrive home
#1: Redirect their focus
You may have to divert their attention to reduce their excitement. And replace barking with something else.
Then work from that until you get the behavior you want.
You can ask your Fido to “sit” or “down.” Then once they do, praise them a lot.
Do this daily. And make them stay longer as you go on with the training.
This might remove their urge to jump on and bark at you as they’ll learn to do these instead.
Some dogs might be hard to lure with goodies. So make sure it’s a snack they won’t resist. And a few may also be stubborn from the start.
So, after making them sit/down, you may divert their focus from you by throwing some treats on the floor.
Do it one at a time. Make sure it’s away from you. And opposite the direction they’re facing.
It’ll be like a game at first. So they’ll be excited about it in the meantime.
Next, work from there on. Lead them to their bed or the spot where you want them to be when you come home.
Then slowly remove the game. Make them do only the commands. And just reward them with praises.
#2: Encourage a calm behavior
You might need to change how you interact with your dog if they get too anxious while you’re out of their sight. Or reinforce a relaxed behavior more when they get too excited.
Work on your emotions
First, prepare yourself as there would be no more cuddling while they’re yapping. No eye contact and sweet-talking as well.
It’ll not comfort them. And will motivate them to cry more instead.
So before you go, you can say “bye” to them. But avoid petting or making your departure a big deal.
Then, you may say “hello” to them when you come home. But do it calmly and ignore them if they’re noisy.
Once they stopped, give them praises and a small treat. Be consistent until they learned not to bark in your departure and arrival.
Capture their calmness
If they find it hard to settle down due to high energy, you may catch the moments when they’re relaxed. Then reinforce it by rewarding them every time they do it.
You can give them a tasty treat they love while they’re lying down. And don’t offer them one if they’re looking at the snack. Or they’re staring at you asking for a reward.
If they still couldn’t get it and start bugging you for goodies. You may only give it to them if they aren’t looking and not thinking about that food at all.
Also, there won’t be a need for commands.
They should stay calm on their own. Because once the cue expires, they’ll go back to what they’re doing. So it’s best to let them settle down by themselves.
This cool video might help you with this:
#3: Other ways to communicate
Now, if your dog wants to go out for a potty or needs water, you may teach them other ways to tell you about it.
So you may need to avoid filling their bowl right away if they bark. Or get their leash while they whine.
You can get them to push a buzzer when they’re hungry or thirsty. Or ring one that’s beside the door if they want out.
#4: Stimulation keeps the boredom away
Always ensure that they get enough daily exercise.
After giving them a good walk, you can tire them out by challenging their minds. Like playing fetch or any games.
It should be holistic and not only focused on their body.
So you may leave some puzzle toys while you’re away too. These will keep them occupied most of the day.
After a few hours, they’ll get tired. And also be content about accomplishing a ‘task.’
Most dogs, especially working breeds, would love that. So, make them entertained every day as much as possible.
Note: If you’re too busy, you may hire a dog walker to take your pooch on a stroll while you’re out.
#5: Consult with experts
You may have to visit your local vet if your pooch seems to have vision or hearing problems.
If their separation anxiety is difficult to handle, you may need the help of a behaviorist. And see what treatment plan best works for your dog.
#BONUS: Announce your presence
If you’re going home, avoid coming in sneakily. And make sure to say that you’re there.
This is to avoid freaking them out, which might result in a ferocious ‘alarm bark’ that can be heard around your area.