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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2808
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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My poodle was left alone day and now he hides and barks

Customer Question

My poodle was left alone for a day and now he hides and barks at family members. What can I do to help him?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
I'm Dr. Jo and I'm here to help you with your question about your poodle. I'm so sorry you're seeing this very upsetting behavior, but glad you're looking for the information you need.
You may join the conversation at any time by typing in what you want to say then clicking REPLY. That way we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided and are happy to give me a positive rating.
As I said earlier, I completely understand how upsetting this must be, and I know it's awful to feel helpless to stop it. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take that will help to address and improve this behavior.
To start with, we must consider the possibility that this a coincidence and has nothing to do with the day he was left alone. He could be hiding and barking at family members because he is feeling poorly in some manner. Because of that, I would advise a trip to the vet just be sure. I'd hate to think there was something bothering him that needed treatment while we just assume this has to do with the day he was left alone.
If it turns out that he isn't ill or injured in any way, the best thing you can do to restore normal behavior is carry on as if things are normal. We'll most likely never know what or if anything happened while he was home alone to set this off, and it really isn't helpful to pursue that line of thinking.
Instead, focus on your regular routines of eating, drinking, exercise, playtime, and resting time. When he hides and barks, ignore it.
The worst thing to do would be to fret and fuss over him. This will only reaffirm his notion that there is something to be upset over (because clearly you are upset as well). If he can pick up on the idea that everything is normal and that you are carrying on as if it's business as usual, he will pick up on that and gradually return.
Don't push the issue. You can force this. Don't drag him out of his hiding place, just ignore him when he goes there and carry on as if nothing else is unusual.
With a little time and patience, he'll come around.
I'd like to recommend a book for you. It turns out that body language is really important with dogs, so it's important for us to act in a way that does not send our dogs confusing or upsetting messages. This doesn't come naturally for most people, so it's important to read and learn what you can. Here is a link to the book...
Also, I came across a great handout just this afternoon that I printed out to give to my clients. It contains some really great tips for steps you can take to avoid stress and anxiety in your dog.
I'll look it up and attach it below.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Here is a link to the handout...
I hope this information helps. If you are satisfied with the information I've provided, please take a moment to ACCEPT my answer and rate my response. If you are not, please let me know how else I may be of assistance.
Above, rest assured this problem will essentially correct itself if you ignore the barking and hiding and carry one with regular routines and rituals.
Thank you for using our website.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Just checking to see if you have any questions after reviewing the information I provided above.
Please let me know how else I can help you.
Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Jo