Dog Howls When Left Alone

Our dog is a springer spaniel (7 years old) and we have had him since he was 8 weeks old. Generally he is a lovely dog until we go out and he howls terribly until we come back - why does he do this?

Unfortunately Springer Spaniels are notoriously nervous animals. There is no easy answer to this question I am afraid. Your dog needs to feel secure and loved, and above all needs to be content on his own. It is uncommon for Springer Spaniels to try and dominate their household – normally they are submissive and puppy-like throughout their lives and this is reflected in your dogs current behavior.

The basis of the problem lies with confidence building, although I suspect that after 7 years this behavior may not be reversible. Providing toys and special treats when you leave the house is not a solution, as it would keep him entertained for only a short time and may only serve as a cue to him that you are about to leave him. If you can, you should confine him to the room where his bed lies for at least several hours a day, preferably at quiet times in your household but when he still knows you are home. Ignore his attempts to join you.

In time, he may be content in the knowledge that you have not left him and he may learn to be secure in his own room when you are indeed out of the house.