Why Does My Dog Bark or Pee On the Floor When I Leave?

This is the most common reason your dog peed on the floor as soon as you leaveI’ve received many emails from Dachshund owners who are frustrated that their dog barks all day, or pees in the house, when they’re gone.

Most ask me if I think their pup does it because they are mad – or out of spite – and how to stop it. Since this topic doesn’t only apply to Dachshunds, Chester used to have this issue, and it can be a problem when a dog is left alone in a car while traveling too, I thought it was about time I wrote an article about it.

Is My Dog Mad at Me For Leaving?

First, dogs can feel many emotions. These emotions are very different than human emotions though. While some may overlap, or are similar, dogs do not behave a certain way because they are “mad”  and they don’t “do it out of spite”. It may seem that way sometimes (trust me, I’ve wondered many times myself) but it’s not. Dogs “act out” as a way to communicate with us. If what they do is perceived as bad by us, it’s usually some kind of cry for help. The action is a result of what what they are experiencing at the moment, not something they rationally decided to do as “payback” for something you did earlier.

Separation anxiety is very real and something that is very common in Dachshunds. Separation anxiety is a type of distress that occurs when your dog is separated from you for any length of time (it may even be 5 minutes).

Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

A dog with separation anxiety may chew stuff when you are gone
Photo Credit: Depositphotos/chaos_08.bk.ru

If your dog is acting out when you leave the house, and they are exhibiting any of these behaviors, separation anxiety could be the cause:

  • Peeing in the house
  • Pooping in the house
  • Barking excessively
  • Howling for long periods
  • Chewing inappropriate objects
  • Digging or trying to escape

Peeing or pooping the house is easily noticed because you see the “surprise” when you come home. Chewing or digging is similar. You’ll know by the carnage left for you to clean up. However, barking and howling is harder to detect.

You may not know if your dog is barking or howling while you are gone. There is a chance you will hear them after you shut the front door. If you do, it’s safe to assume they are doing it all day (although that is not always the case). Rarely does a dog act out to such extremes and then calm themselves down naturally while the stressor is still there (you being gone). More typically though, the the behavior is reported by your neighbor – usually to you via note or in person or to the landlord who then tells you (not fun, trust me).

It’s important to note that your dog could by trying to tell you something completely different with these behaviors. The issue may not be that they dislike being left alone. They may have some health issue that is causing them to not feel well. If your dog is exhibiting any of these behaviors, it’s important to take them to the vet so you can rule out any other cause.

How to Help a Dog with Separation Anxiety

A crate can help a dog with separation anxiety
Photo Credit: Depositphotos/laures

If your dog is acting out, and you’ve ruled out any underlying health issues, the chances are pretty good that the cause is separation anxiety. So how do  you get them to stop behaving badly when you’re gone?

I’m definitely no expert on this topic. I’ve experienced it with both Chester and Gretel though. With Chester, he barked some but would pee on the carpet immediately after I walked out the door… even if he had just gone outside! Gretel would whine, howl, bark, and chew stuff. Curbing these behaviors was actually pretty easy for both dogs… which is why I am no expert.

For both dogs, a partial solution was to train them to sleep in a crate while I was gone. At first, this was more of a way to prevent them from peeing on the floor or chewing stuff up. In Chester’s case, the crate was the only solution I needed. It was no longer possible for him to pee on the carpet and he didn’t pee in the crate because, like most dogs, he wouldn’t soil where he slept. It didn’t do anything to address his separation anxiety but he never seemed upset or stressed by me being gone anymore. It could be because a lot of dogs find “hiding in a cave” to be soothing.

It wasn’t the whole solution for Gretel though.

I had to address Gretel’s underlying stress from feeling abandoned. She is very food motivated so all I had to do is give her a stuff treat toy when I left. I think it worked because she was so engrossed in getting the treats out that she didn’t even notice I left. And by the time she did notice, she was tired and went to sleep.

Training/Conditioning for Separation Anxiety

What I did worked for us but he proper way to deal with it would have involved conditioning them to me being gone by shutting the door then coming back in the house, walking down the stairs and coming back in, getting in my car and then going back in… you get the point, The goal is to go further, and stay away longer, until eventually they are not upset by you leaving.

There are several variations on this exercise. Since I personally can’t explain how to do this exercise properly, check out these articles:

Calming Products Can Reduce Your Dog’s Anxiety

Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that I get a few pennies if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, to help support this blog (and we really, really appreciate it!).

While your vet may be able to prescribe some sort of medication to help with your dog’s anxiety, I don’t recommend it. I strongly suggest you try the conditioning technique above and/or use some natural calming aids to try and take the edge off. Some options include:

Although I prefer natural treatments for separation anxiety, they don’t always work and they don’t always work fast enough. Sometimes your landlord might give you an ultimatum and you only have a few days to get your dog’s behavior under control. Veterinary-prescribed medication can be a way to calm your dog so the behavior diminishes or stops. It can also “take it down a few notches” so the training/conditioning is more effective.

Check out this article for a list of anti-anxiety medications you can ask your vet about.

Your turn: Have you dealt with separation anxiety? What helped your dog?

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. My Doxie is 15 and starting to pee in house. I first thought it to be behavioral but am now not so sure. Don’t believe he has any medical issues but am taking him to vet. Thanks for info re Chester I am afraid this is our path going forward

    1. Hi Gayle. This article is about separation anxiety as a cause, which can affect dogs of all ages. With senior dogs, it’s often medical related like incontinence or dementia (as was the case with Chester when he got older). If you haven’t already, you might want to also read my article on elderly dogs peeing in the house: https://youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com/old-dog-peeing-house-help/. I hope you can find the cause and it’s something simple.

  2. I have a 5 year old male Dachshund and a 2-3 year old female. All of a sudden I’m sure it is the male peeing in the house when I leave. It makes sense that it is separation axniety because of Covid I have been home so much so now when I leave they pee.
    Don’t know how to cure this however???

    1. Hi Jan. You are not alone and rest assured you did nothing wrong. Separation anxiety has become a huge issues for many, many dogs since COVID and owners being home more because of it. This article actually offers some help in the last section. These articles can also help: https://youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com/your-dachshund-may-not-be-peeing-in-the-house-for-the-reason-you-think/ and https://youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com/stop-dog-separation-anxiety/. Good luck to you.

  3. I have found this website very helpful. I have a 12 yo mini daschund and a 4 yo Basset Hound. They are best of friends, but my doxie has started urinating on the carpet almost every time I leave. Because she sleeps with me, I know she can go 10-12 hours without urinating, so I am fairly certain this is anxiety. I’m going to try the products you suggested and hope for the best. Thanks.

    1. Hi Sallie. That definitely sounds like separation anxiety to me. Good luck. I hope you can find a way to help.

  4. I’m having trouble with your web site I want to join i have a 13 yr old dapple but I’m having trouble with my ph I thing try to get back to me please

    1. Hi Judith. I’m not clear on what issue you are having with my website. There is nothing to “join”. If you have a question or need help, and are trying to leave a comment, those are held in moderation until I approve them. That means I receive any comments you post here but they won’t show up right away for you to see. It’s not because my website is broken. That’s how it is supposed to work. You can always comment like you did here to ask your question or email me directly at Jessica@pettalkmedia.com.

  5. Interesting story about my Pitt bull who was abused as a puppy and has separation anxiety; (he is almost 4 in November)
    He always had separation anxiety but when I got him, all my roommates had animals and there were lots of people in and out of the apartment. We had 2-3 cats and 2-4 other dogs in the house at all times, and 1-8 people consistently too. He had little issue then because someone was always there to let him out/keep him company. Once I finished school and moved home with just him, the anxiety made itself known because he was alone a lot more than he ever was before. Not to mention, if I’m gone for 8-12-occasionally 16 hours in a day, I can’t be mad if he’s had to use the bathroom in that time. (I know I did 3-5 times at least while I was gone.) ((I also personally disagree with caging for long hours and I don’t have one, so..))

    So after we (boyfriend and I) came home to the mess, we fussed at him (not too much and he already knew it was wrong from good training years prior and was immediately remorseful/sad eyes.)

    One day I left a already stained used towel on the floor by accident, and when I came home he went to the bathroom ON the towel and seemed to drag it around the ground to absorb more!

    Now that got me thinking. So now what I do for now is buy puppy pads or let him use old towels when I leave for work. I consistently lay it out in the kitchen which is easy to clean and a big area if it sprays, and he somehow trained himself to use the pad or a towel on days I’m gone for looooong hours. I’ve even left bags before and he’s attempted to put his number two in the bag! (That’s how i always clean it up so so guess he thought that would be right too?) I didn’t train either habit but I did reinforce it with praise, and yes I still have to spot mop daily, but you know what? It works for us.

    Someday when we have a home (currently saving for a down payment) and a doggie door, I feel confident the issue will go away when he can let himself out. (We plan to have a fence AND additional shock collar perimeter beyond the fence should he feel… jumpy) ((He also never goes inside if people are here he scratches at the door which is why so feel the indoor use is the best we can get until we move next year))

    But I say all of this because I want you to consider:

    Is my dog anxiety peeing/being naughty, or have I been gone for so long that they actually really really had to go?

    If it’s the later.. I’m not sure how much training will help. Humans expect each other to go in a 12 hour period, so we should super expect our animals to have to do the same, or more. There are many dog sitter services in many areas. If this is you working long hours dealing with messes, you may want to considering hiring a dog sitter to come over for a little to let them out/ feed them/play/ walk etc to help with your long work days.

    It’s easy to forget TIME as a variable and if you have a mop and hardwood floors, you may find some variation of this method useful.. and cheaper than a dog sitter. At least it’s partially cleaned this way, and you’ll know where to find it when you come home.

    Just consider really, how long you were gone before you go losing your mind or getting rid of your family member.

    Thanks all, stay safe and take care.

    1. Yes, definitely a good point. This article is about a dog peeing on the floor no matter how long you were gone – even if it was just 5 minutes – but expecting an adult dog to hold it for 10+ house is asking for trouble. One may very well come home to find a mess on the floor because they couldn’t hold it.

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