Does your dog sing the sound of his people at night? Does he howl, bark, whimper, or growl while you’re trying to sleep? If so, I’m sure it can be quite annoying. You toss and turn in your bed, and then you’re stuck getting up to attend to your dog. If this is the case, I’m here to help!
You don’t have to suffer your dog’s barking at night forever. Correcting this behavior, like other training, requires time, patience, and love for your canine companion. Both your family and probably your neighbors will thank you!
In this article, I’ll share some reasons why your dog might bark at night. You’ll also see some tips and tricks you can try to alleviate your dog’s barking.
Keep in mind, however, that results will vary between dogs, and these tips might not work for everyone. Additionally, make sure to consult with your vet if you have any concerns that your dog’s barking stems from possible medical concerns.
Why Dogs Bark at Night
Night-time barking is easily one of the most common problems dog owners face and one that local authorities receive complaints about. Most owners unwittingly enable this behavior by simply giving their dog attention when they bark. Unfortunately the solution requires more effort to succeed.
Dogs might bark for any of the following reasons:
- Need attention due to loneliness or separation anxiety
- Perceived intruders or company
- Needing to go outside
- Other dogs
Need for Attention
Since they’re social animals, dogs love attention and company. If you have a new puppy, barking at night is pretty normal. They usually need a little time to adjust to their new surroundings, and they’ll usually adjust in a few weeks. Training them will help; just be patient and shower them with lots of love.
Dogs might also bark because they have no one around to interact with or they’re separated from their owner. A dog might not enjoy sleeping alone, especially if you’re the only living thing they encounter on a daily basis.
Howling indicates a dog’s loneliness; incessant barking might also be a ploy to gain your attention. Getting up to check on your dog, give them attention, and encouraging them to shush only exacerbates the problem further. It leads to a cycle of barking -> attention -> more barking that’s difficult to break.
Dogs often engage in undesirable behavior when they’re bored with nothing to do. A dog might bark at night to release pent-up energy, communicate with other dogs that might be barking in the neighborhood, or if they hear a noise.
A dog’s sense of hearing is much better than a human’s. If they hear any unusual noises, they might bark to alert you or other dogs in the area about the possible intrusion. It might be nothing or it might be something. If your dog is outside, it might not hurt to investigate.
Dogs might bark if they need to go outside. New dogs or puppies are more prone to bark when they need to go outside to relieve themselves than dogs that are housebroken. On the other hand, if you notice that your dog needs to relieve himself more often, especially at night, this might indicate something else is going on. Consult with your vet if you suspect this is the case.
The More the Merrier
As pack animals, dogs are more likely to engage is social barking if other dogs in the neighborhood begin barking. Although annoying, it might also mean something else is happening in the neighborhood.
If one dog spots a coyote or other animal, this can set off a chain reaction of barking. One dog sounds an alarm bark, and then the others facilitate territorial barking to protect what they perceive to be their domain.
Can’t Always Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
As dogs age, some might lose track of where they are or can’t remember. If your dog starts barking at night as they age, it might be that they’re experiencing cognitive decline. This is a good time to take your dog to the vet to see if they can diagnose the issue or
How to Stop a Dog Barking at Night
Frustrated with your dog barking at night? Here are some things you can try (and things you shouldn’t!) to help stop your dog from barking:
- Have your dog checked out by a vet if their barking has happened all of a sudden, and you’ve ruled out their need to go to the bathroom, other dogs, noises, intruders, and other stimuli. It might mean your dog has an illness or other underlying issue.
- Exercise your dog prior to bedtime. The more energy they’re able to expend, the more likely they are to sleep through the night.
- Consider crate training your dog. Dogs love a place where they can relax and hide. Crates give dogs a place to call their own. It also prevents them from roaming into areas of your home that you don’t want them to access.
- Remove the motivation for your dog to bark. Close the curtains if they see something outside. This decreases their visibility. Or bring your dog inside if they bark at another dog or perceived intruder.
- Interact with your dog as much as possible. Play with them, give them treats, give them love and head scratches, or give them a toy. The less bored your dog becomes, the less likely they will bark.
- Ignore your dog. Many dogs bark for attention. Paying attention to their barking encourages your dog to keep up the undesirable behavior because they associate their barking with attention.
- Teach your dog the “quiet” command. Training can help them know that barking is not always okay. If your dog barks, tell him quiet, and when he stops barking, give him a treat. Soon enough he’ll stop barking when he hears your command.
- Desensitize your dog to stimuli, if possible. This can be introducing them to the neighborhood dogs or noises they might find intimidating.
- Let your dog sleep in the same room as you or other dogs, if possible. This will keep him happy if his pack is in the same room as him.
- Yell at your dog. Yelling at them only frightens them and does not defuse the situation. This increases their fear of you and may work to increase their barking instead.
- Give your dog attention if they’re barking for your attention. This only encourages their behavior.
A barking dog can be frustrating. Fortunately, once you identify why your dog barks, you should be able to alleviate the problem. We hope you found the information in this article valuable and wish you the best of luck!