Humans talk. Dogs bark; that is how they communicate. Barking can signify your dog is happy, wants your attention, or is simply bored. It could also mean your dog is scared, alarmed, or suffering from separation anxiety.
Some dog breeds tend to be more vocal than others. For example, a Chihuahua can be a small, innocent-looking dog, but boy does it bark! Other breeds like German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies can bring the roof down with their barks.
The habit can get quickly annoying, especially if the dog starts howling at night. If you are wondering how to get your dog to stop barking at night, you first need to figure out the reason for barking. The article will take you through different ways you can control this behavior.
- Why is Your Dog Barking at Night?
- How to Get Your Dog Stop Barking at Night? – 9 Effective Ways
Why is Your Dog Barking at Night?
You cannot do away with the barking if you own a dog, as it is innate in them. So if you think your dog barks excessively at night, here are some possible reasons for the same.
1. They Hear Something You Do Not
No, we do not mean ghosts! A dog’s hearing capability is far superior to a human. If you live in a populated urban area, external noises like cars zooming by, people talking, or another dog howling down the road can catch your dog’s attention.
If you live in an area rich with wildlife, your dog can hear them scurrying around at night. It could be squirrels up in the trees, raccoons, or even owls hooting outside. You may sleep through these noises, but the dog can go into alert mode and start barking.
2. Pent Up Energy
Some dog breeds can keep healthy with 30 minutes of exercise daily. On the other hand, some dogs would need a minimum of two hours of exercise to match their energy levels.
If you bring home an athletic, intelligent, and highly energetic dog, you will have to cater to its physical and mental needs. For example, if the dog is kept indoors for extended periods or if it is not kept busy with toys or puzzles, it can lead to destructive behavior.
Unrelentless barking at night could be a sign the dog has pent-up energy it is trying to get rid of.
Ideally, the dog should be fed a minimum of two meals, with a gap of about 12 hours. However, you can also split the meal times into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, adjusting the quantity of the food.
If you are feeding the dog too little or the gap between meals is too long, your dog could be hungry. And it will let you know by barking through the night.
If you are unsure about forming a feeding schedule, seek help from the vet.
4. Separation Anxiety
Does your dog sleep in a different room? Is it left home alone during the day? Pets with this condition tend to bark excessively. This is because they do not like to be left alone. They can start barking when you leave them in a room to go to sleep.
They will also exhibit other behaviors like pacing in circles, destroying objects in the room, or having no control over their bowel movement.
If your dog has suddenly started barking in the night, you need to investigate the reason. For example, if it is an aging dog, it could be that its joints pain when sleeping. Or it could have sustained an injury when running through the house.
Barking is its way to let you know it is not ok. It is best to get the dog checked by the vet in this scenario.
6. Change in Environment
Have you recently moved houses? Made a change in your dog’s diet? Or have you shifted the dog to a new sleeping place?
You may have experienced difficulty falling asleep in a new place. The same goes for the dog. It will take some time to adjust to a new routine. But in the meantime, it will let its displeasure and confusion known by barking at night.
How to Get Your Dog Stop Barking at Night? – 9 Effective Ways
Now that we have gone through the possible causes your dog barks at night, let us look at some solutions that can help.
1. Take a Look at the Dog’s Sleeping Environment
Your dog should ideally be sleeping in a room away from the main door or windows. Your dog will be up and running if it hears the doorbell or a car drive by.
It is understandable you cannot drown out all external noises. But, creating a barrier with thick curtains and doors can help.
Could you take a look at their bed? Is it comfortable? Or does it need replacing? You can add blankets and plush toys to make the sleeping arrangement appealing. Get a non-squeaky plush toy, or you will be dealing with loud squeaks instead of barking in the night.
If it is a new environment for the dog, be patient and give it some time to adjust.
2. Ensure the Dog Gets Exercise
If you have a Siberian Husky, Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, or Border Collie, among others, at home, be ready for extended exercise hours.
Some dog breeds were bred specially for hunting and herding activities. These dogs are used to working through the day. If you take a highly-energetic dog and stick it inside a room, it will find ways to use its energy.
Look into how much exercise your dog needs. Indulge in different activities like walking, hiking, running, swimming, playing fetch, and tug of war. Invest in puzzles and toys to keep the dog occupied. A dog that has been up and about during the day should sleep soundly at night.
3. Feed them Enough Food
See what meal times work best with your pet. For some dogs, instead of two big meals a day, several small meals throughout the day work best. For example, a meal in the evening can keep it full to get through the night.
Do not worry about over-feeding the dog. Instead, measure the amount of dog food you normally give and separate them into smaller batches. Do not hesitate to contact your vet for any diet-related queries.
4. Spend Time with Them
Dog breeds like Boston Terrier, Greyhound, Maltese, Shiba Inu, or Lhasa Apso do not mind being left home alone. This does not mean they do not want you to show some love, but they will not cling for your attention.
But, if you have a Terrier, Bulldog, Australian Shepherd, Siberian Husky, or a German Shorthaired Pointer, they will need plenty of attention.
These breeds can get lonely or develop separation anxiety if left alone for longer periods. Barking is their way of telling you they want to play or cuddle. Have 30 minutes or an hour set aside for playtime in the evening. Or you can take the dog out for a walk at night.
5. Work on Avoiding the Trigger
If your dog sits at the window and barks at everything and anything that moves, remove the trigger. Make them sleep in a windowless room or in a room where they cannot reach the windows. Use curtains to block their view.
If the doorbell is the trigger, you need to teach the dog to avoid it. For example, ask a friend to ring the doorbell, command the dog to stay, and give it treats. Repeat this process multiple times. If the dog barks and runs to the door, stop with the treats. If it stays, give it a treat.
Soon, your dog will learn to avoid the doorbell.
6. Consider Crate Training
If your dog is lonely or suffers from separation anxiety, it is best you could take them to sleep beside you at night. Where you let the dog sleep is your personal preference. You can let it sleep on your bed, keep the dog bed nearby or let them sleep in a crate.
With crate training, you can encourage the dog to focus on its immediate surroundings than what is going on outside. Make the crate as comfortable as possible. Add an appropriate-sized bed. You can keep toys inside to keep your dog company through the night.
Do not push the pet into the crate. When the dog goes inside the crate, give it a treat. Slowly increase the time you keep the dog in the crate. The crate should become a safe haven for the dog and not some punishment.
7. Obedience Training
How to get your dog to stop barking at night? Let us tell you, yelling is not the way to go about it. In fact, yelling can make matters worse. Instead, you can try obedience training with the help of the trusted ‘treats.’
When your dog barks at night, command them (not yell) to stay quiet. When they calm down, give them a treat. If they start barking again, command them to stay quiet. Please do not give them a treat unless they calm down. Repeat this process.
Your dog will soon learn that barking through the night is not a behavior that you appreciate. Please be patient and consistent with the training, though. This is not something your dog will learn overnight.
8. Ignore the Behavior
Some dogs bark at night just to get your attention. They might not particularly need something from you like food but your undivided attention.
If the dog has exercised, eaten, and has a good place to sleep next to you, and it is still barking, you will have to ignore its barking.
When you quickly respond to its barking, it lets the dog know it can get anything from you by simply barking. This can develop into an aggressive habit.
It will not be easy but do not give the dog any attention. When it sees that its behavior does not affect you, it will eventually calm down and stop barking at night.
9. Seek Professional Help
If barking at night is something new your dog has picked up, you need to figure out the cause. For example, if you have a senior dog at home, its old bed may no longer be comfortable. Its aging joint will need extra support, so you will have to swap the regular bed for an orthopedic bed.
Monitor the dog’s behavior. If it shows additional symptoms like limping, tiredness, or loss of appetite, it warrants a visit to the vet.
If the dog is in good health but if training it has taken a toll on you, consider seeking help from professional trainers.
You May Also Read: Is Bark Bad for Dogs? The Eye-Opening Facts
How to get your dog to stop barking at night? Start with identifying the cause for barking.
There are different reasons why your dog barks at night. External sounds like cars passing by or wild animals running through trees can make your dog feel excited, alert, or nervous. Your dog could be hungry or trying to find ways to release pent-up energy. Or it could be lonely or in pain.
Give your dog enough exercise, food, attention, and love. Ensure it has an inviting and comfortable sleeping place. Invest time in obedience training. If none of the techniques work, seek professional help.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.