If your dog starts barking at night, this sudden change can be a central problem for everyone within earshot, including your neighbors. You may even be suffering from sleep deprivation. How can you stop your dog from barking at night? In this article you will find a step-by-step guide. It’ll help you restore peace in your family.
First, we need to find out why the barking occurs. If you understand why your dog is barking, you’ll be able to stop it.
- Main reasons why dogs bark at night
- How to stop your dog barking at night
- When nothing works
- Does it make sense to punish the animal for barking?
- Tips for puppy owners
- Should I ignore puppy barking?
- Related videos
Main reasons why dogs bark at night
Night barking is a typical problem for puppies and dogs of young age. However, it can also occur in older dogs.
The most common reasons for dogs barking at night:
- the dog wants to pee;
- he feels lonely;
- something has frightened your animal;
- the dog is sick or in pain;
- he’s bored;
- he misses his owner.
If your puppy starts barking at night, the first two items on this list are probably the cause of your problems.
Adult dogs may bark because something is bothering them, such as wild animals in the yard or some kind of disorder.
How to stop your dog barking at night
To stop dog barking, you can consider one of the following suggestions.
Step №1 – check the dog’s health condition
The first step is to make sure that your dog isn’t sick. Sometimes an upset stomach or bladder infection can wake your dog up in the night. He might cry and bark.
When your dog gets old, you should take him to the vet for a thorough checkup. There you'll find treatment options that can help and reduce your dog's barking.
Step №2 – check what might be bothering your dog
If your dog is barking at night, a disturbance could be causing the problem. A raccoon in the garbage can, cats in the neighborhood, or a neighbor leaving for work at 3 a.m. can trigger a previously calm dog to bark.
You need to prevent wild animals from getting into your yard and garbage can. And your dog may get used to your neighbor’s schedule within a day or two. Such disruptions are usually temporary, but they can also cause nighttime barking to be especially severe.
To keep an eye on your dog, I recommend a cool device – the Pet Camera Petcube. It’s not only a camera, but also a two-way communication device (you can talk to your dog) and a treat dispenser.
Step №3 – limit the space for your dog
Your dog should be kept in a specific place at night. Stressed dogs tend to run around. This can increase their stress. Especially if they’re running around in the hallway or going from one window to another, they’re unlikely to calm down on their own.
What can you do to stop the dog from barking?
- Have your furry friend sleep in a room that isn’t surrounded by windows that look out onto the street or backyard.
- Try locking your dog in a crate to limit his access and prevent him from barking and running around the house. If your dog isn’t comfortable in the crate, you should introduce him to it slowly with a positive attitude and give him lots of treats. Crate training can help your dog fall asleep instead of watching the world around him.
You can also try using a white noise machine as background noise. For some dogs, this works wonders.
Step №4 – more physical activity
If your dog is in good health and nothing is interfering with his sleep, the first step you can take to stop nighttime barking is to get him more physical and mental exercise.
The amount of exercise varies depending on the breed of dog. You can tell your dog is getting enough exercise if he is calm and quiet at the end of the day. If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, he’ll end up with a lot of energy he’s not using. Then the dog may behave badly and bark.
There are a variety of great toys you can use to keep him physically and mentally occupied. If you don’t have much time to play with your dog, you can buy puzzles, treat-dispensing toys, or an automatic ball launcher.
You can also make a playground for the dog in your yard. You can install a sandpit, a small pool or dog training agility equipment there. You can find more ideas in my article on how to create a dog friendly yard.
Step №5 – give your dog more attention
Dogs often bark at night when they’re alone. This is especially true if you aren’t home and your dog is left alone all the time. Dogs are social animals. Тhey need communication.
Spend more time with your dog when you’re home. Many pet owners let their dog sleep in their bed. If you don’t want that, you can offer him his own bed, but keep it as close to yours as possible.
Should I take my dog to my bed? It's not necessary. But if you're not averse, it can be a problem solver for older dogs. For older dogs with hearing loss, it can be a wonderful relaxation to stay with their owners at night.
Step 6 – Don’t let yourself be provoked
When their dog starts barking at night, most people wake up and devote a lot of time to their pet. They do this for a long time and sit with their dog until it falls asleep.
However, dogs, just like children, find attention satisfying. So later on, they may again use barking and whining to manipulate to get your attention.
If your dog’s barking wakes you up and you go downstairs in the evening to make sure the house isn’t on fire, possible intruders aren’t there, and your dog seems healthy, keep your visit as short and insignificant as possible.
When nothing works
It can actually happen that barking becomes a bad habit for a dog. If you’ve tried everything and you’re sure your dog is fine, you can turn to anti-barking devices.
You can choose a stationary device or a collar. My favorite for dog training right now is the BarkWise from GoodLife.
It can work in automatic mode or by remote control:
- In automatic mode, the device responds to excessive barking and activates the vibration and/or ultrasound. It silences the dog.
- If you disable the automatic mode, you can control the device with the remote control. You decide when you want to stop the dog and press the remote control. You can also give some commands, e.g. “Stop”.
Ultrasound is safe for animals and inaudible for humans.
With this promotional code you can save 10% on the purchase of a BarkWise collar:
Read the artikle about one of the best anti barking device - Dog Silencer Max.
Does it make sense to punish the animal for barking?
One method that some people try is to punish the dog to make it quiet. For example, they spray barking dogs with water, hit them, or shock them with an electronic collar.
Numerous studies have shown that punishing dogs can have negative consequences. It can reinforce aggressive behavior and reduce the ability to acquire new skills. These results have been demonstrated by mild punishments, such as simply telling the dog to stay away.
In this regard, almost all professional organizations that deal with dogs recommend that you avoid punishment altogether when training your dog.
Tips for puppy owners
If your puppy has only been with you for a short time, small noises at night are to be expected, especially if you assume that your puppy sleeps alone. The idea of sleeping alone is a little scary for a puppy who hasn’t met his family or new home yet.
That's why I recommend putting the puppy in a crate next to your bed at night. Being close to you in a safe area will calm a puppy and reduce nighttime barking.
Also, the puppy may bark or whine at night when he wants to go to the bathroom. Since nighttime barking can quickly become a habit, it’s best to prevent the puppy from waking up and get the dog out before he starts barking. Set your alarm for halfway through the night. This should be about four hours after the puppy goes to sleep.
Then gradually move that time forward as your puppy gets older. At about five months of age, most puppies sleep all night until they wake up in the early morning.
Should I ignore puppy barking?
If it’s an adult dog that barks out of habit and for no objective reason, you can ignore it. We have already written about such cases in this article. But with puppies, a different approach is needed.
The puppy will cry because he’s afraid and feels separation anxiety. He may stop crying when he realizes that no one has come. However, this doesn’t make the puppy feel better. He’s just upset in a quiet way.
Therefore, it’s better not to ignore the puppy – but to make sure that it sleeps near your bed. Then the puppy will get used to your home and be calm.
If your dog barks at night, follow this guide:
- start by identifying any underlying health issues;
- eliminate anything that might bother your dog at night;
- give your dog more attention and physical activity;
- limit your dog’s space at night;
- be honest about the expectations you have for young puppies.
The dog’s ability to stop barking is most effective when you make sure the dog is trained, mentally exhausted and ready to sleep.
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