Our beloved dogs are the cutest things for us, but they can give us more than a headache. Even more, if they won’t stop barking at night.
It could lead us into trouble, with our neighbors or with our sleeping time, because dogs can get very intensive with this matter.
If we want to stop this from happening, we need to learn why do they bark at night, and what can we do in order to prevent this conduct.
Why Do Dogs Bark at Night
Since the beginning of the human-dog relationship, they were bred to alert the humans from a possible danger that we weren’t able to hear or sense. And you may want your dog to inform you when there is an intruder, but this is only one of many causes that can make your dog bark at night.
To make things a little bit harder, every case has its own solution. So to make your dog stop disturbing your and others’ sleep, you’ll have to first identify the problem.
Between the most common reasons for barking at night we can find:
Just to make sure your dog isn’t trying to tell you there’s something wrong with him, a quick vet check wouldn’t be bad to discard this chance. Once you know for sure your dog is medically good, you can start with the rest of the options.
Your dog will alert you from any intruder on the territory, which also includes nocturnal animals like raccoons or possums. If you want your dog to stop giving “false alarm” trespassing, you can do the following:
- Check for the reason, if you can confirm there was a person around your property limits, praise your dog for encouraging barking when there’s a suspicious person near your house.
- If, on the other hand, you cannot find any potential intruder, such as an opossum or raccoon, wait for your dog to calm down and show anger. This will be associated with "nothing to alert" when he smells the aforementioned animals.
Many dogs will likely not have enough physical and mental activities during the day. This will result in active nighttime, he needs to express that he has a lot of energy still, which traduces to barking all night. You probably would like to try:
- Take more walks if possible during the daytime, regardless of the number of walks you’re doing. Try adding one or two more rides, or try different places to stimulate his mind.
- Get a few toys your dog likes, so he can play with you or by himself when you’re not at home. An exhausted dog means a sleepy dog during nighttime!
If you are away from home for long periods, your dog will start to feel lonely, even more, if they are left alone at night. That will make the dog try to get your attention, probably by barking. Some solutions could be:
- Make him sleep with you. Some people even let their dogs sleep on the same bed. If that’s not your case, you can try buying a bed for your pup and let him sleep in your room, or inside the house.
- Try to spend all the possible time with your dog, let him stay inside with you all the time you’re at home. This will make him feel safer when you’re not in the house and can calm his feelings of loneliness.
Is It Good to Punish a Dog That Barks at Night?
We mentioned before that even yelling at them, or telling them to stop, will lead to the opposite result than we wanted. Most of the time, your dog will have this behavior because he’s trying to draw your attention, you don’t have to give it to him at that moment. But that doesn’t mean not giving attention at all.
Punishing physically isn’t a good way to teach a dog a habit. But going even further, if your dog suffers from separation anxiety, and you punish him for barking at night, the problem could worsen even more.
To make things clear, the answer is no, you shouldn’t punish physically your dog for this behavior (or any other). Instead, ignore him when he’s doing something wrong, and treat him when he stops doing so.
Other Good Things to Try Out
As complementation of the regular methods we gave, you could also add some of this:
- Calming essentials for dogs: Toys with organic lavender or essential oil blends, are both good and safe to help with the work of soothing our dogs.
- Get a new bed or change the sleeping spot: Dogs can get picky about where they sleep at night, if they don’t feel comfortable, they won’t. A bed is always better than the floor, inside is better than the outside.
- Take an evening walk: If your dog is lacking exercise, he will thank you for any extra walk you give him, with the plus of returning home tired and ready for a sleepy night.
Let me advance you, this won’t be easy or fast, but with the advice we talked about here, you will succeed for sure. As long as you follow the steps of ignoring when it’s required, rewarding your dog when he’s calm, and reinforcing that conduct of being calm and quiet at night. You’ll make your dog feel safer and he’ll stop barking at night.
You probably would like to check this article about dog training too.
And remember that your dog loves you, and he deserves your love back!