A dog’s bark is considered his voice and just like we express ourselves with talking, our dogs express themselves with barking. Still, when they bark at night it is indeed annoying.
Dogs bark at night for reasons like alertness, activity, loneliness, boredom, pain/injury, intruders, or group barking.
While some of these causes come with solutions, a few dogs cannot be kept completely quiet during the night.
Thus it would be wise to research well about the breed and their barking levels before you buy or adopt your dog.
Common Reasons Why Dogs Bark at Night
Dogs bark for a range of different reasons. Your ability to stop your dog barking at night depends on deciphering the reason first.
Here is a list of reasons why dogs bark at night.
1) Night Activity
Sometimes all it takes is a rat or animal to scamper across the grass to initiate the barking.
Certain noises and activities occurring outside can also draw your dog’s full attention. Although he wants to get outside and explore more, he is not able to.
This reality aggravates him and the barking is mainly because of the moving objects beyond his reach.
Try to use curtains or blinds to block any signs of movement from the windows. A sound machine can assist in blocking out noise. Keeping the tv or radio on for a while can be a helpful distraction. Perhaps it can get him to fall asleep!
Dogs are highly social animals and crave attention and companionship from humans. Spending a lot of time at work and then locking him up in a different room can cause barking. This applies to both puppies and adult dogs.
Some small dogs crave attention and company and take to barking when neglected. The Chihuahua is one such example. Read about a Barking Chihuahua for more information.
Letting your dog sleep in your bed is not the only solution! You can place his bed next to yours.
Another option is to offer him a crate. The crate is a great way to train your dog and prevent unruly behavior at night. It also helps to set a sense of routine.
Another solution is to increase the family with another furry companion. Hopefully, they will learn to give company to each other at night. Do research about the dog’s breed behaviour to other furry friends before.
Why do dogs bark at night? An unexpected cause can be too much energy!
A dog that is not getting enough exercise during the day will use it on barking at night. You can test this theory by giving him more exercise and observing his night barking patterns.
This problem could be more common among large dogs that do not have garden space. Night barking could be more prominent among dogs that naturally have a high energy drive.
Every dog should have adequate exercise and space for playtime every day. Exercise requirements are based on dog breed and age of the dog.
You could also try rearranging your dog’s nap time to make him sleep at night. Interestingly dogs learn to mimic their owner’s sleep patterns, so sleep early to set an example for your dog!
4) Group Barking
Dogs are pack animals who follow the leader. If many dogs bark at night, they could be spurring each other on.
‘Group barking’ is when dogs bark at night induced by their social nature. It starts with one dog barking and the rest following suit.
Not much you can do to stop the other dogs, but you could try using methods of blocking the sound.
5) Needing to Pee
If your dog is trained to only use the toilet outdoors, surviving the night will be tough. When faced with the urge to urinate, your dog will voice his plea. By ‘voice his plea’ we mean barking until you give him what he wants.
Getting up at some unknown hour to take your dog outside is just not practical.
Any dog, big or small, should undergo indoor potty training.
This guarantees you a full night’s sleep. If you sleep late and wake early you can try letting your dog out for one last bathroom break before you sleep.
6) Unfavorable Conditions
Dogs usually aren’t fussy animals and tend to sleep easily.
However, something out of place can cause your canine to get upset and revolt with barking. Examples of unfavorable conditions are temperature (too hot/too cold), amount of light, and hard sleeping areas.
Sometimes small changes to their environment keep them awake. Negligible changes can be acknowledged by dogs as they have heightened senses.
Any condition unsuitable for yourself is probably unsuitable for your dog also. With this in mind, you are likely to create a cozy comfortable sleep space for your dog.
A dog experiencing pain or discomfort will take to barking or howling to release his emotions.
If the noise doesn’t seem to end, owners should be concerned. Barking at night due to injury or pain should be accompanied by some characteristics during the daytime as well.
Owners should stay vigilant and open minded to such things. Perhaps the pain is not physical but emotional. Dogs with separation anxiety can develop night barking habits.
You can have a look at your dog’s body to pinpoint an injury. Otherwise, a visit to the vet and some tests can reveal more information about diseases and injuries.
8) Lack of Training
A dogs ‘mouthy’ behavior can sometimes come down to lack of training.
‘Yappiness’ is often observed in smaller dogs and requires training to be removed or controlled. If you fail to do this from a young age, your dog will not know the barking is a nuisance.
Dogs can sense what angers their owners. A naughty dog might do it on purpose, knowing that you will not punish him.
Training your puppy is easier than training an adult dog. Start from a young age to curb night time dog barking. Use positive methods to achieve the desired results faster.
9) Encouraging Barking
Never reward a dog for night barking. This simply encourages him to keep doing it. Treats and cuddles will give him the impression to keep doing it.
Instead show your disapproval by holding back on treats and cuddles.
When your dog barks at night, wait for him to be quiet and then give him a treat.
Make sure to offer verbal praise so he knows what is happening. Dogs are smart and it won’t be long before he connects the dots.
Silence equals treat! Once he understands this, he will consciously try not to bark.
Of course, no human would like to fall asleep on an empty stomach. The same goes for dogs, hungry stray dogs bark at night and so will a hungry pet dog.
Offering your dog some more food at night may lead to extra weight gain, and eventually obesity. To prevent this and still solve the problem, food planning is required.
If you feed your dog once in the morning, lessen the amount and give some at night. Judge the amounts based on the size, age, and activity level of your dog.
11) Home Invasion/Burglars
The second most popular reason for adopting a dog is for protection and safety. Dog’s bark furiously when an intruder enters his home.
Automatically as a dog owner, you will be able to identify this bark. The barking will be loud, agitated, and non-stop.
There are no solutions for a dog barking at an intruder. In fact, you will not want him to stop barking.
Barking dogs are a leading reason behind failed burglary attempts and criminals being caught.
What Not To Do When Your Dog Barks at Night!
Not sleeping well due to dogs barking at night can be frustrating.
But if you want things to change you have to set the mood. This starts by making your dog know that the noise at night is unwanted.
Here are tips on what not to do when your pooch barks after dark.
- Do not offer rewards, do not offer him cuddles as this sends the wrong message. Instead, make your disapproval known.
- Do not smack, beat or lock him up, this only creates fear. A fearful dog never obeys his owner.
- Avoid using harmful collars and equipment that could harm your dog.
How to Make Your Dog Stop Barking at Night?
Making your dog to stop barking at night will not happen overnight. But if you really want to sleep well at night, you need to put in some effort! Here are a few tips that you can follow.
Block Out Stimulating Noises and Smells
Noises and smells are very tantalizing and stimulate your dog. This only makes him want to explore them. To prevent your dog from exploring these sense stimulating distractions, you must block them out.
Exposure to Surroundings
Leading on from the previous point of things that stimulate dog barking, exposure helps. Getting your dog used to sounds, smells, and activity during the day. This can help him adapt to all the activities occurring during the night.
Providing a Confined Sleeping Spot
A dog that sleeps in a confined area will learn to cope with and ignore noises at night. It might seem cruel but a crate is an effective training tool.
Letting your pooch sleep in an open area can make him anxious with unwanted sounds and smells.
Why do dogs howl at 3am?
Dogs do not howl during night. It is very rare.
Yet, if you are living near a forest, there could be some wild animals like coyotes who can be howling. Your furry pooch can also start following the same as they listen to it.
Blocking the sound and giving them some peacuful sleeping space would be your ideal solution.
Should I ignore my dog barking at night?
If your dog is barking at night even though you have checked the above reasons, ignoring is best.
This barking is just an attempt to get extra attention from his owners. Telling him to be quiet or to go to sleep is also considered ‘attention’.