Nothing ruins a good night’s sleep like your dog barking all night. Or maybe she just barks at you a few times during the night. Either way, I think we can agree that it’s annoying at best. Fortunately, there is an answer. Here’s how to stop your dog from barking at night.
Track the Source of Your Dog’s Nighttime Barking
Let’s start with the source. Before you can fix anything with your dog, you have to find the root of the problem. While it can seem difficult at first, once you start to see some patterns it will start to make sense.
Start by noting when and where your dog starts barking. Is it on days where something changed in his daily routine? Did he get exercise?
Also keep track of how you respond. What do you do to get your dog to stop? You might find this might be part of the problem.
Below, we have listed a few of the most common causes for dogs barking at night. Knowing this will help you get your dog to stop barking due to boredom, fear, attention seeking or them having a medical condition.
Stop the Boredom, Stop the Barking
A lot of dogs bark out of boredom. This can be from a lack of interaction, a lack of exercise, or a lack of mental stimulation.
If you leave your dog alone throughout the day, your dog will require a lot of attention as soon as you get home.
This can be really hard after a long day at work. You want to wind down, but your pup is just getting wound up. Chances are, he’s been sleeping all day!
Come up with a routine that fits your lifestyle and energy level that makes sure to provide both mental and physical exercise for your dog.
Physical Dog Boredom Beaters
It sounds way too simple, but nothing beats a long walk to tire out your dog for the night. If you can’t do that, try to get a good play session of something physical like fetch or tug of war.
The key is to get your dog to get some exercise. Dogs that don’t exercise either get sad and depressed or anxious and barks.
Mental Dog Boredom Busters
With all the emphasis on exercise, sometimes we forget about the mental stimulation our dogs need.
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The fact is, mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise. Try a puzzle feeder or a game of hide and go seek with your dog.
If you want a whole bunch of great ideas for mental exercise fun you can have, check out this great book Brain Training for Dogs. It covers everything you need to know.
Bottom line, making sure your dog is physically and mentally active will allow him or her to rest at night and will stop night time Barking.
Help Your Dog Overcome Fearfulness
Some dogs can become nervous or fearful for a variety of reasons. Humanesociety.org suggests that night barking can occur if your dog is under-socialized. This can cause them to be fearful of other people, objects or other animals, thus making them bark.
You can help resolve this type of barking by exposing them to the environment beyond the confines of your home and yard.
Dogs need to be properly socialized, not just with other dogs and people, but the environment around them.
Does Your Dog Bark To Request Something?
Dogs are smart. I know, it doesn’t always seem that way when they are licking garbage off the sidewalk. But they are smart and they are watching you.
Dogs observe you and know your routines. Often times, your dog will bark if they become excited. If you have a night routine where you walk your dog at night, they will usually bark when they see you walking towards the door to go outside.
If you crawl into bed and your dog barks at you until you finally get up and give them a treat or pet them or let them outside, your dog is learning to repeat that behavior.
The best way to prevent further barking because of that is to simply ignore it. Once you notice the barking has stopped, you can then reward them with a treat.
At first, your dog may stop barking for a few seconds.But, over time you’ll be able to stretch the amount of quiet time. This is mainly due to the anticipation of a snack. You can also reinforce their quiet behavior by praising them.
It’s pretty simple to understand but hard to put in action. When you reward a dog’s behavior, intentionally or unintentionally, that behavior will be repeated. The key is to break the chain of rewards.
Always Check for Health Issues
A lot of times, a dogs constant bark at night can be their way of expressing pain or other health-related conditions. They could also have an age related condition as well.
Petmd.com suggests that an excessive Barking can be caused by any illness, pain or a condition called cognitive dysfunction syndrome.
If you think your dog’s barking is caused by a medical condition, get your pup checked out by your vet.
Whatever the reason for your dog’s barking, you need a plan together that will benefit both you and your dog’s problem. That way you’ll know how to better resolve the underlying conditions.
Ultimately, be sure not punish your dog for their barking. This could reinforce it by having the dog understand it as attention. Wait to reward them after barking as ceased.
To me, it always seems unfair to punish a dog for something that I am responsible for. As pet parents and dog moms and dads, it’s our responsibility to take care of our buddies.
In the end, dogs don’t do things to intentionally annoy us, they do them because they have been trained by us, either intentionally or unintentionally.