Having a hard time sleeping at night because of your noisy dog? Is your dog’s habit of barking at night what’s keeping you awake? This is by no means an unusual problem, and there may be plenty of reasons why your dog barks when it is time for everyone to sleep.
Dogs are creatures that use barking and howling as their way of communicating to other dogs or to other beings, like humans. They also use body language as another means of communication. The sound of their bark conveys feelings or messages that we cannot understand verbally.
But what are the common causes that make dogs act overly energetic at night, barking when there seems to be no reason for it at all?
Common Reasons Why Dogs Bark at Night
Dogs are often distracted by outside noises and this is one of the reasons why they bark. Curiosity and distraction make them bark at where the noise is coming from. Sometimes, it so happens that dogs bark at night even if it is quiet, but why?
They simply have better sense of hearing than us, humans. Compared to our ears, theirs can hear sounds from a much farther location. Those noises that they can hear from far away make them bark at night even if, to us, our homes seem to be completely silent.
Dogs do really want attention from their humans all day long. They seek it even more at night, when you are supposed to sleep. So, they keep on barking until you give them what they want – your attention.
Making them feel like you are petting them to make them comfortable when they barking at night really stimulates that habit. They will bark until you start giving them attention again.
3. Presence of Other Dogs
The presence and smell of other dogs are bound to distract your furry friends. Sometimes, they bark because there is a new dog in the neighborhood, so they perceive it as a strange presence on their own territory.
Most of the times, they bark as a way of responding to another dog’s barking. This is something related to social facilitation, a social behavior that prompts dogs to emulate what other dogs do.
4. Boredom or Loneliness
Boredom and loneliness are emotions that even we, humans, experience with a heavy heart. If we spend time away from our dogs, even for a little while, because we need to go to work or school, this can cause separation anxiety on their part. Sometimes, they are also bored and have nothing to do at home other than eat and play on their own.
As they see or even smell their humans again, they become stimulated and start to bark as a sign of that emotion suddenly washing over them. At night, they can become restless due to the fact that they spent the whole day doing nothing, so the energy has been building up.
These are the common causes of your dog’s barking at night. Causes like age or physical and mental conditions are also to be considered. Just make sure that you pay regular visits to the vet to check on your pet’s health in order to prevent night-barking.
Other than that, how can we stop dogs from barking at night if they don’t suffer from any conditions that require medical attention? Here are some tips that you can try:
How to Stop Your Dog Barking at Night Time
1. Don’t Shout at Your Dog to Make It Sit Quietly
Many people tend to shout at their dogs to stay quiet if they begin to bark. However, we should realize that they cannot fully understand what we are trying to say to them, so it is a complete waste of time to tell them to behave themselves.
Even when you yell, dogs seem to perceive the gesture as your giving them attention, whether positive or negative. Shouting is also interpreted as your “barking” back at your dogs, which is why they may intensify their barks as you try to convince them to stop. It therefore goes without saying that yelling at your furry friend will not help at all.
2. Ignore the Dog’s Bark
As previously mentioned, the dog’s barking will get your attention. If you allow it to get this attention, it will just continue to bark until you pet it and make it feel comfortable. Sometimes, dogs are just bored and lonely, which is another reason why they may bark. Ignoring them when barking will prove that they are nowhere near their goal of receiving attention. As a result, they will suddenly get tired of barking. In time, they will stop barking at night altogether. Of course, the process takes time, so that the idea that barking does not bring any benefits sinks in the dog’s mind.
Another way to prevent your dog from barking at night is for you to give it treats when it stops barking. We should learn to ignore our pets when they start barking at us, and instead give them attention and treats when they stop. Dogs will begin to think that they are being given attention when they become quiet.
3. Train your Dog to be “Quiet”
Sudden praises and delicious treats are needed for this tip. Take the time to train your dog so that it learns the “quiet” command. This command basically means that your dog will stop barking if it receives proper training, as well as some kind of reward.
To be able to train your dog to be “quiet”, you should first teach it how to “speak”. This command encourages your dog to bark, which is needed in order to teach it how to be quiet as well. When you give the “speak” command, be sure to let the dog bark, then praise it and give it treats.
After some time, you can teach him the “quiet” command by letting him “speak” or bark first. Do the “speak” command, then do the “quiet” one and be sure to give the dog time to remain silent. You can praise him and give him treats after being quiet for a while.
4. Make your Dog tired
If dogs get bored, that means that they have nothing to do while their humans are out somewhere. This in turn means that they can rest during the day and put all of their energy to “good” use during night time, when their humans return. Needless to say, that energy will turn into barking.
Be sure to play with your dogs before you sleep. This will cause them to be tired from playing and prevent them from barking.
5. Avoid Making contact with other Dogs or other animals
Sometimes, dogs just don’t want other dogs in their presence, because they are very cautious about their own territory. This will cause them to bark at night if other dogs from the neighborhood pass by your house.
Other animals can trigger similar reactions as well. As dogs become curious about the movements and reactions of other creatures around them, they will start to make noises themselves, namely by barking. They also resort to barking because the various creatures they come into contact with represent a source of distraction.
If you are able to make your pets avoid eye contact or distract them by playing with them or training them while other animals are around, this will prevent them from barking.
6. Let them stay inside the house
This is one strategy that many people find beneficial. Dogs who remain inside cannot respond to outside noises because they are comfortable inside. Since their territory will be limited to the house itself, they will not see any kind of disturbing movement and will not be distracted by other dogs or animals which pass by.
Many dogs show positive reactions to this strategy, because they feel like their territory is inside the house. Since noises and other distractions are avoided, the pets stop barking at night and they are able to sleep with their humans too.
Dogs are creatures that experience emotions and feelings, while at the same time reacting as a result of their so-called “instincts”. They do have reflexes, like barking, which is a usual response to distractions and noises. They are also very protective and cautious when it comes to their own territory, which brings to light their defensive mechanisms – one of them is, of course, barking.
Barking may also be a habit for dogs, resulting from the way we treat them. They can be trained to be quiet, but they can also be encouraged to “speak” often. Their habit of barking at night may be useful at times, as it can act as an alarm in the case of burglars trying to enter our homes. But most of the times, barking at night causes problems to us, people, because the noise prevents us from sleeping properly.
Many strategies can be used to make dogs stop barking at night, and I assure you that all of them are completely harmless. It’s simply a matter of time until both you and your dog get used to them. Afterwards, they will save you a lot of sleepless nights!
Dogs are and will always be lovable, attention-seeking pets, but they can also end up feeling distracted, bored, and lonely at times. All it takes is for you to find the right balance between affection and authority in your relationship with your doggo.