Why Does My Dog Bark at Night?
Dogs are the best companions but sometimes they have a behavior that drives you and your neighbors nuts and can lead to many sleepless nights, and that is barking at night. Why do they bark at night? How can you get them to stop barking? First, you need to identify why they are barking.
Alerting you to “danger”
Dogs are built to protect their families and barking is one of the ways they alert their families to potential danger. At night, when you are sleeping, is a very vulnerable time for humans and your protective pup just wants to make sure you are safe. Unfortunately, dogs don’t recognize that a raccoon outside is not a threat or that your locks and house alarm will do a great job at keeping everyone safe.
Kenneling your dog is often a great solution that keeps them from being anxious and keeps them quiet. If kenneling is not an option for you, try to remove them from the areas that trigger the behavior, like windows. Another training method is to reward them for being quiet. This means you have to sit up with them for a while and then when they are quiet, after a period of barking, you give them a treat. Over time, your dog will start to associate quiet with reward. Then you start only giving them a treat when they are quiet during an event that would normally trigger barking.
Being left alone
Dogs don’t like being left alone. Leaving your dog outside all night encourages barking. For one, there are so many interesting sounds and smell that they may want to alert you to. Also, they can bark when they feel bored or lonely. Some people don’t like to leave their dog loose in the house while they sleep, this is where crate training is a great option, or give them a room to sleep in overnight.
Boredom is one of the biggest triggers for dogs to bark. Thankfully the solution is pretty easy, they need more physical and mental stimulation during the day so they are tired out at night. This is a great opportunity to give your dog more exercise and playtime. If they are worn out at night they are more likely to sleep than to bark.
Another way to help keep your dog from barking is to give them a nice place to sleep that is comforting to them. Give them toys to chew on to keep down any anxiety and help fight boredom. Sometimes getting them a companion can help to reduce loneliness. You can put lavender oil on their color to help mellow them out. You can add rescue remedies to their water to chill them out. If you really can’t get your dog to stop barking they may need to be evaluated by your vet to make sure there are no health issues going on. If they are healthy and you still can’t get them to be quiet, try eliciting the help of a professional trainer. If you are at your wit ends, you can also try a bark collar to use as a training aid. When you are getting a dog, keep their breed in mind when it comes to barking. Some breeds are much noisier than others. If you live in an apartment or have close neighbors you may not want a dog that is known for howling or barking.