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Your dog might do this on occasion or they might be waking you up every night. This happens to all of us, or has happened at least, and have you ever wondered, why do dogs bark at night? Most of the time this is a reaction. They might have seen or heard something, they might need something, or they might want your attention and I’m sure if they knew you didn’t like it and if they could do something else like writing you a note, they would. Now, let’s answer the question, why do dogs bark at night?
Why Do Dogs Bark at Night?
As annoying as it might be, it’s their natural instinct, and getting them to stop might just be a fruitless effort. Barking is one of their ways of communicating with you so It could be for a number of reasons. Some of these are:
If you’re always away and you leave your dog alone most of the time, they get lonely. They are social animals like us and being neglected has its effects on them. It can lead to behavior like barking continually when it’s late.
If your dog doesn’t get enough play or exercise during the day, they’ll just end up channeling all that energy into keeping themselves busy and it’s not as if your dog can put on your play station and play Call of Duty or something.
As a Warning
A lot of dogs are trained to alert their owners when there’s any disturbance. When a car drives by or someone walks by the fence or even when other animals like raccoons find their way onto your property. It could even be the wind blowing the leaves in your trees. Anything unusual may trigger continual barking in an attempt to alert you and possibly scare off the intruder. They have much better hearing than we do so even though you can’t hear anything they might not be barking for no reason.
A lot of things can happen outside at night. A lot of small creatures are moving around and making different sounds. if you let your dog out into the yard at night, without you supervising them they’ll most likely go exploring and may find something that interests them and start barking at it to see what happens. It’s a natural response, just like you’d try to poke it with a stick. Maybe that’s not the best analogy but you get the point.
Changes in The Environment
Unlike minor disturbances, some major changes could also cause late-night barking. Maybe your neighbor has a new job and now they come home very late or leave very late. Maybe a new dog has moved into the neighborhood or another dog walks into their territory. When one dog barks it usually sets off the others in the area and this will just be a headache for everyone. It could even be something as simple as a new gate that was installed close by making an unusual sound. Like I said before, they can hear a lot of things we can’t and they’ll most likely react when something unusual happens.
Dogs love our attention and if you constantly respond when they start barking it may have started out as something else but they’ll eventually associate your response to them barking and before you know it, they’ll be barking all night just to get your attention. You could give them more attention during the day when they’re not barking and ignore them at night when they are and if this is the problem, they’ll realize it doesn’t work anymore and stop.
Older dogs tend to have pains in their joints and these pains might lead to late-night barking, especially when you aren’t there to make them feel better. If your aging dog is showing signs of discomfort and pain you should pay a visit to the veterinarian.
Your Dog Needs to Pee
It’s probably just because your dog needs to pee and this happens more in puppies especially if they didn’t get the chance to pee in the evening.
Why Doesn’t My Dog React to These Sounds as Often During the Day?
The environment is always quiet at night and with their very good hearing and without all the distraction of daytime sounds they easily pick up sounds from every small thing that happens and they’ll react accordingly, by barking. They might even react to the scent of other animals in the area and not just sounds.
How to Stop Your Dog from Barking at Night?
If your dog isn’t barking just for your attention or already has a history of nighttime barking, ignoring them won’t help the situation. Here are some things you can try:
Don’t Encourage Barking
Like I said before, they might be trying to get your attention. Not giving them that attention is the best way to ensure that this behavior stops unless you’re sure that they’re barking for a different reason.
You could use bark control collars which emit a small burst of air or citronella when your dog barks. The hissing sound from the collar, the smell of citronella, or the blast of air act as distractions and can be annoying and they wouldn’t want it to happen again.
Ultrasonic barking deterrents which emit an ultrasonic tone to stop them from barking can be an option. The tone increases the more they bark and it can be a nuisance which they wouldn’t want to continue.
A lot of people don’t recommend this though because the sounds could increase their stress levels and bark usually results when they’re stressed but they won’t be able to bark because they don’t want the sounds to continue. These can have negative effects on their physical and mental health.
Bring Them Indoors
If you let your dogs out at night and their barking is becoming an issue for you, the best solution is to bring them indoors. It mostly sounds from things outside or things they’ll see outside that will trigger them and this way, if your dog starts barking and it is not just for attention then you’ll know it’s important and you should answer.
If your dogs can still hear others barking this will make them start barking too. You could put on the TV to prevent this or you could get a white noise machine and turn it on while they sleep. You could also put them in a room that doesn’t have windows close to external sources of noise like the road or the house of any neighbor who has a dog. The quieter the space, the better.
Spend Time with Them
You should spend time with them every day and give them sufficient exercise. If they’re calm at night then you’ll know you’re spending enough time with them. You should also try to walk your dogs every day and play games with them. They need exercise and this will help them sleep soundly. You could also let them sleep in your bed with you if you’re comfortable with it.
That way they won’t feel lonely. If not, you could get a bed for them as close to yours as you’re comfortable with. As an alternative, you can take them to a doggie daycare if you don’t have the time. They’ll get a lot of love and attention and the activities will tire them out.
There are crates designed for dogs for this purpose and you can train them to be comfortable inside these crates. You should introduce them to the crate slowly and use a lot of treats as rewards. Make sure the crate is very comfortable for them and you can provide a chew toy to avoid boredom while they’re in there.
This is an ideal and very good way to keep your dog contained overnight and it will give them a predetermined routine so they’ll have something to do instead of looking around and reacting to everything they see.
Let Them Pee Before Bedtime
It’ll be really helpful if you let them pee before going to bed because that might be the only reason they’re barking.
Pay A Visit to Your Veterinarian
Especially for older dogs, when you notice behavior like this, take them to the veterinarian. If they’re showing signs of pain, whatever their age, it might be because they’re having health issues so take them to the veterinarian.
Your dog is most likely not barking at anything, and it could be anything from small noises we can’t hear, to issues like loneliness or other serious health issues. You should try to restrict them to one area because giving them a lot of space to run around will just get them more excited and they’ll most likely not calm down till they get very tired. The crate is the best solution for this.
Go through all the reasons and possible solutions stated above and if nothing works then pay a visit to the veterinarian.