Is your dog consistently making a noise at night, keeping you awake with his incessant barking? Or has he suddenly developed a new behavior that has you wondering if there is cause for concern?
How can you determine what is causing your pet’s after-hours barking sessions and the best way to make them stop so everyone, including your dog, can get some rest? We’ll examine all this and more in the article below.
Why Do Dogs Bark at Night?
Dogs bark at night for any number of reasons. A dog with a sudden onset of nighttime barking could be experiencing pain due to an unseen injury or illness.
Your dog might also be barking as a form of seeking attention, or he could be alerting you to a noise caused by a stranger or something he deems a threat.
Are there breeds or types of dogs that bark more than others?
Thankfully these dogs are highly trainable, and with the right owner, they can curb their overprotective tendencies and be trained to bark less.
Regarding nighttime barking, breeds known to bark loudly at night include hunting dogs like Coonhounds and Beagles, as well as Huskies, Terriers, Shiba Inus, and Retrievers.
What things should you consider when finding the cause of your dog’s night-time barking?
Before you can try and stop your dog from barking at night, you need to try and figure out what is causing him to make a noise.
A trip to the veterinarian will help to rule out any potential health problems or injuries that could be causing him to make a noise. Some other things you will need to consider are the following.
- What does your dog’s bark sound like? Dogs not only bark but also cry, whine and howl. If your dog’s bark doesn’t sound like it usually does, it could be a sign of injury or that he is in pain.
- Where does your dog sleep? It’s possible that your dog simply isn’t comfortable at night, and his sleeping space is causing stress. Dogs can get as picky about their sleeping spaces as we do. You may also want to reconsider where your pet is sleeping in relation to you.
Check out this video of a cute puppy howling at night:
11 Common Reasons Why Your Dog Barks at Night
As you can see, your dog may be barking at night for various reasons. He may be hypersensitive to noise, trying to alert you to intruders, or trying to seek your attention.
He might also have a spate of separation anxiety or a more serious underlying illness that is causing him pain.
Here are some common reasons why your dog may bark at night.
1. Hypersensitivity to noise
Some dogs are very sensitive to noise and tend to be light sleepers. If you live in a bustling urban area, it could be that all the sounds in your environment are keeping your dog awake.
He may be picking up other dogs barking, distant sirens, or cars and trains that could trigger his barking.
2. Group barking
Dogs have very keen ears and can pick up other dogs barking in the neighborhood that you might not be able to hear.
As social animals, your dog may be triggered by these other pooches, causing him to join the pack and bark along with them.
3. To alert about intruders
Certain breeds of dogs make excellent watchdogs, and their protective natures will cause them to bark when they sense a threat.
If your dog occasionally barks at night, he is likely just showing his loyalty, and you likely don’t want to discourage this behavior.
Boredom can play a significant role in trigging your dog’s nighttime barking. Stimulating toys your dog can play with at night is a great way to solve his boredom without disturbing the rest of the house.
Not enough exercise
Dogs that aren’t sufficiently exercised during the day will try and release this pent-up energy at night. If you suspect this may cause your dog problems going for a brisk walk before bed could help.
5. Improper crate training
Keeping your dog crated at night is a great way to keep him safe and prevent any unwanted accidents in the house.
But owners that use their crate as a source of punishment or that haven’t done proper crate training may find their dogs barking at night when forced into them.
Is it normal for dogs who are new to the crate to bark at night?
If your dog is not used to a crate, he may bark at night when you try and put him in it. Instead, slowly introduce your dog to the crate, using plenty of positive reinforcement and treats.
Also, allow him to play and even eat in his crate during the day so that he starts to see it as a safe space.
6. A need for attention
If you work out of the house all day, your pet will look forward to those evening hours with you where he can play and get some attention.
However, with precious time in the day, you may not always have the energy or hours to dedicate to your dog, especially if you have plans to eat out or spend time with family or friends.
Dogs that don’t get enough attention during the day may start to seek that attention at night, which could lead to barking.
If your dog sleeps in an area away from you, he may just be lonely, and barking at night is his way of calling out to you.
Some people think that letting their dog sleep in the room or bed will increase separation anxiety, but no studies have proven this is true.
In fact, some studies suggest otherwise in that dogs that are close to their owners at night are happier, more content, and less likely to bark.
Lack of supervision
Unsupervised dogs tend to bark more at night. This is also true if your let your dog’s out at night without accompanying them.
A dark garden is full of exciting sounds and smells that your dog may react to at night, even if he doesn’t notice them during the day.
It could be simply that your dog feels uncomfortable or cold and, as a result, is struggling to drift off to sleep.
Getting your dog a new bed with plenty of cozy and comfortable blankets or lifting his bed or crate off the floor and onto a platform may help him get cozier at night.
Needing the bathroom
One of the most common reasons your dog may bark at you at night is that he needs to go to the bathroom. This could particularly happen several times a night if you have an older pet.
Some dogs may become restless at night and bark at you out of hunger. Delaying their night team meal may help to keep them fuller for longer, or you may consider feeding them more regularly during the day.
9. An illness or injury
The sudden onset of barking at night could signify that your dog is suffering pain from an injury or illness you can’t see.
If your pet is drooling excessively, refuses to eat or drink, seems uncoordinated, or doesn’t seem to recognize you, be sure to seek immediate care.
10. Stress or anxiety
Dogs that suffer from stress or anxiety may also bark at night. This may particularly be the case if your pet is forced to sleep in a separate space where he can’t see or get to you, only serving to increase his stress.
Dogs are social animals; when they feel separated from you, they may also bark. Dogs barking because of separation anxiety likely need extra love and affection when they feel most vulnerable at night.
It may help to have your dog’s bed in the room next to your bed.
11. Old age
The most common cause of the nighttime barking is canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) which usually affects older pets.
In addition, senior dogs are less likely to be able to get comfortable and may need to relieve themselves more at night.
Dementia is also quite common in older pets. 14% of pets over 11 or 12 years of age suffer from dementia. This confusion can cause your dog to exhibit strange behaviors, such as barking at night.
Why Is Your Dog Barking at Night All of a Sudden?
If your dog typically barks when someone comes near the door, or a car passes the window but is now barking for no apparent reason, you may want to rule out any health problems.
Taking your dog to the vet will help determine if there is an injury you can’t see or an illness causing your pet to bark due to pain.
Should You Ignore Your Dog’s Barking at Night?
If your dog has a health problem, you don’t want to ignore his nighttime barking. This is likely the case if your dog barks for hours on end with no way to stop him or no apparent cause for the noise.
That said, if your dog is barking as a form of attention-seeking behavior and you consistently let your dog out of his crate or give him cuddles when he barks at night, you may be reinforcing the behavior could lead to even more nighttime noise.
Should you punish your dog for barking at night?
If your dog gives the occasional bark at night when he hears a noise or suspects an intruder, you shouldn’t punish him as he is doing his job to protect you and his family.
But even if your dog is barking out of boredom or seeking attention, negative words and punishment could have an adverse effect.
You must practice patience and remember that positive reinforcement and consistency usually yield the best results.
How To Make a Dog Stop Barking At Night?
A little love and training can go a long way in getting your dog to stop barking at night. There are also several other actions that you can take to try and stop your pet from making a noise at night.
These include giving your dog plenty of exercise and play, socialization, or ignoring your pet.
1. Give your dog a comfier sleeping space
If discomfort at night is the source of your dog’s nighttime wakings, providing him with a cozier sleeping space may help him rest easier.
Invest in a comfy new bed set off the floor in a warm place where your dog can relax and feel at home.
2. Relax with a night routine
Just as we would use night routines for cueing children’s bedtime, you can do the same thing with your pet.
This routine can include brushing your dog or even providing him with shampoo or gentle massage with some calming scents.
3. Exercise your dog regularly
A dog that barks at night might simply have a lot of pent-up energy. If you don’t have enough time to dedicate to exercising and playing with your dog, you might consider hiring a dog walker during the day.
You can also ensure that your children spend plenty of time engaging in play with your dog, which will make your pet sufficiently tired at the end of the day and your kids as well.
4. Give your dog consistent socialization
Dogs that don’t get to spend much time with other people and animals may struggle to form bonds, seek extra attention, or suffer separation anxiety at night.
They can also become overly fearful or aggressive, leading to barking. Consistent socialization through dog classes and regular visits to the dog park will help in this respect.
5. Remove triggering stimuli
If your dog is bored, letting him play with a soft plush toy at night can be helpful; however, leaving him surrounded by all squeaky toys can encourage his behavior and cause extra triggers to prevent sleep, and nobody wants that.
You can also try removing other stimuli that may keep him awake such as led lights or a TV.
6. Don’t give in to attention-seeking behavior
If your dog is barking to seek your attention, you need to try not to give in to this behavior. Rushing to your dog’s side as soon as he starts barking may only solve to reinforce the behavior.
It would be much better to try and avoid the barking behavior through extra playtime, affection, and cuddles before bed.
7. Reward or ignore
When your dog starts barking, simply ignore them. You can reward them with love, affection, or even a treat when they stop barking. An attention-seeking dog will quickly learn that the best way to get your affection is not to bark.
8. Use calming products
Various calming products are made specifically for pets with anxiety and stress issues. These include essential oils, calming shampoos, and even chew toys that smell like lavender.
These may all help your dog to unwind and feel less stressed at the end of the day.
9. Work with a trainer
Suppose you’ve exhausted all your other options. In that case, you may want to enlist the help of a professional trainer who can help you determine the root cause of your dog’s behavioral problems and put in place workable strategies to resolve these issues.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dogs Barking at Night
Why do dogs bark at 3 am?
Many owners state that their dogs bark in the early morning at 2 or 3 am. Dogs typically bark as a form of communication or self-defense.
Most of the time, these dogs react to animals that tend to move around at this time, such as birds, rats and mice, raccoons, and badgers.
How long can a dog bark?
Many dogs, including puppies, can bark for long periods of up to a week or even more. When getting your dog’s barking under control, remember that what works for others may not necessarily be the right solution for you.
Is it normal for new puppies to bark at night?
A new puppy barking at night is the exception to the above rule, as it’s pretty standard.
These small dogs will likely feel quite homesick in the first few weeks you have them, and they also have inferior bladder control, which prevents them from sleeping.
When do puppies sleep through at night?
A puppy consistently waking through the night is usually temporary. Puppies typically begin sleeping through the night from around five months old, and even then, they like to get up bright and early.
What time is reasonable for puppies to wake up?
By around four or five months old, most puppies have enough bladder control to sleep for around six or seven hours in a row, so the time they get up will all depend on the time they go to bed.
Does waking up your dog earlier help with night-time barking?
Yes, it can. If you can set your alarm to wake up before your dog and then reward him for being quiet and calm in the morning, he may start to realize that he shouldn’t bark when he wakes up.
Should you and your dog be roommates?
If there isn’t a specific reason why your dog needs to sleep in a separate room or be confined to a crate at night, then there’s no reason why he can’t be in your bedroom with you.
Dogs that can be at your side, or even in the bed with you, at night are less likely to bark and whine.
Conclusion: What is the Best Solution For Your Dog’s Nighttime Barking?
Most dog owners struggle with unwanted barking at some stage or another, and while some breeds are more prone to being yappy, with the proper training, you can usually get your dog’s noise-making under control.
However, sometimes your dog’s barking at night could signify injury or illness.
Either way, there are plenty of things you can do to help try and curb your dog’s nighttime wakings, and we hope the above tips and tricks will help you get a good night’s rest.
Does your dog bark at night, and what are you doing to try and stop him? Let us know your story in the comments below.