It is 3 a.m., and you are sleeping comfortably when suddenly your dog decides to start an alarmingly loud barking session. Most dog parents can easily relate to such a situation.
Well, dogs have barked, bark, and will keep on barking. That is something we must accept. Listening to our dogs’ bark is part of the beautiful dog parenting experience. But why do dogs bark at night? Is there a justified reason or just a whim? Well, sadly, the answer is not merely black and white. Read the article below to learn what triggers those late-night barking sessions.
The reasons why dogs bark at night
Here is the possible reasons why your barking at night so much.
This is the number one reason why dogs bark at night when nothing is going on. Just like us, dogs get easily bored. Unlike us, they are not limited by social rules. Plus, when bored, they are surprisingly creative in finding what to do. To a bored dog, only the sky is the limit. And since the sky is the limit, barking seems like a good anti-boredom idea.
Dogs may seem brave, but in fact, they get easily startled, particularly by loud noises – whether it is the next house’s alarm, the distant fireworks, or just a loud pedestrian passing by.
This serious behavioral problem is increasingly common in the canine world. Separation anxiety can trigger a plethora of destructive behaviors and it may be the reason why dogs bark in the middle of the night. If your dog gets nervous when you leave the house or when you go to sleep in a separate room, chances are it is experiencing separation anxiety.
A problem with the sleeping environment
When it comes to feeling comfortable, dogs can be quite picky. If the conditions in their sleeping environment are too hot, too cold, or just too bright, it could be why dogs bark at night.
Having to pee is a good reason why dogs engage in excessive barking at night. Barking is the dog’s way of telling you it needs to go out and relieve itself. While most adult dogs are capable of holding it during the night, young puppies do not have so much control over their bladders.
Dogs are voracious eaters. If you practice giving just one meal in the morning, chances are your dog will get hungry at night. Even if you give two meals per day, one in the morning and one in the evening, the time between the meals may seem too long for your pouch.
Dogs are very good at hiding pain, particularly during the day when they are distracted and when there are so many fun things to do. However, at night since, when they are alone, and there are no distractions, the pain may trigger unusual behaviors.
Dogs are highly social creatures and depend on lots of love and attention. Wondering why your dog starts barking at night? Maybe it feels lonely and unattended and it just wants to get your attention.
As pack animals dogs enjoy being surrounded by family members, both human and canine. If your dog gets lonely during the night and sleeping with you is not an option think about getting another dog to keep it company.
Why do dogs bark at night for no reason?
Well, this is the core issue – barking for no reason. It is a popular misconception that dogs bark for no reason. There is always a good reason why dogs bark.
However, it is us that sometimes fail to recognize that reason. Even if there is no visible reason for us, for the dog, there is an apparent reason. This is because dogs perceive things differently than we do.
Are all dogs equally prone to night barking?
Yes, all dogs can start barking in the middle of the night. However, when barking, some dogs can be louder than others. As surprisingly as it may sound, the tiny Chihuahua is the most notorious member on the loudest dogs list. Her yappy barking will keep the entire neighborhood up. Huskies, Beagles, Terriers, Basset Hounds, and Dachshunds are also on the list.
Things to consider when parenting a dog that barks all night
If your dog keeps you up all night, there are three basic things you need to consider:
- When did the night barking start – knowing when the problem started makes finding its cause much more straightforward.
- What is different when the dog barks vs. when it does not – if the trigger is identified, it can be easily prevented.
- How old is your dog – as stated, young puppies may bark because they need to pee while geriatric dogs may bark due to joint issues related to pain.
What can I do to prevent my dog from barking all night?
If there is an objectively justified reason for the barking, you need to eliminate it. For example, if your dog barks due to pain, have a vet treat the pain-causing condition.
If eliminating the cause is not possible, the least you can do is minimizes its influence. For example, if your dog has noise sensitivity, make sure it sleeps in a sound-proof environment.
However, if your dog barks because of its attention-seeking personality, the best thing you can do is ignore it. At first, the barking may become even more intense, but as time goes on, it will gradually get used to the idea of spending the night without being showered with attention. If instead of ignoring it, you get up and scold it or yell at it, you are answering to the attention-seeking effort and unwillingly encourage the behavior.
There is no doubt that we adore our dogs. However, we must admit there are nights when we pray for them to shut up and let us sleep. Unlike them, we do not have the luxury of spending the next day snoozing on the sofa. After all, we must go to work because somebody needs to pay for their care-free lifestyle, right?
All in all, there is always a reason why dogs bark at night. As responsible dog parents, it is up to us to discover that reason and either minimize it or preferably eliminate it. Keep in mind that professional dog behaviorists can help discover the reason and manage the barking.