On the list of things that are most annoying to be kept awake from at night, hearing a dog bark incessantly has to be one of them.
Not only is the sound bad for you if it’s your pooch making the noise, but it’s likely keeping the rest of your neighborhood up as well and at a much higher rate of annoyance.
When your dog’s been barking at night, you’ll know about it, and whether it’s a new routine they’ve picked up or something they’ve been doing since they were a puppy, it needs to be stopped as soon as possible. You might feel as though you’re at your wit’s end with this bad habit, but there are ways around it and tools out there that can help.
Why do dogs bark at night and how do you stop it?
A dog barks for many reasons, including out of frustration, boredom, fear, and protection. If your dog has recently started at night, you should look at what’s causing it and get to the root of the problem, whether it’s increasing their daily exercise, getting them a more comfortable place to sleep, or undergoing some behavior training.
If your pooch has started up a nightly chorus of barks, you’ve probably already heard some complaints from others as well. With our help, you’ll be able to establish why the barking has started, what it possibly means, and what you can do about it, so that everyone around you can get some sleep; your pooch included.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Dogs can’t communicate as easily as just telling us their thoughts by speaking them, so their barks are one of the easiest ways for them to do so.
There are many reasons a dog might bark though, ranging from excitement to fear, but the most common reason is that they’ve become conditioned to it.
Dogs learn from their past behavior and how their owners react to it, and whether it’s a good or bad reaction doesn’t matter. There’s a good chance that your dog has barked in the past to get your attention, and rather than going through the proper methods of training them not to do that, you’ve reacted in some sort of way, and this has reinforced the behavior.
Other Reasons for Dog’s Barking
If you don’t think it’s due to this habit-forming over the years and it seems to have come on suddenly, there might be other reasons for it.
Consider the following if your dog has started yapping at night and is waking everybody up hours before their alarm.
If your dog sleeps alone outside, they might feel lonely at night, which can lead them to bark trying to get someone’s attention. Howling is a common way for all canines to express this feeling of loneliness, and it ranges from wolves to puppies who like to partake in it.
A bored dog is a noisy dog, and since they can’t come straight out and tell you that they’re going crazy with boredom, they’ll bark instead. Your dog could be feeling restless from a lack of exercise or not have enough stimulation at home, and this will come out with a lot of barking and noise throughout the day and night.
Dogs have sensitive hearing and they’re able to hear things that we can’t. This means sounds that would otherwise go undetected, especially in the middle of the night, are picked up by the super hearing of your pooch, which they’re happy to relay back to you with a series of barks.
Not all canines are natural guard dogs, but for those that are, they might be barking to alert you that something isn’t right. Whether this is a prowler, unknown visitor, or something less sinister, they might bark to let you know that there’s something you should know about.
- Neighborhood dogs
Dogs work on a pack mentality, and if they hear another dog going off, they’ll partake in this socially facilitate barking. Dogs react to what other dogs are doing, so it’s only natural that they’ll join in with the rest of the neighborhood if someone else starts to make a ruckus.
The area you live could have a lot of critters that come out at night, inevitably setting your dog off. If you think there might be a wildlife problem around your house, try setting up a camera to get an idea of what’s troubling your dog, and then get in contact with a pest control company or wildlife rescue center to rectify it.
- Behavioral problems
As discussed earlier, there could be something you’ve done in the past that has triggered the barking. Whether you went to them the first time they made a noise, allowed them to once sleep in your bed but then revoked the privilege, or made some change to their living circumstances that they’re not happy about, you could be a major part of the problem.
Can Dogs Bark in Their Sleep?
If you’ve ever watched your dog snoozing before, you’ll know that they don’t always doze so peacefully. It’s common for a dog to bark while they’re asleep, and make a range of other sounds like whimpers, whines, and growls, which are all totally normal.
Science has suggested that a dog’s brain works like a human during sleep, and researchers believe that they can dream just as we do. The electrical activity that occurs in their brain while they’re dozing means they make vocalizations, have rapid eye movements, and their muscles twitch, and this means they’re in the REM sleep phase.
There shouldn’t be any cause for concern if your dog has started barking in their sleep, even if they’ve never done it before. It could be due to recent changes in their lives that have led to different types of dreams, just like we encounter, and for the most part, it’s normal behavior that can change throughout their lives.
Ways to Stop a Barking Dog
When your dog has been keeping you up at night with its barking, or your neighbors have vented their frustration about the problem, it’s time to look for solutions.
The longer you leave this issue to go on, the worse it will be, and the harder it is to undo, so as soon as the barking becomes a problem, it’s time to nip it in the bud.
If your dog is barking out of bad habits that have formed, you might want to look at starting their basic behavioral training all over again.
Dog training is crucial from the early ages of puppyhood, but whether you got your dog later in life or just glossed over it, it’s something every responsible pet owner needs to do. Check out courses and sessions in your local area and book them in for a training reboot.
Ignore the dog
You might have taught your dog over the years that you give them attention whenever they make a sound, whether consciously or not. T
herefore, they’ve started barking at night just because they want you around. If you’ve ruled out other issues, the best solution here is to ignore them completely. This can be hard with other people around to be mindful of, but after a few nights of no response, your dog will hopefully get the picture.
Wear them out
A dog that’s barking out of boredom or restlessness probably hasn’t had enough stimulation during the day.
Ensure that they’re getting adequate physical and mental stimulation with a daily walk and other exercises, plus some toys that can keep their minds active. If your dog has had a big day and has been busy, they’ll have a much more restful sleep.
Look at their surroundings
If the barking is a recent trend, it could be that something has changed in the area where they sleep recently.
Set up a camera to keep an eye on what’s happening at night and search the area for signs of wildlife. If you do spot something, call a local animal authority to have it checked out, as your dog could be trying to alert you about pests or wildlife in the area.
Get them a friend
Dogs are social creatures, and if you’re someone who works all day and spends minimal time with your dog at night, they’re probably very lonely.
It can help sometimes to have another dog to act as their companion, but this should only be done in cases where you’ve tried all else. Another dog is a bandaid solution that won’t fix the issue of lack of training or boredom, so be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Have a think about your dog’s sleep situation and assess whether something there is causing the problem. Have they recently been put outside to sleep?
Did they once sleep in your bed and now they’re in their own? Is there nowhere comfortable for them to lay? Is it too cold or hot where they sleep? Go through all possible scenarios to try and find the source and rectify it.
Tools and Products to Help Dogs That Bark
There’s never been a better time to own a dog, thanks to all of the products and accessories out there designed to make life easier for us and our pooches.
In the category of barking, there are loads of options that can help, so consider looking into some of these if all else has failed.
- Bark collars
A bark collar is a special device fitted to a dog like a regular collar that deploys some sort of negative effect whenever they bark. The purpose of a collar like this is that the dog will hopefully associate the negative thing with barking, which will stop the behavioral issue and reduce the amount they do. The unpleasant effect could be a citronella spray or ultrasonic noise, with dogs reacting differently to many things.
- Comfort toys
If you think your dog is lonely, bored, or frustrated, there are a few toys that can help out. To keep them mentally stimulated, try something like a snuffle mat or treat puzzle that lets them work their minds to find the reward. Find a soft toy for them to sleep with at night, and help them associate it with feelings of calm by placing one of your t-shirts in the bed with it.
- Dog beds
The right dog bed can have a huge impact on your dog’s outlook, and might even stop them barking at night. Choose a bed that’s made for their size most importantly, and one that has the right amount of cushioning without overheating them. When your dog has a cozy bed to slip into that they feel safe in, they might reduce the need to bark and alert their owners.
- Dog silencer
A dog silencer is a product that works by emitting a high-pitched sound every time the dog barks, similar to the barking collars discussed earlier, but in a larger-scale device. As a safe and dog-friendly response, it might work better than yelling at them or punishing them and can teach them that their barks have a negative association
When it comes to dogs barking and other forms of bad behavior, there’s a lot of trial and error involved. If you’ve left this problem go on longer than you should, you might have to spend some time rectifying it.
Be prepared to work through several potential solutions before you come up with the one that finally brings you peace at night.
Dealing With Angry Neighbors
Your barking dog can be a major annoyance at night when you’re trying to sleep, but you can guarantee that it’s even worse for your neighbors to put up with.
If your dog is especially noisy, you’ve likely already had a complaint or two from someone on your block, which can be embarrassing, to say the least.
If your dog has only recently started barking, you might want to proactively get out there and talk to neighbors before they feel they have to come to you. Let them know it’s a recent problem and you’re working through solutions that will fix it, giving them the courtesy and respect that they’re looking for with a problem like this.
When your neighbor has come to your first, even if you didn’t even realize it was that much of a problem, it’s important to be cordial and calm. Even if you feel defensive or didn’t know it was going on, acknowledge their complaint and let them know you’ll be dealing with it immediately, and apologize for any disturbance it might have caused.
People have legal rights when it comes to a disturbance in their neighborhood, and that includes barking dogs. Citizens can submit a dog barking noise complaint to their local council which may be followed up by the Department of Environmental Protection, so you can expect a visit from the authorities if you don’t do everything you can to rectify it and keep communication open with your neighbors.
A dog that barks incessantly isn’t just a hindrance for its owners, but likely for everyone else in the street.
Whether you’re dealing with a noisy dog or another bad habit that’s formed over the years, there’s a lot to know about canine ownership, and we’ve answered some common questions to help you out.
Why Do Dogs Lick You?
There are many reasons why a dog might lick its owner, but the most common reason is that they want to show their affection.
Research has shown that dogs release feel-good endorphins when they lick, and it can have a calming effect on them, which is why they do it to their owners.
Can Dogs Laugh?
Although you might have heard a sound coming from your dog which sounds like a laugh and causes you to do a double-take, most animal behavioralists believe that they don’t express humor in the same way that humans do.
The sound usually comes from them exhaling forcefully when they’re excited or playing, but shouldn’t be mistaken for a real laugh.
Why Do Dogs Chew?
The most common reason for a dog to chew is exploration, and this is especially true during the puppy phase.
Like human babies and toddlers, dogs use their mouths to get a sense of things and explore them, and this behavior can carry on into their adult years as well. Older dogs who chew may be doing so out of boredom, frustration, or poor behavioral training, so it should be rectified immediately.