Dogs have a day rhythm: they are awake during the day and are supposed to sleep at night. However, it happens that some dogs ” push the song ” all night long, for your greatest happiness as well as that of your neighbors. In this article, we will find out why your dog barks at night and what to do if necessary.
Why my dog barks at night and what to do?
There are many reasons why your dog may bark at night, sometimes it is enough to look at a few details of his daily life to understand them. I propose today to you to discover the 4 main causes that explain this excessive and very restrictive behavior on a daily basis.
The instinct of protection
First of all, it seems obvious that many dogs take their role as guardians very seriously, especially at night, simply because they understand that their humans are in a vulnerable situation during this period.
In fact, the slightest suspicious noise can disturb them and make them react. In some cases, it is very useful… but in others, it is a bit like the story of the young shepherd who cried wolf for no reason: by dint of preventing everything and anything, when a real danger occurred, no one cares anymore.
What can I do?
Here, it is always more effective to prevent rather than cure. Let me explain: if you have a puppy of a “guard breed”, it is very important to give him as many (positive) experiences as possible and above all to accustom him to hearing many noises without them having unfortunate consequences.
Especially if you live in the city, don’t skimp on this socialization because a dog will always be afraid of what he doesn’t know. And fear means potentially noisy reactions such as barking or growling.
There is nothing worse than an annoying dog and I personally do not understand how some owners can be surprised at the embarrassing behavior their dogs adopt given the lack of respect they have for them.
In other words, masters who go to work in the morning leaving their dog alone all day long, without having walked him before leaving (because there is no time) and without offering him a walk in the evening either (because it is too late, too tired and/or too late)… should not be surprised that their dog barks all night.
What to do about it?
Keep your dog busy to avoid boredom! Spend it, offer him walks every day, stimulate him mentally and olfactory, etc. A dog that is well spent and a dog that sleeps well. Thus, if good activities have been proposed to him during the day, he will only want one thing at night: to sleep!
So, it is true that some homes lack time, so I wonder about the interest of adoption… but that is not the question… Know that one-hour walks in the forest are not the only way to actively spend a dog: an occupancy toy, a search for treats in the garden, a Kong filled with good things, a search mat, etc.. So many activities, simple, quick to set up and fun that allow you to occupy and spend your dog without “wasting time” on the busiest owners.
Dogs may also bark at night out of anxiety, so it sounds more like vocalizations. Personally, I have already observed wolf-like howling in one of my dogs when I make him sleep alone in a place he doesn’t know. This “song” is typical of anxiety, the dog “calls for help”, means that he is suffering and needs a presence to reassure himself.
If these screams are systematic, even in your home, then you should ask yourself about learning to be alone and the detachment you make with your dog because there is necessarily a problem at this level.
A dog must be able to feel safe in his own home if this is not the case, it is because the environment does not suit him and/or there is a much too intense attachment between you and him.
What can I do ?
Here, we are talking about positive habituation to loneliness, even when you are at home. Your dog should be able to be alone in a room, knowing that you are in the house, without feeling insecure.
This must be put in place as soon as the puppy arrives home. If this training has not been done or you have adopted an adult dog, then it is important to start again, gently, patiently and consistently. I invite you to consult our article specially dedicated to this subject.
Then, to soothe your dog, you can also reduce his space, do not leave him completely free in the house because his anxiety will be proportional to the space dedicated to him. Thus, in a small room or even in an indoor niche, insecurity decreases. Don’t hesitate to leave a cloth with your scent at night so that your dog can also feel good about himself.
The requirements for attention
This reason is directly related to the previous one. Often, a dog’s anxiety results from an inconsistent attitude of the owners on a daily basis. Let me explain: a dog that is used to getting satisfaction every time it needs attention will then be anxious or very frustrated if, at night, it can’t get you to react.
So, when at night your dog demands your attention but does not get satisfaction because, by definition, you sleep, he does not understand and intensifies his demands by barking excessively until you “give in”! Note that this cause is also linked to boredom because it is often dogs that lack spending and are bored that constantly require the attention of their owner.
But be careful, why do these dogs continue to adopt this kind of behavior? Simply because they see that it works. I will put my hand to cut that many owners “give in” and get up at night to put their dog outside, to give him a little comfort stroke or worse, to scold him. There you go! There you go! The dog understands that by barking at night he gets satisfaction, so why stop?
What to do about it?
The watchword here (and generally for all dogs) is: ignore your pet’s requests for attention. I remind you, ignoring a dog is: not talking to it, not touching it or looking at it. Total ignorance!
If you do this every day, your dog will eventually understand that this attitude, his excessive demands, no longer works. You must then be patient (just like your neighbors…), especially if your dog is an adult and you have always accustomed him since he is a puppy to meet all his requests!
advice: do not hesitate to call on a dog trainer to accompany you through the whole process and find solutions adapted to your situation and your animal.