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Why Do Dogs Bark at Night?

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that pay me a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Full disclaimer here.

There are many reasons why dogs bark at night. I’m sure this comes as no surprise. But that answer doesn’t help. You will have arrived at this page because you are looking for a solution.

For many dog owners, the barking comes as a surprise. They have been travelling along nicely with their resident canine. When I say ‘nicely’, I mean quietly, with very little barking after sunset. So why now? Their question is more likely to be:

Why Is My Dog Barking at Night All of a Sudden?

If you own a Beagle, perhaps you can identify with the coffee mug message below.

When the barking starts all of a sudden, the likely answer is that something in the environment has changed.

  • Have you relocated her bed?
  • Have you moved to a new house?
  • Have new neighbours moved in next door?
  • Is there a new family member in the household?
  • Are there shadows from outside trees causing movement that might disturb a jittery dog?

Some Common Reasons Dogs Bark at Night

  • Lack of Exercise
    If you have a dog that is sleeping most of the day, she might end up being full of energy just as you are about to go to sleep. Then you have a dog that is looking for action. Why not bark to excite the dogs or cats next door?
  • Too Long Between Meals
    If your feeding routine consists of a main meal in the morning with not much else during the day, you might have a hungry dog on our hands. If you suspect this, then try dividing the meal into 2 portions so that you can feed your pooch half in the morning and the other half later in the day.

    With respect to a slender dog, one that is not over-weight, there might be a need for more food, or more food of the right kind.
  • Separation Anxiety
    When you have a routine that means your dog is with you almost constantly during the day, then you might find she objects to being left alone at night.

    The barking might be a form of attention getting.
  • An Uncomfortable Sleeping Area
    Your dog’s kennel outside might be too cold. Or the room inside where she sleeps might be too warm or too light.
  • A Change in Routine
    Dogs are very sensitive to changes in their everyday routine. A constant routine is usually preferred.
  • Possible Health Issues
    Never second guess any concerns in this department. A veterinarian should always be consulted if there is any question about health.

Anti-Barking Devices (affiliate link)

7 Ways to Stop Dogs Night Barking

  1. First and foremost, check that there is no underlying health problem. This is especially important if the barking has started all of a sudden.
  2. Try to reduce or eliminate anything that could wake the dog in the middle of the night. Perhaps you have another pet, maybe a cat. Is this pet wandering around in the night or making noises of some description. In that case your dog might be better off sleeping in an enclosed area away from the other pet(s)
    Perhaps the neighbour on your left has a barking dog. Great. Your dog is bound to respond. In that case try to move your dog to the other side of the house, away from the barking neighbour dog.
  3. Provide additional stimulation during the day, preferably something that can requires physical exertion.
  4. If possible take your dog for a long walk before bed. When that is not practical, a 20 minute vigorous playing session can work wonders.
  5. Avoid giving treats while the barking is ongoing. I know it is probably very tempting to quieten down the dog by throwing her a chew toy by way of distraction. This constitutes a reward during barking which serves to reinforce it. Only reward after your dog has responded positively to your training..
  6. Set aside 15 or 20 minutes before bed to show affection to your dog. You might have been busy all day at work, which might mean that your dog becomes starved for attention. The quarter hour affection session before turning out the lights can also work wonders.
  7. Provide something that is mentally challenging in the evening. For example, you could place an edible treat inside a Kong toy (affiliate link) so that your dog is kept busy trying to get to her prize.
    There are some great ideas in these books (affiliate links):

All of these ideas have merit. A good soothing idea or preventive idea is much better than shouting “GO TO BED” at your dog in the middle of the night. Shouting just perpetuates the problem. It reinforces that barking works as an attention seeking tactic.

How to Stop a Puppy From Barking at Night

Barking is not just a habit reserved for adult dogs. It is especially difficult with new dogs to the home and with new puppies. The puppy wants your attention. How do you get him to settle down enough to sleep through the night without barking.

Here are some ideas:

Pampering Dogs