When my dog was younger, it used to bark throughout the night. Not knowing the cause was troubling for me and it prevented me from being able to sleep at night. In my dog’s case, it turned out to be a problem with the room it was sleeping in. However, there are many possible reasons why your dog might be barking at night and this post will show them to you and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog bark at night? Possible reasons your dog barks at night are an issue with its diet, fear, separation anxiety, a problem with its sleeping environment or you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
There are actually a number of reasons why your dog might do it and it could be a combination of reasons. However, there are also a number of things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.
Why your dog barks at night
The different reasons why your dog barks at night will likely come with some clues.
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
Not enough exercise
If your dog is a breed that is supposed to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis but it hasn’t been getting much exercise it might be the case that it is understimulated and that it has a lot of excess energy at night. This would be more likely if it barks more on nights where it has not received much exercise during the day.
If it has not been getting the recommended amount of daily exercise for its breed and it is healthy then it would help to make sure that it does. It might also help to take it for a short walk in the evening to wear it out some more.
You have inadvertently reinforced the behavior
It might be the case that you have encouraged it to bark at night by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, treats or toys when it barks at night then it might be doing it more in order to get rewards.
It would help to avoid rewarding it when it does it, to reward it in the morning when your dog doesn’t bark and to follow the other tips below.
Related: Why does my dog growl at night?
The cause might be that something has been causing it to be fearful at night. This would be more likely if your dog barks more in a certain room and if there seems to be something specific that it is barking at such as a window or a fan.
Related: Why is my dog mad at me?
Noises such as sirens or it can hear other dogs barking or howling
It could also be the case that it can hear things at night that you cannot such as animals in the backyard or other dogs that are barking nearby. This would be more likely if you know that other animals enter your backyard at night or if your neighbors have noisy dogs.
It might be the case that there is a problem with its diet. It could be that it has been being fed too much, not enough or that it has been eating things that it shouldn’t. This would be more likely if it started barking more when you changed its diet or if other people have been feeding it as well.
It would help to make sure that it is getting the right diet by discussing it with your local vet. You can also look here to see what you should and should not be feeding it. It would also help to make sure that no one else has been feeding it without you knowing.
The cause might be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it only barks when it can’t sleep where you sleep and if it gets anxious when you are leaving to go to bed.
The cause could be that it has an injury that becomes more noticeable at night. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being injured such as limping. If it does seem like injury could be the cause then it would help to take it to a vet.
A problem with its sleeping environment
The problem could be that there is an issue with the room that it sleeps in at night. It might be that it is too warm, bright, noisy or that there is not a space for it to lay down comfortably.
It needs to pee
The cause could be that it needs to pee. This would be especially likely if it wants to go outside when it barks and if it is still a puppy.
How to get your dog to stop barking at night
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop barking at night.
Make sure that you are feeding it correctly
Since it could be the case that there is an issue with its diet it would help to make sure that it is eating the things that it should be. You can look here to see what you should and should not feed it and it would help to make sure that you are the only one that gets to feed it.
Give it exercise
Provided that it is healthy it would also help to make sure that it is able to get the recommended amount of daily exercise. You can exercise it by walking it yourself or by getting a dog walker to do it for you.
Make its sleeping environment comfortable
It would also help to make sure that the room it sleeps in is comfortable for it. The room should be cool, not too bright, quiet and there should be a space where it can lay down comfortably.
Try crate training
Crate training is where you teach your dog to learn to be comfortable inside of a crate designed for dogs.
If you crate train your dog in the right way it will give it an area where it can feel safe. This should help to reduce how anxious it becomes at night and to help it fall asleep more easily.
Train it to be less anxious without you
It would help to try to take measures to reduce how anxious it becomes at night by doing things such as:
- Make it seem like you are about to go to bed by walking to your room
- Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
- Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by putting your hand on the door handle
- Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
- Actually open the door and go into your room for a few moments then come back and reward your dog
- Repeat the above, leaving it for slightly longer
Avoid rewarding it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have been encouraging it to bark at night by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it unless it seems like it is barking for a specific reason such as to go outside to pee.
Things to consider
When your dog started growling at night
If your dog has not always barked at night, it would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it did start doing it suddenly it could be due to things such as a change in its diet, getting less exercise or getting injured.
If your dog doesn’t always growl at night
If it does not bark every night then it would also help to consider what is different on the nights where it does not bark since it might be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, it could be the case that it barks on nights where it has not received much exercise or where it has been fed a certain food.