If your dog has been being aggressive at night, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog get aggressive at night? Possible reasons why your dog has been being aggressive at night are that it is hungry, there is an issue with its diet, it has an injury, it is anxious, there is an issue with the room it sleeps in or someone mistreating it.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop.
Reasons why your dog gets aggressive at night
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely.
The cause might be that it is hungry at night. This would be more likely if it does not eat in the evening and it has to wait until the morning to be fed. In this case, it could help to try feeding it slightly less in the morning but to also feed it at night as well.
An issue with its diet
It might be the case that there is another issue with its diet. It might be eating things that it should not be, it could be eating too much or too little. This would be more likely if it has started being aggressive at night since a change in its diet or if it only does it when it eats certain foods.
The cause could also be that it is frustrated due to an injury. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being injured. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
The cause might be that it has separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and it gets anxious when it is left alone. This would be more likely if it sleeps in a different room than you or if it has started getting aggressive since not being able to sleep with you. It would also be more likely if it starts getting anxious when you would normally leave home or when you are going to bed.
An issue with the room it sleeps in
The cause could also be that there is an issue with the room that it has to sleep in. It might be too hot, too loud, too bright, too noisy or there might not be enough space for it to lay down comfortably.
The cause might also be that someone or something has been mistreating it at night. This would be more likely if it is around other animals or people, at night, when you are not around.
Another possible cause is that it is being possessive. One way that it might be being possessive is by protecting its spot on the bed if it sleeps with you at night. In this case, it could help to make it sleep in a different room at night.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started behaving that way
If your dog has not always behaved that way at night, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as a change in its diet, a change in the room it sleeps in or an injury.
What is different when your dog does not get aggressive
If it is not always aggressive, at night, it would also help to consider what is different when it is not aggressive. For example, if it only does it when it eats certain things, it would be more likely that it is due to an issue with its diet.
What to do about your dog being aggressive at night
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead of giving it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it gets aggressive, it would help to try to ignore it until it calms down and then to reward it for being well behaved.
Ensure that it is getting the right diet
As mentioned above, it might be the case that there is an issue with its diet. It would help to ensure that it has been eating the correct foods and that no one else has been feeding it without telling you.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
It could be the case that something is causing it to become anxious at night. It would help to limit possible reasons why it might be being anxious at night by letting it pee, eat and get exercise before going to bed if possible.
Ensure the room it stays in is appropriate
It would also help to make sure that the room it sleeps in is cool, not too bright, not too loud and that there is room for it to sleep comfortably.
Get help from a vet
If it has been showing signs of being in pain, it would help to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to rule out medical causes and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you cannot get your dog to stop behaving that way and it is not due to an injury, another option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and how to get it to stop.