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Why does my Golden Retriever bark, howl or whine at night?

Why does my Golden Retriever bark, howl or whine at night?

If your Golden Retriever has been being noisy 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 Golden Retriever bark or howl at night? Possible causes are not getting enough exercise, a problem with its diet, rewarding the behavior, fear, separation anxiety, needing to pee or a problem with its sleeping environment.

There are actually many different reasons why it might be doing it and it could be the result of a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason. There are also a number of things you can do about it.

Why does my Golden Retriever bark, howl or whine at night?

Below are a number of possible reasons why it has been doing it and what would make them more likely to be the cause.

Not enough exercise

Golden Retrievers are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. If your Golden Retriever is not getting a lot of exercise during the day it could be resulting in it being full of energy at night.

Generally, it is recommended for healthy adult Golden Retrievers to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If yours is not getting that much and it’s healthy it would help to make sure that it does.

You have inadvertently reinforced the behavior

It could also be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention or other rewards when it does then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved and to avoid rewarding it when it becomes energetic at night unless it seems to be doing it for a specific reason.

Fear

Fear could also be the reason why it has been being noisy at night. This would be more likely if it does it more on nights where there are noises outside such as fireworks or if it is very windy.

Diet

It could be the case that an issue with its diet has been causing it to bark at night. It could be that it’s eating too much, not enough, too late at night or the wrong foods. An issue with its diet would be more likely to be the reason if it started doing it when you changed its diet.

It would help to consult with your vet on its diet, to feed it earlier in the evening and to make sure that no one else has been feeding it without you knowing.

Separation anxiety

The cause could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if it starts being anxious when you are leaving to go to bed.

If your Golden Retriever does seem to have separation anxiety it would help to train it to be less anxious without you.

To do this you could do as follows:

  • Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
  • Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
  • Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
  • Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
  • Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your Golden Retriever
  • Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer

A problem with its sleeping environment

It could be the case that a problem with its sleeping environment is causing it to struggle to fall asleep. It could be that it is too bright, too warm 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 more likely if it wants to go outside when it starts barking at night, if it is a puppy and if it does it more when it doesn’t get let out to pee before going to bed.

How to get your Golden Retriever to stop barking, howling and whining at night

Below are some things you can do to get it to stop.

Make sure that you are feeding it correctly

As mentioned above, it might be the case that you or someone else has been feeding it the wrong things just before bedtime. You can look here to see what you should and shouldn’t be giving it. Feeding it earlier in the evening would likely help as well. It would also help to consult with your vet on its diet when you see them next and to make sure that no one else is feeding it things it shouldn’t be eating.

Give it exercise

It is also important to make sure that it is able to get enough exercise during the day. One option would be to get a dog walker to do it for you when you are unable to do it. There are apps you can download now that will allow you to find a local dog walker in your area.

Make its sleeping environment comfortable

It would also help to make sure that its sleeping environment is cool, not too bright and that there is a space for it to lay down so that it can fall asleep more easily.

Try crate training

Crate training is where you train your Golden Retriever to learn to be comfortable inside of a crate designed for dogs.

If you crate train your Golden Retriever in the right way it will give it a space where it can feel safe at night which should help it to go to sleep more easily.

Train it to be less anxious without you

Since the reason why your Golden Retriever barks or whines at night might be that it has separation anxiety it would help to train it to be less anxious without you.

One way to do this would be to follow to tips mentioned above on separation anxiety.

You can see more on how to do so in the video below.

Avoid rewarding it

As mentioned above, it could also be the case that you have encouraged it to bark at night by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it doesn’t do it and to avoid rewarding it when it does unless it seems to be doing it for a reason such as needing to pee.

Things to consider

When it started doing it

It would help to consider when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.

If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as a sudden change in its diet, a change in its sleeping environment, getting less exercise or becoming ill or injured.

If it doesn’t always do it

If it only does it on some nights, it would help to consider what is different on those nights.

For example, if it does it when it has not gotten any exercise during the day, it might be because it needs more exercise.

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