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Why does my Labrador bark, howl or whine at night?

Why does my Labrador bark, howl or whine at night?
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If your Labrador 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 Labrador 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.

Your Labrador might be being noisy at night for many different reasons and it could be the result of a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the exact cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.

Why does my Labrador 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

Labradors can require a lot of exercise in order to be fully stimulated. It could be the case that it is full of energy at night because it needs more exercise. This would be more likely if it tends to be noisier on nights where it has not gotten much exercise.

Generally, it is recommended for healthy adult Labradors to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If yours is not getting much, it would help to make sure that it does start getting more exercise.

You have inadvertently reinforced the behavior

It could be the case that you have encouraged it to do it by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it barks at night, it might be doing it more in order to get more rewards.

Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it does it unless it seems to be doing it for a specific reason such as needing to pee. It would also help to follow the other tips below.

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

The cause could be that there is an issue with its diet. It could be that it is eating too much, not enough, it is eating too late or that it is eating things that it should not be. An issue with its diet would be especially likely if it started doing it since changing 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

It could also be the case that it does it due to having separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it starts to become anxious when you are leaving to go to bed.

If your Labrador 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 Labrador 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 Labrador 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 Labrador
  • Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer

You can also do it by applying the same techniques as used in the video below

A problem with its sleeping environment

It could also be the case that it has been doing it because an issue with its sleeping environment is causing it to struggle to fall asleep. It could be that the room it sleeps in is too loud, hot, bright or that there is not space for it to lay down comfortably.

It needs to pee

The cause might also be that it needs to pee. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more on nights where it has not been able to pee before bed and if it wants to go outside when it is noisy at night.

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

Below are some options you have when getting it to stop doing it.

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 feeding 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 would also help to make sure that it is able to get daily exercise. Generally, it’s recommended for them to get at least an hour per day of exercise when they are healthy adults.

If it is getting exercise, you could try wearing it out more by getting it to do things such as to play fetch.

Make its sleeping environment comfortable

It would also help to make sure that the room it sleeps in is cool, not too bright, quiet and that there is a space for it to lay down comfortably so that it can fall asleep easily.

Try crate training

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

If you crate train your Labrador 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

If it seems like it might have some separation anxiety, it would likely help to train it to be more comfortable 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

If it seems like it is doing it in order to get attention from you, one option would be to ignore it. If it is doing it for attention, ignoring it should result in it calming down over time as it starts to learn that barking at night does not result in you giving it attention.

Get help

If it has started doing it suddenly and it has been acting unusually in other ways, it would help to take it for a checkup with a vet. By doing so you will be able to rule out medical causes and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador.

Things to consider

When it started doing it

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

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 does not do it every night, it would also help to consider what is different on the nights that it does not do it.

For example, if it goes to sleep quickly when you feed it earlier in the evening, it might be the case that it would help to feed it earlier every night.

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