Barking is the regular way dogs express themselves. However, consistent, excessive barking can be sign that your dog is distressed in some way. A dog barking all night long is a frustrating experience for you and your neighbours. Here we look at the reasons for excessive barking and cover tips on how to stop dog barking at night.
1. Noise sensitivity
Sometimes you might wonder why do dogs bark at nothing? Dogs are very sensitive to noises and might be responding to sounds that you cannot hear. This can be noises from far away, high pitched sounds by other animals inside or outside your home or any noise that disturbs the dog.
What to do : If you notice your dog barking a lot in a particular room, check for noises that might be disturbing him or her. If its not possible to remove the source of the noise, then you can play white noise or get your dog ear muffs
Dogs bark to alert their families of possible intruders. This is a part of their normal behaviour and even one that is encouraged at times. However sometimes your dog can develop a habit of barking at passerby, other dogs outside cars going by etc, which might be continuous and unnecessary if you live in a busy area.
What to do about it: Set up your dogs sleeping space in a room where he or she is unlikely to see or hear distractions. Add curtains to your windows to make sure that your dog is not stimulated by people outside.
Dogs can bark to get your attention when they’re hungry too. If your dog’s last meal was more than a few hours ago or not substantial, he or she might be unable to sleep on an empty stomach.
What to do about it: Ensure that your dog is eating substantial meals on time. You can opt for a standard feeding routine of two meals day spaced 8-12 hours apart. Include some treats and snacks in between.
4. Separation anxiety
This is a common reason for new dogs barking at night. If your dog sleeps in a separate room or kennel, he or she might be stressed out by the lack of company.
What to do : As a short-term solution, you can move your dog to a space where he or she can see you. Gradually train your dog by increasing the time he or she sleeps alone. Read our article for more tips on dealing with separation anxiety.
5. Excessive energy
Dogs that haven’t had enough exercise during the day can be especially active at night. Pent up energy can lead to your dog rushing around and barking at things.
What to do: Give your dog adequate amount of exercise during the day. If your dog is very active, take him out for a nightly stroll. Have an energetic play session so that he’s tired enough to go to sleep.
6. Physical discomfort
Barking all night can be sign of physical discomfort – being cold, or maybe in pain. Listen to the sounds of your dog barking and watch him or her to understand if this is the case – the bark will sound stressed or anxious, and the dog might display signs of pain such as sensitivity to touch, pacing or lack of movement
What to do: Address pain or illness at the earliest by consulting a vet. Make sure the air conditioning is turned low such that the room is not too cold and give your dog warm blankets during winter.
Dogs are social creatures. Not having enough contact with other canines or humans can stress them out. Being isolated or tied up all day can cause boredom and frustration, resulting in excessive barking.
Some dogs can develop compulsive barking for attention- where they continue to bark, despite having had enough interaction during the day. Make sure that you have eliminated all other possible reasons for barking before you reach this conclusion.
What to do: Ensure that your dog has enough interaction during the day. Spend sufficient time together playing or relaxing. In the case of compulsive barking, the more you reward the behaviour with attention (speaking to the dog), the more likely it is to continue. Train your dog to stay alone for short periods of time and gradually increase this. Consult a behaviourist for tips on how to stop a dog from barking for attention.
How to stop dog barking at night: Tips for your dog’s nightly routine
Dogs function best when they have a defined daily routine that gives them enough stimulation & exercise.
Have fixed timings for daily walks, meals, play sessions and bed time. This way your dog can get into the habit of being active at the right time.
Give your dog the evening meal on time. Go on a walk to work off excess energy and allow the dog to relieve itself before bed time.
Gradually reduce the amount of stimulation that your dog gets before bed time to ensure that he or she is calmer at night. Dim the lights, reduce interactions and bring down noise levels.
Make your dog sleep in a quiet, distraction free space with low lighting. Setup your pet’s bedding, blanket with a water bowl close at hand. If you need to talk or do other work, go to another room. Otherwise, the dog will take this as a cue to become active again.
If the problem continues for a long while, consult your vet or a behaviourist for tips on how to stop dog barking at night. Timely attention will make it easier to correct any behavioural problems.