Why does my dog bark at night? That’s the big question.
If I had a penny for every time I have heard the question “Why does my dog bark at night” I would be a wealthy man. You’ve spent a hard day at work, had a lovely evening and go off to bed. And what happens? Your dog starts barking. Oh no not again. Will you just shut up. I know how you feel. I have been there and I am with you on this annoying behavior.
Just like us your dog’s habits change over their life and may, for no obvious reason start up a plethora of annoying and worrying habits. They could start Eating poop, digging in your yard. Jumping on you and strangers, eating grass and the list will go on and on. However, just like your dog barking at night and all other quirky habits they can be stopped quickly and naturally.
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If you’re a dog lover, you know how powerful the bond is between yourself and your four-legged friend. No matter what kind of day you’ve had or what kind of mood you’re in, your dog is always there, ready to greet you when you come home at the end of the day. The loyalty that dogs show their owners has been documented for at least as long as Western Literature itself, with Homer’s Odyssey featuring Perpetual Good Dog Argus waiting twenty years for his master Odysseus to return from the Trojan Wars and his travels thereafter.
Shakespeare includes the loveable dog/master duo of Lance and Crab in Two Gentlemen of Verona. From dog-loving actresses such as Marilyn Monroe and Salma Hayek to Pablo Picasso’s pet wiener dog, Lump, to Presidential pooches, the Queen and her corgis and beyond, dogs have been loyal companions to some of the most famous and influential figures of our age. All in all, your dog is, without question, one of the best parts of your life. You and your dog have a relationship that goes beyond words – which is good since, being a dog, they’re not much of a conversationalist.
That said, your dog’s loyalty can translate into their being overly excited to meet you or else protect you, which in turn can mean their barking up a storm from time to time. You love your dog and are grateful for the energy and care they show you, but everyone needs their personal space and time to rest, and while Rover may think that they have the most important thing in the world to show you, chances are that you don’t think 3 am on a Tuesday is the time to do it. But, Rover doesn’t know that, and so he goes on barking, even after you’ve told him for the umpteenth time to stop.
And that isn’t the only potential problem you face. Sometimes dogs express themselves not through excessive barking, but through chewing – to the detriment of any number of furnishings or gardened plants you might own.
What is a dog owner to do?
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Before you can figure out how to solve your dog’s excessive barking problem, you have to determine what’s causing it in the first place. This may sound simple on the surface of it – after all, barking is barking, isn’t it? How complicated can it be?
Quite a bit, as a matter of fact. To return to that “conversationalist” quip from above, in the same way, that humans can speak to one another for any number of different reasons, the same holds true with your dog and barking. The type, tone, and overall nature of your dog’s barking can indicate a wide range of different reasons that spark their desire to communicate with you, including:
- Wariness at Newcomers
- Strange Noises Outside
- Territorial Attitudes
Dog Anxiety may be the cause of barking at night
Let’s first tackle a major potential cause of both excessive barkings as well as chewing – anxiety. As humans do, dogs can feel anxious about different things. When they do, they might express that anxiety via a nervous habit – for example, chewing on whatever’s nearby.
As such, it is of paramount importance to figure out what’s causing your dog’s anxiety and to resolve the issue, thereby resolving the barking and chewing problems along with it. That said, this can be easier said than done.
There is any number of different reasons that your dog might be anxious, including:
- Seeing something outside or on your property, which disturbs them
- Seeing another dog, cat, or another type of pet, thus provoking a sense of territoriality
- Your having added another pet to your home, thus provoking a sense of territoriality
- Changes to their diet
- Changes to their environment
- Other changes around the house
Those are just a few potential causes of your dog’s anxiety. You’ll want to watch them closely and work to figure out just what in particular is troubling them. What’s more, you can also bring your dog to a pet behavior expert. They will often not only be able to diagnose the root cause of your dog’s anxiety, but they can likewise help devise different means to address it.
On the other hand, perhaps anxiety is the last thing that comes to mind when you look at your dog. You see them racing around, barking day and night while chewing away, all the while looking and acting happy as a clam. It might very well be that they are. If your dog is barking or chewing out of a sense of joy, it can pose something of a dilemma.
On the one hand, you’d certainly always rather your dog be happy rather than anxious. On the other hand, you don’t want any preventive or corrective steps that you take to rid your dog of that happiness. You’ll thus want to proceed with caution to ensure that whatever steps you take here to address the barking or chewing alone, and that they don’t crush your dog’s spirit. You don’t want to quash their happiness, after all, just redirect it towards something less disruptive or destructive.
Addressing Your Dog’s Barking at night
So, just what can you do?
Above all, you don’t want to simply yell at your dog. Not only will this not solve the underlying problem, but if it has any effect on your dog, it will be negative. Rather, you want to make sure that you maintain a positive tone, just as you would when trying to coax a toddler to eat their vegetables. You also want to make sure that you keep your commands consistent. You don’t want to confuse your dog. Once you start using one of the methodologies listed below, be sure that you stick to your tactics as much as possible so as to create a pattern that your dog can anticipate and, eventually, understand.
When it comes to the barking, some of the most common steps to take include:
- Remove the Source: If the cause of your dog’s barking is external, you might well want to try to simply remove the cause of the barking. This can be as simple as erecting a fence to block your dog’s view of things that might be bothering them. If your dog stays indoors, and they’re barking at something outside, you might want to consider closing the blinds or curtains.
- Ignoring the Barking: While it might be tempting to respond to your dog’s barking every time they start, you’ll want to refrain from doing so, for the same reason that you wouldn’t do so with a toddler. If your dog is barking for attention, you want to be careful about how you give it. On the one hand, you don’t want to ignore your dog. At the same time, if they think barking will always summon you, stopping their barking may be a no-go. Finding a balance between responding to and ignoring your dog’s barking is thus critical.
- Give Treats: This one can be tricky. You don’t want to spoil your dog, after all. That said, if you command your dog to stop, they do, and you give them a small treat as a reward, you can start to condition your dog to treat the command seriously.
- Solving the Anxiety: As stated, anxiety can be a huge reason for your dog barking or chewing away. Finding ways to get them used to whatever’s bothering them can be an effective way to stop these nervous habits. For example, if you have gotten another dog, cat, or other pet to which your dog is barking and reacting to, you’ll want to work to slowly get them used to their new companion
- Keep your dog and the new pet in separate rooms. Give them separate spots in the home. Do not allow them to interact at first except in instances when you deliberately bring the new pet in, at which point you’ll want to counteract any barking or chewing on the part of your dog with treats. As stated above, this can slowly start to condition your dog to associate the new pet with treats and, thus, train them to react to their presence positively.
- Exercise: Last but not least, it’s worth noting that exercise can often be an effective means of managing your dog’s barking. If your dog is barking because of an excess of energy, you need to find a way to give them more exercise. Finding them a professional dog walker, giving them more playtime yourself, installing an automatic ball launch with which they can play fetch – whatever it takes to burn off that excess energy.
A dog chewing can go hand in hand with barking at night
The same holds true for excessive chewing. Before we can figure out how to keep your dog from chewing, it is imperative to first determine why they’re doing it. Dogs can chew on different items for many different reasons, including:
- Teething as a Young Puppy
- Attention-Seeking Behavior
- An Improper Diet
Addressing Your Dog’s Chewing
Many of the same tactics can be employed to help keep your dog from chewing. Removing items you do not want them to chew, removing the sources of anxiety which may be causing them to chew, giving them treats after they have gone a while without chewing – all of these can be effective ways to address the problem. In addition, some other, more specific ways to help keep your dog from chewing up your home include:
- Supply Your Dog with Chew Toys: To be fair, it’s somewhat unrealistic to expect your dog not to chew anything at all. That’s just what dogs do. As such, a simple yet effective solution to your dog’s chewing problem might be to supply them with chew toys, bones, or other items that are okay for them to chew. You’ll want to encourage them to chew their new toys while taking away or discouraging your dog from chewing those items that are off-limits. If the new toys are fun and you are clear and consistent about what’s okay to chew and what isn’t, chances are good that they’ll get the message.
- Playing Fetch with Chew Toys: On a related note, that old idea of exercise can work well with solving your dog’s chewing problem, as well. Here, you’ll want to take some of those aforementioned chew toys and play fetch with your dog. You’ll burn off some of that extra energy, all while allowing them to chew to their heart’s content, potentially solving two dog behavioral problems for the price of one.
- Nutritional Advice: In addition, it is advisable that you ensure that your dog isn’t chewing things to try to solve deficiencies in their diet. If your pet is chewing on something organic with the idea of eating it, you’ll want to make sure that they don’t, while checking with your veterinarian to determine whether a nutritional deficiency may the cause.
Puppy Proofing Your Home:
- If you are raising a puppy, you want to take special care to ensure that the space in which you raise them has been prepared for them ahead of time. This means making sure that any items you do not wish them to chew are moved out of the way ahead of time. Your puppy is very young and still learning.
- They aren’t going to know right away what’s okay and what isn’t, especially when it comes to something as natural to a dog as chewing. As such, it is probably best for all involved that you skirt the problem altogether by simply removing anything that you don’t want them to chew from the area in which you are keeping and raising them. In addition, you’ll want to lightly encourage them to chew the chew toys that you can provide them when they’re old enough so that they start off chewing the “right” things from the start.
You and your dog are best friends. Your dog offers you a great deal of love and care. It’s only fair you return it by finding the right solutions when seeking ways to keep your dog from chewing or barking excessively.