Why Do Dogs Bark At Night? 10 Reasons Why

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Why do dogs bark at night? Dogs bark during the night for many reasons, including hearing a noise outside, being lonely or bored, or needing to go to the bathroom (link) (link) (link). 

 

Busy? Get Your Hands Paws On The Answers Quickly…

 

10 Reasons Your Dog Barks At Night 

1. Noise

A dog's sense of hearing is much better than ours, so if your dog starts barking randomly at night, they may be hearing things that you cannot hear. 
Your dog can hear distant sounds, like other dogs barking, a car starting, or doors opening and closing that we will not even register. Since dogs are so noise sensitive, the littlest sounds can cause them to start barking.
How to solve this:
If your dog seems to be easily awakened and triggered by sounds during the night, try using a radio in the room where the dog sleeps. This will cut down on the noise your dog will hear during the night and allow them to sleep more soundly.

 

2. Other Animals

On top of hearing better than humans, dogs have a stronger sense of smell and better night vision. 
Dogs can hear, smell, or sense other animals moving in your yard. Whether it is squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, deer, or coyotes, your dog may be barking because they are sensing a visiting creature.
How to solve this:
If your dog is sleeping outside, the easiest solution is to bring them inside. This will limit the number of sounds and smells they are exposed to, which triggers the barking. 
If your dog is an indoor dog, you can try using a white noise machine, which will help to drown out any noises from the outside.

 

3. Other Barking Dogs

A phenomenon called "socially facilitated barking" occurs when one dog hears another dog barking and then joins in. This is because dogs are pack animals, and they like to follow suit when another dog is barking. Your dog thinks that if their neighbor is barking, there must be a good reason, so why not join in?
How to solve this:
Use a radio or white noise sound machine to drown out any neighborhood barking. 

 

4. Loneliness

Dogs are naturally very social animals, and they can get lonely if they are alone all night long. 
A sign that your dog may be lonely is they are barking or howling at night. If they are always barking, they could just be trying to get your attention. Howling is how dogs express their loneliness.
How to solve this:
Contrary to popular belief, by letting your dog to sleep in the same room as you, you are not creating bad habits or separation anxiety. Some studies even show that allowing your dog to sleep in your bed with you will lead to a better night's sleep for both of you.
If your dog is feeling lonely at night, bring them into your room to sleep with you.
If you don't want them to sleep in your bed, get them a doggy bed to sleep in at night comfortably. 
If you are crate training your dog, bring the crate into your bedroom and let them sleep in the same room as you in their crate.

 

5. Boredom

Dogs sometimes get bored at night, and they figure that they will make their own fun. Boredom could be the reason they are barking at every little sound they hear or join in on any other barking they hear.
How to solve this:
Make sure your dog has had plenty of exercise and mental stimulation during the day. This should make them more tired at bedtime.
If your dog is sleeping in a different part of the house, try bringing them into your bedroom at night to stop barking. 
If your dog already sleeps in your room at night, try putting some quiet toys in your room, like a plush toy without a squeaker or a KONG toy filled with peanut butter, so that they have something to entertain them if they get bored. 

 

6. Energy

Another reason your dog could be barking at night is that they want to let out energy. Dogs are very active animals, and if they do not get enough activity during the day, they may need to release all of their pent up energy at night.
How to solve this:
To stop barking make sure your dog gets plenty of physical activity during the day so that they burn off their energy in a healthy way. Dog training is another way to burn energy and mentally stimulate your dog.
Most veterinarians recommend giving your dog between 30 minutes and two hours of exercise every day. In general, larger dogs need more exercise a day than smaller dogs.

 

7. Encouragement

If you've tried to soothe your dog's barking before by petting them, talking to them, or letting them out of their crate, they have learned that by barking, they can get exactly what they want, and they may continue to bark night after night to get the same results.
How to solve this:
To stop your dog from barking, do not encourage this behavior! This is tricky, but do not give them any attention for the barking behavior. 
It is best to ignore the barking because if you respond to the midnight barking, even once, it will show your dog that they can get what they want (your attention) by barking, which further encourages the behavior.

 

8. New Dog

If you have just recently adopted your dog, they may not be used to sleeping through the night and will need to learn this new night routine.
How to solve this:
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise during the day so that they are tired at night.
Begin to work on a bedtime routine.
Make sure bedtime is calm and take them out to go to the bathroom.
Give them a comfy place to sleep, whether with a soft blanket or a dog bed.

 

9. Needing The Bathroom

If your dog usually sleeps through the night but starts barking wildly, they may need to go to the bathroom. 
How to solve this:
Make sure you take your dog out to go potty right before bedtime to stop barking, but sometimes they will still wake up and have to go in the middle of the night. 
If they show signs that they need to go, take them out but keep it "all business." In other words, this isn't the perfect time for playtime or a snack. 
Take them outside and then go right back to bed, so they don't start barking to go out when it is just something else that they want.

 

10. Discomfort

Your dog's barking could be telling you they are cold or uncomfortable. This is more common if your dog sleeps outside or in their crate.
How to solve this:
If your dog sleeps outside, try bringing them inside or getting them a warming dog bed, especially as it starts to get colder out at night. 
If your dog sleeps in a crate, maybe they need a bigger crate to turn around or new crate padding to make it more comfortable.

 

FAQs

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Why do dogs bark at night when there's nothing going on?
Your dog may hear things that you cannot hear and is barking as a reaction to the noise, or they may be bored, uncomfortable, or have too much energy.

 

Why is my dog barking at night all of a sudden?
If your dog is barking at night suddenly, it could because they need to go to the bathroom. Even dogs who are fully housebroken and were taken out before bed may need to go out in the middle of the night now and then.

 

Why do dogs bark at 3am? 
If your dog is continuously barking at a particular time in the middle of the night, it could just be a habit or part of a routine that your dog has created. Another reason could be that your dog hears something that you don't.

 

Should I ignore my dog barking at night?
If your dog is barking to get your attention or just because they heard something, it is best to ignore it, not to reinforce this behavior. If your dog is barking to tell you something (e.g., bathroom or because they're cold), try to solve the issue without making much of a fuss.

 

Do dogs get tired of barking?
Generally, dogs do not get tired of barking and could keep barking all day and night if they want. But, a tired dog will probably bark less.

 

 

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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.

 

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