Unless you live on a massive expanse of land, your dog barking at night all of a sudden will not disturb you alone. And chances are the echoing barks will be carried to an even farther distance.
Dogs are social creatures who like to communicate, and barking is one sure-fire way to let you know something is wrong. But you must be careful not to yell or even engage them in any way until you find the cause of the disturbance.
The primary reason any dog will bark at night is if it senses a strange scent. If you are already familiar with the tone of your pet’s bark, you will know when they are trying to alert you that someone or something unfamiliar is on your property. The bark will also warn the strange entity that you have a protective canine on your side.
Another reason your dog may bark at night is pain, and this one is more common among older dogs. A condition called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome affects the brain, causing dementia. Excessive barking, anxiety, confusion, anorexia, and less energy are symptoms you should look out for.
Don’t miss reading this interesting article: 5 Tips For Dealing With A Jealous Dog
Reasons Why Your Dog Could Start Barking at Night
If your pet is a guard dog, they will bark at night to communicate their presence to strangers on your property. Other reasons your dog may suddenly start barking at night include:
They Desire Attention
Some dogs, especially French Bulldogs, are bred to be canine companions. For this reason, they have higher chances of developing separation anxiety; therefore, they need enough attention.
So, if you are a busy worker, out all day until night, your schedule will affect your pet. And it is not just canine companions – all dogs will feel the effect of their owner’s absence.
When you get back at night, your dog will have missed you so much and may bark up excessively if they do not spend enough time with you.
Something Excites Them
Dogs have sharp hunting instincts and can hear sounds eight feet to a mile away. And nighttime is characterized by being quiet, magnifying sounds even more!
Due to this, your dog may become excited by all the distinct and interesting sounds nature provides. In response to it, they will bark.
They Are Bored
A dog’s energy is often immeasurable. They can play all day.
And this may be a problem if you do not spend enough time with them. Imagine you work all day and get back after dark. You will likely be exhausted and may only give your pet a slight rub on the head.
This can cause some problems, especially if your pet has not had a chance to play all day. The pent-up energy at the tip of being released when you arrive home must find a way out, and it will likely be through barking.
Lack of Supervision
You may be tempted to allow your dog to do its business unsupervised if you have a yard with a fence. And that is okay.
But many things can catch a dog’s easily excitable attention – a small animal in the yard, a passing car, your neighbor’s voices at the dinner table, you name it!
Your pet’s response to these stimulants will be bouts of barks. If you have released your pet especially to explore the yard unsupervised, don’t be surprised if each exciting thing they discover is greeted with a bark.
They Are Frightened
An unfamiliar scent near your home or apartment may invoke fear in dogs. The fear of being alone is also common. It is triggered in the amygdala, and the more heightened the feeling, the higher the chances of non-stop barking.
What Can You Do to Fix Your Dog’s Problem of Excessive Nighttime Barking?
If you are a new pet owner, with time, you will get to understand the different messages within your dog’s bark. This will make it easier to give them what they need.
Alleviate Pain or Discomfort
When your dog suddenly starts barking at night, consider pain or discomfort first. If your pet is leashed for the night, check if the leash is too tight, making them uncomfortable.
It also helps to look out for signs that your pet is nursing an injury. Despite years of domestication, the basic rules of the wild still apply to dogs. They are naturally inclined to show no sign of weakness, so they may hide an injury from you.
Shaking, limping, redness and swelling of the area, flinching, and or moving to avoid touch are some physical signs that your pet may be nursing an injury. In that case, an appointment for veterinary care is required.
Help Your Pet Feel Comfortable and Secure
To reiterate the point above, comfort is vital to pets, especially at night. Security also matters as an insecure dog will feel fearful, which can be communicated through barking.
The fear of being alone or perhaps the presence of a threatening entity outside your property can cause sudden barking at night. Make your pet feel safe and comfortable by creating a bed space for them. It can be in your bedroom or just outside your dog.
Just as you need protection, your pet needs it too. And they will feel comforted by your presence nearby.
Wear Them Out
Excessive energy is typical among dogs, especially those with very occupied owners. Your dog should go on a walk at least once daily to expend your pet’s energy.
But if you are the busy type, get enough toys to keep them occupied all day when you are away. By the time you get back, some attention from you should satisfy them through the night.
Above all, taking your dog on occasional walks is integral, even if you cannot do it all the time.
Avoid Unsupervised Bathroom Breaks
You can exert more control over your dog’s reaction if they are in your presence. They will tone down their response to whatever strikes their fancy. But they may need encouragement to develop the habit, such as positive reinforcement or other training techniques.
Ignore a Misbehaving Pet
If you have tried the points mentioned above to no avail, you may have a misbehaving pet on your hands. In that case, your best bet is to ignore them.
Do not give them any attention if they suddenly starts barking at night. But when they quiet down, provide a high-value treat to reward the good behavior.
That being said, a dog may use this training technique against you. With all pets, it is best to remain in control.