Why does my dog bark at night?

why my dog barks at night
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    Yes we must confess that we were those smug puppy parents who thought they had cracked crate training and had their dog sleeping through the night from day one! Fast forward a year and our Cavapoo has developed a rather bad habit of barking in the middle of the night!

    Why does my dog bark at night? Often it’s because dogs see or hear an animal in the yard, or because they hear other dogs barking in the neighborhood. Other reasons dogs bark at night include loneliness, lack of supervision, or inadequate exercise and play.

    There is nothing worse than a bad nights sleep – in fact you can see why some countries used sleep deprivation as a form of torture. It leaves you feeling exhausted, finding it hard to concentrate and acting in an irritable manner – well it does me anyway.

    So to ensure that every one in your household gets a good nights sleep, it is important that you stop your dog from barking at night. Here we explain why dogs bark at night and provide some helpful training tips to ensure that all is quiet at night from now on.

    Why does my dog keep barking in the middle of the night?

    There is less of a bump in the night and more of a woof in our household at the moment, when the dog starts barking. But what has caused this sudden onset of night barking and how can we train our Cavapoo Rosie to settle back into a good night time routine?

    Barking at night, and early waking are both common behavior problems that new owners often experience with puppies and young dogs.

    It is perfectly normal in fact, for your puppy to feel scared and upset for the first few nights (even weeks), when they first leave the comfort of their mother and siblings. However, night barking can re-occur in older dogs too.

    The most common causes of dog barking at night include:

    Attention

    The number one reason for a dog barking at night is to get your attention.

    If you are anything like us, in order to stop the noise you will rush out of bed and straight to your dog in order to shush them. Thus giving your dog the exact response that they were hoping their barking would bring – attention.

    Toileting

    Although a lack of bladder control is more common in puppies, it is not unusual, especially for elderly dogs to bark to alert us to the fact that they need to pee.

    A change in our routine can also impact our dogs, so if you fancy an early night, just remember that your dog may wake you up earlier to go to the toilet too.

    Animals

    Likely stimuli for night time barking include animals in the garden such as foxes, rabbits, raccoons, badgers, bats, owls and rats, as well as a neighbors dog’s barking.

    Your dog will be inquisitive about the shuffling and scampering they can hear around them and if another dog is in distress or starts to howl, then your dog may bark in response.

    Lights

    Many dog breeds, regardless of size, were originally bred to let their humans know that a possible intruder or other disturbance is on or near the property. This is why your dog barks when someone walks past your house or a car drives down your street. 

    Lights from passing cars, someone coming home, street lighting or even a burglar alarm flashing, can all wake a sleeping dog.

    Bedtime arrangements

    Another reason that your dog has started barking at night, could be because there is an issue with the room that they sleep in.

    As the seasons change, your dog might start to find that it is now too hot, too cold, too loud or too bright, or there might not be enough space for them to lay down comfortably. Especially if they been trained to sleep in a crated since they were young and have substantially grown over time.

    From a puppy, Rosie has always slept in a crate at night

    People

    Your dog won’t just be alert to intruders or someone walking by. Sometimes it is the small changes that we make that have the biggest impact on our dogs – especially at night or in the early mornings.

    Maybe the milkman has changed their routine and delivers at a different time? Your neighbor could have changed work shifts and leaves the house at a different time? Likewise if you have moved house recently, then your dog will have to get used to a host of new and exciting sounds, from the bin men to the paper boy to the early tweeting birds.

    Appliances

    There’s many reason why we, as humans, can be scared of the dark — but mostly it comes down to the noises we hear. This is exactly how your dog feels and will bark at night if something scares or startles them.

    Dogs also have a heightened ability to hear things, so every little noise has them on high alert. Therefore if your dog’s bed is by the boiler, wine fridge, washing machine or any other appliance, then chances are this is likely to disturb them.

    Hunger

    No one likes to go to bed on an empty stomach and the same can be said for our pooches. This is especially true for dogs who are only fed once a day.

    Spacing meals out across the day, with the last feed given slightly later in the evening, or even cheeky late night ‘snack’ at bed time (reducing the food given at other meals / treat times as necessary), can ensure that your dog goes to bed happy, content and with a fully tummy.

    Boredom

    Many dogs who lack appropriate mental or physical stimulation during the day are also prone to early hours waking or overnight barking. After all, your dog barking at night not only gives them something to do but guarantees them attention from you!

    Therefore it is really important that you give your dog the appropriate exercise and mental activities appropriate for their age and needs each day, to rid them of any pent up energy.

    Separation anxiety

    Dogs will often bark at night when they are lonely. This is especially true if you work away from home and your dog is left alone all day. Cavapoos in particular are very social animals and long workdays can be just as hard on them as they are on you!

    Your dog’s loneliness, however, can lead to separation anxiety which can be displayed through undesirable behaviors like late-night barking. Therefore you may want to think about combating this separation anxiety by employing a dog walker or sending them to doggy daycare – especially if your dog is left for prolonged periods of time.

    Underlying health issues

    Although sleepless nights are common when it comes to new puppies or younger dogs, the restlessness and dog’s barking should die down as your dog matures. However, if you notice that your dog’s no longer sleeping through the night, struggling to get comfortable, or pacing back and forth across the room, then there may be a more serious underlying health issue that needs to be addressed. 

    More often than not, there is a simple solution to stop your dog from barking at night. However, if you tried all of our tips and tricks and noticed that the dog barking behavior persists, then you may want to visit a veterinarian so that they can rule out any health issues.

    Common illnesses that can cause your dog to bark at night include:

    • Upset stomach
    • Bladder infection
    • Canine dementia
    • A source of chronic pain

    Should I ignore my dog barking at night?

    Barking is a normal way for dogs to communicate with us and other dogs. And whilst most people tolerate listening to barking during the day, they are not so tolerant at night.

    So it’s all well and good letting your dog bark it out of you live in the country, but if like us, you have close neighbours then you will want to nip the barking in the bud before you start getting complaints.

    Barking is one of the most common nuisance complaints received by local authorities in urban areas in all parts of the world and according to various studies, is the number one source of contention between neighbors.

    The first thing to establish is what is causing your dog’s night barking? If you can establish what the stimulus is, then there could be some simple solutions to fixing it. This could include moving the dog to sleep in a different room, drawing the curtains or fitting window film, turning off security lighting or switching on some white noise.

    Ultimately it is up to you to teach your dog that barking and whining will get them absolutely nowhere. And here is how!

    Top tips to stop your dog barking all night

    Firstly, it is important to note that any dog that doesn’t seem their usual bouncy self, will benefit from a health check up at the vets. This is especially important if you are experiencing a newly developed behavioral problem such at barking at night.

    Once any illnesses have been ruled out, you can put our top training tips into motion.

    (1) Ensure that your dogs basic needs have been met.

    Before putting your dog to bed, make sure that they have been fed, watered and let out in order to go to toilet. Make sure that you feed your dog at least an hour before bedtime, so that they have time to digest it and that water is constantly available to them.

    (2) Check for any disturbances.

    After some constant dog barking from our Cavapoo night after night, we decided to do some further investigating. On first appearances the house seemed quiet but when we crept outside we found a hedgehog shuffling around our backyard.

    Whilst disturbances of this kind are often temporary, they can be a trigger for a new barking habit to begin – especially if they enjoy the attention that dog barking at night has created.

    (3) Confine your dog at night.

    Ideally in order to stop your dog from barking, you should ensure that they are placed in another room or crate (preferably not in bed with you), as this will teach them how to deal with being alone. If the room is bright, or they have the ability to see outside, then you may want to consider drawing the curtains or covering the crate.

    Another thing that we are looking into, is whether our Cavapoos crate is getting too small for her. Bought for her as a puppy, Rosie, loves to stretch out in her sleep and we think that she is now finding her crate too restrictive. For more information on the best crates to get your Cavapoo, why not read our latest reviews.

    (4) Play some white noise or music for your dog at night.

    If your dog’s barking is due to the sounds they can hear outdoors, then why not drown them out with some soothing sounds of your own. Not only will white noise and music distract from any external commotions, but they will help your dog to relax quicker and may even aid them in getting to sleep.

    This is especially good for dogs that suffer with separation anxiety, as the sound of noise and voices often calms them down.

    (5) Do not reward your dog barking.

    Obviously if your dog is normally settled and quiet at bedtime then you should go and investigate the reason for their barking at night. But, just make sure that you don’t make a big deal out of your night time visit.

    Depending on what your initial response to the barking or whining was, may encourage your dog to keep barking at night in order to get your attention!

    (6) Beat your dog’s boredom.

    Make sure you spend time every day with your dog to ensure that you are giving them enough exercise both physically and mentally depending on their needs and breed. You’ll know you’ve given your dog enough exercise for the day when they are calm at night.

    It is a good idea to take your dog on a walk every day so that they can expel any pent up energy. They will also benefit from more active play like tug of war and fetch. There are some great toys you can buy to help tire them out ready for bed to ensure that your dog sleeps soundly and quietly through the night.

    (7) Spend time apart from your dog during the day.

    A dog that becomes very distressed at being left alone at night, is also likely to be upset and bark when you are not around during the day! Remember that all dogs are social animals, and Cavapoos crave human attention more than most.

    Therefore you should ensure that there is an even balance of time when your dog has to cope with being left alone in the day as this will help them self-soothe at night. If you would like to know about separation anxiety in dogs and how to help your Cavapoo cope with being left alone, then why not check out our informative blog.

    If you still need answers as to why dogs bark at night, then hopefully our frequently asked questions section can help!

    Why do new puppies barking at night?

    When it comes to why dogs bark at night and dog training, it is important to remember that puppies are a special case. These young pooches have poor bladder control and may be very homesick for the first few days and nights.

    If you want to train your puppy to sleep on their own in another room from you, then this is often quite overwhelming for your dog at first. With patience, care and some proper crate and dog training, you can soon teach your pup to get used to night time noise and have them sleeping through the night without barking, in no time at all.

    For the first few days you will need to reassure your new puppy which should in turn reduce the barking at night. For more information, take a look at our top tips for settling your Cavapoo into its new home.

    Should I punish my dog for barking all night?

    Constant barking can be irritating, but you won’t be able to correct your dogs behavioral problem if you start to get frustrated.

    There are so many studies that show punishing your dog as a form of dog training has some serious downsides, including increasing aggression, and reducing the ability to want to learn new skills.

    Instead, we always suggest that you try and use positive behavioral techniques to stop your dog from barking, such as constant praise, reassurance, treats and toys. For handy hints on how to train your Cavapoo, check out our training guide.

    Should I let my dog bark it out at bedtime?

    Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, and if your adult dog is healthy and confident generally, then they will be ok if you just leave them to ‘cry it out’. If there is no genuine reason for your dog to bark at night, other than the fact they want your attention, then it is up to you teach them this behavior will not work. However much we want our dogs to stop barking immediately it may take time, so we suggest you take your neighbors some flowers (and ear plugs) and explain the situation.

    Conclusion

    There is no getting away from it, your dog is going to bark—it’s bred into their DNA. But to avoid excessive barking at night (and a fall out with your neighbors), then we suggest that you make sure that during the day, your dog gets plenty of exercise, playtime, and time with you.

    When night time falls, provide your dog with a safe and comfortable place to sleep and get them into a good routine. All these little steps combined will help your dog stop barking at night, and may help you sleep more soundly too.

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