Does your lovely pup turn into an absolute demon come sundown? It's sleep-disturbing, frustrating, and downright embarrassing when our dog is barking all evening and into the night. Learn why your pup is so vocal in the evening and how to stop dogs barking at night with simple training techniques.
Listening to our dogs' bark at night can have even the best dog owner feeling frustrated and helpless.
Whether your dog is a puppy who hasn't adjusted to its new home, an adult dog with a bad habit, or an old dog that's struggling with age-related issues, there are solutions to your pup's barking problems.
To deal with a yappy canine in the dark, first, you need to find the root cause of the issue - here's a list of the most significant factors in evening dog barking and the best dog training techniques to nip this irritating behavior in the bud.
Why is my dog barking at night?
Why do dogs bark?
Dogs bark as a form of communication - they use barking to mark their territory, express emotion, and grab their owner's attention.
While some barking is a part of normal puppy behaviors, some barking crosses the line and becomes an excessive, problematic behavior.
There are plenty of factors that can cause your dog to be extra yappy in the twilight hours. These are the most common canine reasons for excessive dog sounds at night.
Lack of exercise
Dogs are naturally energetic creatures that need regular exercise to be happy, well-adjusted pups. For some, this means one or two 30-minute walks each day and some off-leash time to romp around outside, if your circumstances allow.
Exercise needs vary significantly between breeds, and many large-sized, hunting, and sports breeds have a seemingly endless load of energy to burn off.
You may have trouble making your dog keep quiet in the evening if they're under-exercised - all that pent-up energy redirects into puppy barking!
Boredom, lack of attention, or separation anxiety
Dogs are pack animals that feel most comfortable when snuggled up to their loved ones, offering protection and feeling protected, too.
If you put your pup in a crate at night or leave them sleeping in another room, they may feel insecure and lonely, especially if they're a new pup or one that suffers from separation anxiety.
A bored dog may bark as a form of entertainment, especially if it gets a reaction from whoever is on the receiving end.
High alert breeds & guarding behaviors
Some pups, especially those breeds with natural guard dog tendencies, are at constant attention and ready to guard their home against any unwanted intruders and excited squirrels alike.
At night while we sleep, instinctually, these senses are on even higher alert as our pups watch over us.
- If they hear an unwanted sound, they ring the alarm with a big bark.
- Dogs also may be suddenly startled awake by nighttime sounds, making dog noises out of fear.
- If other dogs walk by the house at night or live close by, your pup may hear them barking and call back with a bark of its own.
Illness & old age
When a dog is under the weather, they may bark, especially at night when all is quiet, and they're more focused on how they're feeling.
Old dogs may begin barking at night for several reasons:
- Their creaky joints may be in pain;
- General age-related brain decline.
If your pup is young or old, they may not be able to make it through the night without relieving their bladder. Even adult pups can struggle to hold their urine all night if they drink close to bedtime.
An upset stomach may cause your pup midnight diarrhea, and trust us when we say that in that case, you should run them outside to relieve themselves immediately!
5 simple tricks to curb excessive nighttime barking
Watch your pup and consider the factors above to get a feel for the source of your dog's excessive barking - it's tough to use dog training techniques if you're not sure what needs to change to improve the behaviors.
Use these tips to help train your pup to remain calm and quiet in the evening hours.
1. Stay calm and carry on.
Dogs are pack creatures deeply affected by the energy of people and animals around them. As their #1 person, if we get thrown off, they get thrown off as they mirror our energy.
Excessive barking is irritating and frustrating, but remain calm as you address the dog and situation - if you're stressed when dealing with your dog's barky behavior, the issue will compound and become 10x worse.
2. A walk a day keeps the bedtime barks away.
Research your dog's breed to determine how much exercise your doggo needs, and then make sure they get it every day.
- Take the motto of your dog's second favorite human, the mailman - neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can stop you from taking your pup on their daily walks. Dogs are creatures of habit, and even one day of inactivity will throw off their body and mind's balance.
- You can add extra challenges to your exercise routine by switching it up to keep your pup guessing - try biking, walking hills, or running to figure out your pup's favorites.
- Challenging your dog's mind will stave off boredom-related barking, too, so try to incorporate mental dog training and obedience sessions, even if your dog is already well-trained.
3. Ignore the bad behaviors.
Unfortunately, some owners go about attempting to train pups improperly, which backfires and sends the wrong messages to a dog.
- When a dog barks, we usually react for better or worse, and when a dog is desperate for attention, they don't care if it's positive or negative - they'd rather get scolded by you than not have the attention at all.
- Dogs learn over time that barking will get them the attention they crave. If you run to hush your dog while they bark at night, stop this behavior and try ignoring them instead.
- It can be tough to train out this behavior and means you may have to listen to your dog bark it out for the first little while, but they'll eventually tire themselves out.
- Once your doggo has calmed down, you can offer some loving attention and lots of pets, which will help your dog reframe and associate good behavior as an effective way to get attention.
4. Set up a cozy sleeping nook.
The best way to keep your pup calm at night is to let them sleep with you and feel the comfort of your closeness, but we know this isn't the best solution for everyone.
If you don't want to let your dog into bed with you:
- Set up a crate or cozy sleeping nook that will help them relax.
- You can set it up in your bedroom, so your dog has an intimate space that isn't in your bed, or you can place a towel or clothing item with your scent on it in their bed to help comfort them while they sleep.
- If your dog has a favorite piece of furniture, you can get a ramp for a couch to help them get on and off as they please without straining their joints.
5. Get good-quality grub and use a feeding window.
Ensure your pup is set up with some good-quality food to prevent unfortunate gastric distress that's even more distressing to clean up.
For young pups and those with small bladders, remove any food or drink from your dog's reach two hours before bedtime to reduce the need for midnight bathroom breaks.
Final notes on curbing the bedtime barks
If the above tactics aren't helping reduce your dog's nighttime barking behaviors, it may be time to seek professional help.
Consult a professional trainer who can assess your situation and your pup to help you teach your dog to stop barking.
We wish you plenty of luck and a better night's sleep in your near future!