How to Stop Dog Barking at Night

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by Lily Ferreras

What if you’ve tried different things but haven’t gotten any results and have simply been left frustrated or even stressed?

Do you already feel fed up, helpless or embarrassed by your dog’s barking and have the feeling there’s nothing you can do to stop it?

Does just the thought of your dog’s barking keep you up at night?

Wouldn’t it be nice to finally get the comfort and confidence that your dog wouldn’t bark uncontrollably and you can get the peace and quiet when you want? Continue reading to find out!

Understanding barking

Puppy barks are beyond cute; adult dog barks, not so much. Barking is a natural canine behaviour, so if you have a dog who likes to bark a lot, the goal is not to punish barking but to reward silence.

“It’s best to nip puppy barking early, but even older dogs can be trained not to bark excessively.”

Dr karen Becker, an integrative veterinarian.

Dogs bark as a way to communicate, and they have different barks for different occasions:

Hello barking 

If your dog shows excitement when he encounters other people or dogs, his body is relaxed and he’s wagging his tail.

Territorial barking

Your pup considers your home, garden, car, his walk route and other places he spends a lot of time, his territory.

If your dog barks continuously when a person or another animal approaches his domain, he is communicating that a stranger is invading his turf.

Look at me barking

Some dogs bark simply for attention — from you or another animal. Your dog might also bark in the hopes of getting food, a treat or some playtime.

The more you reward the behaviour by giving him what seeks, the more likely he’ll be to continue to bark for attention.

Communal barking

If your dog answers when he hears other dogs barking, it’s a social thing. He hears the barking of nearby dogs or even dogs at some distance, and he responds in kind. 

Obsessive barking

If your dog barks repetitively, perhaps while performing a repetitive movement like running back and forth along the fence in your yard, he’s demonstrating a bit of an obsession.

Distress barking

If your dog barks at what seems like everything — every movement or every noise he’s not expecting. His body is probably held stiffly during this activity and he may jump forward a bit with each bark.

Understanding whining, howling and excessive barking

There are times when whining, howling and barking are normal for your dog.

However, if you have a dog that constantly whines, howls or barks, it can become a problem. In these cases, we are referring to obsessive or/and distress barking.

Not only can it become a problem for you, but it can also become a problem for your neighbours. Especially if your dog barks at night! You may get constant complaints from them if the problem is not resolved.

dog-training-airplane-game

How to stop your dog’s excessive barking

Here are some ways that you can deal with this distressing behaviour:

Step #1

Find out why the dog is whining, howling or barking so much. They may be hungry, thirsty or both so make sure that the dog is always fed and always has water.

Don‘t forget about supplying the dog with toys to keep their mind occupied.

Step #2

Some dogs do not like being by themselves and get upset when no one is around which creates anxiety for them.

In addition to being lonely, they get stressed out and start making all kinds of annoying noises. If you are going to be out of the house for a while during the day, think about leaving a radio on low to give your dog some “company” or arrange a dog walker to take him/her for a walk.

Step #3

Try not to make a habit of always catering to them when they whine. If you do, they will expect you to come every time and you‘ll have a difficult time breaking this pattern.

Step #4

Sometimes a dog will make noises because they need to use the bathroom. The three times that you need to know to take them are after:

  • They eat.
  • An activity.
  • A nap or when they are waking up in the morning.

There will be other times, but once the dog gets trained, you will be able to figure it all out.

Step #5

After you have provided food, water and toys for the dog, they should be quiet. However, if they are not, don‘t be afraid to let them know that their behaviour is not acceptable and always praise them when they behave correctly.

Step #6

A positive-reward training method encourages your dog to repeat good behaviour if you reward your dog’s good behaviour immediately every time with praise, caresses or a healthy treat.

P.S. For further training tips, visit our dog training post and if you want to know more about dog care, check out our The 5 pillars to a happy and healthy dog blog post.

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