There are two main reasons that we as owners would expect to explain a dog barking at night:
- There has been a sudden noise (e.g. a fox in the garden)
- Because they need to be let out to go to the toilet.
When telling me about their dog barking at night, most people will add “for no reason” to the statement. Because it seems to us that there is no reason, because we haven’t heard a sound or anything that might usually be a trigger for a dog barking. Or having got up to let the dog out to the toilet, they haven’t actually done anything in the garden.
If your dog is barking because of noise, try putting their bed in a different area of the house, away from likely noisy areas. Unless your dog is a puppy, or very elderly, then they shouldn’t need the toilet in the night and should just sleep through…
The thing that we need to remember is that dogs will also bark and/or howl to call out to their pack mates to relocate them, and get them to come back. So if your dog barking at night results in you coming to see what is wrong, or let it out to the toilet, then it’s barking to relocate you has worked, because you have returned! Very much like weaning a baby off crying through the night, we have to be prepared to have a few nights of disturbed sleep, and ignore the barking. Eventually they will stop.
Something else to bear in mind is that if your dog is barking to relocate you at night time, then it thinks that you might not be safe and that it is responsible for keeping you safe. So as well as not coming to your dog when being barked at, you also need to be aware that you are likely to be doing other things throughout the day which allow your dog to consider that he/she might be responsible for you. Here are some other key indicators that your dog might think it is in charge.
- Coming to your to get attention when you return home.
- Pulling on the lead.
- Not coming to you when called.
- Stealing food
- Not eating food when it is put down
- Following you around the house.
- Leaning on you
- Sitting on the furniture uninvited.
- Barking at the doorbell
- Aggression towards other dogs.
So if you have a problem with your dog barking at night, and anything else from the above list then it would be wise to right the relationship to make life easier for you and your dog. You can get a Dog Listener like myself to come and help you. I cover Essex, parts of London, Kent and Suffolk. And a good place to start getting more information is the book “The Dog Listener” by Jan Fennell which is available in my shop.