Book First Walk Free!
The Root of the Behavior
One of the reasons your dog might be engaging in persistent night barking is boredom. Dogs that are allowed to be outside for long periods of time with little to entertain them will often bark. Why? Barking could serve to remind you that they are there, and they want to see and play with you. If your dog has been home alone all day, it is likely that they spent most of their day sleeping with their only interruptions as the occasional bark at the mailman or a cursory attempt at chewing on a toy or bone. Your dog needs daily interaction with you or even with other animals to provide mental stimulation that is key to your dog's well-being. Barking might help your dog to source a playmate in the form of another lonely dog looking for something to do, but his ultimate hope is that he'll get to spend some extra time with you. Nuisance nighttime barking can find its basis in loneliness. While plentiful, interactive toys can help alleviate boredom, there is nothing other than companionship that will help to eliminate nighttime barking that is rooted in loneliness. Loneliness barking is a plea for attention. Allowing your dog to sleep near his family can make all the difference in the world in completely curbing this bad habit. If sleeping in your bedroom is not an option, it might be time to consider a canine companion for Fido. Having a playmate provides a great deal of comfort for dogs who are lonely.
Encouraging the Behavior
Many dogs suffer from noise sensitivity. This condition causes dogs to be more reactive to sounds than their more average counterparts. Persistent nighttime barking could simply be an instinctual response to the noises your dog is hearing in his environment. These noises might be far too remote for your ears to pick up on, but Fido hears them, and he is responding in kind. Dogs who do not receive sufficient physical exercise on a consistent basis can also be prone to nighttime barking. A tired dog can be a very happy dog, and in general, nighttime is the time when most contented dogs like to catch a little shut eye with their favorite person sitting near to them. If your dog is alone for a good portion of the day and has not had much physical or mental stimulation, this could be the root cause behind any nighttime barking. Your dog is entertaining himself. So, what can you do if you have a nighttime barker? Ensure that your dog has access to toys that provide mental stimulation for him when you cannot be with him. Things like snuffle mats and stuffed Kongs can keep his brain and body occupied for many hours.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Consider sending Fido to a reputable dog daycare or hiring a dog walker to take him for a walk a few times a week. The physical exercise will help keep Fido entertained and happy, and the companionship of another person or animal will provide great benefits for him and for you. If your family situation allows, adding an additional canine member to your family can be a great way to provide relief from boredom and loneliness. Professional dog trainer, Joel Silverman, recommends a thorough and honest assessment to help source the reasons behind your dog's barking. When you understand what is causing the behavior, it is much simpler to address it. The longer the dog is allowed to engage in this activity, the more it becomes an ingrained habit, so it is important to begin work on changing this behavior immediately. It cannot be overemphasized that yelling at the dog or rewarding barking in any way will simply lead to further barking. The dog must see that calm and quiet behavior is the key to the resources he most desires.