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A Dog barking at night is a challenging behavioural problem to fix as it can cause sleepless nights for the owner and their family, as well as upsetting neighbours. It can be overcome by most dogs by using the correct techniques and having plenty of patience.
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There are a variety of reasons why your dog may be barking:
Change of routine. There has been a change in their routine which has upset them. Dogs are creatures of habit, they know what time they are going to be taken for a walk, they know when their owner is likely to be home. A seemingly small change in their daily routine, especially towards the end of the day can cause them to feel uneasy.
Look at your dogs routine. Has something changed recently in their routine? Has something in your routine changed that they could be picking up on? Exercise is important to a dogs well-being, have you changed the time or length of their walk? This could result in left over energy at the end of the day which the dog is using up by barking.
Percy’s Tips: Does your dog pull on the lead? Click here to find out how to stop them!
Change in environment. There could be a change to their environment which they are not used to or dislike. Think about the place where they sleep. If it is in a kitchen have you got a new fridge which may sound the same to us but may be disturbing them? Has your neighbour installed a new outside light which is coming on during the night? Look at things inside the house and if possible remove the thing that is disturbing the dog. See what is going on outside your house during the night. Is there an increase in traffic for some reason? A dogs hearing is very sensitive and they can hear things happening a fair distance from your house.
Separation anxiety. Your dog could be suffering from separation anxiety. This will be seen more in puppies and dogs when they move into a new home. Being in a new environment can be a scary situation for a dog. They will feel more at ease when there is someone around who they feel will keep them safe. A bark in this situation is a cry for someone to come and look after them.
Separation anxiety can also be developed by dogs who become too attached to their owners and don’t want them to leave them at any point. A dog with separation anxiety is likely to bark during the day when the owner goes out as well as at night, so you might want to check with your neighbours to see if this is happening.
Percy’s Tips: Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety? Click here for more information and advice!
Too much left over energy. Your dog could be bored or could not be getting enough exercise Most dogs are tired towards the end of the day. They have had plenty of exercise during the day, they have been fed, and they often sleep throughout the evening too! If your dog is not getting enough exercise it might still be full of energy and want to play still. The best way it can find to use up this energy is bark.
There are a number of training techniques and tools to help you stop the barking:
Use a dog crate. New puppies and dogs often feel more secure if put in a dog crate during the night. They see it as their ‘den’, a place which is their little bit of the house. You can make it feel even more secure by covering it with a blanket or crate cover.
Percy’s Tips: Dog crates are a useful training aid for many behavioural problems Click here for more information and advice!
Using pheromones and other anxiety treatments. You can buy products which reproduce calming pheromones to make dogs feel more relaxed and secure. A good example of this is Adaptil. This uses the pheromone given out by bitches to make their puppies feel secure. You can use a diffuser, spray or collar depending on the circumstances. For a dog barking at night we would recommend placing an Adaptil diffuser near to the dogs bed to make them feel more safe and secure, and help them settle down at night Buy a diffuser for just £19.56 (39% Off RRP) at Amazon.
Be the alpha dog. Sometimes your dog might be barking because it is trying to warn you of something it considers to be a threat outside. When your dog barks open the outside door, go out as if to check for danger. When you some back in tell the dog ‘quiet’, showing the dog that you have heard its warning and looked for any dangers but found none so now it is time to settle down and go to sleep.
Using an anti-bark device. There are many different devices available to help with barking problems. Why not try the following:
Pet Corrector. The Pet Corrector is a good tool to start with for many unwanted behaviours, especially barking because they are versatile and relatively inexpensive.. They consist of a cannister of compressed air which gives off a loud hissing noise when the button is pressed. The noise interrupts the barking behaviour as it is a noise most dogs don’t like and it is loud enough for them to hear even when barking. After using it you should immediately command the dog to be ‘quiet’ and to ‘sit’ or ‘lay’. When they do you should praise them to reinforce the good behaviour they have shown by being quiet and settling down. Repeat the process until your dog starts to associate barking with the pet corrector noise and stops doing it. If the barking problem was normally in a particular place (e.g. by the front door when visitors arrive) then leave the Pet Corrector ‘on guard’, somewhere in the sight of the dog to help deter any further barking. Buy a 200ml Pet Corrector for £9.89 (£4.10 off RRP) from Amazon or from Pet Supermarket or Doggie Solutions.
Wall Mounted Anti Bark Devices. Most of these devices emit ultrasonic sound waves when they detect a dog barking nearby. They can be a good solution for both indoor and outdoor barking because the owner does not need to be nearby and it means the dog doesn’t have to wear an anti-bark collar. The Pestbye wall mounted anti bark device can cover an area 25m x 15m and will emit a very loud ultrasonic noise when your dog starts to bark. It can be mains powered so no worrying about batteries running out when you are not there Save 54% on Pestbye Bark Stoppers (£22.99) at Amazon.
Sound & Vibration Anti-bark Collars. These are usually the most cost effective anti-bark collars you can buy. They have a sensor which detects the dog barking. They will then either emit a high pitched noise or vibrate (or both!) to interrupt and stop the barking. The noise or vibration will have an effect on the majority of dogs depending on the severity or the barking problem. The Company of Animals No-Bark collar is a good choice with different settings and sound/vibration levels. From £13.53 (38% off RRP) at Amazon.
Spray Anti-bark Collars. The spray anti-bark collar is the type of anti-bark collar we at Percy’s Pets would recommended. It contains a sensor which detects when the dog barks. It will then spray a harmless but unpleasant spray (citronella is most effective) up towards the dog’s face. Your dog will learn that when wearing the collar it should not bark or it will result in an unpleasant outcome. Try the Innotek Anti-Bark Spray Collar which is good quality and lightweight. Available for £34.99 (56% off RRP) from Amazon or from Pet Supermarket or Doggie Solutions.
Remove disturbing items. If your dog is unsettled by a new item which has been brought into its sleeping place such as an LED light on an electrical appliance or the hum of a fridge then remove it where possible or cover it.
Increase the amount of exercise the dog is given. If the barking is due to the dog having too much left over energy at the end of the day they might simply need longer or more frequent walks. If you enjoy cycling then why not take your dog with you. A bike lead set is a safe way of attaching your dog to your bike without risking injury. Try the Trixie Biker Set, £26.86. For those keen joggers how about a hands free lead on a waist band so that your dog can run with you? The Trixie hands free belt and lead is available from Amazon for £21.83. If your dog enjoys swimming and the weather is good, walk them somewhere it is safe for them to swim in take a floating retrieval toy such as the Kong Aqua with you. There are also lots of things you can do indoors to give your dog extra exercise. Try a game of fetch up and down the stairs. Stand at the top of the stairs and throw your dogs favourite retrieval toy down the stairs and then get your dog to run down and bring the toy back up the stairs to you. It’s a great way of tiring your dog out. Treat Balls keep your dog active for a long time, as they roll it around to try and get their tasty treats out of the hole. Some dogs also go crazy for laser pointers, running around to try and catch the red dot.
Bedtime treats. Give your dog the same special treat after it has gone out to the toilet before bedtime every day. Make it I distinctive treat which you only use at this time so that it becomes a signal for bedtime and the dog learns to settle down after it has had it.
Beat the separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can be reduced in a number of ways. You can leave a piece of clothing which smells of you with your dog overnight. You can also start by leaving the dog for a short time, for example 5 minutes and then return to the room. Then build up the time you leave the dog until you can leave it all night.
Percy’s Tips: Is your dog bored? Click here for our best 5 dog toys to keep your dog entertained when you’re not there
Ignore it. For dogs which are unsettled due to a change in their routine the best option will be to try and ignore the barking for a few days. If their routine has only just changed they may just need to adapt to the change. If you respond to the barking the dog may build this into its new routine and therefore continue a habit. If the dog hasn’t stopped after five days you may need to use a water spray or pet corrector to enforce the message that barking is not an acceptable habit to have.
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