Are the sounds of barks and woofs keeping you awake at night? Does your dog bark consistently without any rhyme or reason? Excessive barking can be a problem for many dog owners and if not resolved can result in developing anxiety and stress for both you and your dog.
The aim of this article is to get to the root cause of why your dog is barking and simple changes you can make to help reduce the likelihood of your dog barking all night long giving you the perfect and peaceful night sleep that both you and your dog deserve.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Unable to communicate via speech, our dogs bark as a way of expressing what they need or feel. Often barking is done during times of stress or anxiety when your dog is communicating that they are worried or anxious about something that is happening around them. However, our dogs can bark, whine or use their voices to communicate to us that they need us in some way this could either be feeding, giving them access to where they go to the bathroom or reaching a toy stuck in a specific place or even to take them for playtime.
Often deep, rapid and rumbling barks can signal a sign of distress or anxiety resulting in barking that can appear angry or aggressive. This is a dog’s way of informing us that something or someone is worrying them such as a stranger at the door or perhaps a strange animal in their vicinity.
High-pitched or squealy barks can often highlight that your dog wants your attention such as feeding, toileting or to be exercised. To help you support your dog’s behaviour, it is vital to understand your dog’s behaviour and environment when barking occurs.
Addressing Their Physical Needs
To help alleviate your dog’s barking, you need to ensure to address their physical needs as often this is one of the primary reasons your dog is barking to gain your attention. Providing your dog with food at set routines and establishing mealtimes during training and development can help reduce the likelihood of your dog barking for food either whilst you are eating or during the evening time.
Taking your dog out to play or walk before mealtimes can then help ease digestion and then calm your pet after they have eaten making mealtime much more enjoyable for you. If you notice your dog barking as you eat, making this simple change can help stop any unnecessary attention-seeking behaviour whilst you eat.
Addressing Their Psychological Needs
For nervous dogs or those with noise phobias or adversity to strangers and other dogs, easing anxiety can help reduce the need for aggressive sounding and wary barking. As dogs cannot communicate when they are scared, they bark to tell us that they do not like the situation they are in. For dogs who bark at postmen or delivery drivers, try introducing your dog to your regular postman and invest in an outdoor letter/post box to alleviate the need to knock on the door. If you live in a built-up area with noise at night, calming treats or aromatherapy solutions can benefit keep your dog relaxed and calm when outdoor noises occur.
Use Positive Reinforcement
There is nothing more significant to the bond between you and your dog is positive reinforcement. We have all heard the phrase “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar” and this phrase applies to how you interact with your furry friend. Dogs are eager to please and respond far more effectively to positive reinforcement than negative punishment. If your dog is barking excessively at night, your dog is trying to tell you something to soothe them, calm them and establish exactly what they need.
Create a Create Sleeping Environment
For those midnight barkers out there, creating a calm and cosy bedtime space for your dog can be the recipe for a great night’s sleep. For noise-phobic dogs, add a little extra white noise to their sleeping quarters with either soft and soothing sounds or classical music. Adding essential oils to your pet’s room is also a sure-fire way of creating a relaxing and stress-free environment. Lavender and chamomile are proven to calm and soothe the skin and keep the body more relaxed than ever before.
A Helping Hand
To give you a little extra support when helping alleviate your dog’s excessive barking – try investing in anti-bark collars or support medication to reduce stress and anxiety in your dog. Newly designed citronella collars are a completely pain-free way of helping to manage your dog’s behaviour. Triggered by your dog’s bark, the collar gives your dog a light spray of citronella to help eradicate excessive barking. Worried about overspray? Its super-clever technology ensures it is only triggered by specific barking and vibrations meaning your dog won’t receive any accidental sprays.
Seek Professional Help
One thing to remember when you have any concerns about your dog is that you are not alone. From supportive veterinarians to dog behaviourists, you can seek professional help if you believe it will be beneficial to your four-legged friend. Dog behaviourists can spend time with your pooch and help with training and positive behaviour control to help reduce anxieties in your dog, aid in your own understanding of why your dog was barking and alleviate the behaviours keeping you both awake at night.
One of the most significant factors when changing your dog’s routine is consistency. Sticking to routines, positively reinforcing good behaviours and staying calm is the best way to keep your dog behaving exactly as it should.
Say Goodbye to Barking
Whether it be managing potty training or ensuring regular and suitable feeding times and portions, ensuring you are doing everything to support your dog’s physical and mental development can be the easiest way to alleviate bad and repetitive behaviours. From creating cosy corners to adding calming treats, following our steps can help support your dog’s training to a bark-free bedtime. So, for those wanting a little extra shut-eye without your best friend barking, try some simple changes for a peaceful night’s sleep.