Picture this. It’s been a long day. Your head hits the pillow in anticipation of the sleep ahead. You’re just drifting off…and then it begins: BARK BARK BARK!
You’re starting to wonder if you’ll ever get a peaceful night’s sleep again! But you can breathe now. Time to put an end to all this night time drama. We’re here to show you how to stop a puppy from barking at night in a few easy-ish steps. Bet you’re more than ready to start; but first, a few helpful pointers:
- Don’t panic: Let’s keep pulling your hair apart to a minimum. Puppies barking at night actually isn’t anything to worry about. You definitely haven’t brought home a half-puppy half-howling monkey. Pretty much, every puppy will do it at some point; it just takes its toll on sleep deprived owners.
- Is nature calling? Often pups don’t sleep through the night because they need a toilet break, it’s worth getting up and taking them out to ‘have a try’..
- Separation anxiety: Barking during the night can be a sign of separation problems, it’s normal for a puppy to feel lonely. Here’s our article on separation anxiety in dogs to help you with that!
Alright, now we’re ready to go. Just as a head’s up, in this article we’ll cover:
- Why puppies bark at night
- How to stop a puppy from barking at night ….hopefully before the neighbours complain.
- What not to do when your puppy is barking at night
Why do puppies bark at night?
Working out why your puppy gets possessed by a barky devil pup at night time can take a bit of trial and error, and buckets full of patience!
But here are some of the most common reasons puppies bark at night. We’ll get to how to stop a puppy from barking at night in just a mo!
They need the toilet
Well, can’t complain too much about this one. We kind of want our pups to warn us about some stink coming so we’re able to act on it on time. So at the start, broken sleep for house training is, I’m afraid, all part of the fun while their bladder muscles develop. So if your puppy is barking at night, this is the first reason you need to rule out by taking them out for a toilet break.
Pro tip: Night time toilet breaks need to be very quick, it is not playtime no matter what ideas your pup may have! Interact with your pup as little as possible, get the job done, and get back to bed. Goodnight!
Puppies get really lonely, really quickly, they just can’t cope with their own company and love you way too much. They have only ever known life with their littermates so finding themselves all alone at night time can be really terrifying for them, hence the night chorus.
Puppies often sleep with one ear open, so any small or seemingly insignificant noise can disturb them at night and cause them to bark. When the house goes quiet, there can still be many noises to unsettle your pup, have a think about anything that may have disturbed them and try to muffle the sounds. Does a radiator or boiler come on? Maybe an outside light shines in?
Puppies get poorly sometimes and can bark at night if they are feeling unwell.
Yep, some puppies just love all the attention and want to be entertained. If your pup has spent most of the day dozing, they may wake in the night bored of sleeping and decide to wake you up to join in the fun!
By the way, small amounts of whining or barking are very normal. But in case it turns into more distressed and panicked sounds, then it’s really important to step in.
How to stop a puppy from barking at night
Now for the good part. Here are our top tips and suggestions on how to stop a puppy from barking at night.
And yes, prevention is key:
1) Help them love their crate
A crate or cosy bed really is key when it comes to knowing how to stop a puppy barking at night. If you teach your puppy to love their crate, (this goes for daytime too) lots of magical things will follow. When night time comes, the crate will become your pup’s favourite den, so help them love it by feeding them all their meals as well as treats inside throughout the day. This is a good way to encourage them to take naps inside in the daytime too; you can also transfer them there in case they fall asleep on you or elsewhere.
2) Location, location, location
At the start, it’s really important for puppies to feel close to us so they don’t feel lonely. That means that one of the best ways to stop your puppy from barking at night is to pop their crate right by your bed so they are able to smell you and hear you breathing. Not in a creepy way.
3) Keep it zen
The more cozy and soothing the crate, the more they’ll think it’s great. Take plenty of warm soft bedding and a few soft toys to keep your pup as warm and snug as possible; you can also cover the crate over to make a den. If they’re relaxed, they’ll find drifting into a deep peaceful sleep a lot easier to do…same goes for you.
4) Keep the poops regular
A regular night time toilet schedule will help tremendously. Take your puppy out for a wee and a poo before bed around 11pm, and that will help them get set to sleep until around 6am…with an in-between toilet break around 3-4am. Sorry, there’s no nice way of breaking it to you. However, you can set an alarm to wake you up for these midnight toilet breaks instead of having your pup bark you awake.
5) Calming evening routine
Tiring your puppy out in the evening is a great way to stir them into sleeping all through the night. A nice, gentle game or playtime or having them chew away on a toy are already great ways to do that – keep it relatively calm though; nothing too vigorous though to wind them up before bed.
6) Alone time
If you teach your pup to be alone during the daytime for short periods, it will help them get them far more settled at night. Remember to build up the time they spend alone slowly! Patience is key for this one as well.
8) Plan B(oredom)
One of our best tips for how to stop a puppy from barking at night, if we may say so, is to have something for your pup ‘to do’ in the crate if they wake in the night. A puppy chew like a Nylabone is a great one to have there for them to relax with and help them drift back off to a good dream.
What not to do when your puppy is barking at night
So we’ve given you plenty of tips on what to do but here’s just a few what not to do’s, when it comes to learning how to stop a puppy from barking at night.
1) Ignore them: Nope, ‘crying it out’ won’t work. It will simply be a stressful time, and can even contribute to separation issues in the future. Let’s stay away from it.
2) Skipping toilet breaks: Not taking them out to the toilet to teach them to ‘hold it’ just won’t work. It’s actually impossible since puppies’ muscles are simply not developed enough to be able to hold it. If you don’t want to end up with a mess to clean up, better just stick to your toilet rounds.
3) Punishment: Don’t shout or scold them! Barking is one of only a few ways our puppies can talk to us, so we can’t really go ape on them for asking for help. I know it’s the middle of the night and you’re tired, but we’re definitely sure they aren’t barking just to spite you.
So there you have it, our top tips on how to stop your puppy from barking at night. Remember that your puppy is not the only one to show off their vocal skills at night, and that they will eventually grow out of it. Just wait until they’re feeling a little more confident; they’ll be sleeping peacefully without saying a peep.
If your puppy barking at night is the least of your problems and need any further assistance with far more things, why not download the Zigzag app? You will have access to our team of puppy experts who are there to help you with anything regarding your puppy. Trust us, they’re very kind and won’t bark at you.