How to Stop Your Dog from Barking Through the Night | Pupford

March 28th, 2023

Filed under Training

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It’s bedtime – your head finally hits the pillow after a long day and you are looking forward to some much-needed rest.

Just as you’re about to drift off for good, you’re jolted back to reality by the sound of your dog barking.

And barking.

And barking.

Been there? Yeah, us too, and we know it’s not fun.

Nighttime barking is one of the more frustrating situations discussed in our community, and understandably so.

We’ve put together this guide to help tired pup parents like you get to the bottom of their dog’s nighttime barking – and put it to bed at last.

But first, a little game of fact or myth:

Do dogs howl and bark at the moon?

Myth. According to the University of California Santa Barbara, dogs don’t actually howl at the moon. For other reasons (that we will get into shortly), they tend to bark and howl more around nightfall, which is one of the reasons people believe that.


dog barking at night and how to stop it

The first step in stopping your dog’s night barking is to figure out why they’re doing it in the first place. There are a few different reasons why it happens, and each one has a different strategy for resolving it.

The short answer is that dogs bark because it works. They use barking as a means to get what they want – once they’ve done that successfully once, they’ll continue to do it.

It’s what they’re trying to get that differs from scenario to scenario.

Here are 4 reasons your dog may be barking through the night:

  1. Separation anxiety – Some dogs get extremely stressed and anxious when left alone for the night. They’ll often also engage in destructive behaviors, pace, shake, have accidents, or attempt to escape their environment.
  2. Alerting – Barking is often a response to a stimulus. There could be certain noises (have neighbors that party?) or sights (do raccoons come to visit?) that arise at night that your dog is trying to alert you to.
  3. Boredom – If your dog didn’t get enough stimulation or exercise throughout the day, they could be dealing with too much pent-up energy and nothing to do with it.
  4. Physical discomfort – Repetitive barking could be a signal from your dog that something isn’t quite right physically.

Each one of these issues requires a unique approach, but the good news is there is a solution for all of them.


dog sleeping in bed in the night

We have to be honest, getting your dog to stop barking through the night is going to be a long-term challenge. But it will not only improve your dog’s sleep (and your own!), but it will address deeper issues that can greatly impact your dog’s overall well-being.

Here are some steps you can take to stop your dog from barking through the night – in the recommended order!


First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure there’s nothing bothering your pup. Things to check:

  • Room temperature
  • Did they get enough food or water before bed?
  • Is an additional potty break needed?
  • Are there signs of pain, weakness, or illness?

You can tweak environmental and routine issues yourself, but be sure to consult your veterinarian if your dog is in pain or sick.



If you think boredom or lack of stimulation is an issue, ramp up the physical and mental exercise throughout the day.

This doesn’t have to mean taking large chunks of time to run your dog around, but rather strategically working enrichment into their everyday activities. Some ideas include:

  • Using mealtime for enrichment
  • Strategically placing toys around the house
  • Teaching new tricks
  • Work short spurts of play into your day
  • Set your dog up with enrichment toys, snuffle mats, lick mats, and puzzle toys

Want more details and step-by-step guidance for busting boredom? See our 5 Tips to Minimize Your Dog’s Boredom. 


You’ll want to make sure your dog is relaxed and settled in whatever space they spend the night, as that can greatly reduce stress-related barking. There are two approaches here:

  • Teach your dog the “place” cue. This will help your dog learn that they have a designated place to go for relaxation and/or sleep. The key is to help your dog form positive associations with their “place” so they can stay for long durations and ignore distractions. For more tips and steps for teaching your dog this skill, see our article How to Teach Your Dog Place or Mat Behavior with CCDT Erika Gonzalez.  
  • Crate training. Similarly, teaching your dog to view their crate as a safe space to relax can greatly reduce nighttime barking – and give them a general place to unwind and stay safe when you are not able to supervise them. This is such an important skill for your dog that we created an entire course dedicated to crate training – view the Crate Training Course in the Pupford Academy. 


If you think your dog’s evening barking is due to stimuli, you can do some work with them throughout the day to lessen the tendency for barking at night.

Here are some steps:

  • Figure out what your dog is barking at. For example, they could be barking at the sound of passing cars at night (since there are other things going on drowning out the sound during the day).
  • Expose your dog to that stimulus in a controlled manner by bringing your dog a far distance from passing cars.
  • When they notice the car, reward them for any other behavior they do besides barking (bonus if your dog engages with you rather than the car).
  • Repeat this while gradually decreasing the distance between the cars and your dog – of course, in this case, you’ll want to keep a safe distance no matter what, but the principle applies.

For more details about this approach, see our What to Do About Barking podcast and article.  


puppy sleeping peacefully through the night

It can be tricky to confirm with certainty that separation anxiety is the cause of your dog’s barking, but you can infer based on the behaviors that accompany the barking and their demeanor when you return.

If you can, place a camera where your dog spends the night so you can assess their body language and determine if they are displaying the classic signs of separation anxiety, which you can read more about in Separation Anxiety in Dogs: A Simple Guide. 

If your dog is in fact suffering from separation anxiety, we suggest you take a look at our Separation Anxiety Course that helps you understand the issue and provide tactical steps for resolving it.


Sometimes you need to call in reinforcements – and that’s okay. If you can’t resolve your dog’s barking issues on your own, or just want to be equipped with tools to better approach the situation, the Barking Solutions course may be right for you.

This video-style course led by Traci Madson, CPDT-KA helps you learn why your dog barks and provides humane ways to overcome it. And it covers a wide range of barking causes so you can help ease your dog’s barking no matter why it’s happening.


Remember, barking is your dog’s way of signaling something to you. Approach the situation with patience as you work to figure out what exactly your dog is trying to say – and why the middle of the night is when they’re saying it.

While nighttime barking is frustrating, be sure to show your dog grace. They’re trying to communicate with you, not trying to bother you (or the neighbors). So in these cases, punishing only upsets and confuses your dog, which leads to more stress, which leads to more barking.

Go at your dog’s pace when addressing their barking, especially when training around a stimulus. Taking things one step at a time will ensure your dog doesn’t get overstimulated, and you don’t get overwhelmed. It’s all about small successes that add up over time.


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