As I was laying down to go to sleep last night, the dog in the house behind me decided to start barking. And he barked. And he barked. And he barked some more, for good measure. This happens just about every night, but with the cooler weather, it is worse for everyone that lives close to the barky dog, because we all would like to have our windows open.
I’m not one of those types of people that will condemn you for having an outside dog. I, personally, wouldn’t have an outside dog because I get so busy, it would be easy to forget about an outside dog and I might not spend enough time playing with them, socializing them, all those things dogs need.
I do know some people who are disciplined enough, and have dogs that actually prefer to live outside, so if you can do that, awesome. But if your dog is a nighttime barker, here are some tips for keeping them from barking all the time:
- Make sure there is stuff to play with out there with them. Ropes, soft stuffed animals, plastic chewies, all these things will entertain a dog. Make sure they have plenty to play with.
- Make sure they have a den. Dogs need a place to curl up and get away from the world. This is important for both outside and inside dogs. My own dog has a place in my closet that he uses as his den. Outside dogs need a doghouse that’s small enough to be cozy, and big enough for them to stretch out in, a bit.
- Make sure you are spending enough time during the day with them. Dogs are pack animals. When they only see a member of their pack for feedings, they get to feeling bad and lonely and start barking to let their people know they’re sad and lonely. Play with your dog every day. Take him for a walk. Dogs need time and attention. Don’t get a dog if you don’t have time to deal with it.
- Consider a companion dog. This should not replace time spent with your dog. But because of the “dogs are pack animals” thing, most dogs enjoy having a buddy to live with. Make sure before you get a second dog, that you have time and money to take care of both dogs. Let the two dogs meet, preferably on neutral ground, before you commit to getting the new dog.
- If all else fails and you’re annoying your neighbors with your dog (especially if that neighbor happens to be me) take your dog inside. Really, it’s the polite thing to do. And no dog is too big to live inside- I have friends with Great Danes that insist they are inside dogs. You can teach any dog to have good manners inside.
Like I said, personally, I prefer my animals to be inside animals. But if your animals are outside animals, make sure they have good manners and aren’t waking up the neighborhood night after night.