Why barking at night can be a good thing

I’m going to be barking about barking again today. It seems that a number of dogs are keeping their bipeds awake at night, so I’m going to answer the Frequently Barked Question: How can I stop my Pyrenean Mountain Dog (or Great Pyrenees) from barking at night?

I will explain how I came to an agreement with my bipeds about the things that need barking at in the night. I live indoors as a member of the family, things are different for a dog working and sleeping outside.

When I was a puppy I didn’t bark at all until I started to mature and I discovered my protective instincts. I have explained this in “The calm before the barking storm“.

My bipeds worked with me on controlling barking in the daytime first. I have explained how we did that in “To bark, or not to bark, that is the question“.

During this time I slept in the kitchen where I couldn’t see or hear very much of what was going on outside. The kitchen was at the back of the house and the curtains were drawn at night.

They also made sure that I was tired and ready to sleep when I went to bed. They achieved this with plenty of exercise and mentally stimulating activities.

They also continued to socialise me and give me new experiences.

Sometimes they would sit outside quietly with me after dark so that I could listen to what was going on outside. I also got some late strolls in our village. This way I learnt some of the normal sounds that happen after it’s dark.

When I responded well to being told to stop barking in the daytime, they said that I could choose where to sleep. I had been asking to sleep in the hall where I could keep an eye on the whole household easily, so I was thrilled to be allowed to at last!

For a few nights I noticed different things to bark at. When I barked one of my bipeds would get up and check what I was barking about and ask me to be quiet, just as they had in the daytime. It didn’t take many nights for me to learn that my bipeds weren’t interested in hearing that one of our neighbours had come home late or that there was a hedgehog outside.

My bipeds did lose some sleep at first, but now they can sleep soundly knowing that I will alert them on the rare occasion when there really is something to worry about. They know that I don’t wake them unless it is necessary for them to check what it going on.

Clowie, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, sleeping

Do not disturb!

It amazes my bipeds that I can sleep through all kinds of usual sounds, but suddenly be alert and on my paws at the slightest unusual sound. It doesn’t amaze me, this is a skill that my ancestors have been honing for centuries in order to protect what is important to us!

See you next Wednesday!

72 Comments

  1. Greeting oh European cousin. Regrettably. Me and Nellie are not as disciplined as you and still like to bark at night. We are particularly good at moon howling. Thankfully, family seem to be able to sleep through our nocturnal activities and as We live in the countryside there are not too many close neighbourns and as all our neighbours have dogs, it makes no difference who is barking, there is always some doggy around here with something to say.

    • You’re lucky to have so much space and be surrounded by people that understand that you are keeping trouble away so that they can sleep safely in their beds.

  2. That’s what whee creatures are for. You bark at night to warn them of scary sounds. Whee squeak reeeeeaaaallllyyyyy loudly at night to remind them that whee are here and will need feeding in the morning.
    The Pigs xx

    • Yes, I keep everyone safe from all sorts of dangers that are lurking.
      I’m sure they wouldn’t forget you overnight, but it does no harm to get a breakfast order in!

  3. Whee sometime wheek and squeak if it’s furry windy or thundery outside because whee really don’t like the sounds and whee want our Mummy. Sometimes those hoomans sleep through efurrything!

    Nacho, Noah, Buddy & Basil
    xxxx

  4. You are exemplary Clowie. Ours have a few things that set them off: thunder (have to get up and be with them), cat shenanigans (we ignore) and ‘heaven knows what’ (go down and check). Luckily no neighbours 😉

  5. Clowie you are so right. Sometimes we need to bark to alert our bipeds of imminent danger. I love a good bark when I do my Homeland Security. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  6. I only occasionally bark at night, usually when there are two cats having a disagreement and I am telling them to keep it down so I can snooze!

  7. You’re so smart, C. I’m pretty sure I would bark if there was a hedgehog outside, because I never even saw one of those guys! Mom never taught me anything about my neighbors (we live in an apartment building), but I know the sound of them and let them go in and out at will. But I get busy alerting if someone unfamiliar comes into the hallway. And there’s the mailman… I will never get used to him. He’s trying to kill me and Mom doesn’t believe it.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

  8. I only bark at dire threats to my safety – like the hoover!!! 🙂

  9. momwithoutpaws would have my head, do not disturb her beauty sleep… or ‘OFF WITH THEIR HEADS’

  10. Great post Clowie!
    Interesting to hear how your humans handle that sort of thing.
    Huskies make horrible guard dogs, they would let a stranger right in your house and lick them to death!
    So, barking at night is not an issue for us. It’s funny though, when we are out walking at night, my one husky Mika will bark if she sees a man in the shadows. Which I love, it makes me know that if there is someone I don’t see….she certainly does!
    Happy Wednesday!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    • I think my bipeds feel very safe with me about. I think anyone would be careful about approaching you when it’s dark if Mika barks, and that’s a good thing.

  11. sheltiebeauties

    You do a good job, Clowie! It’s our responsibilities of taking care of our humans and barking at night is okay if there is something strange coming towards us.

  12. Me, Max, I’m a barker. Bella, on the other hand, isn’t sure she has barkal cords. Years ago, we had two rotties who liked to bark during the day and once asleep at night were quiet. There was an exception one night when we could not get them to stop barking. Needless to say us bipeds were exhausted the next day and wondering what it was all about until two policemen came to question us. Seems that the house next door was robbed while the family was away! Now, that’s barking I can validate. They were smarter than us bipeds, we had no clue. Now we know better, that when it’s an unusual behavior, especially frantic barking, pay attention to what might be happening. Your important post here reminded us of that, Clowie. We love your sweet photo. wag wag

    • I expect Bella would find her bark if she needed to and you weren’t barking for her, Max!
      It’s a shame that the policemen couldn’t talk to the dogs and get their information! If only dogs and bipeds could communicate with each other better.

  13. Im always amazed by how my dogs aclimate to sound. WE live in the city on a noisy urban block and in a somewhat dicey neighborhood, one reason we dont go out at night! Its not really a bad area but it is active. Lots of talking at night and noises of cars and such. Our dogs are used to those usual sounds but if there is some strange new sound they bark! They also always bark when someone approaches the bouse which I definitely appreciate

    retro rover

    • Yes, it is interesting how we adjust and work out what is usual. I know my bipeds appreciate being alerted to anything unusual that is happening.

  14. Clowie, it isn’t you biggies with the nice deep voices that drive bipeds and other quadrupeds crazy…It is those noisy little fuzzy ones with the high sharp voices. I wouldn’t say this out loud around the two at our house but they aren’t very smart either. Mack

    • Just between us – my bipeds say that some dogs barking is so high-pitched it hurts their ears. But they also say that when I really let rip I make the ground shake!

  15. It is hard for us bipeds to learn as well. It seems your bipeds did an excellent job of helping you with night barking. Happy barks to all of you. You are so adorable sleeping with that Do Not Disturb on you. Thank you for this post and for giving hints to bipeds on how to successfully teach night barkers to go z-z-z-z-z

    • It’s good for them and for me, if we’re agreed on what they need to know about. It’s very important for everyone, and everydog, to be able to get their sleep!

      • Yes it is. I am certainly going to remember these night barking tips. Now, if I can only teach SamCat not to walk around yowling most of the night. Cats are nocturnal you know, and he thinks his bipeds should be too!

  16. Well done Clowie! if my pups fare anything to go by, learning when not to bark (ESPECIALLY at night) is a terribly hard thing to learn. But you’re right! Sometimes it is a good thing, and barking less often means that the bipeds will take more notice when you do!
    Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Millie) x

  17. Those important night barks should not go unheeded. It’s good that you recognized that not every sound (or smell) is important to your bipeds, but there are some we should know about!

    • Yes, some things are definitely important for the bipeds to know. They are always keen to check it out when I bark at night because I only wake them occasionally.

  18. Such good information for dog owners or ‘wanna-be’ dog owners Clowie. Barking is necessary at times and I think even instinctive. But no one wants to hear relentless and needless barking at any time of day. I makes the neighbours annoyed. I don’t think there are ANY bad doggies, only poor bipeds who don’t take the proper time with their dogs.

    My Buddy rarely barked. If someone knocked or rang our bell, he barked from his pillow once. He wasn’t allowed to go to the door. We simply said, “good boy Bud, thank you” gave him a pet and headed to the door, and he was ok. We had friends who couldn’t understand how this could be because their dog jumped all over you. Since we were friends and I loved dogs it was ok for me. But other friends didn’t care for it too much. They just didn’t know how to help their dog be the best she could be. Such a shame.

    • Thank you. My bipeds don’t like hearing barking that goes on and on – they start to worry about the dog being bored or distressed.
      Like Buddy, I don’t usually bark when someone comes to the door, unless it’s later than usual in the evening when I will give a couple of woofs – my bipeds seem okay with that.

  19. It’s different when you live in a high rise condo and all the neighbors have open windows at night!

    • Yes, my bipeds stayed in the old part of Barcelona in the summer once – all the buildings are really close together and everyone had the windows open. They couldn’t sleep!

  20. mollieandalfie

    I.m very vocal, I don’t bark at night though, unless I hear a strange cat come in the kitchen 🙂 xxoxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  21. I think this might be one of the advantages of being a multiple dog home. Each newly added pup/dog watches and learns from the others. Thankfully the only barking at night around here are valid alerts (and very rare.)

  22. You are a quick learner Clowie and a very good girl!

  23. So interesting! Your humans did such a good job helping you understand what they do and don’t want you to do. My Lab mix is not much of a protector, so I don’t have to worry too much about him barking. Obviously, this is both good and bad. It’s nice that he will never bother the neighbors. Perhaps not so nice that he just might allow anyone to walk into our apartment!

    • I was very keen to bark when I found my voice, so it was important for me to learn what my bipeds wanted to hear about. If he’s part Lab, he’ll probably insist on treats before he allows anyone in!!

  24. Oh Clowie you are such a smart dog to distinguish when you NEED to bark and alert someone. Our girl Gracie is typically quite at night. It’s in the daytime that we have problems, especially as of late. She will start barking…not the quite low growl warming up to a bark…but the ear shattering full-throttled bark that scares the bipeds half to death. And what is she barking at??? A fly on the screen door of the neighbor across the street. A cat daring to cross our property. The UPS man. Someone else daring to walk their dogs on the sidewalk. Anything and everything. Oh good grief!.

  25. Oh Clowie that picture of you makes my heart ache for my Oskar the Samoyed. I do miss him sleeping by me like that every night. I am giving you a big mental hug with my arms wrapped around your neck and my face buried in your beautiful coat…..sigh….. (tear on cheek)
    Marty’s Mom

    • I’m sorry I’ve made you sad, but I can tell the memories of Oskar are precious. I hope the hug helped, my biped likes to bury her face in my coat.

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