Certain things are a given when you own a dog. Your bed is now their bed, the furniture is going to be covered in fur, and your dog is going to bark. Sometimes it might seem like your dog is constantly barking for no reason. You might wonder, “why does my dog bark at nothing?”
There’s always a reason why your dog might be barking. However, since dogs can’t talk to us, we sometimes don’t see the trigger right away. It’s important to understand your dog’s behavior, so you can better address why they’re barking. Let’s take a closer look at all the reasons behind your dog’s sudden barking!
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Barking, howling, growling, and whining are just a few of the natural ways that dogs communicate and express themselves. Dogs bark as a way to talk to other dogs and us. They could be warning us about an intruder or stranger approaching, expressing excitement over a walk, or reminding us when they’re hungry.
When dogs bark, it’s usually in response to something, whether it’s spotting a wild animal during a hike or getting scared at a sudden, loud noise. But sometimes, it can seem like your dog is barking excessively for no reason. So what’s triggering them to suddenly bark? And how can you stop it?
Is It Common for a Dog to Bark?
Yes! Dogs use barks and growls to communicate various feelings or needs.
Some dogs are quieter than others. While some dogs seem to always have something to say, other dogs seem to only bark when they feel it’s extremely necessary. Certain breeds are more prone to bark, while other breeds are quieter. In fact, some breeds can’t even bark like a normal dog.
While it’s normal for dogs to bark, sometimes it’s hard for us owners to pinpoint the exact reason why they’re doing so. If we don’t know why right away, it can seem like your dog is barking at nothing.
Why Does My Dog Bark at Nothing?
Dogs aren’t actually barking at nothing! There’s always a reason, but sometimes we can’t see or hear it immediately. The key to understanding barking behavior is to better understand their triggers and needs. All dogs have their own personalities and triggers, but here are some of the most common reasons that dogs seem to start barking randomly.
Dogs Can See In Low Light
Dogs can actually see in the dark! Domesticated dogs have evolved from wild canines that are primarily active at dusk and dawn. Their evolved eyesight allows them to spot movement in dim lighting in order to track prey or potential enemies.
Dogs have a feature in their eyes called the tapetum lucidum. This layer of tissue acts as a mirror, reflecting the light that enters the eye back out. This function allows the retina to register light even better, allowing dogs to see in the dark and other low-light scenarios better than humans.
Because dogs can see in the dark better than us, it’s possible that they see something we can’t! There might be an animal outside or a person nearby that we can’t see normally.
Dogs Can Hear High-Pitched Sounds
Dogs can hear much, much better than us! While it can depend on the dog itself or its breed, the average hearing range for dogs is usually around 67 Hz to 45,000 Hz. By comparison, humans can hear from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, which is nowhere close to that range!
Because dogs can hear at higher frequencies, they can even hear the high-frequency pulse of the crystal resonator used in digital alarm clocks! They can also hear the vibrations of ants and termites!
Sometimes your dog may be hearing something you can’t. The sound could be scary, overwhelming, or just plain annoying, causing your dog to react. To us, it may seem random, but to them, it’s a very real sensation.
Dogs Have An Amazing Sense of Smell
If you thought dogs’ eyesight and hearing were impressive, wait until you hear about their sense of smell! Dogs have a sense of smell that’s 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute as ours! That’s why you’ll often see dogs used to sniff out drugs or even detect cancer within patients. That’s thanks to the 300 million olfactory (smell) receptors in their nose, compared to our 6 million.
It’s possible that your dog can smell something that we can’t. It could be anything from the smell of another animal or a gas leak or maybe a fire that could set your dog off. Your dog might even be smelling leftovers and begging for a bite even though the food itself is long gone!
They’re Trying to Get Your Attention
Dogs can’t speak, making it difficult for them to express (or for us to understand) exactly why they’re barking. But more often than not, it’s to get our attention in some way. Try to figure out if you’ve fed them yet or anyone approaching the house that they may be trying to get your attention for.
Your Dog is in Pain
Your dog might bark if they are feeling some pain and discomfort. They could be injured or feeling the side effects of sickness. While dogs often try to hide their discomfort from us, barking can sometimes be a sign that something is seriously wrong. If you can’t figure out where they might be hurting, take them to a vet right away for immediate medical attention.
Dogs Can Get Bored
Your dog may just be bored out of their mind! All dogs should be mentally or physically stimulated in some way, just like us!
If your dog is bored, it may develop destructive behaviors, including digging and chewing. Your dog might also start barking, either to entertain themselves or in an attempt to get a reaction from you. They may also be asking you to play with them.
How to Calm a Barking Dog
Whether it seems like your dog is barking for an obvious reason or nothing at all, there are still ways to limit your dog’s barking. All you need is some understanding and consistency! Here are some great ways to calm your dog.
Figure Out Why Your Dog is Barking
It’s important to find out exactly why your dog is barking. It may be something obvious, like whenever the vacuum turns on or when another dog approaches. You may not always see the trigger, so it’s on you to study your dog’s behavior to figure out the cause.
When your dog is barking to protect their territory or out of fear, the barks will usually be deeper and may have a growl associated with them. They will also be fairly continuous and constant with their tail between their legs and their ears pinned back.
If your dog is barking out of boredom, it may sound more like a quick, low “ruff.” They might be in a “bowing” position as if asking you to play. You can probably tell by their facial expression, and their tail will be up in the air wagging.
Retrain Your Dog’s Behavior
If your dog barks in response to a specific trigger, you can slowly desensitize them by exposing them to the trigger. For example, if your dog barks because they sense another dog on the other side of the fence, have your dog approach the fence slowly. Start far away and bring your dog closer each time, giving them a treat each time they don’t react. If they do bark, ignore them and try again.
If your dog’s barking is more behavioral, like they bark to get your attention, you can also teach your dog to control this behavior. It’s important to be firm so your dog knows that they can’t get whatever they want just by barking. Don’t give in even when they give you puppy eyes and tell them that they have to be good to get attention.
If you consistently stick to this pattern, your dog will start to realize that staying quiet is the best way to go.
CBD Calming Chews
Sometimes your dog may be barking out of anxiousness, like being wary of strangers visiting your house or when you leave for work (separation anxiety). If you want to help your dog feel calmer and reduce anxious behaviors, you can try CBD calming chews for canines!
CBD is a non-intoxicating compound found in hemp that has many calming and soothing properties. This natural compound supports your dog’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), including the immune, nervous, and digestive systems.
When CBD enters the system, it can provide amazing benefits like relieving physical discomfort, minimizing negative feelings, and help them feel calmer and comforted. Soothing your dog can greatly reduce their need to bark. You can give your dog CBD calming chews about once or twice a day if they are consistently nervous. It’s important to maintain a consistent schedule, and soon you can get your dog to stop barking!
Address Your Dog’s Environment
While it’s important to address your dog’s behavior and provide consistent training, you should also take their triggers seriously. There may be things in the home or nearby that are truly upsetting your pup, and you should attempt to reduce these triggers whenever possible.
For example, if your dog barks because they see strangers walking by outside the window, try closing your curtains. Shut your window if the sound of thunder causes your dog to yelp out in fear. If your dog barks at night because they are confused while roaming around, put them in a cozy crate so they can feel comforted and relaxed. Having a safe space for them to retreat to is extremely important!
You should also ensure that your dog has enough toys and exercise to keep them stimulated and happy. Bring your dog out for walks and visit dog parks each day. And if your dog is anxious every time you leave the house, try leaving them at a doggy daycare, so they aren’t alone. Or change up your schedule, so your dog doesn’t start to panic when they see you head to the door at the same time every day.
Final Thoughts – Why Does My Dog Bark at Nothing?
Just like us, dogs have a reason for everything they do. It’s just that we can’t always see or understand why they started barking. Your dog may be barking because of something they smelled or saw in the dark, or they might just be bored or anxious.
Once you understand your dog’s behavior and what’s triggering their barking, it’s easier to address this unwanted behavior and help your dog feel calmer and more confident. Dogs shouldn’t bark at nothing, so you should try to figure out why!