Dog owners are used to hearing their canine buddies bark. It is one way for our pets to communicate with us. But when they suddenly start a barking frenzy, we find ourselves frustrated. There are many reasons why my dog is barking at nothing suddenly – and no, it does not involve spirits or ghosts!
Just because you don’t see or hear anything around you to explain your dog’s barking, it does not mean that nothing is going on.
Dogs have acute senses, and they experience the world differently than humans. They can sense things out of your perception, hear noises from miles away or catch a sniff of something peculiar.
All these things can trigger barking, whining or howling. So, if your pet starts acting strangely and barks at nothing, there is always a reason behind it. Read on for these surprising reasons why your dog is behaving this way.
Reasons Why Dogs Barks At Nothing
1. Territorial Barking
One of the reasons why your dog is suddenly barking at nothing is because it feels, hears or smells a stranger in the area. Most dogs are very territorial and react to ward off animals or humans to stay away from their domain.
You will notice that your dog barks excitedly when someone approaches the door – even if it’s your neighbor’s door.
They may also bark when there is an animal in your yard. These barks will be loud and authoritative.
You can train your pet to be calm when you have guests or stay quiet even when they become excited.
2. Wild Critters
Dogs have a keen sense of sight and hearing and can catch the slightest movement from afar. In many cases, they can even hear sounds from far away.
When dogs see or hear anything moving in the yard, they will bark at it. It could be a squirrel or a rabbit that runs across their view. Or the sound of an animal on the other side of the fence.
Dogs would not approach these animals until you call them back. They want to let you know that there is something out there.
3. Attention Barking
If your dog barks at nothing for attention, it means they are not getting the kind of attention and interaction they need from you.
You may be busy with work or kids and not pay much attention to them. As a result, they bark to get your attention.
To stop this, you need to give them more time, play and affection. Even if it is not enough, at least it will keep their barking in control.
Sometimes dogs also bark just because they want to hear the sound of their voice – a good reason for an audio enthusiast!
4. Distant Noises
Dogs can hear and sense things that their humans fail to detect. They can bark at a sound from miles away or on the other side of the house.
Your pet may start barking when you turn on the vacuum cleaner, washing machine or lawnmower outside. It is your dog’s way of getting in touch with you.
When there is a sudden sound in your house, it may also trigger barking. Dogs are very sensitive to these kinds of sounds and will often bark just for the heck of it.
5. Barrier Frustration
Your dog may also start barking when frustrated because of a barrier they cannot pass through.
There might be something like a critter outdoor, but he cannot go out and chase it. Your pet may start barking, pacing and whining because it is frustrating.
The things your dog detect are not always known to humans. It can be a scent of a female in heat or a dog barking from miles away.
With this type of barking, dogs want the stimuli to come closer, but since they cannot, your dog becomes frustrated.
Unlike the territorial barking wherein your pet barks loudly and authoritatively because it wants the stranger to move away.
Dogs are so much more than pets. They can be great guard dogs to warn their owners of danger.
When your dog starts barking at nothing, it may be checking out something dangerous or strange in the area. Your pet is trying to tell you that it is not safe.
In some cases, they bark because they sense that someone is lurking around your home. Your pet may be trying to protect you from this danger by telling you about it.
7. Separation Anxiety
Dogs are man’s best friends; they love spending time with their humans and will not want to be left alone for too long.
When you go out to work or school, your dog will be sad. They might whine and bark because they do not want to lose you.
As a result, if they can get your attention for just one second, even by barking at nothing, then it is more than enough time for them to feel less anxious.
Dogs are highly energetic. They are always up for a game.
While this can be good for you, it can be annoying when your pet becomes too excited and barks at nothing.
It is the bark that most pet owners don’t mind. The bark that says “I’m so thrilled you’re back!” or “I’m dying to go play!” It makes you feel welcome at home or excited to go out and play!
You will hear this kind of bark when you go for a walk or outside to play.
Barking is your dog’s way of communicating their needs and feelings. As pet owners, you must also learn to determine what they want us to know. We must understand them so that we can react appropriately to our pets.
Dogs are intelligent and need mental stimulation. When they get bored, they will start to bark at nothing.
Most dog owners are familiar with this bark. It is common in puppies who are trying to spend their excess energy barking at nothing.
Ideally, it would be best if you took your dog for a walk or an exercise. A tired dog is often quieter, happier and content.
10. Dog Sickness
Dogs can have similar health issues to humans. When they are sick, it is also their way of telling you.
When your dog starts barking at nothing, take a closer look at your pet. Is he drooling? Eating less or eating grass and vomiting his food shortly afterward?
Often, these symptoms may signal that your dog is sick and needs to see a veterinarian.
Tips to Stop Dogs from Barking At Nothing
Dogs bark for many reasons; some are easily identified while others are not. You need to be able to identify the reason behind the barking to deal with it effectively. This way, your dog will not feel frustrated and stressed.
Here are some ideas on how you can minimize your dog’s barking:
Use Sight Barriers
Alarm and territorial barking happen because your dog might have seen something move in the yard.
You may draw the curtains or stain the glass windows to keep your dog from reacting to everything they see outside.
Put up a fence or a bush so that he can’t see what’s happening outside of his field of vision. Doing this will help him relax and stop barking at nothing.
Have Quiet Zone for Your Dog
Dogs tend to bark when they are not given their space or are having separation anxiety.
Make sure that your dog has a place he can go if he needs peace. It can be in an extra room or a back bedroom.
Give him a comfortable bed and provide toys that he can busily play with, especially when you are not around.
If you don’t have extra space, crate training is ideal. Please keep your pet in his spot and use a crate cover that will limit his view but will give him plenty of airflow.
It would be best if you spent time training your dog properly.
If you ignore his barking, the behavior will only continue because he thinks he is getting what he wanted by barking at nothing.
Instead, train him to stop this unwanted behavior and look for more productive outlets for his energy. Teach him how to sit or come when called and give him a treat every time he does.
If you already trained your dog but then gave up, try looking for professional dog trainers who can help you out. There are many training classes in most communities that may help you with your issue at no cost.
FAQs About Why Dogs Bark At Nothing
Q: My dog is not very socialized. He barks at strangers and has separation anxiety. How can I stop this behavior?
A: Talk to your vet about medication that can help sedate your pet so he won’t be as paranoid when you leave him home alone.
Behavioral training services, such as doggy daycare and doggy spa, can help socialize your dog and provide him with the activity and attention he needs.
Q: My neighbor complains about my dog barking at nothing in our yard. What should I do?
A: Talk to your neighbors about their issue with your pet barking at nothing. This way, you may be able to reach a mutual understanding and minimize the issue.
You may also want to consider putting up a fence so that your dog has limited space to play in, but he will still be able to enjoy some good running time.
If you have an extra room or two, then crate training is a good idea for when you are not home. Socialize your pup at a doggy daycare and let him play with other dogs so he can properly interact with others.
Q: My dog seems to be constantly barking. He does not stop when I tell him to, so what do I do?
A: If you have tried all the strategies mentioned above and your pet is still not slowing down, it might be time for a professional trainer or animal behaviorist to help you out.
Dog owners know with certainty that their pets will bark. It’s one of the most basic and instinctive sounds a dog can make. There are times where your pet will bark at nothing; he wants to get his message across. It’s helpful to know why so you can help minimize this behavior in your dog.
It would help if you learned how to read his body language and barks because each type has a different meaning.
Also, consult with your vet about medications that can help if he’s anxious or under duress. For territorial and protective barking, you will need to act as his pack leader and show him that you are the one in charge.
Being patient and consistent is also important for training sessions, so he understands what is acceptable. Likewise, you can also take him out to doggy daycare or let him play with other dogs so he can properly interact.
If all of these strategies don’t work and you wonder why your dog is barking at nothing, call a professional trainer or animal behaviorist and get their advice.