the nighttime barkies

Charlotte has taken to hardcore, middle-of-the-night, obsessive-compulsive barking. As in, she won’t. shut. up.

Last night, after listening to her bark for a moderate eternity, I had enough. I poked my husband in the leg with my toe.

“Lock her in her crate,” I said, slurring my voice so he wouldn’t try to make me get up.

“You do it,” he snapped.

“No, you,” I was still trying to sound other-worldly in a groggy sort of way. “There’s no door on the crate. You need to fix it.”

You fix it.”

“I don’t know how.” (Dang it. What was wrong with him?)

“Figure it out.”


Yap. Yap. Yap. Yapyapyapyapyapyapyapyapyap.

Silence. I played possum. He did, too.


My husband heaved himself out of bed and stormed off down the hall. I smiled to myself and snuggled deeper into the covers. After a few minutes, the barking stopped.

“What did you do with her?” I asked when he came back up to bed

“I told her to be quiet and when she didn’t listen I locked her in the crate.”

“Good. Thanks.”

I was just starting to relax when—


The barking was muffled, but insistent. And just as gratingly irritating as before.

“She’s still barking,” I pointed out.

My husband didn’t move a muscle.

“You need to go deal with her.”


“Shh, don’t wake the kids. Maybe put her crate in the basement?”

Down the hall he stomped once again.

A few minutes later, back under the covers he crawled.

“What’d you do?”

“I tried to muzzle her with a hanky, but she kept barking. And then she bit me. So I put her in the van.”

The rest of the night was blissfully quiet.

At least, it was blissfully quiet until the other dog started barking (I told her to be quiet and she listened)…

And then the mouse under the floor decided to feast on some crunchy bits of wood…

And then our younger daughter made her nightly voyage to our room and regaled us with pity-me tales of terror and woe until my husband relocated to her room to sleep away the few remaining hours with her on her single bed. 

After that, well, I sprawled out diagonally on our queen-sized bed and slept just great!


So now, please tell me: what is the best way to cure a dog of the nighttime barkies? Our sanity (and the dog’s life) is at stake.

(Okay, so I’m joking about the “dog’s life” bit.) (Kind of.)

This same time, years previous: piano lessons, laid flat, living history


  • Ayrie Joyce

    I've been thinking about one reader's vitriolic comment in response to my suggestion of getting a bark collar. At first, I had planned to ignore the comment. But the longer I thought about it, the more irritated I became.

    I am a farm girl – that does probably mean I have slightly different views about animals than some people who primarily see them as furry humans. However, that certainly DOES NOT mean that I would ever want to harm my animals, or see them suffer, or be in pain.

    I have felt the shock on the shock collar myself, with my own hands. It is certainly not like a taser. The shock that is given is much, much less significant than the shock delivered with an electric fence – which by the way – I have also touched with my bare hands, accidentally.

    I would certainly be upset with myself if the voltage given on an electric fencing system was being zapped through my dog each time she barked. But it isn't. She is not being harmed. She does not cower in pain. She does not have burn scars from the electricity coursing through her body. She is fine – and she does not keep us, and the neighbors, awake anymore.

    We also have all outside animals – by the way – animals do just fine outside. They have fur coats, remember? It is NOT animal cruelty to keep an animal outside. It's how most animals live. Without a bark collar, our Lily would bark at every rustling noise (coyotes, deer, skunk, etc) that passes within a mile of her kennel. We lived with her barking and tried to train her out of it for six long, long years full of sleepless nights. Finally, my husband (who is a longtime vegetarian and animal rights advocate) bought a bark collar as a present to the whole family. We love our dog, but without a bark collar to keep her quiet at night we would have had to give her to a shelter. Which is crueler? Death (which is the likely result at a shelter – she's no longer a puppy), or a slight tingly feeling on her neck when she barks which reminds her that barking is not acceptable? We chose the later.

  • Janet

    I'm surprised this post hasn't generated more comments! Hopefully you live in a warm part of the world. If not, the poor puppy is probably cold.

  • Anonymous

    Is there a PetSmart near you? For $20 a Sunbeam dog silencer will do the trick (well, it worked on my three dachshunds). It's a hand-held, egg-shaped thing that runs on batteries. When you press the button on it, it emits a sound that dogs can hear and they don't like it. Press the button each time the dog barks and she will soon get the idea that if she doesn't bark she won't hear the irritating noise. Good Luck!

  • Anonymous

    We have a dog who is an incessant barker – we finally got a anti-bark collar (they sell them at Walmart). It works great! Totally worth the minor investment! Good luck

  • Jennifer Jo

    A little more clarification: at our house, all animals are outside. It would make sense that she might want company, except that…we've had her for three months and she hasn't been barking. She already has another dog to sleep with. She's hearing/seeing things in the outside world (other dogs barking, horses running around in the field) and it's setting her off. It's normal for dogs to bark at that stuff, but for her it's like a trigger goes off and she won't stop.

    Last night we crated her and covered the whole thing with a blanket and she didn't bark at all. Hopefully, by starting out the night by reducing the stimuli, it will be enough to keep her quiet…maybe.

    Still, I'm wondering if there are any other tricks out there…

  • the domestic fringe

    Ya, we had a dog do this. She wouldn't shut up until we let her sleep on the floor in our bedroom.

    Good luck to you. I hope you find a cure to the barking, because there's nothing like a good night's sleep.

  • Beth Brubaker

    Was puppy all by herself when this happened? It could be she wants company. Dog are pack animals, and like sleeping with others. Maybe have her sleep with one of the kids.

    If she's already sleeping with family members, then it could be that she's barking at strange noises- like the mice chewing on wood, or maybe you have a new visitor near the house, like a raccoon or other critter that she deems worthy of barking at.

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