3 Reasons Why Your Dog is Acting Aggressive at Night
There are many different reasons as to why your dog might be acting aggressive at night. Before you think about taking drastic measures to solve this problem, you might want to consider some common reasons as to why this behavior is happening.
1. There’s Something at Night Scaring Your Dog
One of the biggest reasons as to why your dog might be acting aggressive at night is because something is scaring your dog that you aren’t realizing. If a dog had a traumatic event happen at nighttime or while in the dark, this could create a phobia of nighttime.
When it’s nighttime your house is probably also quieter than during the day. Your dog could be more likely to hear noises or see things that he perceives to be a threat. Vision and hearing loss also could tie into aggression at night. If your dog experiences either of these two medical issues, he could be more prone to aggression during night. Serotonin abnormalities, cognitive impairments, and some prescription medications could also be the cause.
2. Your Dog Wants More Attention
More aggression at night could be signaling to you that your dog just wants more attention from you. This is especially true for younger puppies. The puppies, in particular, want to be the center of attention and want pets or love at all times. These energetic puppies also want to play and have higher energy levels, which could be problematic at night.
Your dog could also be aggressive during the night hours because he is mad he isn’t being played with. If you have a puppy, you might consider bringing a few toys into the room where your dog is at night. These toys, such as chew ropes or bones, could help encourage light play and keep him occupied while you try to get some sleep. You might also need to get your dog more exercise so that he’s too tired to want more attention by the time it’s sleeping time.
3. Your Dog Displays Owner-Directed Aggression
Owner-directed aggression is a new term for what you might know as what was dubbed dominance aggression. This situation occurs more often in male dogs than female dogs, and often times happens with dogs that are not typically aggressive on their own. The dog could have a dominance that is overshadowed by fear and anxiety. The dog might also have storm phobias or separation anxiety.
Other times, the dog in question might be more confident and not seem fearful around their owners. The cause of this owner-directed aggression is unknown, but it’s important that you don’t yell at your dog, or pet your dog while it’s sleeping and startle it. It’s also important dogs with this trait get proper training and obedience school from a professional.
How to Calm an Aggressive Dog
If you are trying to calm an aggressive dog, the first thing you want to do is try to figure out what is causing the aggression. Sometimes this is a simple process that you can fix yourself, such as noting you should leave a light on at night for your dog or bring in toys or a blanket for extra security. You also can begin to train your dog to listen to commands and use positive reinforcement when the dog listens to you. Other times the issues are more complex as to why your dog is being aggressive.
Ask your veterinarian to give your dog a complete medical workup, which would help find the cause of the aggression if it’s due to a medial issue such as serotonin abnormalities or an infection of some kind. If there are no medical issues, obedience training and behavioral modifications might be required. This includes getting into a regular sleep pattern and lessening the anxiety through exercise and a more protective bed.