Barking is a natural dog behavior. Your dog will bark to tell you when an intruder is approaching the home or show you how happy he is that you are finally home after a long day of work. But what if your dog never stops barking? Why would a dog bark for hours?
Barking continuously usually signals a dog’s reaction to a recurring unfamiliar sound or a response to reactive barking by other dogs. Your dog might also bark excessively if he is lonely or is suffering pain from medical and age-related conditions.
If you ever wondered why your dog is barking for hours, this article has answers for you. You’ll find details on the five most authentic reasons your dog barks continuously. Let’s start with the most obvious one.
Your Dog is Hearing a Recurring Unfamiliar Sound
Have you watched your dog react to an un-decoded recurrent sound? Usually, the dog makes a single or a few barks first. If the strange noise is not clarified, your dog will keep barking, and the barking and show any of these behaviors:
- The dog barks while facing the direction of the sound.
- The dog keeps pacing around the source of the sound.
This behavior will continue as long as the undeciphered stimulus noise goes on. In fact, in a study that used a bark collar to record dog incessant barking, repeated stimulus was the cause of nuisance barking in all the participating dogs.
Your Dog is Responding to Reactive Barks by Other Dogs
A reactive bark is when your dog barks in response to a stimulus in the environment, such as another dog’s bark or the presence of a stranger. If the trigger is uninterrupted, your dog can respond incessantly with nonstop barking.
Studies have confirmed that barks from other dogs will trigger nuisance barking in your dog if they have a sense of reactivity.
For example, a field investigation found that dogs barked continuously and stayed near the gate of their home if they heard another dog barking at a stranger (anxious barking).
Instead, the canines barked less and stayed indoors if the other dog was barking from loneliness, even though the bark was unfamiliar.
Your Dog is Lonely
If you are a veteran dog parent, you know that dogs love the company of their owners and other family members or persons known to them. That’s because dogs are naturally social creatures.
If you leave your dog alone often, you push your pet to live as a loner. That can cause emotional anxiety or drive your dog to find a way to seek your attention, hence, the persistent barking.
Dog specialists have ascertained that confined dogs bark more than those who enjoy consistent human company.
As evidence, the study I mentioned earlier that used a bark collar to record dogs’ nonstop barking found that about 64% of the dogs barked more when their owner was absent. The majority of owners of the dogs also isolated them in the backyard.
If your dog barks for hours at night, you should know that confined dogs tend to bark more in the dark of night than in the light of day.
Your Dog is Aging
This could seem strange, but age can come with unusual dog behaviors. If your dog was never noisy but becomes an incessant barker with age, there could be underlying causes unknown to you.
Here are some reasons your senior dog may be barking for hours:
- Noise sensitivity due to poor hearing, causing your dog to be anxious and rowdy.
- Old-age noise phobias triggered by noises like thunder or car sirens.
- Poor vision and reduced ability with other senses, triggering anxiety and related barking.
Experts suggest you look for medical issues triggering prolonged dog barking before suspecting these behavioral issues. And that leads us to our last answer to the question of, why would a dog bark for hours.
Your Dog Has Health Problems
Medical conditions in dogs come with pain and discomfort. Your dog can turn to continuous barking as a way of communicating the pain or as a form of distraction from it.
Conditions that can cause bark-triggering pain in dogs include:
- Degenerative joint disease.
- Hip dysplasia.
- Canine arthritis.
Excessive barking can also be a compulsive disorder in your dog. That implies your dog is not just barking in specific situations and stopping after a while. Instead, the pet barks continuously and without control.
Barking is to dogs what speaking is to humans. Nonetheless, if your dog keeps barking continuously, you should read a danger sign.
While some dog breeds are genetically more prone to excessive barking, all dogs can bark for hours because of environmental, social, or medical triggers.
Your safest bet is to talk to your vet for an answer to why your dog is barking for hours.