Why does my dog go crazy at night?

It's late at night, you've just had the leftover lasagna for dinner. You've also fed your dog are about changing into your pajamas since it's almost bedtime, and that's when all the drama starts. Your dog begins to attack items around the house, it turns the couch over, races frantically around the house, barking and panting.

You notice this begins to happen more often and you begin to question, " Why is my dog acting hyper at night?" Or "why does my dog go crazy at bedtime?"

So, why does my dog go crazy at night? Reasons for this could be that your dog has a sleep disorder, separation anxiety, he is aging or has excessive energy. It could also be that your dog wants to pee and probably you’ve been encouraging the behavior unintentionally.

Without further delay, let’s extensively discuss reasons to consider to help you determine why your dog has been acting this way:

1. Surplus energy:

Dogs and humans do not have the same energy or even the same sleeping pattern. So when you might be feeling exhausted and stressed out, your dog might only just be getting started.

While humans are accustomed to being more active during the day and taking deep and long rest at nights, dogs aren't designed this way. Their sleeping pattern involves shorter and quicker naps at intervals during the day and at night rather than long ones. In between nap time, they stay active even at night.

Although, dogs tend to sync their sleeping schedule with that of their owners. They tend to adapt to sleeping when it's your bedtime and staying active as you go about your daily tasks during the daytime.

However, dogs that don't get enough exercise tend to be more energetic and overexcited due to the lack of activity. The weight and age of your dog largely determine how much sleep it requires, the length of exercise it needs, and how energetic it gets during its active times.

Dogs need constant doses of physical activity and mental stimulation, both of which regular exercise provides. However, if they are not equipped with this, it might cause them to be excessively active at night.

Regular exercises would help provide an outlet for your dog to expend its excess energy. Hence, you might want to discuss with an experienced dog behaviorist on the recommended physical activity time, taking into account your dog's breed, size, age, and weight.

Also, you might also want to adjust the timing of your dog's physical activity. For instance, if you notice that taking your dog for exercises in the morning does nothing to reduce its surplus energy at night, then it would mean you need to switch things up a bit.

Try taking your dog for light exercises in the morning and more strenuous ones close to the evening time as this might help.

2. You encouraged the behavior:

Let's say your dog keeps barking and running around the house at 10 pm, way past bedtime. You don't how to get it to stop as it doesn't obey any of your commands. You get frustrated and hand it some toys hoping it would appease it and get it to go to sleep.

You do this today, tomorrow, and even the night after that, such that your dog keeps going bonkers at night and you keep giving it gifts because at least it stops and that buys you some peace and quietness in the house.

Unknowingly to you, you've been encouraging the behavior the whole time. Hence, your dog keeps acting crazy at nights because it's convinced that you approve of this since you reward it whenever it does so. Rewards should only come in when your dog acts in a way that pleases you rather than when your dog isn't in its best behavior.

3. You're feeding your dog wrong:

They say we are what we eat, well this phrase not only applies to you but also your dog. When did your dog start acting mad at night? What changed during this period? Did it happen after you changed something in its diet? Or perhaps its food quantity?.

Your dog might be going crazy at night because you've been giving it the wrong food, or it might not be getting the essential nutrients it needs or perhaps you've been giving it too much food.

A good way to know if the root of the behavior is from its diet is by finding out if the habit started after you introduced something new to its usual diet.

dog getting crazy in the middle of the night

4. Your dog needs to pee:

Your dog might be going mad at night because it wants to go out to take a pee. This would be the case if your dog usually pees in the backyard. Does your dog scratch the door profusely when it starts acting crazy? Does it bark at the back door? If these are things you've noticed, then you might want to consider that your dog just wants to pee.

5. Separation anxiety:

Separation anxiety is a form of panic response that your dog exhibits when it notices that you're about to leave the room. This should not be encouraged as panic could result in self-injury or destruction of household items as it desperately tries to follow you around. 

Hence, your dog might be getting vicious at night because it is afraid to be alone. This would most likely be the case if you don't sleep in the same room as your dog.

You can watch out for other signs that help you determine if anxiety is the cause of the behavior. Other signs such as your dog crying, pacing, or watching you suspiciously from the corner of its eyes when you try to leave the room.

In this case, positive reinforcement and patience would play an important role in helping your dog get less anxious when you're about to go to bed. You can do this by rewarding your dog when it doesn't panic at your departure and doing this repeatedly every night.

6. Your dog has been injured:

Dogs that are hurt tend to be more vocal than usual. They are trying to let you know that something's wrong and they need your help. If your dog just suddenly starts acting crazy at night, seemingly out of nowhere then you might want to consider that it is experiencing pain or discomfort.

Notice if your dog is also limping, yelping, snarling, or showing any other signs of discomfort. You might want to contact a veterinarian if you believe your dog might need medical attention.

More reasons why dogs go crazy every night

7. Your dog is aging :

As dogs age, they begin to experience a certain decline in their body functions. Some suffer from memory loss, a decrease in learning abilities, and hearing and sight functions. These complications can result in interruptions in your dog's sleeping cycle, causing it to be more restless and active at night. 

Your dog might be going mad at night because it is getting older and the changes its body is going through is all new and confusing to it. As its owner, you would want to talk to an expert that would help you better understand what your dog is experiencing. This would allow you to be more compassionate towards dealing with changes in your dog's behavior in its senior years.

8. Sleep disorder :

Sleep problems are not exclusive to humans alone, dogs have them too. Dogs with sleep problems tend to be more irritable and aggressive at night as they aren't getting the rest their body demands.

Interruptions in your dog's sleeping pattern may be caused by several reasons such as anxiety, lack of exercise, or if your dog is not comfortable in its sleeping spot. Check your dog's sleeping space and ensure that it isn't too cold, too hot, or too bright so this doesn't affect its sleep.

Additional Resources

No one wants their dog to be ill-mannered and disobedient to simple commands. We all want our dogs to be well-behaved, loving, and obedient. 

What we all want is to hold on to the good, and get rid of the ugly. Well, you can have that, yes, you can have the best of both worlds.

Here is a dog training program by Adrienne Farricelli (America's certified top dog trainer) You would find tips and vital information that would help you learn how to eliminate bad habits and behavior in your dog and to build a better and stronger bond with your canine.

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