My dog is old, bored, doesn't want to play and keeps barking

by Anu

He is bored and barks all night long

He is bored and barks all night long


I'm really hoping you can help -I'm feeling quite sad for my dog. My dog is 10.5 years old and every single night, goes on a barking spree. My mother will cuddle him, but I've told her not to but she does this in exasperation. So then he gets loose and then starts barking again - sometimes she gives him extra food as well which is again not cool. He never wants to play or go for an extra walk at this time. He has cataracts in his eyes so might explain why he doesn't like playing much (we're not getting these removed as he's not a good candidate for surgery).

When I'm around, I have to give him time outs repeatedly and he ends up getting the message but because I'm the only one in the family that does this, his behaviour is inconsistent and my efforts are totally redundant. I can't get the rest of my family to do this.

I got him a deer antler to chew on so he can keep himself busy but after the first few nights he's gotten totally disinterested in it. I don't know of a way to stop him barking that will also sit well with my parents - they just don't get that if you want lasting change you're going to have to interrupt what you're doing and discipline him consistently for a few weeks and then he'll stop.

The Vet said to get a birdhouse ultrasonic whistle to help but I've read mixed reviews about this. What do you think? Please help, I would really appreciate someone telling me something that's going to be effective because I just feel so sorry for my dog. If he is so bored and doesn't even enjoy doing the things he used to, what can I do to make his life better?


Hi! Thank you for your question and concern about your dog. I do not recommend reprimanding your dog, correcting him, using any type of anti-barking collar or using any punishment at all.

First, try to figure out what triggers his barking. Is it always and only at night? Is it after a noise and then he just doesn't stop? Is it at a specific time?
If you find a pattern, then you will be able to break it more effectively.

Second, What does your dog do during the day? How many times per day does he go for walks? Becoming blind is bad, but does not necessarily mean he can't enjoy things in life. It is important that he explores with his noise during walks, that he keeps playing and learning.

Third, try many different toys. If you give any dog a deer antler, it will get bored by it after a couple of days, its not just your dog.

This means that you have to provide different kinds of toys, puzzle toys (specially ones where he can use his nose), chew toys, work for food toys, etc.

You can also create games where he has to find his food (again using his nose) instead of eating it straight out of his bowl.

Finally, you can keep training your dog using voice commands.

Don't give up after one toy, or 10. Find several different activities he likes and rotate those so he is tired at night.

Hope this helps!

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Feb 18, 2018
another view on barking older dog
by: Mickey

I am surprised you as a trainer haven't noted this is a type of dementia in dogs. I would do a vet workup on this older dog and see what's up with him. I have had many elder dogs with this a matter of fact...a 15 year old Chihuahua that has only recently started night time wandering around the house. It is definitely a sign of old age.

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