Why Do Dogs Bark At Nothing? Causes & Ways To Reduce It.

Barking is normal for dogs. However, if your pup is barking continuously in thin air, it can indicate a series of things. It is not that your dog is getting crazy or is a sign of some paranormal activity. When you go out to see why your dog is barking continuously, it is actually frustrating to see him whooping at nothing.

If you are also the one asking us in frustration why your dog is barking at nothing, then we have your answer right here.

Dogs do not bark at anything. The difference is that they are a lot more sensitive than us. Precisely they have their senses thrice more acute than of a human. So, when they feel and hear the things we cannot, they start barking.

If you want to learn a lot more about dogs’ barking behaviors and how to manage over barking, you need to read till the very end. This article will sum up all you need to know about the dog’s barking behavior and its management. So, let us jump into it.

As mentioned earlier, dogs are equipped with sensitive ears. They can hear and feel the frequency of up to 60 thousand hertz. However, for humans, this frequency is limited to that of 20 thousand hertz. So, dogs can easily detect high frequencies of ultrasonic radiations. Now you know how sensitive it can be. Including the squeaks of mice and a gunshot mile away, your dog knows it all. So, it will obviously bark at these things hysterically.

Moreover, you will be surprised to know that dogs have a more sensitive sense of smell than you. Dogs have more than 220 million smell receptors in their noses. So, your dog has an ultra-high sense of smell. So, the dogs not only detect and bark due to their sense of hearing but also olfaction. Detection of an add or familiar smell will lead to the generation of a big barking spell. Their sense of smell is more than 40 times more sensitive than that of humans. So, now you know how your dog can feel about the slightest scent. They can bark in frustration at the sense of a harmful animal and not see it or free its chain to run after it.

What May Be Causing Unexplained Barking?

We do not have the devices or organs to detect the frequencies as sensitive as dogs. However, we can still make some assumptions from our experience. So, according to experts, the following are the most probable reasons for the unexplained barking of dogs:

Wild Critters

Some dogs seem to go crazy as soon as the sun goes down, and darkness prevails. The dog goes so frenzy that they are begging us to know something somehow. So, the owners usually question what their loyal friend is trying to explain every time? Look into the surroundings. Some wild animals only come out when it starts getting dark. So, look if there is a wild creature in the surroundings. It can be as small as a mouse. Remove the cause, and your dog will then be much calmer and quieter than before.

Distant Noises

Some noises that are inaudible for you may be audible for your dog. It can be as little as the car parking 3 blocks away. Often there are doors and walls which make sounds inaudible for humans, mainly due to diffractions. However, the case is different for dogs. They do have the problem, but still, they can detect and respond to such noises. Precisely they can figure out the origin of such noises. The behavior runs in the genes of dogs if we trace it down back to their wild ancestors. It is to trace their food’s exact location with minimal sounds to hunt and enjoy a lavish dinner.

Attention Barking

Sometimes dog owners believe that there is no reason behind their dog’s barking. They cannot figure out any good reason behind their such behavior. There can be another good reason for such action. If your dog is looking continuously at you and is barking, he may be asking you for your attention. Look if you are not spending enough time with your pet. Your pup loves your company and having eye contact with you. Your company and attention will pacify the barking behavior instantly.

Moreover, if you have trained your pup in a wrong way, you have reinforced this type of behavior. For example, if you give him happy food every time it reaches you, it will mark you as a treating source. So, it will expect the same from you every time he sees you.

Moreover, if you talk with your dog a lot, then it gets habitual to it. Attention lacking will start aggressive behaviors in pets. So, now you know that your dog is not barking at anything. It is all because of your training. You have to manage that. Even scolding in the eyes does a lot more good than ignoring at all.

Barrier Frustration Barking

If your dog detects some kind of stimuli from the surroundings but cannot see it, he will bark in frustration. That’s entirely reasonable, right. It is like it wants to get to the thing creating its presence but cannot reach it duly.

There can also be other types of stimuli your dog is experiencing that you can never detect. For example, it is in chains and catches a female nearby on heat. Understand their natural instincts, then things will be easier for you to understand. It is a kind of distance decreasing barking. Also, it is telling their other partner about them that they are nearby. It can also be due to other dogs barking in the surrounding.

Moreover, if they cannot locate their partner and make contact with them, they start barking hysterically. This barking is all because of frustration. So, suppose your dog is barking hysterically in thin air, more specifically after hearing the barking of another dog. In that case, this can be the most probable reason. Your dog is somehow sending the same signal to another dog to let them know their presence. However, this signal will not always be perceptible by you.

Health Problem

Now here comes another reason which is among the most important when it comes to excessive barking. Most of the time, it is a physical pain that is causing aggressive behavior. Moreover, if your dog is hurt somewhere and cannot see what is happening to him, he is barking to get your attention. Furthermore, it is also a thing of aging. With age, the dogs become more disoriented. The loss of concentration causes random behaviors. This includes aimless barking, roaming around the house randomly, etc. It is all due to the destruction of neurons. It is usually referred to as canine dementia. This can quickly be relieved with the help of proper medications.


Now you know there is more than one reason that is causing excessive barkings in your dog. It is not seeing some inanimate creatures but is detecting the stimuli you cannot feel and see. They are over sensitive organs that make them curious about their surroundings. This is why people have been keeping dogs with them for centuries. It is to catch any thief sneaking in or wild animals approaching the den even they are a lot away. So, everyone can then take some preventable measures and get ready to fight before the enemy get too close.

How to Reduce Dog's Unexplained Barking?

It is usually hard when it comes to defining the reason for excessive barking. You cannot figure out the things your dog is experiencing due to its susceptible organs.

Ignore It

If your dog is barking to attain attention, look into the things you have been doing to reinforce this behavior. So, if it is asking for over attention, the best thing you do is ignore it. Moreover, do not give it treats when it gets your attention; otherwise, the behavior will be more inscribed in your pup. Pretend it is not happening.

Look Into Pup's Essential

Barking can also be due to hunger. Ensure you are giving sufficient food at the right times. The best thing is you make a schedule for feeding your pup instead of feeding randomly. This will schedule your pup’s hunger. Moreover, ensure your puppy is taking enough amount of exercise. Some puppies find barking as a way to emit excess energy. Give him enough mental stimulations and games to keep it busy. The busier and more tired your dog is lesser will be the barking behavior. Invest in toys and games that require more physical motions that are a little difficult to solve and play. This will help your dog dissipate the surplus energy even if you cannot spare a lot of time playing with it.

White Noise Is Helpful

At times when it comes to excessive barking white noise is usually helpful. There are many instrumental pieces of music on CDs and online to pacify pets. A phenomenon diffuser is among the most beneficial things for dogs who have difficulty adapting to the new environment. If your dog is reacting to all the noises nearby, it means it is not comfortable at your place and considers all the things hostile. This behavior is usually observed in dogs who are recently rescued. You can experiment the same with them.

Keep Indoor

Keep your dog indoors except leaving it in the yard. Yards have an open environment, and dogs can hear a lot more in the yard and get frustrated. That is why they start barking. Moreover, there are many small animals and insects in the yard, and possibly there can be others in its den. So, if possible, the best thing is keeping your dog indoors. In this way, it will feel safer and also own you more. Remember, the key behind it is making your dog feel cozier, safer, and warmer. Dogs love to live in packs, so they will better adjust to human companionship.

If you cannot keep it indoors, look closely at the surroundings and determine the things disturbing it. The best thing is looking for parasites, surrounding temperature, smaller animals, and external noise. Get to the root of the problem to solve the issue.

Get Professional Help

Get the help of a professional to manage excessive destructive behavior. If the dog is suffering from any kind of injury, the problem can persist until it is relieved. So, having a proper medical examination is always the best advice. Moreover, the behavior can also be due to mental disorders, for example, anxiety and depression. And if it is ignored, it can affect your relationship with your pet a lot.

You can also take a lot of help from expert trainers. They are professionally trained to manage all the pup’s behavior. There can be no better choice, I must say.

Do you need any help with your pet? Do you like to have the happiest relation with your pup like never before? Do you want to manage all the kinds of behavioral issues in your puppy? Or simply you want to determine the intelligence quotient of your pup? If the answer to all these questions is yes, you need to look at this  Brain Training For Your Dog.

Frequently Asked Questions:

My dog suddenly started barking a lot and then turned around. After a while, it was sniffing the ground. I cannot figure out what's the matter. Can you help?

Your puppy might have detected some smell in the air. So, it started barking and turning after it to locate the origin. This is the best possible explanation of such behavior in your dog. It might be a small insect. It is because dogs react a lot more to sight than smell. So, now you know why your dog was going hysteric.  The insect might then have moved to the ground. So, it was exploring it to locate it.

My dog started barking at the front door. I couldn't see anyone there. Even I stepped out and saw if there was anyone nearby. I tried to stop it and call it, but it was persistent in its behavior. I am afraid if there is any inanimate creature or a thing I cannot see. Can you explain it?

No, it is not a ghost. Ghost does not make noise or create any kind of smell, right. You can check again if there is any distant noise, explosion, traffic, or smell, especially that of burning or perfume coming out of the door. As the door is opened, we assume that the scent reached with more intensity to its nostrils. As it can detect the thing but cannot see it, so it is barking in frustration. Moreover, it is to alert you that there is something unusual in the air.

My dog has woken up the whole family by barking in the kitchen at 2am at nothing as my dad went and checked downstairs and outside out, and nothing and no one was there. Do you know what it could have been that's caused him to act up like this at such an odd hour in the night, and he's never done it before?

Umm… it is quite hard to tell while sitting in a whole different surrounding than yours. Best to check the environment and any incident that happened nearby. It can be guard nearby on duty. Moreover, something was misplaced and fell, which caused such behavior. Another possible reason is that some smaller animal sneaked into the house and caused a bit of noise. It then escaped in a pipeline and hole, so you could not figure out who it was.

My puppy barks every time I leave my apartment. It does this even if I have been home all day. Why is he barking like this?

You know we are like families to our pups. You are its only friend. So, it is asking for your attention. Your puppy is afraid of the isolation and the alone time it will spend when you are gone. This is most commonly related to isolation barking. You need to have Brain Training For Your Dog. to manage it in the very beginning. Otherwise, it can lead to separation anxiety. Moreover, you can also desensitize it by giving it some mind games and activities to do in a time when you are not there.

I have many dogs, and one out of them will start barking loudly and only once. Why are my dogs doing this?

It is most probably that they detect a stimulus of any kind while barking. You can check the reasons section to better understand the impulses that can frustrate the dogs. When several dogs are in the pack, there is often a single alert than others. That is why only one of them starts barking. Usually, it is accompanied by other dogs barking too. Tell me if you experienced the same.

Why is my dog barking at one spot in the yard and digging, and nothing is there?

In this situation, the most probable explanation is our limited senses. There can be some ultrasonic waves coming out of any matter in there. There is absolutely a thing. You just need to check here and there to detect it. If you can, use a more sensitive instrument, you will find the reason.

Every night, my dog just barks and kind of growls out at the back fence, and I don't know what to do?

Your dog is responding to the noise it is hearing. In the backyard, the air lets all the kinds of voices and smells reach you—many dogs, when left out at night, bark at any sort of noise outside. Most probably, on the side of your back fence, there is someone on night duty or some machines operating at night. The object doesn’t need to be near you. It can be a mile or a half away.

You can try bringing your dog inside. Moreover, give it a nice bed and a toy to get busy with. In this way, it can ignore random noises. You can also try switching on the TV to buffer the sounds coming from outside.

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