How can I sleep with a yelping dog?
December 15, 2007 10:59 AM   Subscribe

I recently moved in to a small manhattan apartment which I share with a small dog that decides to bark in his high-pitched yelp during the middle of the night 2-3 days a week.

I'm not a particularly light sleeper, but for whatever reason it wakes me up every time he barks (it's quite loud, even though I close my door during the night). I wear earplugs to bed, but they don't solve the problem. What can I do to help myself sleep through the night? The earplugs are the foam kind that go in the ear, and block most noise - perhaps it's the high pitch of the bark that makes it worse. Are there better forms of noise protection? Other ways to reduce the impact of the noise (aside from murdering the dog)? Please help me get a decent night's sleep!
posted by btkuhn to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your question is not broadly enough phrased, I'm afraid. It should be "what can I do to help myself and my neighbors sleep through the night?" This isn't a question of earplugs, this is a question of properly bark training your dog so you don't drive your neighbors batshit as well. Noise protection takes care of you, but doesn't take care of your responsibility to properly train your dog.

Thankfully, there's, which details a good combination of positive and negative reinforcement for bark training that works. I recommend you read the long version and not the short version of his training philosophy -- it's pretty long, but it lets you know a lot more about his philosophy and gives you plenty of anecdotes of how he dealt with training a neighbor's dog not to bark.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:04 AM on December 15, 2007

Yes, I think some clarification about who the dog actually belongs to might help. It doesn't sound like it's yours; does it belong to neighbors or roommates?
posted by dixie flatline at 11:11 AM on December 15, 2007

In this thread, middleclasstool answered a very similar question for me and the suggested materials were really helpful in getting my sharp-barking dog to use his inside voice, so to speak (by which I mean, to not bark). So, whatever you do, LISTEN TO MIDDLECLASSTOOL. The end.

Aside, I too am confused. You make it sound like this dog is being inflicted on you by someone else (because rather than quieting your dog, you talk about blocking it out with earplugs), yet you don't say that you share the apartment with roommates and a dog.

Also, this question might fit better in "pets & animals" but I suppose that's up to you.
posted by bunnycup at 12:22 PM on December 15, 2007

Response by poster: It is my roommate's (the apartment owner's) dog; I'm actually subletting a room in a duplex. I doubt that the noise effects the neighbors as the walls between apartments are very thick and there's noone above/below us. I mentioned the dog barking to the roommate, but it's not like he's barking through the night or anything, just for a few minutes at something outside. Dogs bark, you know? But it's enough to wake me up, and when I'm up it's hard to get back to sleep sometimes. So I guess a better defined question is, assuming that there is going to be an occasional high-pitched barking dog outside my room, how can I best sleep through it?
posted by btkuhn at 12:29 PM on December 15, 2007

You could shut the dog up, with one of those noise activated sonic scarer things, or get some earplugs.
posted by Rabulah at 1:17 PM on December 15, 2007

Uh, white noise, like a fan?
posted by salvia at 1:28 PM on December 15, 2007

You'll probably get used to it after some more time has passed, and stop waking up. But if not, is it possible to confine the dog at night to a room or a crate at the other end of the house from your room?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 1:34 PM on December 15, 2007

You could try something like

It also sounds like the dog is quite active at night, is he getting enough exercise during the day to wear him out? If not perhaps you could offer to take him for a long walk / ball game each day to make him tired.
posted by katala at 2:28 PM on December 15, 2007

This worked on my dog. But it's a lot better to find out why the dog is barking in the first place and train it. Dogs tend to bark when they're bored or lonely or underexercised or trying to protect you. Is there a particular noise or something the dog sees that makes it want to bark? Is it trying to protect its owner and scare something away? Or is it just waking up and wants attention? If it's just bored, can you give it something to keep it busy? Maybe try giving the dog a Kong stuffed with peanut butter and go back to sleep. It'll be busy for quite a while, and probably exhausted and have forgotten about whatever it was barking at by the time it's done with it.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:47 PM on December 15, 2007

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