Could you sleep if your Great Dane barked all night?

Thankfully, excessive dog barking is correctible

excessive dog barking

Excessive dog barking can be really annoying. Great Danes are not known to be real barkers, but they can develop an excessive barking habit for a variety of reasons. On the one hand,you probably want your Dane to bark when a stranger approaches, but on the other, it gets very tiring if he starts making noise every time a butterfly goes by or the wind changes!

The good news is, that excessive dog barking habits can be corrected.

When a Dane barks, it generally means one of two things. He either wants your attention, or he hears something. Sometimes excessive barking habits are corrected simply by removing the cause. For instance, Dane’s are not outdoor dogs. If they aren’t inside with their humans they’re going to be upset and they’ll bark for hours until you come and give them attention.

This fix is easy.Bring your Dane inside with you where he belongs. In fact, this is one of the most common causes of Dane barking complaints – and often, it is corrected by simply bringing the dog in.

However, if your Dane’s needs are being met and barking is still a problem, behavior training is probably in order. Good advice can be obtained from your local dog obedience trainer but there are some main points to consider.

Stay calm and relaxed

Don’t get mad. Your Dane is very unlikely to understand that his barking is the cause of your irritation. We had an issue with our Dane aggressively barking at other dogs in public areas. Our immediate reaction was to get mad and issue a stern correction. The barking behavior didn’t stop.

As our dog trainer explained to us, our Dane could sense our tension when another dog approached (because we knew the aggressive barking would begin) but understood it to mean we were not comfortable with the other dog. So he barked to warn the other dogs off, thinking he was helping us! As soon as we figured that one out, our approach changed and we started making progress.

Don’t reward barking

In our non-canine minds it is easy to assume that by giving your Dane a reward if he stops barking, we are telling him he’s a good dog because he stopped the bad behavior. The Dane’s interpretation is that all he has to do is bark and someone gives him a treat so it must be good behavior! Remember, Danes aren’t the brain surgeons of the dog world. Always correct, get them to do something else immediately (sit/stay/down etc) and then reward them for that.

Timing is everything

Any correction must be issued while the barking is occurring. Even two seconds afterwards will be wasted and will confuse your Dane because he won’t understand what it is he did wrong. Our Danes have the attention span of a – well, a Great Dane – it can be measured in seconds! Interrupting the barking behavior is essential.


Danes are creatures of habit and while some can be obstinate and a real training challenge, most of our beauties learn without huge difficulty. Keep in mind your Dane wants to please you. If you help him understand what that is, in most cases he’ll be too happy to oblige.

But again, they aren’t the smartest dogs in the world so they need consistency to understand something. That means that if barking is a problem, your Dane must be corrected each and every time he barks when it is not appropriate. Anything less will confuse him

They can learn!

Barking was the hardest part of obedience training we faced with our Dane, however the ending is a happy one! Once we had discussed the issue with our dog obedience instructor and understood how our Dane approached things, it was much easier to address.

NOTE: Dog obedience training is as much for the dog owner as it is for the dog. Many instructors would probably go further and say 25% dog and 75% dog owner! It really is essential to use the techniques correctly or they won’t give you results.

We wanted our Dane to understand it was OK to bark when a stranger approached the door, but we didn’t want him barking every time he heard the tiniest noise. (Nothing like waking up at 0300 am because the Dane is going nuts at the window and wondering whether he hears a butterfly or a burgler!)

So every time he started what we considered excessive dog barking, that is, barking at everything except an approaching stranger, we corrected. At first we had a hard time getting his attention to correct so we used a spray bottle and sprayed him. That startled him and got his focus.

At the same time we issued the command “quiet” in a calm voice and when he was looking at us, we called him and ordered “sit”. Once he did that, he got lots of praise. We only had to use the water spray a couple of times and after that (although the barking habit didn’t stop immediately) he gave us his attention when he heard “quiet”.

Some Dane owners have reported success using a leash to bring their Danes away from whatever it is they’re barking at, and there are a variety of other techniques that can be applied.

But again, professional dog obedience trainers are available in every area and should be consulted. Excessive dog barking (or other Great Dane behavior problems for that matter) can be very annoying – not just for you, but also for anyone else who has to listen to it. And when a Dane barks, people listen! Best to make sure only appropriate barking is allowed.

back to top of excessive dog barking