4 Reasons Why Street Dogs Bark At Night

Thu, Feb 10, 22

If your sleep, dinner or movie time have ever been disrupted by the crying and barking dogs outside, you must have wondered what the fuss is about. You may even think that this behaviour is unreasonable and baseless. Let us explain why this is not only a common dog behaviour but also a necessary tool of survival for community animals.  

Before we begin to answer the question of why do street dogs cry at night, we must understand that it’s not always crying per se or a distress call, but a medium of communication for them. It’s also important to note that this particular behaviour is not isolated to street dogs or any particular dog breeds. Apart from meek and playful whimpers, this is also a way of vocalisation for your canine friend, whether domesticated in a household or otherwise. 

Asserting boundaries and defence

The reason why street dogs bark at night is more than just a “dog thing” that we know of, but it’s also a medium of expression for our streeties and asserting themselves in their respective territories and protecting the resources within them.

It’s a common myth in India that street dogs barking at night is a sign of bad luck or a premonition of someone’s death. There are various connotations and nuances behind why dogs bark at night and misconceptions or superstitions make the already challenging life of streeties even harder; it exposes them to violence and other forms of abuse for something which is just common dog behaviour

It’s time to lay speculation and myths to rest and understand with reasoning why do street dogs bark at night:

Call for help or bonding 

Streeties often howl and bark to alert their fellow pack members and guide them back to safe territory if they ward off too far. This also helps alert fellow pack members that assistance is needed in case of an occasional territorial fight between the packs. 

Like we human bond by making ourselves part of interesting conversations and events, our streeties do the same thing through barking and howling. It is their way to communicate and get involved with the elements in their surroundings? . Even dog breeds like Huskies go on random howling sessions to just interact and be a part of the action around.

HUFT Tip: Ever wondered what is the reason behind dogs howling in general? Watch this video and find out!

Expressing anxiety or pain

Life on the street is extremely tough. From regular altercations for territory and even food, challenging weather conditions, and accidents to ill-treatment by humans around, our streeties face a lot of adversities every day. Howling and barking is also an expression of physical pain or anxiety of being exposed or discovering something out of the ordinary in their surroundings. 

Expressing pain & anxiety

HUFT Tip: Our community animals can always use some of our own effort to make their life easy on the street. Check out this blog on how you can help the animals around you to learn how you can do your bit.

Asserting boundaries & defense 

One of the major reasons why street dogs bark at night is also for dominance & defense. Loud barking, crying or howling are ways in which streeties mark and protect their boundaries against other dogs. This is also a display of authority over their claimed area and a call for the pack to stay on guard for possible intrusion or presence of any threat.

Environmental Triggers

Environmental triggers 

Life on the streets sharpens the instincts and reaction of community animals to their environment. These instincts can be easily triggered by an outside & harmless noise.

Sounds of sirens, vehicle horns, bursting crackers or even music from your neighbour’s party can be a reason why dogs bark at night in your locality; as a stimulus response to a certain pitch and not as a protest to the activities the humans around them are involved in. 


The reason why do street dogs cry at night is far from anything occult and is not always crying in pain or distress either. This communication style and dog behaviour can be better understood by us with a little tolerance and a practice of engaging ourselves in our community animals’ life by feeding them, looking after them or doing as little as showing them affection. 


*All imagery and videos used are the property of Heads Up For Tails and cannot be used or distributed without prior permission.

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