My Puppy Gets Aggressive At Night

My Puppy Gets Aggressive At Night

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

When your puppy acts aggressively at night, he may be too tired or not tired enough, he might have separation anxiety, he might have phobias, or he might be experiencing big changes in his routine.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “My Puppy Gets Aggressive At Night“.

You probably would not be surprised to learn that there are many potential reasons why your puppy becomes aggressive at night.

My Puppy Gets Aggressive At Night

I have listed six possible reasons and six possible solutions. 

Several of these reasons appear to be contradictory at first glance.

Hopefully after I explain a bit more things will become clearer. 

To begin with I want to briefly discuss bad behavior before I explain my six reasons why puppies become aggressive at night.

How to stop your puppy from behaving “badly”

There are many types of unwanted behaviors that we might want to stop including aggression.

Any undesirable behavior can best be stopped by ignoring it.

For most of us this is a difficult skill since we prefer using words to discipline our puppies.

When we use words the puppy gets rewarded because we have given them some attention which is all they want!

Aside from ignoring your puppy when they show aggression at night (or at any other time for that matter) you should praise them immediately when they behave well. 

In the context of aggressive behavior this means that when the puppy stops being aggressive you say “Good boy/girl” and stroke him/her a lot.

Have I given you a headache?

As we change the pace of things lets look at the first reason why your puppy might be acting aggressively at night. 

1. Puppy is aggressive at night because they are too tired

To begin with lets look at one of the more obvious reasons for your puppys aggression. 

Their aggressive behavior is the result of being overtired.

They are perfectly natural to be in this state.

They have had a long day with lots of stimulation and activity but as evening approaches they are really done and at breaking point.

All they want is to be left alone as if they can take no more.

Alternatively they are so tired that they do not know what they want. 

The problem is that they know they do not want what you are asking them so they are acting aggressively. 


When a puppy is acting aggressively due to being overtired the best thing to do is to calm them down and help them sleep. 

In order to achieve this you should make their surroundings as quiet and calm as possible.

It may be the case that your overtired and boisterous puppy displays these behaviors because it is a routine to play an energetic and loud game with them.

There must be an end to this. 

In the evening instead of waking up your puppy with lots of noise and activity try the opposite.

Use soft voices and gentle activities such as whispering to them and stroking them gently while they are lying down. 

When your pup gets too energetic ignore him or soothe him. 

2. Puppy is aggressive at night because they aren’t tired enough

Didnot I warn you that there would be contradictions?

When puppies are full of energy at night some of them may act aggressively.

Their energy levels are high since they have just woken up after a good nights sleep. 

As a result they come across as aggressive when they can not contain their excitement!


This problem can be solved by radically overhauling the routine. 

Late in the evening your pup should not be overly energetic as just like us his body needs time to relax and prepare for sleep. 

There is no doubt that puppies are wonderfully unpredictable about how and where they sleep but you do not want your pup to sleep for a long time and then wake up just as you are about to head to bed.

Could you play a quick game of fetch with them or take them for a short walk instead of going to bed early in the evening?

3. Puppy is aggressive at night because they have separation anxiety

Dogs tend to be like close family members for most of us. 

Therefore they want to spend every moment of their waking (and sleeping) hours with us.

Your puppy might be able to recognize that nighttime has arrived and that its time to go to sleep in another room if you have established a routine with her.

Her aggressive response to your left is her way of expressing her displeasure with you. 


This one is a challenge because it really tugs at the heartstrings!

The only way to fix this is to stick with your routine no matter how difficult it may be to say goodnight to your child. 

The best thing to do if your puppy cries after being separated from you at night is to ignore them.

Most puppies with nighttime separation anxiety grow out of them once they understand that nighttime separation is part of a safe routine and that in the morning they get to spend more time with you. 

4. Puppy is aggressive at night because they have a phobia

Similarly your puppy may act aggressively because they are going to be separated from you at night but it is also possible that they will act aggressively because there is something else scaring them. 

Your puppy may be scared by another dog that shares the same nighttime space with you and the other dog is acting in a way that frightens your puppy.

It might also be that your puppy is being scared by a certain sound at night.

The source of this noise could be anything from a rogue smoke alarm to a firework exploding to a nightly shouting match between an unhappy couple that your puppy may have to listen to.


The difference between a touch of separation anxiety and a phobia can sometimes be hard to discern.

Given a bit of time most puppies will grow out of separation anxiety but phobias are not the sort of thing they will overcome.

It is usually difficult to retrain a puppy to not see a phobia as a phobia if the cause or the trigger of the phobia is not removed.

We can take the example of a smoke alarm for example. 

It might save your life one day to have a smoke alarm that makes a horrifying noise that you can not ignore.

Those ear-splitting sounds are also terrifying to dogs. 

On one occasion our smoke alarms went off by accident (i.e. without any fire or smoke present) while we werenot at home.

 Our dogs were so frightened by the sound that they broke through one of our internal doors to escape it. 

Because the sound is so ear-splittingly loud I cannot train my dogs not to be scared of it.

I could only remove the smoke alarm from their room before we left. 

Unfortunately I went off on a tangent there.

When you know that your puppy is being aggressive because of a fear or phobia then the only solution is to get rid of the source of the fear. 

5. Puppy is aggressive at night because of “big changes”

In the evening your puppy may be acting aggressively due to a change in their circumstances.

Puppies can get grumpy when their routine is changed because they love routine. 

It is possible that you have moved and the puppy is getting used to a new environment.

You may have gotten another dog or cat and your puppy is feeling threatened and is showing signs of “sharing issues”.

Another possibility is that there has been a change of personnel in the house. Did the baby arrive recently? 

Is there a special person who has left? Has someone in your family gone to college or university? 

Has one parent separated from the other or has a spouse or husband left the family? Maybe you have moved in with someone new.

Puppies are highly sensitive creatures and any of these changes can have a profound impact on them.

Your puppy is likely acting aggressively at night as a result of these changes because they are already scared of the night and these changes are raising their stress levels further.  


In light of the vast variety of causes of the changes it is difficult to create a specific solution that applies to all. 

You should do everything in your power to make the new cat or dog appear friendly and non-threatening if you decide to get another pet.

As well adding a new member to your family (such as a new baby or partner) should be a very positive experience for your puppy. 

A lot of time has to be spent with the new member so they can adjust to the new circumstances. 

6. Puppy is aggressive at night because aggressive play is being encouraged

Especially parents do not like to admit that they might be in the wrong.

It does not matter if they’re dog parents or human parents. 

There is a possibility that your puppy is acting aggressively at night because you have taught him to be aggressive. 

You have not been training your dog to respond to the command “kill” but that you have started some sort of game with him and that he is becoming overly excited and aggressive.


Saying this is easy but doing it is much harder. 

You need to stop your puppys aggressive behavior at night if you are interacting with it at night.

Puppy puppies lack self-control and do not know the difference between play and aggression.

The children will learn this with time but instead of this type of play you should replace it with something much more calming.

Whenever you spend time with your dog the main goal is to simply enjoy each others company!

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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