Dog Barking at Foxes at Night (Or Other Times)? How to Stop!

Does your dog bark at foxes at night, and you’re not sure what to do about it? In this article, we’re going to go over why dogs bark at foxes, especially focusing on at night, and share tips on how you can help your dog stop this behavior.

We’ll cover everything from why foxes drive your dog mad, to what happens when a fox wanders into your garden and catches your four-legged friend’s attention. We will also cover the question of whether or not foxes are scared of dogs.

So, if you’re dealing with a dog barking at foxes at night constantly, don’t worry! Keep reading for the solutions you need below!

How to Stop Dog Barking at Foxes at Night

dog barking at foxes at night

To stop a dog from barking at foxes at night, you can train your dog with the “quiet” command, remove the stimulus, manage their environment, use a white noise machine to mask outside sounds, or employ a combination of these methods.

  1. “Quiet” Command Training: Start by choosing a consistent command word like “quiet” or “enough.” Say your command calmly and assertively. If your dog stops barking, immediately reward them with a treat or praise. Repeat this over several sessions until your dog understands that “quiet” means they should stop barking. Do this during the day so that your dog can better learn and understand the command before applying it at night when foxes appear.
  2. Remove the Stimulus: If your dog has access to windows or doors where they can see or hear foxes, consider blocking this access or drawing the curtains to limit their exposure to the stimulus. If they can’t see or hear the foxes, they are less likely to bark at them.
  3. Environment Management: Keep your dog in a room that is as far from the noise as possible. Ensure the room is comfortable and contains their bed, water, and familiar toys. This will help create a safe space for your dog and can reduce their anxiety, which may be causing the barking.
  4. Use a White Noise Machine: A white noise machine can help mask the sounds of foxes outside, making your dog less likely to react. It can also have a calming effect, helping your dog to relax and sleep better.

These steps will get your dog to stop barking at foxes, but it’s important to remember that the underlying behavioral issue (anxiety, dominance, overexcitement, etc.) that was causing all of this to begin with will still be present. And until you address that, any positive changes you see are only going to be temporary.

“Okay, so how do I make them last then?”

By getting your dog to truly choose to follow your direction, that’s how. I tried many times to write out how you can do that before deciding it made more sense to just link you to the free video series that explains it better than I’d ever be able to.

The series is by a man named Dan who is one of the world’s leading dog obedience trainers. In it, he teaches you how to put an end to things like when your dog barks at foxes and all other misbehavior using his fast and easy-to-follow methods.

In the first video, Dan will reveal to you why the two most common methods of dog training only doom you to failure. You can watch the video now by clicking here. Follow the proven system he’ll show you in his series and you’ll never have to spend another second worrying about your dog barking at a fox ever again!

Foxes Driving My Dog Mad

Dog Barking at Foxes
Foxes are driving your dog mad due to their strong scents, invasive presence, and innate predator-prey instincts. Implementing strategies such as reinforcing boundaries, using deterrents, and proper training can help manage your dog’s reactions to foxes.

Intriguing Scents and Sounds

Foxes emit strong smells and sounds that can stimulate your dog’s natural curiosity and hunting instincts. Foxes mark their territories by leaving behind scents that dogs find intriguing and challenging. Furthermore, the unique sound that foxes make, especially during mating season, can provoke excitement or agitation in dogs.

Invasive Presence

A fox’s presence in your garden or property can be perceived as a territorial invasion by your dog. Dogs are instinctively protective of their territory, and an invading fox can trigger a defensive response. This can result in persistent barking, restlessness, and aggression, making it seem like the fox is driving your dog mad.

Predator-Prey Instincts

Both foxes and dogs are predatory animals with a shared ancestry. Their interactions can trigger natural predator-prey instincts, especially if the dog is of a breed with a high prey drive. Dogs can become excessively excited or aggressive at the sight, smell, or sound of a fox, leading to behavioral issues.

Managing Dog-Fox Interactions

There are several ways to manage your dog’s reactions to foxes. These include reinforcing boundaries to keep foxes out, using fox deterrents, and providing adequate mental and physical stimulation for your dog. You should also use behavioral training so that you can control your dog on command, which we explained in the first section.

Maintaining a Peaceful Environment for Your Dog

While foxes can agitate your dog, remember that the fox is not at fault. They’re simply following their natural instincts, as is your dog. Employing respectful and non-harmful strategies to manage your dog’s reaction to foxes can ensure a peaceful coexistence, ultimately reducing the distress your dog might feel from fox encounters.

Dog Barking at Foxes in the Garden

To stop your dog from barking at foxes in the garden, consider creating a distraction, implementing obedience training, managing their environment, using humane deterrents for the foxes, or a combination of these strategies. These methods focus on removing the trigger and positively reinforcing good behavior.

  1. Creating a Distraction: One effective method to stop your dog from barking at foxes is by creating a distraction. When your dog starts barking at the sight or sound of foxes, you can redirect their attention to something else. This could be a favorite toy, a tasty treat, or even a different command they are well-versed in. The key is to catch your dog’s attention and move it away from the foxes. Over time, this method helps to break the barking cycle and teaches your dog to ignore the foxes, helping them understand that foxes are not a threat or something they need to worry about.
  2. Obedience Training: Training your dog to follow specific commands like “quiet” or “leave it” can be particularly beneficial in controlling their barking behavior. The process begins in a quiet, controlled environment and gradually progresses to more challenging scenarios, including the presence of foxes. When your dog obeys the command, reward them immediately. This can be with verbal praise, petting, or a favorite treat. The positive reinforcement encourages the desired behavior, teaching your dog that not reacting to the foxes leads to good things.
  3. Managing the Environment: Another approach to handle this issue is by managing your dog’s environment. Limit your dog’s access to outdoor spaces during times when foxes are likely to be around. This could be late at night or early in the morning. Additionally, you might want to consider drawing your curtains or blinds during these times to block your dog’s view of the garden. If your dog can’t see or hear the foxes, they are less likely to bark at them. It might not be a permanent solution, but it can certainly help in the short term while you’re working on training and other methods.
  4. Humane Deterrents: Using humane deterrents to discourage foxes from entering your garden can be an effective part of your strategy. These deterrents can include scent repellents that foxes find unpleasant, or even garden fences that physically prevent the foxes from entering. It’s important to make sure that any deterrent you use is non-harmful and does not cause distress to the foxes.

Every dog is unique and will respond to different techniques, so be patient and consistent in your training. It may take time for your dog to stop reacting to foxes, but with the right approach, you can achieve a peaceful and harmonious environment. Learn more about handling your dog’s behavior by addressing the underlying issue in the first section of this article.

It’s important that you not delay working with your dog on this, because if you don’t their problem will only get worse. You’ll soon find your dog barking at raccoons, barking at badgers, barking at skunks, barking at possums (maybe even killing them), or barking at turkeys. You, of course, don’t want that so you should get started right away.

Are Foxes Scared of Dogs?

While foxes tend to avoid confrontations with dogs due to their instinctual awareness of risk, it’s not accurate to state that all foxes are scared of all dogs. Variables such as the dog’s size, breed, and behavior, as well as the fox’s own experiences, can greatly influence the dynamic between the two animals.

Foxes’ Instinctual Awareness of Risk

Foxes, being smart and agile wild animals, are typically cautious and constantly alert to potential threats in their environment. A dog, particularly a large one or one displaying aggressive behavior, can certainly be perceived as a threat.

This perception often stems from the fox’s basic survival instinct, leading them to choose avoidance rather than confrontation with dogs or other perceived predators unless they are cornered or directly provoked, which would then require a fight or flight response.

Size and Breed of Dog

The size and breed of the dog can play a significant role in influencing a fox’s reaction. Large breeds or those known for hunting, such as terriers and hounds, are more likely to intimidate a fox due to their physical size, strength, and aggressive pursuit during a chase.

Conversely, smaller breeds or those not known for their hunting prowess may not evoke the same level of fear or anxiety in a fox, as they might not be perceived as an immediate or significant threat due to their less imposing size.

The Fox’s Own Experiences

A fox’s previous encounters with dogs can greatly shape its fear response. Foxes that have had negative or traumatic experiences with dogs in the past, such as being chased, attacked, or witnessing other foxes being harmed by dogs, are more likely to exhibit fear or cautious behavior around them. Conversely, foxes that have had neutral or non-threatening experiences with dogs might not display an equivalent level of fear.

Urban Foxes and Fear Desensitization

Foxes living in urban environments and those that have become accustomed to human activities and the presence of domesticated dogs can show a reduced fear response. Regular exposure to dogs in non-threatening scenarios can lead to fear desensitization. This repeated exposure can result in foxes showing more boldness and less fear around dogs, a behavior quite distinct from their rural counterparts.

Fear Dynamics in Canine-Fox Encounters

Fear dynamics in encounters between foxes and dogs can be quite complex, with the reactions varying greatly depending on individual circumstances. While the fox’s natural instinct might be to avoid potential threats like dogs, their fear response can be influenced by numerous factors such as past experiences and habitual exposure to urban environments.

Recognizing and understanding this dynamic can help dog owners effectively manage and prevent potentially problematic encounters between their dog and local foxes. We explain more about handling your dog’s behavior in the first section of this article.

Why Do Dogs Bark at Foxes?

Dogs bark at foxes due typically to instinctual predatory drive, territorial behavior, fear, or excitement. These reactions can be triggered by the scent, sight, or sound of a fox, and each cause will require a unique approach to address.

  1. Predatory Drive: Dogs, even those far removed from their wild counterparts, still carry some natural predatory instincts. These instincts are especially sparked when they encounter animals that are typically smaller than themselves, such as foxes. The sight or even scent of a fox can trigger this drive, causing dogs to bark. This bark can be viewed as a sort of communication tool to alert their human family members (their new pack) about the potential prey and to prepare for possible action.
  2. Territorial Behavior: Dogs are known to be quite territorial. They consider their home, including their yard, as their personal space or territory that needs protection. The presence or even the mere sight of a fox in their perceived territory can be enough to trigger a barking spree. This is an instinctive response aimed at warning the intruder, in this case, the fox, to back off and leave their territory. Moreover, this also acts as an alert to the rest of their pack (their family) of the potential threat.
  3. Fear or Anxiety: Some dogs, despite typically being larger than foxes, might display fear or anxiety towards them. This fear could be a result of unfamiliarity with the species or perhaps even a past negative encounter. In these situations, barking acts as a defensive mechanism for the dog. The aim is to appear more intimidating to the fox, with the hope that the noise and perceived threat will keep the fox at a safe distance. This is also a dog’s way of managing their fear or anxiety, by taking action to keep the source of their fear away.
  4. Excitement: Finally, some dogs may simply bark at foxes due to an overwhelming sense of excitement. Dogs are innately curious creatures, and the presence of a fox provides a whole new range of stimuli for them to investigate. In this case, the barking could simply be an expression of this excitement or interest. It could be the dog’s way of expressing their curiosity about the new creature in their environment and their desire to engage with it.

Understanding the root cause of your dog’s barking at foxes is the first crucial step in managing this behavior effectively. It’s important to remember that barking at foxes is a natural instinct for your dog, and with patient, consistent training (which we explained in the first section), you can help them manage this reaction better.

I’m sure you’re ready to not worry about coming across a fox when you’re with your dog, so I’ll let you get started now. Best of luck with all of this, and thank you for reading our article “Dog Barking at Foxes at Night (Or Other Times)? How to Stop!”

The Author

KB Williams

KB Williams

Hey there! I'm a dog behavior expert and lover of travel. Since 2016, I've been sharing my knowledge of dog training and behavior while exploring the Pacific Northwest with my two rescues.