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Old 04-09-2010, 11:22 AM   #1
Lolasowner
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Dog goes crazy at night, cries, not sleeping

Help! My dog goes totally crazy at night - cries and scratches the door. She will go on like this all night if left unchecked and has even worn the wood of the doorway out – it just will not go away!
Lola is a four year old Staffie cross with a vibrant personality and a lovely dog to share time with. We re-homed her at 4 months old and have spent a lot of time training and exercising with her to keep her on the straight and narrow (including agility training). She is a great play mate to our 7 month old boy. She has always slept in the kitchen and it’s rarely been a problem – sometimes she would whimper a bit and maybe sleep on a kitchen chair rather than her bed. But for the past 4 months or so she has been periodically crying loudly at night, scratching at the door and getting very wound up. Sometimes when I go down as I can’t stand it anymore, she is panting wildly and drooling all over the floor.
Nothing I can do or say helps – she is just a quivering mess. For the past 2 weeks she has been sleeping in the car – she seems to want to do this. She’ll be clawing at the door to get out and then I’ll pick up the car keys and she is delighted – all wagging tails and trotting to the car.
She’ll sleep in her dog bed in the kitchen by day without any problems, even if we close the baby gate across the kitchen door separating the kitchen from the living room. But if we close the babygate / kitchen door and go upstairs to bed it starts within the hour.
So far I have tried:
1. The softly softly approach, leading her to her bed and giving her a treat and saying ‘stay’ etc.
2. Taking her for a walk before bed time.
3. Herbal valerian pills to calm at night time.
4. Opening the door and spraying with cold water – usually a killer technique to stop her doing something by day (for example barking at horses or digging in the garden but rarely used) but she doesn’t even flinch.
5. Allowing her out of the kitchen and giving her free reign of the ground floor – but even then she prowls around the house whimpering and crying at the bottom of the stairs.
6. We recently let her ‘choose’ where to sleep, she chose a tiny corner, but this only lasted 2 nights. She’s back in the car now.
This is driving us mad, we have a solution but she can’t sleep in the car for ever. We’re not madly keen on a crate but if it is the only way then we’ll have to. I’ll struggle to fit a crate in the kitchen let alone the car for travelling etc.
If anyone has gone through this or can help please respond! Thanks.
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:01 PM   #2
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if she's chosing a small enclosed area, i'd go for the crate. i was always told dogs are den animals and feel secure in a closed in little area. my dogs love their crate. the lab has a big one that isn't enclosed just like a gate i guess. they all sleep in that at night for now. 1 lab 2 little chihuahuas. anyway, get a crate, it can't hurt anything. put a bed in it and see if she likes it. if not, i'd bring her to the vet.
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:42 PM   #3
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There are wire styled kennels that collapse down to a flat suitcase size for travelling or just getting it out of your way. I chose this style when Cassie was a pup instead of the plastic style kennel because I knew that I would have to use it while travelling during her puppy stage so I wanted something that wouldn't take up too much space. Google 'wire kennels' and you will find them.

Once you have the kennel, put the dog into it, cover it with a blanket or cloth (adds to the comfort), close the door and DO NOT go to the dog if it gets upset or whines. It may be a couple of nights of less than perfect sleep but the dog will accept this as the new sleep rule and calm down.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:10 PM   #4
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It sounds like seperation axiety to me.

Two questions come to mind:
1). What happens when you allow the dog to be in the same room with you at night?
2). Does the dog act up when you leave it alone during the day?

Using a wire styled kennels that collapses down (like Furbs mentioned) you could put the kennel next to your bed were the dog could see you. Over time, the dog will become more independant and you could move it further away.

Here's a picture of the Kennel Furbs was talking about. They come in 4-5 sizes from 22" to 60" ...
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:34 PM   #5
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Thanks for the picture BD4U, I couldn't find one to post. I have the X-large size because when I travelled I had two pups with me (Cassie and her sister Brandy) and they were able to sleep together in one kennel. It folded down flat and I just tucked it into a closet when not in use.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:41 PM   #6
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BD4U's suggestions were good..i'd have to agree *thumbs up!*
hope it gets betternad your dog calms down. it does sound like separation anxiety.
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:39 PM   #7
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re unsettled nights

i agree that the crate would be a great idea. make sure you introduce it slowly though or you may cause more problems than you already have. you could also try a dap diffuser which you plug in at night to help calm things down. maybe worth a try would be to use a baby alarm. have one in your bedroom and one in the kitchen so that you can talk to the dog without coming downstairs! teach the QUIET command and give it through the baby monitor...that way the dog should sense that you are still around.


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Old 04-10-2010, 02:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucysnewmum View Post
i agree that the crate would be a great idea. make sure you introduce it slowly though or you may cause more problems than you already have.
By all means, if your dog is not used to the crate, you will need to teach the dog about it. There are several threads here and Steven and I also have articles on our sites too.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:48 AM   #9
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If the wire crate is a last resort, before that I would like to make some suggestions.

The fact that she will sleep in a car away from you, shows that its not really seperation anxiety...

Behaviors like this are triggered, such as the scratching at the floor at night, have a starting point. If you wanted to stop the behavior, you have to stop it at the exact trigger point. If you put her in the kitchen, and leave her, how long till she starts the digging/scratching? I would stand there and wait till she gets up, then squirt her with the waterbottle. This nails her on the instant she 'thinks' about doing it. Squirting her/getting on to her after the fact can help but not really, it doesnt get the point across. BUT a draw back to this is she might go to digging/chewing somewhere else...thats the only drawback I can think of.

Try the wire crate if all else fails, buy a kong toy and put peanutbutter or other filling in it to kinda distract her?

Another thing is I wouldnt let her sleep in the kitchen durring the day. Can you not put her outside where she can get more exercise. I wouldnt personally let my dog just sleep the day off when not with you doing something...this could also be an issue. It sounds like you are keeping her active when you can though...

It also sounds like the dog has somewhat trained YOU into getting what she wants? The part about the car and the keys...I know you have had enough of her issues...but dont give into that sorta behavior.

I personally dont think the wire crate is the solution to this, as I see it as a training/behavior problem brought on many diff sititaions that she has gotten away with.

She also kinda has trained the behavior, I act like a nut and scratch the floor, mom will come down and let me out in the car.

I am just brainstorming here, as I cannot see exactly what is going on and what you are doing...

Keep us informed...on what you try and how it works out.
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