Forum: Arts / Pets

having issues with my dog
By MaxwellPremium member
On Fri Dec 23, 2011 08:39 AM

My six-year-old lab is usually one of the most well-behaved, affectionate, energetic dogs I have ever met. She gets plenty of attention through petting and playing everyday, eats her food and drinks her water regularly, goes for walks everyday where she seems fine, and had no serious issues at her last check-up (though she's going to have another one soon to see if something physical could be causing her issues). Basically, during the day, she's completely normal, for lack of a better term.

At night, it is a completely different story. Once everyone goes to bed, she will stand in the hallway, crying, and scraping at our doors with her paws. This, obviously, made us think something was seriously wrong with her, or she needed to go outside.

Here's the thing though-she doesn't want to go outside. Seemingly, there is nothing wrong with her (though like I said, vet check-up soon). From all we can gather, she just seems like she wants someone to be awake with her. Not just company-awake company. If we let her into our room while we're sleeping, she will cry until we wake up. If one of us wakes up and goes downstairs, she sits and behaves absolutely fine, but not if you fall asleep on the couch.

I really don't know what we could do. There's five people living in my house, so at any given moment, someone is usually petting or playing with the dog, so I feel like it can't be because she's not getting enough love/attention. It would be nice for someone to be with her all the time, but that's just not feasible at 4 AM when everyone has school/work early the next day. Like I said, she's going to the vet soon, but I know some people on DDN are pretty knowledgeable about dogs, so if anybody has even the slightest idea of something we can do, I will be very grateful. thanks.

3 Replies to having issues with my dog

re: having issues with my dog
By hummingbird
On Fri Dec 23, 2011 09:34 AM
She's got into the habit of having someone get up to make a fuss of her at night time, that's how she see's it, and she thinks that it's going to continue. She enjoys it when you're all awake and making a fuss of her and wants it to continue 24/7 which we all now isn't going to happen, unfortunately she doesn't.

When she was first waking you up it sounds like you greeted her with loving concern which is understandable seeing as you thought there was something wrong. Now when she wakes you up you need to make sure she knows that you're not pleased that she wanted a game at 4.00 am this way hopefully you'll be able to break the pattern and make her realise that this is not acceptable.

The only problem is that it's not going to happen in one night, it's going to take a bit of time for her to forget.
re: having issues with my dog
By imadanseurPremium member
On Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:59 AM
I do know dogs love routine and consistency. So maybe it is time to develop a new routine? How about a 30 minute walk at night not too long before you all have to go to bed and drain some of the energy, maybe get a dog bed? Has your dog ever been crate trained? Sometimes that helps...provides a nice stable, closed environment as long as the crate isn't separated from the family. Often a dog given full run of the house will be uncomfortable and the anxieties will sore and not know where or how to settle down when you sleep. I think I'd attempt to find a certain consistent space for sleep time to reinforce that behavior.
re: having issues with my dog
By highlandrebelmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Dec 23, 2011 08:49 PM
Is this a recent development? If it was a sudden change in a dog whose routine has been consistent for 6 years, I would be thinking of a medical problem rather than behavioral. Make sure to document exactly what happened, what changed in her behavior, when, etc. for your vet. Most problems are not going to be picked up by a routine vet check, you may need to go far more in depth. It could be something as simple a vision/hearing loss (which dogs are excellent at covering up) or a neurological condition.

What ever the cause, any person who gets up and gives her any attention (petting or even to reprimand her) is rewarding the behavior. Thus increasing the likelihood it will occur and again and on a more frequent basis.

As long as she is clear with the vet, I would increase her exercise before bedtime and work her so she is mentally exhausted (training, work to eat toys, etc.).
Is she crate trained?

From now on, I would completely ignore the behavior. She will learn that the previously learned outcome of the behavior no longer yields the rewards she is expecting and the behavior will go extinct.

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