Unfortunately, while his tummy is now back to normal, his barking habit seems well established. He has his own internal alarm clock which goes off about half an hour before you want to rise, and he barks. He even does this on the weekend when you want to sleep in. This is becoming a real issue now, as it seems a lifetime since you had a decent slow start in the morning, and you're accumulating a sleep debt, which is making you grumpy.
If only there was something you could do about his early morning barking...
There is no magic involved in breaking this habit. Success depends on not responding to the barking and only rewarding silence. However, this pitches you against a dog's natural instincts to bark louder and for longer, when ignored. The first hurdle is to be aware this 'extinction burst' behavior is normal and to be expected, so that you can stick with the plan and see things through.
You will mainly need:
I wake up early every morning at about 5:30 or 6:30. As soon as I start moving she begins to bark and doesn't stop until I leave the room. I've tried everything and it doesn't work. it's gotten so bad my neighbors have threatened to report her if it doesn't stop. She doesn't mind getting in her crate and staying there only in the morning around this time is when this starts.
Hello Leah, Once she is awake, unfortunately she really will need to pee. I suggest taking her outside to pee when she wakes up, then putting her immediately back into the crate afterward rather than feeding her breakfast or letting her play - to help her get used to sleeping in later as she gets older, since the trip outside is uneventful. If she barks when you put her back into the crate (which she likely will), I suggest use a pet convincer to correct the barking. Since your neighbors are threatening to report her, you need to do something that works more quickly than other methods. A Pet Convincer is a small canister of pressurized air. When she barks in the morning, tell her "Quiet". If she continues barking, which she will at first before she learns what "Quiet" means, spray a small puff of air at her side through the crate (NOT at her face). The air will not hurt but it will surprise her enough that she should stop barking for a minute. After you spray her, leave the room. Repeat the correction every time that she barks. If she stays quiet for an extended period, such as a few minutes, return to her and sprinkle several treats into the crate, then leave again. When you reach the time when you would like for her to sleep until eventually, you can let her out of the crate while she is being quiet, then feed her breakfast. You want her internal clock to get used to eating at the time you would like for her to sleep until though, or her internal clock will continue to wake her up even with other changes. Another option is to crate her somewhere that she cannot hear you in the morning, such as another bedroom, walk-in closet, or large bathroom. She will be more likely to get used to sleeping in if she is not woken up by you in the morning in the first place. When you first crate her away from you, you may need to use the Pet Convincer and treats as I described above to get her used to being alone at night. She should adjust though. There are other methods for training this but those methods involve a certain amount of barking which is not an option with your neighbor it sounds like. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Garbanzo is a super well behaved pup when I am home. I live with roommates, but I leave for work hours before they typically wake up. Because no one is directly supervising him, I leave him in his crate. He usually has no problem with his crate. I feed him all his meals in there. He sleeps in there. I sometimes even leave him in there, and go up to my room (in the afternoons). He cries for maybe 5 minutes and settles down. My roommates, however, are saying that he cries and howls like he is dying when I leave for work, and he doesn't stop for a while. When he does stop, anything sets him off again. My roommates are upset with me, and I'm trying to find a solution. I've tried leaving him a stuffed Kong, leaving my shirt in there, giving him puzzle toys, covering the crate, putting on soothing music... I don't know what to do. I am moving to my own apartment in 3 weeks, and I don't want to get noise complaints from my neighbors if he is being crazy. Please help me.
Hello Laura, The first steps are the things you have already done: getting him used to the crate while you are home, giving food stuffed chew toys, and not letting him out when he cries - continue doing those things. Because of your situation it is time to correct also. Since this is only happening when you leave you can try this a couple of different ways, depending on what works. Option 1. Purchase a remote controlled vibration collar that is small enough to fit him. This will be used to interrupt the crying, so that you will have a chance to reward him for being quiet and so that he can learn to self-soothe. Put the collar on him at least 12 hours before you will be doing the training so that he gets used to wearing it and doesn't associate it with the training. If you are short on time, then just put it on as far ahead of training time as you can. Keep it off before you are ready to use it. Leave like you normally do, going outside or driving away. Sneak back up to your door or window where you can hear him but he does not know you are there. Set up a camera to spy on him if you cannot hear him. Whenever he barks or howls, push the button on the remote to vibrate the collar. Repeat this whenever he howls. He will be confused at first but that's alright. After a few corrections he should start to realize that is barking or howling makes the collar vibrate. When he gets quiet for at least 2 seconds, go back inside while he is quiet. Walk over to his crate without saying anything (you want things to stay calm), and drop a few small treats or pieces of his kibble into the crate as a reward for being quiet, then go back outside. Repeat the corrections and trips outside, and the rewards while quiet and going inside. Practice for 30-60 minutes each session (you can have multiple sessions per day with breaks in between). Continue to give a food stuffed chew toy because as he learns to calm himself he will be more likely to accept treats and toys and use those to sooth himself. Option 2. Purchase a Pet Convincer, which is a small canister of pressurized air. Have a reliable roommate go to him whenever he barks, spray a small puff of air at his side through the crate (NOT his face) while saying "Ah Ah" in a calm tone of voice. After the correction, the roommate should leave again. If he stays quiet for five minutes, then have your roommate go to him, sprinkle treats into the crate without letting him out, then leave again. Again, give him a food stuffed Kong. All of this should be done calmly and not in anger. You are simply interrupting the barking long enough for him to have the chance to try something different (like being quiet, chewing on a toy, ect...). The point of this exercise is also to interrupt his anxious mental state before he has a chance to escalate it - which can be hard to calm back down from because of the chemicals that are being released in his brain at that point. If you had a house where there were not others being bothered by the noise, then the behavior may stop on it's own within a month, but you cannot risk a complaint to your landlord or trouble with your roommates, and the corrections should stop the noise sooner. Remember to include the rewards in the training too while quiet. As he improves, wait until he is quiet for longer before you return to give a reward, so that he works up to being quiet for long periods of time as the normal. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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The back story- Scamp has been our baby since we got her as a puppy and while we moved every couple of years she has been an outside dog with a indoor privileges. About 3 years ago she damaged both her cruciate knees and after extensive hydrotherapy and indoor rehabilitation she made a great recovery. She went back out to her home outside and pretty much chewed through the outside door twice- at the time we thought maybe she was afraid of something outside so we allowed her to move inside. We moved two years later and she has been inside since. She is a massive dog so we confine her to the kitchen/laundry while at work. She’s always been good but since I became pregnant she’s been very badly behaved wanting the run of the house and opening doors to go into the rest of the rooms. She damaged the indoor doorframe so much we started putting chairs in her way which she also ruined. I then got a job further away and stay with my parents during weekdays and the behavior got worse- like three years before she got at the inside of the front door and ate it. We bought her a ten foot crate as we figured being alone while my husband was at work was causing the stress and boredom. She has cried and barked incessantly in the pen and hurt herself escaping on numerous occasions. We didn’t know what to do so we moved the pen to the garden and put it over her old house, attached a long lead so she has the run of the garden as well. This hasn’t worked - she barks, screams bloody murder and whines and has been getting panic attacks from noise as well. She has escaped the lead, jumped the fence (which is bad for her knees) and ran off multiple times. We tried calming tablets, we tried staying with her and playing in the garden all day, we tried bones and toys but she has lost all interest. The minute we leave all hell breaks loose. It’s not something we can change and because she was so distressed we decided to check her out with the vet and are awaiting blood tests. We’ve tried all of the separation anxiety tips putting radios on etc to no avail as well as upping her exercise on a daily basis to three walks a day. The vet prescribed zanex and she was her usual adventurous self in the garden playing with her bone and lying under trees and in the long grass which is a favorite hobby of hers for 4 HOURS. Then they wore off and she went back into full panic escape mode even when I sat in the garden with her. All of this has lead to a decrease in her obedience levels and happiness. She has even made one or two aggressive snaps at my husband.
She is in the house when we are home and, if in the same room as us, is as quiet as a mouse but still not herself. If she is in the kitchen, she goes straight at the door to open it. We are at ours wits end because we know she can’t be trusted in the house but outside isn’t keeping her safe or happy either. The only time she is quiet outside is night time until she wakes (earlier than us) and starts the yelping again. We are taking her to a behavioralist but with the baby on the way and our work schedules so vastly different, we are considering finding her a better home where she has more company. She always enjoys her kennel stays and loves other dogs even though there she sleeps outside. She is a wonderful happy dog in the right circumstances and it’s breaking our hearts to see her in such a state. Right now we don’t know how to make it better but as always would try anything for our lifelong baby Scamp.
Hello Aideen, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced with behavior issues, using remote collar training, teaching commands that increase a dog's ability to calm themselves, and independence. Start by simply working on building his independence, and generally build his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open too. Changing the routines so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from. Being sure to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on). I also suggest helping him learn to cope with his anxiety by making his current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, to create an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough for him to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it can work much quicker alternatives. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable in e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating crate anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of his life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh). Because of your dog's strong reaction, it is unlikely that the vibration or spray collars will work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar at first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration. Set up a camera to spy on him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Make sure that both mental pieces are touching skin and more just fur or it won't work or will be inconsistent. Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him the collar again by pushing the bottom. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after his collar is stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three additional levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar will probably be low to medium, within the first sixty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for him. If he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate after ten minutes. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in the video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it and that will help him to enjoy the crate more. First, he needs his anxious state of mind interrupted so that he is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give him a food stuffed Kong in the crate for him to relieve his boredom instead, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. Practice all of this during the day at first. Once he has learned that e-collar corrections are for barking and is able to calm himself back down during the day, then you can transition the training to night time when he tries to bark then - if you are certain that he does not need to pee at that time. You can also let him sleep in your room but with the baby coming and with his current level of anxiety you may want to get him used to being crated in another room at night ahead of time if your baby will be sleeping in your new room at first. Continue working closely with your vet to ensure that there is also not a medical reason for the anxiety. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our puppy is crated but wakes everyday now between 5 and 6am, her crate in the kitchen downstairs, as we don’t want to have Margot in the bedroom. On waking she barks incessantly until we get up but as soon but as she hears us coming downstairs she stops barking, she just eagerly wants to get out of the crate. She is such a good puppy but we would like her to lay in until we’re ready to rise, at least for another hour say 7am. I believe this is now a habit as we have got up to let her out for a toilet break since getting her at 10 weeks old, from any time around 4am which we were advised to do but I think now she is able to hold it, she now knows if she barks we get up, we’ve started to ignore her the barking but it has got worse and lasts longer or until we get up, pet corrector isn’t useful for us because she stops barking once she hears coming into the kitchen. She’s not a barker at all during the day only in the morning when she wakes up. It’s not for food as she doesn’t demand food, I think it’s because she’s awake and just wants to be with us?
Hello Andrew, Depending on when she last went potty the night before, her body might be in the habit of waking up at that time now, and then once awake because of her age she cannot hold her bladder any longer if it has been longer than six hours since she last peed - even though she could hold it for longer if she stayed asleep. When she wakes up, go to her, and take her potty on a leash. Don't speak to her (unless it's to tell her to Go Potty), don't pet her, don't let her play, don't give her any treats, or do anything else fun. This trip is all business. After she goes potty, take her straight back inside and put her back into the crate, to go back to bed (even though you are awake now). Once she is in the crate she will either go back to sleep because she no longer has to pee, or she will bark (probably bark for attention at first). Use a remote controlled vibration collar if she barks. Your bedroom, whenever she barks vibrate the collar for one second simply to interrupt her barking. Stay up stairs where she cannot see or hear you though (you can use a camera, such as a smart phone with Skype on mute to watch her if you want to). Repeat the vibrations until she finally stays quiet or goes back to sleep. When it is time to get up for the day, while she is quiet, go to her and sprinkle a few pieces of her food into the crate while you get breakfast ready (leaving her in the crate for a few minutes). After a few minutes, while she is quiet let her out of the crate and feed her like you normally do. The point of this last part is to still associate the crate with something pleasant to help her make the connection between the vibration and her barking and not just being in the crate, and to get her used to staying in the crate even while you are in the room, so that exiting is not overly exciting. Once you let her out of the crate, you can feed her the rest of her food however you normally do. You obviously won't get a lot of sleep from 5am onward when you first do this, but keep the house quiet as if people are still sleeping so that her body will adjust to a later wake up time and she will start to go back to sleep when returned to the crate, and eventually sleep through the 5am wake up - since waking up is not very exciting anymore and barking no longer works to get her attention. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We have a 6 m/o goldendoodle who is playful, excitable and VERY smart. We have had him since he was 8 weeks and he potty trained/crate trained him. He passed potty training with flying colors so fortunately, that is not an issue. He is comfortable in his crate too. We started him off in our bedroom when he was younger and now he sleeps in his crate in the kitchen downstairs. However, occasionally we allowed him to sleep in our bed and that was our biggest mistake. Further, my boyfriend used to wake up for work around 5am and would let Finn out to pee/ eat breakfast/hang and I got up a few hours later (usually by 7) but now my boyfriend and I both wake up for work around 6 but Finn starts barking like clock work at 5am to get up for the day and WONT stop. We have given him and we will let him out and he immediately bolts upstairs to get into our bed. I realize this is an issue and I want to correct the behavior and have boundaries set. He is very smart and knows what he is doing so it is entirely frustrating. He used to bark at 330 am and we would let him out to pee and put him back in the crate and then 5 am bark alarm would start. We started feeding him dinner later, not letting him drink water 2 hours before bed and always letting him out to pee right before bed, and I feed him breakfast around 7am. The issue of bathroom and food intake is not the issue it is solely him wanting to get out of the crate!! I must also note that he is typically in his crate from 7-noon until my dad comes over to let him outside and then again from noon-3 or so when my boyfriend gets home. We try to play with him as much as we can and take him on a walk but he would benefit from more exercise.
He also will stop barking when he hears us coming down assuming we will let him out so that is hard to implement positive behavior association when there isn't a window of no barking when are present.
This morning was day 1 of re training as I have read through these stories/responses on suggestions and he barked from 4:30-6:00am.
We are looking at getting a zap collar but any other suggestions would be appreciated because i am exhausted!!
Hello Kelsey, He should be able to hold his bladder for longer if he stays asleep, but once awake after sleeping for that long he truly will have to pee. So first, take him potty when he wakes at 5am. Take him on a leash, do not play with him, speak to him (except to tell him to "Go Potty"), do not feed him, or do anything else fun. As soon as he finishes pottying, take him back inside and put him right back to into the crate. He will likely bark when you do. Use a remote controlled stimulation or vibration collar and push the bottom each time he barks. When he is quiet and it is at least 6am, you can let him out. You want to teach him that he gets out of the crate while he is quiet and when you decide. Also use the video linked below for teaching him how to enter and exit the crate politely - that can help with calmness and general manners too. For a collar I suggest a bark collar, stimulation electric collar (one that zaps like you said, but has a large number of levels so that you can find the lowest level he will respond to, and is of good quality, such as the Mini Educator collar), or a remote vibration collar (many stimulation collars like the Mini Educator have vibration modes that you can try first. Do NOT use a citronella collar - the scent lingers too long and can be confusing and harsh because it doesn't stop when the barking stops and dog's noses are extremely sensitive. https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ When the barking stops, he should hopefully stop waking up at 5am completely - since he won't expect anything fun to happen at that time, and you won't need the extra early potty trip anymore. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog for seven years has spent mornings quietly. She is let out to do her business every morning around 7 am by my dad and stays in her crate quietly until around 10 am when I wake up and she is let out. The following issue is not a bladder issue but an attention issue. For the past few days, she has started to bark constantly - from the time my dad leaves the house at 7 until waking me up around 7:30 to let her out (purely for attention) I have tried ignoring her and waiting for silence as has often been suggested, however she will bark for up to two -three hours with no pauses before getting let out. I need help on new suggestions for how to stop this recent barking please.
Hello Fionna, If she is being taken potty by your dad at 7, but then barking after she is put back into the crate, I suggest using a Pet Convincer. During the day teach her the Quiet command by following the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark When she barks in the morning, tell her Quiet calmly, then leave. If she continues barking or stops but starts right back up, then return again, but this time spray a small puff of air at her side while telling her "Ah Ah" or "No" calmly, then leave again. Repeat the corrections with the air whenever the barking starts back up again, until time to let her out of the crate at 10. Only let her out while she is being quiet. Make sure the Pet Convincer uses unscented air and NOT citronella - citronella is too harsh and lingers for too long to be effective. When you let her out, close the door again if she starts to rush out. Practice this until she will wait for permission to exit the crate even if the door is open. Tell her "Okay" and calmly encourage her to come out when she is waiting politely - this exercise also helps with calmness around the crate. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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