You’ve had him for many years now. He probably feels like part of the furniture. He may have even been around longer than some of your kids. However, as he’s gotten older he has also become, well... needier. While he used to be content sleeping in his bed, over the years he’s developed a habit of coming and sleeping with you upstairs. A habit your partner has not always been most pleased about. Whilst it may have started as a one-off, now it has become a little too frequent. It is time to train your old dog to sleep downstairs.
Training him to sleep downstairs will reduce the mountain of dog hair that accumulates upstairs, and anything that cuts down on cleaning is a positive. Sleeping downstairs on his own will also reduce his separation anxiety when you leave for work.
Training an older dog to sleep downstairs isn’t always straightforward, especially if they have spent years dozing upstairs. To stamp out this habit you will have to make some changes to his routine. You will also need to find the right incentive to keep him downstairs. He may be old, but he probably still has a soft spot for all things edible. The hardest part will come from you, you’ll need to be strong-willed and resilient. It will be a tricky change for you too if you’re used to having him with you upstairs.
Training could take as little as a week. However, if you are reversing a lifelong habit then be prepared to work at it for a month or so. Get this training right and your partner will be forever grateful. Plus, your dog will find it much easier being left alone during the day.
Before you start training, you’ll need to get a few bits together. Go out and get him a comfy, new bed. You’ll also need to stock up on tasty treats, or break his favorite food into small chunks. Some toys and food puzzles will also be required.
Set aside a few minutes at the beginning and end of the day for training. Then find all the patience and willpower you can and approach training with a positive mental attitude.
Once you have all of the above, training can begin!
My puppy has been sleeping in a crate on our main floor without a problem since he was 8 weeks old. My husband, just recently mentioned that we should move it to our basement. Our basement is fully finished. The reason why he wants the crate in the basement is because he says the house smells like “dog” and that if we have the crate in the basement the upstairs won’t smell like “dog” anymore. What is your best advice? PS keep in mind, I wash Remmy’s bedding weekly so I don’t know why he thinks it smells! Thanks.
Hello Maria, If your basement is a healthy environment and not moldy or gets too hot or cold moving Remmy's crate into the basement for night sleep should be fine. If your basement is finished, then that would be even better than an unfished basement. If you move him, then start by crating him for short periods down there during the day with a food stuffed Kong in the crate with him. Every once in a while go down to him down there while he is being quiet and sprinkle treats into his crate for him, to make the crate pleasant. After you do this leave him again and after a few times of doing this, then let him out while he is quiet. If you gradually get him used to being down there during the day so that he feels safe down there like he does upstairs, then he should adjust well to being down there at night. You can put an audio baby monitor down there to listen to him if he still wakes at night to go potty or you are worried about him. If you crate him a lot during the day while you are home for potty training or any other reason, then it would be better for him to be upstairs around people for the human interaction. If no one is at home or it is time to sleep, the basement is fine. When you or other people are home he should be crated where he is around people the majority of the time. Ultimately the choice will be between you and your husband if he is crated while people are gone because both options at night are fine as long as you introduce it properly during the day first to prevent anxiety, and your basement does not pose a health risk. Great job getting him crate trained up to this point! If you keep him upstairs, then try adding a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle in the rinse or fabric compartment of your washing machine to help with the smell even more. Between washes you can also sprinkle baking soda on the bed, let it sit for at least ten minutes, and then vacuum it off. Both the vinegar and baking soda should be safe to use around him and are natural deodorizers. You can also buy dog wipes for freshening up your puppy's fur between baths. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
My older two dogs have slept downstairs for most of their lives, they had the run of both the kitchen and living room. Around two years ago they were moved upstairs and slept between my parents and siblings rooms. The youngest dog came at around the same time and slept downstairs in her crate until she was six months old, then she was moved upstairs into my room, she has no isssues sleeping through the night in my room. One of the older dogs now struggles to last the whole nights without urinating (she has been vet checked for this, there’s no issue) and so both have been moved into my room as I have the oldest carpet. I have tried to move them all downstairs, unfortunately the youngest dog has had several incidents of urinating on the living room carpet so we have tried moving them into the kitchen. This is were we have the issue, obviously they don’t want to sleep in the kitchen with the door shut as they’re not used to this and being away from us. One of the older dogs howls and there’s always several accidents in the morning. How do I make them happier in there, leaving the door adjar is not an option because of the younger dog.
Hello Charlotte, First, the younger dog needs to be crated at night still to train her to hold her bladder through night, especially with the older dog having accidents still. If the younger dog is over six months of age, then she should be able to hold her bladder overnight and the accidents are a training issue. Crating her until you resolve the older dog's accidents and she matures more should deal with that. Also, remove all feed and water two hours prior to bedtime and take the dogs outside to go potty right before bed, not thirty-minute or an hour before they go to bed, but last thing before you put them in the kitchen and turn out the lights. Any accidents any dog is having need to be cleaned with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes also, or the smell will simply encourage the other dogs to have accidents as well. Only enzymes break down the pee and poop well enough to remove the smell for a dog's sensitive nose. Avoid products containing ammonia in the area also because ammonia smells like pee to a dog and can encourage peeing. Second, the older dog that is having accidents probably has urinary incontinence from age. That is normal as many dogs age, even without another medical issue like a urinary tract infection. You will either need to let him out in the night, find another way for him not to have to hold it for as long overnight, or train him to use an specific indoor toilet area separate from the other dogs' areas. If you do the later, then I strongly suggest setting up an exercise pen with a PrimoPad on one end and a disposable real grass toilet pad on the other end. You can purchase a primopad here: https://www.primopads.com/ You can purchase a real grass pad here, or use one that's similar: https://www.amazon.com/DoggieLawn-Disposable-Dog-Potty-Grass/dp/B00761ZXQW/ref=pd_sim_199_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00761ZXQW&pd_rd_r=b8a52afe-cce1-11e8-a1fa-3b320cf86cd1&pd_rd_w=mzY5L&pd_rd_wg=KMeke&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=18bb0b78-4200-49b9-ac91-f141d61a1780&pf_rd_r=DQBBSZRXESHTRVND6WGJ&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=DQBBSZRXESHTRVND6WGJ To teach her to use the bathroom on a grass pad check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Exercise Pen" method. That article talks about litter box training but you can substitute a grass pad for a litter box and follow the rest of the article. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy If you strongly believe that she should be able to make it through the night because she can go long periods during the day, then she needs to be crated at night like the puppy to break her habit of peeing inside. Spend time getting the dogs used to staying in the kitchen for shorter periods of time during the day to help with anxiety. Stuff several medium and large hollow Kong toys with their dog food and a bit of peanut butter or liver paste or soft cheese. You can soak the dog food in water until it turns into mush and then mix peanut butter or liver into it, stuff the Kongs with it, and freeze them, to make the treats last longer also. Give them these Kongs when you put them into the kitchen. Subtract that amount of food from their meal rations if needed for weight management. When the dogs get quiet for even a couple of seconds while in the kitchen, then return, toss small treats into the area, and then leave again without saying anything. Practice this every time the dogs get quiet. Either ignore or correct the barking and yelping. If you correct, use something that will interrupt the dogs' behavior. The goal is to interrupt the anxious, worked up behavior to give her a chance to learn coping skills when her current behavior is no longer an option because of corrections. The corrections can be vibration, very low level stimulation, a puff of air, or something else that will simply stop her from doing the behavior for a minute. Avoid citronella collars though because dogs' noses are too sensitive for them. You can hide a camera and go upstairs and then correct her with a device remotely, or if she does it while you are within hearing distance you can simply listen for quietness vs. barking. It is extremely important that you also go back to her very calmly and reward her calm behavior and give her something else, like chewing the food stuffed Kongs, to do instead of what she is currently doing. Your interactions with her need to be calm and boring. Giving her more structure by practicing obedience and interacting with her more calmly in general should also help some. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Allowed to sleep upstairs at previous owners now need him to sleep downstairs
Hello Heather, I suggest starting out crating him downstairs. Get him used to being in the crate downstairs during the day first. First, open the crate door, sprinkle treats inside, and show him the treats. After that, replace the treats whenever they are gone and let him discover them again later. This should encourage him to go into the crate on his own to look for treats. Next, when he will go into the crate, stuff a large Kong with his dog food mixed with a bit of peanut butter. Let the mixture soak in water until it turns into mush, before loosely stuffing it into the Kong. If he gets the mixture out of the Kong too quickly, then freeze the toy overnight to make it last longer. Gradually increase the amount of time that he is in the crate for. Sprinkle treats into the crate sporadically when he is being quiet. Do not let him out until he is quiet for at least a second. Work up to leaving him in the crate with the food stuffed Kong for up to three hours. When he is used to that, then you can start putting him into the familiar crate at night with an empty Kong. If he does well being unsupervised, then after he is used to sleeping downstairs in the crate for at least two-to-three months, then you can take his dog bed out of the crate and simply leave him downstairs to sleep on that bed. Only do this if you are completely confident that he is ready to be unsupervised though. Some dogs are past chewing and other destructive habits by that age, others need more time to mature. Another option is to simply crate him in there downstairs one night if he does not have severe separation anxiety. Give him two weeks to cry it out and get used to the new arrangements. Many dogs adjust within three nights, but others take longer. This method will work with many dogs, but it is not guaranteed to work with all, is harder at first for the dog, and involves some sleepless nights for you, but it takes less time overall. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Bobbi is 15 weeks old and we have had her for just over a week. she is currently sleeping in our bedroom at night in her cage. When and how would be a good way to gradually move her downstairs.
Hello Marc, Start by getting her used to being in the crate downstairs during the day. Set up a crate downstairs, leave treats sprinkled inside, and open the door. The first couple of times, show her that there are treats in there. After that, simply sprinkle treats in there for her to find. When she eats the treats, then replace them with more. This should be a fun game for her. She should begin to go into the crate to look for treats on her own. Next, stuff a hollow chew toy, like a medium or large Kong, with her food. Soak the food in water beforehand until it turns into mush, then mix a bit of peanut butter, liver paste, or soft cheese into the mush. Loosely stuff the toy with the mixture. Later, when she gets good at getting the food out, you can also freeze the Kong overnight ahead of time to make it into a time released treat that is more challenging and fun. You can make several frozen Kongs ahead of time to pull from the freezer as needed. Put her into the crate with the food stuffed Kong and drop several other treats inside too. Leave her in there until she finishes the Kong. While she is being quiet, let her out of the crate again. As she gets more comfortable being in the crate, increase how long you leave her in there for. If she stays quiet for fifteen minutes, then you can return to her, sprinkle treats into the crate and leave again. You can do this periodically to teach her that being quiet earns rewards. When she can handle being in the crate in that room for at least three hours during the day, then you can simply put her in the crate at night one night. If she cries when she does not have to use the bathroom, then ignore the crying. Let her work it out. Since you have practiced during the day, she should be capable of settling down eventually. You can put her in the crate in the other room immediately too. You would simply let her cry it out the first few nights, and use a baby monitor to listen to her for when she wakes up to pee. Introducing it during the day overtime is more gentle and typically involves less crying though. You can move her into the other room as soon as you choose. Since she may need to go potty during the night still right now, you will need to put a baby monitor by the crate in case she wakes up to pee. Many people wait until the puppy can sleep through the night without needing to be taken potty, for the sake of their own convenience. The earlier you move her, the easier it will be for her to transition from this point onward though, so you will have to decide when the combination of convenience with potty trips and getting her used to it early works best for you. If she can already consistently make it through the night, then it might be worth moving her right now. Make sure that she is always making it through the night though. If she occasionally needs to go out, then you will still need a monitor baby. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Hi there I brought a dog from some one today and when I leave down stairs it starts crying then starts barking how do I change this please
Hello Stacey, Unfortunately, you will probably not be able to change his crying and barking behavior in just one night. If you need the barking to stop right now, so that you can get sleep tonight, then you best bet is to place Milo into a crate by your bed, so that he is not alone, and place a food stuffed Kong into the crate with him to help with anxiety and boredom, and to automatically reward quiet behavior, since it's hard to bark while chewing. To prevent future crying, Milo will need to be taught how to be alone and how to be in a crate. You can jump into that tonight by following one of the methods for letting him cry a bit tonight, or crate him by your bed at night right now, while you work on introducing the crate during the day, and then once he can handle being in the crate for an hour during the day, move the crate back to the basement and tackle the nights there. By that time he should be more familiar with the crate and the crying should be less severe. To teach either of those check out these articles: This article will go over how to tackle the nights starting tonight if you choose to: https://wagwalking.com/training/crate-train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-at-night This article takes a more gradual approach, tackling the days first: https://wagwalking.com/training/crate-train-a-dachshund-puppy This article is great in general, regardless of whether you tackle night time or day time first, because Milo likely needs help learning how to be independent: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-husky-to-be-alone Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Our dogs (2 years & 6 months old) have slept with us in our bed since the day they came home with us. We just moved into a new house and the advice given to us was to start right away training with the new environment downstairs. We have a very nice defined square area at the bottom of our stairs about 5 feet x 5 feet that we filled with blankets, toys and a food dish. Last night was our first night trying them sleeping downstairs and they barked. ALL. NIGHT! Right now aside from the area we have filled with blankets they are open to the whole basement. Tonight i will put up a gate and try a smaller area. Are there any other tips for sleep training these two dogs?
Hello Casey, Get the dogs used to spending time in that area during the day when you can be there to train. First, sprinkle treats on the area, show the dogs the treats, and throughout the day replace the treats after they are eaten. This will make that area a really wonderful spot, full of surprises, and it will encourage the dogs to go there on their own. Second, once they are visiting the area on their own, fill hollow chew toys with dog food mixed with peanut butter (avoid Xylitol -- it's toxic!), liver paste or very soft cheese. You can also put things like an automatic treat dispenser, Kong treat wobble toy that dumps pieces of dog food, or other safe, favorite exciting toys. Put the dogs into the area with the fun toys and barricade the area with baby gates, so that they cannot leave. Leave them in there until the food has been eaten or thirty-minutes to one-hour if they do not eat the food. Whenever they become quiet or stay quiet for five-to-ten-minutes, return to the area and sprinkle more treats into the area, then leave again. Wait until they are quiet before you let them out of the area. One of three things will probably happen: They will be so excited about the food-stuffed toys that they will quietly chew on these (easiest scenario). They will bark and occasionally become quiet -- giving you opportunities to reward the quietness, which will increase quietness with practice. They will never stop barking during the hour. If they don't bark, you can gradually increase how long you leave them in the penned area for, until they can handle three hours calmly. If they bark, but occasionally get quiet, you can reward the quietness and overtime they should learn that being quiet is how they earn rewards and get out, and they will get use to the pen and become quieter in there in general. If they never stop barking, it's time to correct. To correct barking that never stops, purchase a small canister of air called a Pet Convincer. Teach your dogs the meaning of the word "Quiet" by using the "Quiet" method found in the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once the dogs know what "Quiet" means from practicing it, put them into the penned area with the toys, tell them "Quiet" and leave. If they bark, return to them, tell them "No", spray a small puff of air at their sides with the Pet Convincer (by their rib cage, NOT face) and leave again. If they stay quiet after the correction, return to them within five minutes and give them treats to reward the quietness. If they start barking again, return and correct, then leave them again. This will take several repetitions of BOTH correcting AND rewarding before they will make the connection to choose quietness. Make sure that you also reward quietness. Don't skip this step. Look for those opportunities to reward quietness because that is what will long-term train them to accept the pen. The correction will simply provide an opportunity for the dogs to choose the correct behavior and learn. Once the dogs are quiet in the pen during the day for three hours, put them in the pen at night. Do this when you can stay up for a couple of hours if needed, to reward the quietness or correct the barking, until they go to sleep. Focus more on ignoring and correcting at night than rewarding, so that they will not stay up in anticipation of treats -- this is why it's important to practice during the day first, when you can reward more. You can also remove the bottom gate of the pen (leaving the top gate, blocking the stairs up -- to give them access to the basement again if you want to, like you are giving them now (assuming they are trustworthy unsupervised and don't destroy anything or hurt themselves). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
I am looking for advice for changing my dogs sleeping arrangements. He is 2 years old and he has always come in our bed for a cuddle before going to sleep on the floor in our bedroom near our bed (We have tried many different beds but he likes the carpet!) We have now moved into rented housing for a year and he is not allowed up stairs. We are trying to train him to stay downstairs to sleep but he just spends all night crying and crying on the bottom step.
He hasn’t slept well for about 4 nights and today we came back to the place we use to live for a visit and he took himself straight to the old bedroom and slept for 5.5hrs!
I know this will be a huge change for him because we have moved house plus changed his sleeping routines and I am concerned that we are doing something wrong or badly and want to make sure he is comfortable with the change. I don’t want him to be sad!! :(
Many thanks for your help!
Hello Adele, Start by setting up where he should sleep during the day. Confine the area with his carpet or bed that he should sleep on at first using baby gates, an exercise pen, or by closing doors. During the day leave the area open and sprinkle treats in there. Show him the treats at first. After he knows that treats appear there, then randomly reapply more treats after he eats the current ones - so that he goes to the area and finds surprise treats often. After that step, next confine him in the area with a food-stuffed chew toy, like a Kong filled with dog food and a bit of peanut butter or liver paste (make sure the peanut butter does not have Xylitol in it - it is toxic to dogs). Start by confining him for just ten to thirty-minutes. Put the food-stuffed toy in there and sprinkle treats in. Whenever he gets quiet for even a couple of seconds or stays quiet for at least five minutes, then go back, sprinkle more treats in his area, and leave again. Do not let him out until he is quiet for at least a couple of seconds - even if that means leaving him in the area for a lot longer than thirty-minutes at first. You don't want to reward the crying. If you are in a location with close neighbors, like a townhouse, then you can correct his barking also with a Pet Convincer, which is a small canister of pressurized air. You would tell him "Ah Ah" and blow a small puff of air at his side (not face), then reward him whenever he gets or stays quiet also. Practice confining him in there during the day and rewarding his quietness and calmness, and correcting or ignoring his barking and protests. Gradually work up to confining him in there for longer and longer until he can be in there for three-hours and stay relaxed. While doing this (since you cannot transition him away from sleeping up stairs) put him in his confined area at night and ignore his crying (if you cannot ignore it because of neighbors, then you will have to correct at night too). It won't be fun but it's necessary. It will likely help him develop better coping skills in general too, which can be good for anxiety. Practice the training in the confined area during the day and put him in there at night and ignore him. You will likely get up to a week of crying (hopefully less) but if you work on the training during the day and don't give into the crying, he should learn to self-sooth. Be strong because the more you give in, the longer this will take and the harder it will be for him. The sooner he learns how to cope with being alone, the sooner he will relax again and be able to sleep. Being alone is not hurting him. All his necessary needs are being met. Trust that he is able to learn with your guidance. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Hello Caitlin, Rosie is a 15-month old rescue dog that I collected and brought home a couple of weeks ago. She is a sweet girl but very, very anxious about separation and was anxious throughout her foster care (her foster carer had her for eight weeks and said Rosie followed her everywhere as she does me). Most days there are things I've needed to attend to without her present. Although I leave a stuffed Kong for her and toys lying around, she does not touch them whilst I'm out so they do not appear to be a comfort - she has to have a human! This applies also to the night-time when I need her to sleep downstairs. The sweet girl cries for a while, goes quiet for a while and cries again. I guess it's early days. Any thoughts on other forms of comfort for her? Last night I put a hot water bottle in the very base of her bed. A lovely friend has given me an electric heat pad but I'm very nervous about using it as Rosie loves to chew and has very powerful jaws! I've put a fleece I've worn in her bed. I take her for a walk in the evening to help tire her. She's sleeping a lot next to me during the day. I'm just drinking my morning tea and she's on a blanket on the sofa next to me asleep. I am a novice carer for a dog.
Hello Elaine, Anxious dogs tend to need structure and opportunity to successfully practice more independence. I suggest attending an obedience or canine good citizen class with her and also working on building her independence by having her practice staying in a crate with the door open, a down stay from a distance, and a long Place command - where she will stay put while you move about the house. Don't expect her to be able to to do all of that immediately of course. Self-soothing is a skill that needs to be gradually built but you can help increase her confidence by practicing. When you interact with her try to act calm, patient, and confident. Matter of fact about house rules, opposed to pittying her. Check o Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
We rescued our dogs one year ago and immediately got them into the habit of sleeping downstairs, despite being advised that their previous owner let them sleep on the bed. All was well until about two months ago when Dennis started barking all night until we let him upstairs. We tried getting into a good evening routine, the room their bed in is warm and comfy and he has his toys if he wants them. Daisy isn't bothered but Dennis's barking is so insistent and panicky that we end up breaking after about 2 hours and letting him up. The change happened after a holiday where he stayed with a dog walker/boarder. Now we are pulling our hair out and don't know what to do! We need them back downstairs but want him to be calm and not stressed or anxious. Help! Lucille
Hello Lucille, You have two options: 1. You can either reward quietness during the day and ignore the barking. 2. You can reward quietness during the day and gently discipline the barking. For the first option: First, I suggest leaving him in that area some during the day with a food stuffed chew toy, like a Kong stuffed with dog food that has been soaked in water and mixed with a little peanut butter. Ignore any barking, but when he gets quiet go to him and sprinkle a few tiny treats or pieces of dog food (if he loves his food) into the area where he is, then leave again. If he stays quiet for at least five minutes after that, then return again and repeat the treats and leave again. Practice this for a couple of hours every day. As he improves and stays quiet for longer, space your treat rewards out so that he has to stay quiet for longer and longer before earning a treat. At night you can either wait out the barking (Everytime you give in it rewards the barking and encourages it more), or put him to bed in your room while you practice during the day, then when he can handle being alone during the day start nighttime too...there will likely be barking when you first transition if you do it this way, but the barking at that point is probably just protesting the situation and not true anxiety or need and he should adjust if you ignore him for a couple of nights. Option 2. If you discipline it it's important for him to understand why he is being corrected and to practice rewarding him for doing the right thing (which is why I suggest doing the treats and practicing during the day below - you do not want to give food or attention at night because he needs to get into the habit of sleeping. There are a number of ways to discipline but I suggest trying a vibration collar first, or an electric collar, like E-Collar Technologies, that has a vibration option. A vibration or e-collar let's you correct without rewarding with any form of attention at the same time. First, work on teaching the Quiet command. Check out the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, during the day when you are practicing him being alone in his area like I suggested with option 1, tell him Quiet when you leave. If he barks, tell him "AhAh" then buzz the vibration collar. If he stays quiet for five minutes, reward with treats. While working on the training still you can either ignore any barking at night, or put him to bed in your room temporarily. Ignoring any barking is ideal training-wise but will mean lost sleep. The main goal at this point is not to give into the barking by freeing him when he barks though. Have him start where he is going to stay all night and keep him there all night right now. After you have practiced the training during the day and he can be quiet for the full two hours in his area when left alone, then have him sleep in that area at night (if you are not already doing so). If he barks, correct with the vibration collar but do not go to him or give treats at night. Because he has practiced this during the day he should be able to handle being alone at night and should understand why he is being corrected and have the skills to calm himself after being corrected. At this point stay consistent and don't give in so that he can practice a new habit of sleeping in his spot all night again. Corrections can feel harsh but as long as the dog clearly understands why they are being corrected and does have the skills to succeed because you have spent time teaching them to him, then corrections can actually be better for the dog than the anxious state they would otherwise stay in. The goal of a correction is to interrupt unwanted behavior long enough for the dog to learn how to do something better instead. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Hi! Our mother doesn’t allow our dog upstairs, however, she keeps on crying whenever we leave her downstairs even to the point that she pees and takes a dump. She also cries uncontrollably and steps on her dump, creating a mess. For the past few months, we’ve resorted to taking turns in sleeping with our dog downstairs. Unfortunately, it has become really hot downstairs, with even a few mosquitoes biting us here and there. We want to sleep in our beds again. For the past week, we’ve tried letting her sleep the whole night inside our gated and fenced lanai. We’ve provided water and food for her there, however she continues to cry throughout the night, stopping around 12am. When we wake up in the morning, we come out to see that she has stepped on her dump and made a mess in our lanai. This leads us to cleaning up the lanai every single day. How can we train her to sleep downstairs in her bed without looking for us upstairs? How can we stop her from crying when she’s all alone downstairs sleeping on the sofa or on her bed?
Hello Carmel, First, I suggest crate training her. Check out the crate training article linked below and follow the "Surprise" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If she barks or gets frantic, then I suggest following the method from the video linked below and using a Pet Convincer to interrupt the barking. https://youtu.be/y5GqzeLzysk Also practice commands that build confidence and independence like Place, crate manners, Heel, and Stay commands. How to teach manners surrounding the crate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 Place command: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Finally, once she is quiet in the crate at night because of training, if you want to let her out at night, then after six months of her being call in the crate you can try giving her freedom in that room (you need to limit freedom for a while while doing thr training though). If she becomes destructive again, go back to using the crate for longer - she id not ready. If she stays calm and simply goes to sleep without accidents you can continue to let her sleep out of the crate down there - but only if she is calm. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Rescued Chapel 3 days ago. She slept upstairs with former owner. We want her to sleep downstairs on a dog bed in the room with our 6 year old Lab. She barks, howls, and whines as soon as we retire upstairs while sitting at the bottom of the stairs by the gate. I have given in so the rest of the household can sleep by going to first floor and sleeping on the couch. That stops the barking. Help please!
Hello Susan, I suggest using a crate at night before transitioning to freedom. Check out the video linked below and practice the crate manners exercise multiple times a day for a few days while doing the below training also. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 Getting her used to staying in a crate and creating calmness around the crate by doing the above exercise may be enough to stop the crying. At night, you will close the crate after she goes in, even though you practice with it open during the day. If doing the crate manners exercise multiple times a day for a few days doesn't stop the crying at night, then you have two options. The first option is to leave her to cry. Many dogs will adjust after three nights if you don't give in. Purchase some ear plugs for everyone and leave her alone. Since she is in the crate you won't have to worry about her being destructive or doing anything problematic. To speed up the process, in addition to the crate manners exercise from the video linked above you can also practice the Surprise method from the article linked below during the day to teach her to be quiet in the crate at a time when people aren't sleeping - so that she will be more likely to be quiet at night too. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate The second option is to discipline the barking. Since she is new to your home I only suggest doing this if all else fails or there is some reason why you can't try the first option, like neighbors that will complain or a baby. Work on the Surprise method and crate manners exercise as often as you can during the day to decrease how much you will need to discipline. Put her into the crate during the day and when she barks return to her, tell her "Ah Ah", and spray a small puff of air at her side through the crate bars with a Pet Convincer (unscented air one - NOT citronella), then leave again. Wire crates work best for this. If she stays quiet for five minutes, return to her and sprinkle a few pieces of her dog food or tiny treats into the crate through the holes, then leave again. Repeat correcting the barking with a puff of air and sprinkling treats when she is quiet - stay calm for all of it. As she improves, wait until she is quiet for longer and longer before returning with treats. You want her to learn to STAY quiet not just get quiet. At night, just correct with the Pet Convincer when she barks; don't give treats. You will have her sleepiness working for you at night, and you don't want to encourage her to stay awake hoping for food, or need to go potty because she has eating. After six months of calmness sleeping in the crate at night, if she has not destroyed anything or had any potty accidents in six months, then you can leave the door of the crate open at night. If she cries, go back to what you did before with the Pet Convincer at the baby gate, but at that point she should quickly remember the lesson, if it is even needed at all - she may go straight to sleeping calmly out of the crate by that point. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Hello , adopted our dog 2 weeks ago, previous owner had him in bed with her. We can’t / don’t want to have that so are training him to sleep downstairs. Problem is he whines , pants , scratches , on and off , we have 2 babies and we don’t want him to wake them so usually at about 2 am after no sleep we let him in our bed.
Desperately need help!!
Tried toys , treats (he’s not fussed ).
What should i do when he whines ?
Hello Heather, First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. Practice for a few days until he is doing well during the day. You can either continue what you are currently doing at night during this process or go ahead and jump into what I explain below for night time training - either waiting until the day is good before starting the night or starting the night and day both at the same time. When he cries at night (in the crate - where he needs to be sleeping for now) before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. If you go straight to nights and days at the same time you will probably have about 3 rough nights, with lots of correcting before he gets quiet - don't give in and let him out or this will take much longer! But the overall process will go faster if you can stay strong. If you practice the daytime routine first, then start the nighttime routine once pup understands the new rules, the night should go easier when you do make the transition. Either way you need to stay very consistent for this to work. You may want to pretend like you are all going to bed two hours early and read in bed with the lights off - anticipating having to get up a lot the first couple of hours to correct - so that you don't loose as much sleep. Choose whichever option seems less stressful for you ultimately and is something you can stick to. Either way there should be a lot less crying than what he is doing until 2am right now! Don't worry about feeling bad for pup. If this continues indefinitely a lot of people would re-home the dog - when the issue could have been resolved with a some fair but firm training for a few days. Ultimately, every ones relationships being healthy and rested is better for pup too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
My dog walks on his back paws&i think he's got degenerative mylopathay. I'm financially unable to take him to the vet to get diagnosed (thank God for Google) but that's all his symptoms point to that. Here's my question; how to get him to stay downstairs at night alone. He's slept in my bed since he was a puppy. We've been through a rough life together & he's all i have left. I have a bed for him downstairs &a baby gate to make him stay down there at night, but he he howls& whimpers at night & I can't get kicked out of the apartment cuz he keeps up the neighbors. How do i keep him from whining? I know I'm prolly gonna get alot of people saying I'm a bad dog mom, and that maybe true, but i can't lose him right now so keeping him from going up & down the stairs is all i can do to prevent further injury. Please help? I'm open to advise but please be kind? Thanks and GodBless!
Hello, First, know that making your dog sleep downstairs doesn't make you a bad dog mom. Teaching a dog independence is an important skill and it doesn't hurt a dog to learn to sleep alone. I crated my own dog in another room as a puppy to teach independence intentionally, so that she would adjust better when I couldn't be around. You will need to start with getting pup used to being alone during the daytime. Practice leaving pup downstairs in the area where you want him to sleep while you are upstairs during the day. If you work during the day, you will need to practice this after you get home from work in the early evenings. Whenever pup stays Quiet downstairs for at least a couple of minutes, return and toss a couple of treats to him. Whenever pup barks, calmly tell him "Ah Ah" and spray a quick puff of air at his side with a Pet Convincer. This will be the least fun part of the training, but keep in mind what pup needs medically. This is a mild form of correction to ensure there are not neighbor complaints that get you in trouble with a landlord and pup doesn't hurt himself climbing the stairs. Don't use citronella, only unscented air, and don't spray pup in the face, just the side/rib cage area. After you reward or correct pup, go back up stairs. Repeat the treats when pup stays quiet and the corrections when pup cries. As pup improves, gradually space out your rewards so that pup is only getting a reward for every 2 minutes of quiet, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15, 25, 40, and 60 minutes. Practice for an hour at first before resuming your normal activities, going back downstairs. When you do return back downstairs, ignore pup for ten minutes first to make your return calm and not something pup is working himself up in excitement and anxiety waiting for. Also, when you are downstairs, practice Place with pup. Place is a good independence building exercise but it may also help you manage pup's condition when you need him to rest more. Place: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ Pet Convincer: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000QWPWDM/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk?fbclid=IwAR3yW6ZBMGPOTeufifRK1uiJdzDPGNW9dI7xdkJzALoCikrfpd69XDwTRxI Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
My black lab has always slept with me in my basement bedroom. However, since turning 12 he's recently become afraid of the stairs, so I'm unable to get him downstairs with me, or upstairs with my mum. the last few nights we have had to leave him in the living room alone, because of this. He literally will not sleep. He spent the ENTIRE night walking back and forth from his bed to the stairs. He has anxiety as of late, and as such has medication however it does not help with this issue. I leave a light on for him, and the radio (like when we leave for the day), give him a treat and say goodnight to no avail. If i come upstairs and sleep on the couch he will go to sleep perfectly fine, but this is obviously not viable solution. I love my old man, and i lose sleep knowing he's upstairs stressing out because he can't get to either of us!
Hello Stevie, I am sorry you are having this issue. I know how it is to take care of an older dog who is struggling. Stairs can be hard for older dogs because of failing vision or muscle and joint weakness that makes them feel less stable. It can also be harder if pup is in pain, such as with arthritis, and climbing stairs hurts. If the issue is stability or visibility and not pain, you might be able to assist pup in climbing the stairs if you wish for him to sleep with you still. There are harnesses you can purchase that have handles on them and support pup's chest and stomach area so that you can lift part of pup's weight to help him while he climbs up and down. When doing this I typically recommend getting pup used to wearing the harness around the house without stairs first, then get pup used to you gently lifting up on the harness handle a bit so that he is still touching the ground but can relax more of his weight into the harness - give treats as he relaxes while doing this and keep lifts brief. When pup is used to that, then put something like a bit of liver paste or peanut butter on a spoon (if pup doesn't have stomach issues - liver will be gentler on his stomach than fatty peanut butter and avoid xylitol - it's toxic to dogs). Gently lift up a little on the harness handle so that pup can still walk but just feels a bit of extra support and lead pup up the stairs with the spool while lifting him up a little as he walks. Act confident and proud of him as he succeeds, but not sorry for him or worried - act the way you want him to feel. If the harness isn't a good option for any reason, then I would first, move his bed to the bottom of the stairs at night if you can. Pup should at least feel like a bit more secure that way - knowing that you can't leave without him noticing and like he can still keep watch on you a bit from the bottom of the stairs. Give him a week to adjust. During the day, have the bed to the side of the stairs so that it's not blocking the stairs in the way, but still in that area. Place pup's kibble or some treats he loves that are easy on his stomach, on the bed for him to find throughout the day. Freeze dried meat treats that aren't real fatty can be easier treats on the stomach to use. I suggest trying the bed at the bottom of the stairs, treats on the bed during the day, and giving him a week to adjust. If that doesn't work, I would try crating him next. That may create too much anxiety if he has never been crated before, but the confined space might also help him choose to go to sleep and finally relax more, it will also probably take a week for him to adjust to that though, even if it works well, so give these solutions at least a few days to see how he is doing. In the meantime, stick to the training until you know whether he will adjust to it (not sleeping on the couch again until you have given it at least one week), and be sure that he has a calmer place where he can catch up on sleep during the day. A ramp on the side of the stairs also might be something worth trying if the issue is pain or joint issues, but with a vision issue or muscle weakness a ramp likely wouldn't help. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Thanks Caitlin! I have tried getting him up and down the stairs with help but unfortunately it no longer works. I do think it is partly his vision, and probably just his old bones. He's definitely slowed down a lot this past year. Last night was rough, he started whining around 3AM which is new lol but i will definitely try the bed by the stairs and see if that helps! He was crated for about a year in the beginning, but he he hated it, so we stopped.
Thanks again :)
Was this experience helpful?
My dog Dyce has been sleeping in the same room with me for 8 years. He sleeps on the floor in his own bed.
I am now moving to a 2 story house and I want to set some new rules to help us with his separation anxiety. I have a designated area I want to make comfortable for him as his little home under the stairs on the first floor. What is the best way to get him to sleep and accept this as his new area? I dont want him to come upstairs to sleep in my bedroom.
I would also like to leave him here when my husband and I leave to work. He sometimes pees and ríps things up when we leave the house and i just want to correct this behavior overall. I’ve tried the toys to keep him entertained but they don’t always work.
Hello Donna, There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. The first step is to work on building his independence and 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. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to continue to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time on its own for some dogs. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. 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 about 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 too. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating 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 or Garmin Delta Sport or Dogtra for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator and Garmin should also have 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 and the smell - punisher lingers a long time so the dog continues to be corrected even after they stop the behavior). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work than stimulation e-collars though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, 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 A modern, high quality collar will have so many levels that each level should be really subtle and he will likely respond to a low level stimulation. It's uncomfortable but not the harsh shock many people associate with such collars if done right. 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 or days if you can (take it off at night to sleep though). 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. 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 again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being 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 more levels on the mini-educator or two more levels on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. For example, if his level is 13 out of 100 levels on the Mini Educator, don't go past level 16 right now. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar will probably be low to medium, within the first forty 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, sprinkle several treats into the crate without saying anything, then leave again. Practice correcting him from outside when he barks or tries to escape, going back inside and sprinkling treats when he stays quiet, for up to 30 minutes at first. After 30 minutes -1 hour of practicing this, when he is quiet, go back inside and sprinkle more treats. This time stay inside. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around and get stuff done inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this 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 probably 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 of barking, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. If you address the daytime separation anxiety and get him used to the crate, there is a chance he will adjust easily to the area downstairs if it's a confined area so that he can't get to other parts of your home to chew. If he doesn't also practice him staying in that area for shorter periods during the day while you are home but in different rooms of the house. When he gets quiet even briefly, return and sprinkle a few treats in, then leave again. He may not eat the treats but your brief presence will also be a reward. When he barks, you can either use the e-collar you have used for other training - which he should associate with not barking and not getting so worked up at this point, or you can return to him and spray a small puff of air from a pet convincer at his side (NOT face and don't use citronella), while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. After about an hour of practice while you are home, while he is quiet, let him out using the crate manners protocol from the video below to make him wait at the door of the stairs gate. https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?