There’s nothing quite like a nice weekend after a long and stressful work week. You may love your leisure weekends; sleeping in on Saturdays and Sundays, even if just for a bit, helps to bring a newfound sense of rejuvenation to your mind. Maybe you keep trying to sleep in on the weekends, but your dog won’t let you. Animals are often a creature of habit. They don’t need a watch to know when to expect you to be home from work, especially if you arrive home about the same time each day. If you feed your dog at five o’clock every day, your dog can probably tell you when it is five o’clock faster than it will take you to glance at a clock. The same applies to waking in the mornings. If your dog is an early riser during the week with you, he won’t often know the difference between a Friday workday and a Saturday sleep-in day.
There are many reasons for wanting to train your dog to sleep later, from semi-annual time changes to changes in your schedule or even a new dog who is simply an early riser. But no matter the reason, training your dog to sleep later is something you and your dog can work on together. Changing habits takes time, even for dogs. You may start by feeding your dog dinner at a different time, or setting an example and heading to bed later yourself. Learning to ignore your dog will be imperative in retraining him to sleep in a bit later. Sure, you’ll probably be awake and frustrated or annoyed because he woke you, but give it some time. Your dog will learn from being ignored. If you live in an area where the time changes twice a year, you may have to set aside a few days to help your dog adjust to the new time just as your body adjusts. Any dog can be trained to sleep later. It will just require time and a bit of patience.
Be prepared with a schedule you’d like your dog to follow. Even getting him to sleep in on certain days such as days you are off work is possible, especially if they are the same days each week like weekends or every Wednesday. You may want to have some treats near your bed so you can toss your dog a reward for staying in bed. This kind of training may be easier if your dog is in your bedroom with you. If he can get close to you, it may be easier to provide quick comfort before spending the rest of the morning ignoring him rather than having him in another room barking for you.
I adopted Thor and his sister from our local shelter at 12 wks of age. Thor sleeps in a crate in my youngest son's room (his sister is in a crate in my oldest son's room). We put them to bed at 10 pm and Thor is up by 5 am or earlier. Once Freya hears Thor, she is up too. At what age should they be able to hold their bladder for a full 8 hours of night? We feed them at 6 am and 6 pm and take them potty right before bed. Some mornings he is up as early at 3 am. My 13 year old needs his sleep. Should I just find a new place to put his crate? My son really wants Thor to be "his dog". Please help!!
Hello Shanna, Generally by five months of age both puppies should be able to hold their bladders for eight hours at night. Some puppies are able to hold their bladders for eight hours during the night by four months of age also, but as soon as a puppy wakes up, his bladder wakes up too, and he needs to go outside. It is possible that Thor is waking up out of habit at this point because he wants to eat or to play during that time, and once he is awake he then needs to go potty too. I would recommend crating the puppy in your room for one more month, and when he wakes up in the morning before it is time to be up, take him outside to go potty, but make the trip boring by taking him on a leash and not talking to him or playing with him, and then bring him back into your room afterwards and place him back into the crate until it is time to get up with the rest of the family. Overtime this should break the cycle of waking up to eat or play, and then he should begin to only wake up only when he needs to pee, and by five months of age you should be able to then put him back into your son's room. Unfortunately he will probably cry when you place him back into the crate the first three days, so be prepared for that, but do not let him out until it is 6am and he is quiet. His body needs to learn to go back to sleep after he eliminates, which will help him to learn that mornings are a time for sleep, so that he will sleep-in later. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
In a very similar situation. Just adopted a 12 week old pup. We go to bed around 10 pm and he is up at 5 and wants to go. So, would like to know how this worked out for you. Were you able to train them to go back to sleep with this method? How long did it take? How long did they cry once back in the crate? Any update/help would be appreciated.
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Shiro eats at 6am and pm, he gets a walk after dinner and doesn't get put to bed until about midnight. He is usually up by 4am, but sometimes not until 5am and as early as 3am. As he is still a young pup we don't want him to mess in the crate so we get up with him. From what I've read, it seems we should take him out to potty and then put him back to bed? Should his crate be our bedroom? Also we have taken out the things to make him comfy as he pees on them. Not sure what to do now as it seems we have not been going about this the right way. Now what?
Hello Rob, Your speculations are correct. When he wakes up at 4am or so, take him outside to pee, but take him on a leash and keep the trip as boring as possible. This is one time where you will not give him a treat for peeing outside and will not play with him afterwards because you want him to drop that potty break when he gets old enough and not continue to wake up because it is fun. After he goes potty, calmly praise him, bring him back inside, and put him directly back into his crate to go back to bed. If he is going to bed at midnight there is no way that he should be waking up for the day at 4am. Puppies need a lot of sleep. Also, you are correct to take the bedding out of his crate. Very few puppies are ready for soft bedding in their crates. It can encourage peeing in the crate, destructive chewing, and can be dangerous if they eat pieces of it. If you wish to add some form of padding to the crate, then look up PrimoPads. You can purchase them online according to the dimensions of your crate. They are not soft and fluffy but will provide firm support, are easy to clean, and can be anchored down to the sides of the crate to keep puppies from chewing on the edges. They are also covered with vinyl so they are not absorbent. You do not want absorbent bedding in the crate or it will encourage peeing. Expect some crying when you put him back into the crate after taking him potty since he is used to getting up at that time right now. Give him time and space to work it out. He is tired and simply needs to go to bed. Since you just took him potty you can feel confident that nothing is truly wrong with him. How many nights it takes him to stop the crying will depend on his personality. Some puppies give up quickly and relax and go back to sleep immediately in just a day or two of the new routine. Some especially stubborn puppies take two weeks or longer. Try to be firm and consistent even if he turns out to be one that takes longer. The ideal place to crate him is where you can hear him if he wakes up and needs to go potty but he is far enough away that he is learning a bit of independence. The hallway, closet, or bathroom connected to your room with the door to your bedroom open makes a good spot if there is space for the crate there. You absolutely can crate him in the same room that you sleep in, just make sure that you practice crating him in a room by himself sometimes during the day too so that he will learn how to be by himself when needed while he is young. During the day when he is in the crate give him a Kong chew toy stuffed with dog food, so that he will learn to entertain himself while he is alone. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My neutered male dog is sweet, gentle and mellow, to the point of being largely disinterested in other dogs; he'll have a good sniff and maybe a bit of a run around but mostly will observe them playing and lie at my feet. However, he cannot stand intact male dogs. It is the only time he shows anything akin to aggression and barks non-stop at them. It is only towards intact male dogs that he displays this behavior. I understand this is not uncommon but I'm at a loss as to how to deal with it, short of removing him from the situation or restraining/distracting him. We live in an apartment block and there are a number of intact dogs that we encounter. We adopted him 9 months ago and from what we've been told, before that he lived with an intact male (he was also intact then). Do you have any suggestions?
Hello Octavia, You would need to work on managing his response just like you would with a dog that was aggressive toward all dogs. The difference is you will need intact males to practice around, which adds a bit of a challenge. I would suggest hiring a training who works at a training facility where there are in tact males around also. Some boarding and training facilities do not board intact males, so make sure that the one you go to does. A trainer who is also involved in canine sports where the males are commonly left in tact, such as Schlutzhund, hunting, Conformation, or other AKC sports is more likely to have in tact males on the property himself and is more likely to own in tact males, which is even more helpful. Since the issue is only with intact males, it is probably either trauma related since he lived with another intact male, or more likely, dominance related. A trainer can assess both and address whichever one it is if he or she trains using both positive reinforcement and fair discipline. For aggression management you need to build respect, trust, and self-control. You also need to work on creating a positive association toward other intact male dogs. Essentially, when your dog encounters a dog he does not like, he needs to learn to look to you for guidance and let you handle the interaction. For this to happen a trainer needs to correct, and show you how to correct, your dog's inappropriate behavior, then reward him for focusing back on you and off of the other dog, and then reward him calmly for being calm and relaxed around other dogs. Working on his general obedience and respect toward you should also help. To do that, check out the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you A trainer can help you build your dog's respect for you, but you can also work on that part more on your own. Once your dog trusts you more, then work with a trainer around other in-tact males at correcting your dog's bad response to interrupt him and rewarding him for focus on you and being calm instead. As he gets calmer around other dogs, then you can make the presence of other intact males fun by rewarding him when they are around with treats, games, and your own silliness. Don't be afraid to act a bit goofy to liven up his spirits and show him that he can relax. This will probably not be able to happen until his respect toward you is build and his outburst are corrected and refocused first though. If you are at all worried about being bitten when he is aroused or about another dog being hurt, then get Bear used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle, so that you can train safely and get as close to the other dogs as you need to without worrying about anyone being injured. When done right, Bear should not mind wearing the muzzle. Use a soft silicone basket muzzle because it will be more comfortable, and because the wider basket will still allow him to open his mouth and let you feed him treats through the holes. To get him comfortable wearing a muzzle, show him the muzzle and give him a treat. Touch the muzzle to him and give him a treat. Hold the muzzle on his face briefly and give him a treat. Hold the muzzle on his face for longer and give him treats through the muzzle's holes while you are holding it there. Finally, put the muzzle on him and give him treats while he is wearing it. Go slow and gradually increase the amount of time that you keep the muzzle on him for as he becomes more comfortable with it. Expect this process to take a couple of weeks. Don't move onto the next muzzle step until he is comfortable with the current step, and try to practice this for a few minutes every day. Doing this at one of his meal times, using his dog food pieces as treats can work well for many dogs. For further resources on treating and managing aggression check out Jeff Gelhman from SolidK9Training. He has a YouTube channel and website. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello. We have had our puppy for a week now. We have been crate training him from the very beginning. We set our alarms at night to take him potty every 3 hours so as to get a jump on him waking/whining to pee. The goal is to gradually lengthen that time every week. (Is this a good approach)? We are a late to bed/late to rise family and I have 4 children who are used to a circadian rhythm of starting the day at 8. This is something that we technically “trained” our kids to do. Our puppy, Calvin, gets taken out to pee for the last time at night at 5 am but wakes on the dot at 6:30 and begins barking pretty crazily. We are trying extinction, but we are in the 5th morning of it. He doesn’t eliminate in his crate (thankfully) and we try to wait until he has a brief moment of silence before letting him out at 8, but he is still barking like mad at that time. The first 2 nights we had him, my husband would go and lay on the floor next to him when he started barking so that he would quiet down and we could squeeze in any more sleep, so we realize we created a mild habit of rewarding those barks, but it’s been twice that length time of ignoring him now. I am wondering how long extinction usually takes to garner change?
Hello Tiffany, Congratulations on the new puppy and it sounds like you have been working hard to get Calvin off to the right start. For the first two weeks the alarm every three hours is a good approach. After that I would suggest waiting until he wakes up on his own and asks, to take him outside. At night a puppy's bladder sort of shuts down while he sleeps so he will be able to hold his bladder for much longer at night by the time he is ten to twelve weeks old. He will probably still need to be taken out once, some nights twice, but waiting until he asks as he gets older will prevent him from waking out of habit to go out. When you take him outside, take him on a leash, and keep the trip extremely boring. After he goes, put him straight back in the crate and then ignore him. You don't want him to learn to wake up because fun things happen when he wakes up. You may already be doing this, but just in case, keep it in mind. If you just brought him home, then there is a good chance that 6:30am was when he normally woke up with his litter and so his internal clock is set to start the day then, even though he is still exhausted. In some baby mammals, being overtired can lead to excess cortisol in the body, and that cortisol can cause early wakings, frequent night wakings, and trouble going to sleep initially. It is possible that is happening too if he is going to bed to late. His body is likely just stuck on the early wake up time though. It can take up to two weeks of good habits to change his behavior. The very determined dog might take three. Try not to get too discouraged. It is unfortunately just normal for a puppy to protest a crate strongly for the first two weeks, especially if your puppy is a bit willful or very alert. To minimize the problem work on the following. Put him to bed no later than 10/10:30pm, even if you are going to wake him up again at 1:30am and 4:30am to ensure that he is not getting overtired. You may even want to experiment and wait to see when he naturally wakes up on his own to ask to go out, and then take him thirty minutes before that time after that. If he only needs to go out once, then not waking him in the early morning might help him stay in deeper sleep longer in the early mornings. He should be able to sleep at least ten hours total and make it until 8am eventually. When you put him to bed, make sure that it is quiet and dark where he is right now. He will learn to sleep through distractions more later on, but right now you want to set yourself up for success. If you can put him in a location where he will not see the sun come up at 6:30am do it! The sun will keep his body waking up at 6 until his rhythm changes. You can use black trash bags or thick blankets on windows, or put his crate in a closet or bathroom without windows. If you feel like he is waking because other people are awake in the house or because he wants attention, then put his crate on a different level of the house and use a baby monitor to listen to him later on, when you are no longer taking him outside every three hours during the night. By then he should be only waking up when he really needs to go potty. If you live in a one story home, then put his crate where he will be safe, it will be dark, and he will not wake up the rest of the house. The idea is to remove your presence so that he will give up barking soon and go back to sleep. It sounds cruel because he will have to adjust at first, but if he is doing it for attention the best route to take is to remove all attention, so he can learn that it is time for sleeping. He will be safe and taken care of, and in the long run he will learn more independence that way, which can actually prevent true separation anxiety later. If you move his crate further away, give him a favorite, safe, durable chew toy in his crate, so that he can learn to chew on that when he wakes up, until he goes back to sleep. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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When we first brought Jax home he fell into our desired sleeping patern pretty quickly. We started taking him out at around 11:30pm, 3am and 6am, when he’d be up for the day. We eventually took away the 3am break and he was fine sleeping until 6 which was perfect. For the past month or so however, he usually wakes and asks to go out at least once per night (usually between 2:30-4), I’ll take him and he always does his business, comes back in and go backs to bed without a fight, but then he’ll wake up for the day at about 5:30am and doesn’t want to sleep later. How do I get him to break these habits, especially waking up on the middle of the night? I pushed his meal time back an hour and his last let out is still 11:30pm. I’ve probably gotten him into a bad habit now since I’ll wake when he barks and growls in the night, but I’m not sure what else to do!
Hello Kylie, First, pay attention to when he goes to sleep, even if you wake him back up at 11:30 pm to take him outside again. If he goes to sleep for the night, even with the lights on, at 8 pm, then he will be fully rested at 5:30 am and your chances of getting him back to sleep are not good. If he goes to sleep at 10:00 pm, then he should be able to sleep until 7 a.m. or possibly 8 a.m. Second, stop all food and water two hours before his bedtime, to give his body time for the food and water to move through him so that he empties every thing out when you take him outside at 11:30 pm. I suggest tackling the early morning wake up first. When he wakes up in the morning you will have two options. The first is to very calmly and quietly take him to go potty on a leash, and then take him straight back inside and put him back into the crate without feeding him. Decide when you would like him to wake up for the day in the future, which should be about nine to ten hours after he goes to bed for the night the night before, and feed him at that time, no debate. When he barks, don't give in and let him out or even go over to him. His internal clock needs to reset to become hungry at the new time. Also, he will continue to wake up early in the morning if he expects food at that time. If waking up only gets him a boring trip to go potty and then more crate time, he is less likely to wake up before that meal time. Also, he needs to be crated and to sleep somewhere quiet at this age. Don't expect him to sleep in if other people are up and keeping him awake where he can hear them, and it is extremely difficult to get a non-crated puppy to go back to sleep when he has free reign of your room or home in the morning. He needs to be crated at night until he is older. You can give him a favorite durable chew toy in the crate as long as it does not keep him awake in the middle of the night. This will give him something to sooth himself back to sleep with when he has pent up energy in the morning. A second option if he has gone potty in the middle of the night less than five hours beforehand, is to simply ignore him when he wakes up in the morning, without taking him outside. If he wakes up at 5:30 am and last went potty at 3 am, then he does not have to go potty yet, so you can safely ignore his barking, knowing that he is simply demanding food and play. There is a third option. It is initially easier for you, it will get him back to sleep more easily, but it may not guarantee that he stops initially waking up at 5:30 am. When he wakes up at 5:30 am, if he needs to go potty, then take him outside, but then put him back into the crate. When you put him back into the crate, give him a couple of large Kongs stuffed with his breakfast kibble. If he can easily get the dry food out of the Kongs, then you can put the food in a bowl and cover it with water the night before. When the food absorbs the water and turns mushy, then loosely stuff large Kong classic toys with the food and freeze them overnight. Give Jax the stuffed Kongs in the crate so that he has to work for his breakfast. You can also smear a little bit or peanut butter or liver paste on the rim of the Kong to get him interested in it if he needs encouraging. Doing this should break the habit of him expecting a bowl full of food at that time, it will help wear him out so that he is more likely to go back to sleep when he finishes the food, and it will keep him busy in the early hours, so that you can go back to bed. I suggest using this method if you want to break the middle of the night waking first. If you remove the middle of the night waking, then he will be even more likely to wake up at 5:30 am because he will genuinely need to go potty at that time. For the middle of the night waking, if the waking happens before 4/4:30 am, then ignore him until he goes back to sleep. That might take as long as two hours the first night. You may want some earplugs or to start this on the weekend. Some puppies give up in thirty-minutes, others need three nights worth of a couple of hours of crying. Hopefully he will give in easily, but stay strong either way. Even during the day, he should be able to hold his bladder for five to six hours if he is in a crate and you removed the food and water two hours before bedtime. Since you are taking him out at 11:30 pm, he should be able to go until at least 4/4:30. Any wakings before then are probably just habitual. When asleep, by this age he should be able to hold his bladder from 11:30 pm to 5:30 am most likely. Once awake he will need to go potty if it has been five to six hours, but if he stays asleep he can hold it much longer, even past 5:30 am. That is part of why I suggest letting him cry when it has been less than five hours since he last went potty, because letting him cry and not feeding him early should also take the fun out of waking up, so that he will learn to only wake up when he is fully rested or genuinely needs to go potty, teaching his body to sleep longer and letting him go longer between potty trips. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I can’t get Jackson to sleep pass 5am. I’ve tried everything. He goes for several walks daily. His last time out before bedtime is always after 11:30pm. Some times as late as 1am. But he still starts BARKING at 5am. When this first begin to happen I would go ahead and feed him and his brother. After reading several articles I realize I was rewarding this behavior. So I know let him bark from 5am until 6am. We then take him out of his crate. He runs through the house goes outside on a leash. If we bring him back in and puts him in his crate with his Breakfast he will go back to sleep.
This behavior started when I moved to a new house but not right away about 3 months later.
My old house my back yard was Fence In.
Unfortunately this house does not have a Fence. That’s why I take them for several walks a day. They never go out with a leash.
I am considering a Fence even though I don’t plan on living here more than a year. My other Yorkie Maxwell is on a low dose of prozac. I wonder if this might help Jackson sleeping issues.
Hello Charity, How long is Jackson able to hold his bladder for during the day? If he cannot make it past five or six hours during the day, then your issue with be urinary incontinence that is simply a part of his aging. At ten years old this is common, especially for a small dog. You might be stuck with having to take him potty at 5 am or 6 am; however you should be able to get him to go back to sleep without any barking or feeding, with training. If he does not have urinary incontinence or a medical reason why he can't hold it, then the potty issue might resolve itself and he will start sleeping later when he is not being fed or allowed to bark at that time anymore. First, when he wakes up, take him outside to go potty on a leash. When he goes potty, praise him very calmly but do not give him a treat or let him play. Take him back inside and put him back into the crate without feeding him. He will likely bark when you do this. Leave the room and give him five minutes. After five minutes, if he stays quiet, go back in and give him a treat and then leave again. Make him wait ten minutes before you give the next treat. Over a three day period, gradually space the treats further and further apart until he only gets one treat when you wake back up and go to let him out of his crate for the day, which should be at the time you choose. Also, purchase a Pet Convincer, which is a small canister of pressurized air. If he barks, which he most likely will, then go to him, tell him "Ah Ah" in a calm but firm tone of voice, and then spray a small puff of air at his ribs on his side through the crate. Do not spray him in the face. After you do that, leave again. If he stays quiet for the amount of time he has worked up to at that point, such as ten or twenty minutes, then return to him and give him a treat. Whenever he barks, correct him with the spray of air. Whenever he stays quiet for long enough, reward him with a treat. Doing this for a few days simply teaches him that barking is not alright and being quiet is what he is supposed to do instead. When he learns to stop barking altogether, he should begin to go back to sleep on his own when he wakes up. Decide ahead of time what time you would like for him to sleep until, which should be when you get out of bed, and make that his regular breakfast feeding time. While you are training him and are awake early with him for a few mornings, do not feed him until it is the time that you wish that he would sleep until. You want his body to adjust to being hungry at that new time and expecting food then and not before. Let his body adjust so that his hunger will not wake him up earlier in the morning. When you address the barking and the feeding schedule, if he does not have urinary incontinence and the bathroom trip is really boring when you take him, he will likely stop waking up so early. If he does have incontinence, then it will at least let you go straight back to bed after taking him potty. Also, evaluate how bright it is in the room where he is crated. Early morning sunlight could also be to blame. It the area is really bright, then also try blocking out some of the light to trick his internal clock into thinking it's not morning yet. If those things do not solve the morning wakings and you are not convinced he is unable to hold his bladder because he can go for long periods of time during the day, then set an alarm and take him potty at 3 am for three night and when he wakes at 5 am to go potty, correct the barking with the air spray and do not take him potty or feed him until it is time to get up for the day. If you have taken him out at 3 am, then you will know for sure that he is not waking up at 5 am to go potty on those mornings and you can safely correct his barking and ignore his desire to go outside. Do this for a few days, until he stops waking up at 5 am, then stop waking him up at 3 am too, and ignore any further future waking if he can make it through the night without an accident. All of this is to help his internal clock reset, to stop waking up at odd times, without risking an accident at 5 am. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I got my puppy when he was about 4 months old. The gentleman I purchased him from had one of those doggie doors so Louie could go in and out side whenever he wanted. Since my husband and I both work full time, I don’t crate him during the night because he’s in there during the day. We typically go to bed about 10, 11pm and I always let him out right before. Louie’s current schedule is to stand by the bedroom door and whine by 5am. I’ll let him out and we’ll come back in and go back to bed but then he’s up again within a half hour to an hour to eat. He typically eats at 6:30pm. I typically don’t get out of bed to start getting ready for work until 7. So as of right now, I’m up at least 2, sometimes 3 times before 7am. I’m okay with getting up once to let him out to potty but how can I make him go back to bed with me until I am ready to get up and feed him on MY time?
Hello Nicole, Since you don't want to crate him at night there are two options I would suggest: First, if you truly are alright with letting him out to go potty at 5am (as long as he goes back to bed), then I suggest taking him outside the first time he wakes up at 5am - keep the trip boring though and don't let him play. Bring him right back inside after he goes potty and put him into the crate with a food stuffed chew toy - that you prepared the night before, then ignore any crying until it is time for YOU to get up. It's important not to let him out of the crate earlier because you are helping his internal clock reset to a later time. Purchase a large hollow chew toy like a large Kong, use two if you need to, and put his entire breakfast in there so that he has to work for his breakfast and no longer expects a bowl of food in general in the morning...this will give him something to do, which helps him stay quiet in the crate until you wake up, it removes the bowl of food - which is why likely he is waking up again, and it may wear him out so that he will go back to sleep for longer. Also, sleeping less during the day will probably help, so giving him interesting things to do - like chewing on food stuffed Kong's - can help him sleep less in the crate during the day while still keeping him relaxed so that he is more tired at night. To stuff a Kong either put his dog food into it, cover the opening partially with a larger treat so that only a couple of pieces of food fall out at a time, and add a bit of liver paste or peanut butter (avoid Xylitol - it's toxic) - if he needs a bit of motivation to work for the food. You can also put his food into a bowl, cover it with water, let it sit out until the food turns to mush, mix a bit of peanut butter (avoid Xylitol sweetener) or liver paste into the mush, loosely stuff the Kong with the mixture, put it into a zip-lock bag, and freeze it overnight. You can purchase several Kong and make them all at once and simply pull them from the freezer as needed. Another option is to let him out to go potty the first time that he asks, but then ignore his barking any other times until it is the time that you want him to sleep until (when you desire to get up - if you didn't have a dog). You want to get him out of the habit of eating too early because his body is telling him that he is hungry then. He needs to be fed at a set later time, and any requests earlier to eat ignored to retrain his body to sleep later and not wake up unless he needs to pee. Also, make sure that he is not sleeping during the evening before you put him to bed. Even if he has not officially gone to bed yet, if he is taking longer evening naps, then that will count as part of his nighttime sleep - meaning that he is fully rested at 5am and ready for the day. Give him interesting things to do in the evening to keep him awake until you put him to bed, until his body readjusts to staying up later and sleeping in. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We rehomed lucky 5 weeks ago - she was not socialised and lived mostly outside, we have managed to housetrain her, and she is placed in the crate every evening and wen we are working/out of house. My main problem is her separation anxiety, I have tried leaving her for small periods in the sitting room, during the day as I work through general household tasks to try and build up her independence and to stop her following me Everywhere!!
However, whenever she is left any longer she barks constantly- nighttime’s we are trying to create calm environment and waiting for her to fall asleep before going to bed around10.30 - however, if she wakes, she will start bark, this is normally around 4 am but can be earlier! I do not want her to sleep upstairs but downstairs, we are currently ignoring her, as she does not need to potty and obviously just wants our presence, as after going outside for a little while she then cones back in and settles
Feeding times are around 7.30 am, and 5.30/6.00 pm, walks are given am and evening and when possible lunchtime also
Hello Christine, There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. The first is to initially start by simply working on building her independence (like it sounds like you have already begun doing), generally build her confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into her routine. Things such as making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate when the door is open too. Changing the routines so that she does not anticipate alone time and build up her anxiety before you leave - which is hard for her to deescalate from. Being sure to give her something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on), and ignoring her crying at night until she eventually learns to go back to sleep. This is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time. 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 in e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building her independence and structure in her 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 Lucky's 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 collar) 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 and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on Lucky. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with Lucky's end on mute, so that you can see and hear her but she 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 Lucky while she is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on her, 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 she responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning her head, moving her ears, biting her fur, moving away from where she was, or changing her expression. If she does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when she 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 her reaction at that level until she indicates a little bit that she can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for her and have it correctly fitted on her, have her wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on her while she is in the crate. Put her into the crate while she is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on her from the other room or outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear her barking or see her start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time she barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate her again. If she does not decrease her 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. She 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 one level on another collar with less levels right now though because she has not learned what she is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on her on the mini educator collar should 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 her. If she 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 her or pay attention to her for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When she is being calm, then you can let her out of the crate. When you let her 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 her to be calm when she comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore her 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 her. Once she is less anxious she will likely enjoy it and that will help her to enjoy the crate more. First, she needs her anxious state of mind interrupted so that she is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give her a food stuffed Kong in the crate for her to relieve her boredom instead, since she will need something other than barking to do at that point. Practice all of this during the day at first. Once she has learned that e-collar corrections are for barking and is able to calm herself back down during the day, then you can transition the training to night time when she tries to bark then - if you are certain that she does not need to pee at that time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi! We got Vincent a German short haired pointer when he was 9 weeks old and have had him for 11 weeks now. We have been using the crate training method as me and my partner both work, he is crated during the day and all seems to be fine (neighbours haven’t heard anything and partner only goes out for 4 hours at a time). The issue we have is nighttime. The first night we tried to crate him downstairs alone which I hindsight was a terrible idea! My partner ended up sleeping on the sofa with him. Ever since that first traumatic night we have tried various things (worried we aren’t sticking with anything and confusing him!) we had him in our room but on the floor for a few weeks but bless him he was too disruptive. For the last 6 weeks we have had him crated downstairs again which is our preference. He currently goes in around 10pm well, he walks in. For ages he was sleeping in until around 5am, partner would take him out but he wouldn’t settle again so we did probably the worst thing (sleep deprived!) and allowed him in our bed from 5am where we would all sleep for another couple of hours. That worked for all of us for a few weeks but then his wake up went from 5am to 3am and then 1am and midnight! With him refusing to go back in the crate so he would come upstairs with us. We can’t continue this so the last few nights we have just left him to bark. We hate it but we need a consistent plan and ideally want him crated all night downstairs now. How long do you think it will take him to get used to it? I suspect that we have inadvertently trained him to bark to get us to take him on to our bed! This makes me sad as I want him to be settled and happy but he is growing and I don’t think having him in the bed will be good long term! I want him to learn independence and get a good night sleep for me and partner as we are exhausted. Am I asking too much?! Please help! Thanks
Hello Laura, What you are doing right now by crating him in a location where everyone can (eventually) get good sleep and letting him bark and learn to settle on his own is absolutely what you should be doing. He is very likely only barking because he has learned that if he barks, he gets to sleep in your bed, and is very simply having a temper tantrum because he prefers to sleep in bed with you (which is less restful for both people and dog and not a good thing to do if it interferes with sleep and you and your partner's relationship). You will hopefully have Vincent for a very long time, 10+ years, so the hard work now is worth him learning to do what's best for everyone long term -- All that to say, STAY STRONG and try not to feel sorry for him while he figures out what's expected of him. He needs the opportunity to learn how to settle himself down and learn. Most puppies take 1-2 weeks to learn not to bark in a crate. Some only take 3 nights. Because he has learned that barking gets him what he wants, it could take him longer - that all depends on how determined his personality is. Don't give in or it will take longer though. Your other option is to discipline the barking. This feels harsh but tends to work very quickly and is only a mild correction. If you decide to go this route, teach him "Quiet" during the day by following the "Quiet" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once he understands what Quiet means, purchase a "Pet Convincer" - which is a small canister of regular (NOT scented) pressurized air. When he barks, tell him "Quiet" (don't go all the way over to him - you want to limit attention as much as possible). If he gets quiet, go back to bed (no treats during the night for this or he will wake up, bark and stop just to get a treat). The command simply gives him a chance to understand what you want from him and avoid the correction that follows. If he starts barking again or doesn't stop, go over to his crate, tell him "Ah-Ah" and spray a small puff of air at his side by his ribs (not face), then leave the room. The air is simply to interrupt his barking and startle him a bit. It will not hurt. Whenever he barks, repeat the correction process and don't let him out of the crate unless you know he really needs something (like going potty). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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