/ Barking dog problem

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TheDrunkenBakers - on 29 Jan 2013
Morning all,

We bought a pup a few months ago - Choccy Lab - and what a beaut he is.

Problem is, he doesn't sleep all the way through and is now taking to barking at 2am and then again at 5:30am at which point we let him out to do his business, either a number one or two.

This is absolutely killing me. I really struggle to get back to sleep after I have been woken up and at this rate I'm going to be a useful extra in the Walking Dead.

At this rate we are going to have to give him up; only joking dog fans. He's a much loved family pet, not just for Chrimbo. Anyhoo, as this is our first puppy I want to check to see if this is normal.

We take him out for an evening walk at around 7-8 so that he can do what he wants and he seems to want to go to bed at 9-10 after his last meal.

Is this simply puppyhood and perfectly expected and that this will change over time. He's now 5 months.


tommycoopersghost on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

This is perfectly normal behaviour. The trick is to understand why he's barking at 2 and 5.30, and take steps to prevent the barking becoming an ingrained neurotic behaviour.

Bed by 10, at a guess the later barking probably a toilet request. Like people their bladder holding capacity increases with maturity.

2am barking may also be toilet request at present.

Could also be other things depending on his sleeping arrangements, does he sleep in room alone and in dark? Being a young pack animal he might be waking up alone in dark feeling anxious. Calling his pack is a perfectly natural reaction in this situation.

You can try leaving a child's night on for him, and dogs are much happier if you leave a radio on in background for them. Suddenly going from the comforting sounds of having his pack around him to waking up in dark silence is scary for a dog.

If he sleeps in room with people, probably toilet request, hunger, or attention seeking. All of these will diminish with maturity.

Hope that helps
Iain Downie - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

We had to work out very early on that you have to work around the dog's bodyclock rather than make it fit in with ours.

If his current timings mean that he is going to the loo during the night, then feed him a lot earlier during the day to ensure this happens before your bed time.

It does get a lot better with time.

Iain
Iain Downie - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Iain Downie:

P.S. - Leave a radio on low volume in the room where he is sleeping. The voices will make him feel less lonely.
Baron Weasel - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers: Pretty normal from memory, he'll settle down in time. When my dog was a pup and we wanted to stop her barking we used to use Shhhhh and say thank you when she stopped as it nurtures a calmer owner behaviour than yelling shut (the fcuk) up! The dog then feeds off your calmer approach and it is much nicer to use in public :-)

BW
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers: Good advice above. At 5 months it is understandable that he cant get through the night without a toilet break. We use a radio as background noise to iron out any odd noises like foxes or cats in the back garden. We also had to turn off our security lights in the back garden. They would flick on with any movement and disturb him.

Does he sleep in a crate?

Sounds like your doing everything right to me. Just a phase I would think,
Days on Rock - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers: Our dog used to cry like an absolute bugger in the night when we first got her from the rescue place, so heeding their advice to prevent naughty/irritating behaviour, we did the following....

Get a plastic milk bottle (any size) and whack a load of coins, bottle tops and little stones in there. Next time you see the dog doing something that's not on, give it a bloody hard shake right in it's ear. It's non-aggressive (unlike the water misting tip that people recommend) and works a treat; she went from crying all night to not at all in two days, and I only had to do it twice on the first night and once on the second. Now she doesn't do it until the morning when it gets light and she knows it's breakfast time. It's also stopped her jumping up on the kitchen table to eat the butter and scrapping too much with my mother in law's flat-coat retriever (ours is a lab/springer/whippet Heinz 57 thing).
tommycoopersghost on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Few books id recommend would help you understand your chaps behaviour, and are pretty good reads as well:

why do dogs drink out of the toilet.
Dialogues with dogs.
The philosopher and the wolf.
The dog whisperer.
Milesy - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> Is this simply puppyhood and perfectly expected and that this will change over time. He's now 5 months.

I would hazard a guess at 5 months old he should be able to go through the night without needing out till morning now which would indicate a behavioural thing.

Is he crate trained? Crate trained dogs are happier on their own and through the nights, expecially with a nice big safe blanket covering the top. Makes them feel safe in a den.

Make sure he gets the chance to go to the loo straight away before bed.

Like a baby crying try and approach barking with not directly immediate responses. If bark = attention then it wires up associations. If you don't have neighbours to worry about then put up with the pain. If you live in a flat or semi detached with neighbours I can't help with that :)
TheDrunkenBakers - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers: Blimey, thanks for the responses.

Lots of points raised.

OK, so he likes company but he is also crate trained and spends all night in his crate, which is now in a separate room from everyone else - well over a month now. We will take him out at 2am and put him straight back into his crate and he goes back to sleep so I guess this is a toileting thing rather than behavioural, although he doesnt like being in the crate during the day when he can hear others in the house; at these times he stays on his bed or floor in the kitchen which we are fine with. We dont like to have him in the lounge too much as he is chewing everything in sight at the moment.

In the main he is developing into a really wonderful dogs but this is getting a bit silly.
tommycoopersghost on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Labradors do tend to bit a tad chewy. A good friend of mines lab got through two front rooms, a kitchen, and a car seat in his first year.

Im sure you're also aware Labradors are four legged dustbins. They'll eat anything and everything. Goat and sheeps poo seemed favourite. Watch his weight.

With some patience and he turned into a great adult dog (apart from running off with and shredding my map in black mountains, ditto with my spare underpants on south to north dartmoor crossing at first camp, and always jumping out of Canadian canoes causing capsizes, oh how we laughed).

Stick with it, keep him stimulated physically and mentally, and you'll have a grand adult dog.

Oh and id recommended having him 'fixed' if you don't want pups.
Milesy - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Day time in crate is important anyway. Even now when the baby is crying or our dog is cheesed off or whatever she sneaks off away into her crate for peace.
Wee Davie - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Our Pointer was a nightmare overnight for the first 3 months at least. If I could have done one thing differently I would NOT have gone to him overnight on the first few nights we had him!
He obviously felt lonely but soon learned that barking and howling had the desired effect of getting attention. He had us well trained to come to him 3- 4 times a night. I know how you feel!
He's now 10 months and will normally sleep all night. Occasionally he'll try his luck at 3am but it's purely attention seeking and after being given a stern 'quiet' he'll go back to sleep.
As far as I remember it ours was watertight overnight from 10pm to 8am at 6 months.
Getting out twice in one night sounds more like attention seeking to me at 5 months. Might be worth trying some tough love...
Wee Davie - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

PS Ours is crate trained and happy in his during the day. Doesn't seem to have separation anxiety (doesn't bark etc). He gets his meals in his crate and whenever he gets asked to go in there he gets a treat (biscuit or whatever). We don't use the crate as a naughty step.
Baron Weasel - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers: If it is any consolation my dog is a Kelpie x Collie (i.e. wired squared) and yours cannot be as bad - trust me! She is nearly 5 now and still wired, but a great dog that will sit at the bottom of a crag guarding my bag while I'm off doing a 3-4 pitch route in the Lakes for a couple of hours or more...

Also, a book called The Dog Listener was the best one we found.

BW
Tall Clare - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Wee Davie:

Our pointer's now ten weeks and seems to be sleeping through - that said, I'm such a heavy sleeper that I'm oblivious if she does wake up, and Mr TC has to sort her out. Her last wee outside is at about 11pm then we get up for her at about 6.30am. She's already had one 'dry' night - we're hopefully heading in the right direction. Bit early to tell, mind.

She's currently having a rather shouty argument with the dining room table. I say argument, I mean 'monologue', as the table isn't saying much.
toad - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to moraldecay: It isn't a foregone conclusion that labs will eat anything. My dog won't look at food off the table or the floor unless it is officially presented to him - ideally with receipts. It's just a case of early training (which in his case somebody else had done, so no credit to me). Mine has been sharing the kitchen with a large Spanish jamon, but I just need to remember when my inlaws dogs come over to move it!


Oh and id recommended having him 'fixed' if you don't want pups.


Getting him fixed can help with all sorts of potential health reasons, but I shouldn't worry too much about him having pups ;)
toad - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Baron Weasel:
John Bradshaw "in defence of dogs" isn't a dog training book per se, but it does help you to understand what's going on in his head, and where your dog is coming from, so to speak
Tall Clare - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to toad:

I was trying to remember the name of this book the other day - I can now order it! Thanks :-)
scotlass - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers: My pup yelped to get out her crate when she needed to go. We would tell her to quiet and let her out once she was waiting calmly and quietly and now she never makes a sound just sits there waiting calmly.

Doesn't work over night but there not long in figuring it out, Worth a try. Good luck
paul walters - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to toad: I can recommend this book too. My mutt came in a roundabout way from the Dog's Trust, and they helped a lot with advice on early behavioural issues.
Steve John B - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
>
> She's currently having a rather shouty argument with the dining room table. I say argument, I mean 'monologue', as the table isn't saying much.

Human ears cannot hear tables, they're too high-pitched for us. If it continues I suggest putting the table in a crate.
toad - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Steve John B:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
> [...]
>
> Human ears cannot hear tables, they're too high-pitched for us. If it continues I suggest putting the table in a crate.

Ostentatiously cleaning a circular saw in front of it soon helps disobedient furniture get the message
Wee Davie - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Our Pointer Brodie is great. He's a brilliant dog, very trainable but quite headstrong. Great fun though. Enjoy yours!
Tall Clare - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Wee Davie:

We've already got 'sit' and 'fetch' nearly down pat :-) Mind you, Lotta is a dog who knows her own mind, it's fair to say.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers: Might try a bit of tough love then and perhaps some more time in the crate, even when we are in. He likes it at night because he gets his half denti-stick so needs no persuading.

The eating thing is immense and those who warned me that labs were canine dustbins were absolutely correct.

He has been great with the kitchen furniture apart from a few nibbles (we've decided not to invest in new stuff until he's a bit older) but will steal anything and everything when we arent around and will steal food from the tables when we are eating it. He sneaks and is like lightening so we have to be vigilant. We are working on this.

Little bastard nicked my Blackberry a couple of days ago. He managed to destroy the plastic battery cover completely but left the rest of the phone completely intact?!? He also goes mad for rabbit turds, carrots and brocolli. We weight out his food and dont want a waddling fat lab as he's a sleek, slender beast right now and growing fast.
Tall Clare - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

We've started Lotta on 'hanging out in her crate' for a couple of hours a day, so it feels more like her bedroom/personal space than somewhere she doesn't want to be. We're also crating her at mealtimes, particularly when Mr TC's kids are here, because a) her crate is in the dining room, and b) she's quite nibbly at the moment and Mr TC's son gets a bit shrieky about it.

We did leave her in there a little too long the other day and returned to a very shouty dog and what I can only describe as 'poomageddon'. We'd been sledging with the kids, one of whom had grumbled at having to carry her own sledge back, but when they saw us having to bath puppy and wash all her bedding, they realised that having to carry sledges was a better deal than that!
Baron Weasel - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers: All pupies are dustbins, mum and dad have got a 1/4 lab 3/4 collie about the same age as yours and it is a dustbin too - just like kids when they are growing!

They have the problem with Holly that she is terrified of people which happened quite suddenly - mum thinks it is to do with a wormer they gave her as it started at this time and when she google it found other people had made the same observation??? She reckons the MMR vacine messed me up 25+ years ago though too and we are absolutely fine!

BW
BedRock - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
Are you taking the puppy out to toilet at 10pm just before he goes to bed? Ideally if he wees and poos then he should be ok for the night, and the barking is then just likely to be attention rather than toilet request.
We have 4 month old collie pup who we feed at 6pm and take out twice before going to bed (usually 1030pm ish). He then holds it until 7am now, but initially we got up at 6am and made it longer every few days.
Wee Davie - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Just read your comment about eating things.
Our Pointer isn't bad with the furniture etc but in December swallowed my wife's M & S thong. Cut a long story short- 5 days later he had to be opened up and could have died. We were vigilant before he ate the pants but now we're paranoid. Luckily we're insured....
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers: We originally had the crate in the utility room, but soon realised that he didn't like being put out there so we moved it into the living area. That way, when he's in it he is still amongst you. This worked very well for us. Obviosuly every house is different and this might not work for you.

Blackberry, teeth marks all down one side, bank cards all replaced, multiple childrens toys destroyed and many a nappy bag ripped open and contents licked clean. Funny animals really ;-)
Tall Clare - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Game of Conkers:

Lotta ate 'Talk to the Tail' a book about the joy of cats, yesterday. I really hope it isn't a sign.

One of today's tasks is to move 400 books out of her way...

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