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Guest OPointyDog

Barking At Bedtime And Beyond

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Guest OPointyDog

Some background:

 

We've had Mika now for about 6 months, and have had very few problems with him. He was a double-bounce and had been in three foster homes and two homes before we got him. He's smart and his last foster mom was pretty good about laying out the rules. Mostly he's a good boy, but he's got a couple issues.

 

When he is unsupervised, he has to be crated. Really this is for his own protection, since he is SUPER destructive. Most of the time he is fine, but occasionally he finds things and chews them up and very often ingests them. We tell people his middle name is "dietary indiscretion." He's like a lab in a greyhound suit. I don't think this is anxiety related, since he's done it before with us sitting in the same room. It's amazing how quickly he can rip open a toy and eat the stuffing, squeaker, and sometimes the toy itself. We have very limited toy options for him now, sadly. He also rips up pillows, cushions, blankets, dog beds, dog pads, rugs... You get the idea. I think he enjoys it!

 

His crate is downstairs, alongside our other grey's crate. We can't have him upstairs with us because he is not trustworthy with our cats, and quite frankly, they need a refuge from him. He's always been happy in his crate, and sometimes goes in there on his own. He doesn't fuss or cry when we leave, and until now, he's almost always been fine in there at night.

 

The new problem:

 

Occasionally in the past he has whined in his crate when we've gone to bed. It's happened maybe 4 or 5 times in the 6 months we've had him. One time he had diarrhea, and another time was a bad reaction to tramadaol. I usually wait until he's quiet, and then take him outside on a short lead to make sure he doesn't need to pee or poop. No petting, no cookies, just a quick outside, since I don't want to reward him. Sometimes he continues to whine, and we ignore him and it stops.

 

This happened on Wednesday - he cried for awhile, I took him out, he cried for awhile, and then cried and howled for awhile (maybe 15 minutes), and then finally stopped. No problems on Thursday or Friday. Not a peep.

 

Last night (Saturday), the same thing happened again. We went to bed late (as we often do) around 1AM and the whining started at 1:15. I took him out again, and he did nothing outside. I put him in his crate, and the whining escalated to howling. I took him out again, and this time he peed. Back in the crate, then more whining. Then howling. Then full-on barking. We figured he would tire himself out eventually, but he barked almost non-stop for 45 minutes. I came down to check on him, and he was standing in his crate, wide-eyed and panting. We tried turning the light on for him. More barking. Finally, around 3:15, I gave up and came downstairs to sleep on the couch. He could see me from his crate. He stopped barking but would break into whining, so I finally just let him out. He flopped down on a dog bed and went to sleep within 90 seconds.

 

I know I shouldn't reward his barking/crying/whining with attention or by letting him out, but two hours of barking was really more than we could handle. Today I am exhausted and not sure what to do if it happens again. We need sleep! And I'm concerned the neighbors will complain, eventually...

 

I've thought about muzzling him and leaving him out of the crate, but quite frankly, he's pretty destructive with the muzzle. He rubs on things violently. There's a spot on the outside of our house where he's rubbed the paint off trying to get his muzzle off. Inside, he knocks things off shelves, scratches and dents walls and scrapes furniture trying to get it off.

 

Suggestions? Thoughts? Help?

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Sounds like crate inside your bedroom might be part of this answer. He quieted down when he was able to see you. He might be the type of dog that can't stand to be in one and wants nothing to do with one. I understand why he's in there. Eventually graduating to a bed in your room (and elsewhere). I'm not sure where your other grey sleeps, but if he's alone in the crate without someone next to him, that might not be helping.

 

We crated Kasey for a year before I'd be able to trust him. Eventually he graduated to sleeping beside us on a bed. Until I fully trusted him, we kept our bedroom door closed, so he wouldn't be able to wander unsupervised in the middle of the night. If he'd do anything, he'd get into trouble in our room and no where else.

 

You did take him on knowing he was a double bounce, and now you have to work on correcting things for his fur-ever home.

 

I'm sure you'll have more responses, but from the quick read, these are my thoughts.


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Guest OPointyDog

Thanks for the response. Unfortunately we can't put the crate in the bedroom, since the bedrooms are upstairs in the dog-free zone for our cats.

 

And I don't think he's "the type of dog who can't stand to be in one" since he's been there quite happily for six months. His crate is right next to our other grey's crate where she sleeps, so he is not by himself. Both foster homes crated him on a different level from where they slept, without problems.

 

He was bounced for other reasons, completely unrelated to this. And neither were his fault, actually. I don't mind working on issues, but I'm at a loss for what to do about this.

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Guest Addie

Could you put a radio on for him? Maybe near him so it seems like someone is there? turn it to some talk radio that'll put him right out :nappy

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Guest Giselle

Make sure he is totally completely healthy and that he is not whining for pottying. Take him out for a pee/poop around 10 or 11PM.

 

Then, crate him.

 

Then, go to bed. AND DO NOT GET UP. Buy yourself some ear plugs. It will be rough for the first 3 days, but it gets better rapidly.

 

To me, it sounds like he enjoys being with people and that he prefers to sleep in human company. It would be preferable if he could sleep near you as that will undoubtedly ease his anxiety about being alone. Virtually all dogs prefer to sleep near people rather than alone. However, it also sounds like he has been rewarded for whining at night in the past. He's escalating the whining to howling and barking because you've trained him to be persistent (in his mind, he thinks: Hey, last time, I only had to whine til 2 hours! Maybe I should try 3 or 4 hours!). So, you just have to be more persistent than him and wait out the whining, as long as you KNOW he is healthy and does not need to go out for potty reasons. In psych jargon, the escalation of behaviors before dying down is called an extinction burst. Good luck!

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Guest OPointyDog

Thanks, Giselle, you're right, I think that would work, except that it doesn't happen very often. Last night, we braced ourselves to let him bark, and nothing. Not a peep out of him. Went into the crate, laid down and went to sleep. Which I'm grateful for, but it means it may be a few days or weeks or longer before it happens again. And then I'm never sure if there's some real problem or not.... He's like the dog who cries 'wolf'! So far it hasn't happened more than one night in a row.

 

One thing we are going to try is to make sure he gets enough exercise. It's tough when the weather gets hot, though. Maybe we'll try trips PetCo or Lowes, which are air conditioned excursions, on days when he has to be crated more. If he's really tired, maybe he's less likely to bark.

 

I wish we knew why it happens sometimes and not others so we could stop it.

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Unfortunately we can't put the crate in the bedroom, since the bedrooms are upstairs in the dog-free zone for our cats.

 

 

Sorry you are having these troubles. I don't want to undermine what Giselle has said above as I agree with it, but there are Greys that simply cannot exist unless they can be with their people at night. My boy would rather die trying to get to me than to be separated (if I am in the house), . Proceed with caution. If he starts to destroy himself in the crate than you are out of options for this problem. I suspect the change in his behaviour may have a lot to do with how he feels about you, obviously a stronger bond has developed.

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Guest iconsmum

I agree re the bond being the issue. Mine sleeps on the floor, in a big dog bed, beside me. Hes not allowed to leave, thats the rule and he's happy with that. The distance between the bed and the wall is 4 feet x 6 feet and I blocked the fourth, short end with a small chair...not a peep, ever...

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

I have a suggestion that is not related to the crate, work on desensitizing him with the cats. I have made a lot of posts about this. It takes a few months, as long as he is cat-workable, you will be able to trust him at night in the so-called cat zone. Then everyone can co-habitate happy.

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I would try some alone training at bedtime. Develop a routine. Put him to bed at the same time every night, regardless of when you go to bed. Take him out to potty right before bed and give him a frozen kong full of peanut butter when you put him in the crate. He'll always know what to expect and will have something to look forward to. Then do not go back downstairs, regardless of how much he cries. It's better to curb these behaviors before they escalate IMO. If you go a long time without any incidents, you can start weaning him off the bedtime treats.

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Guest OPointyDog

Thanks for the suggestions. We've been working on desensitizing him with the cats for six months following many of the suggestions on this board and from our adoption group. He completely ignores them 95% of the time, but the other 5% he barks and chases them or races up to them when he sees them, and they run and he chases. I'm not sure he will ever be completely trustworthy with them. He's very reactionary for a greyhound - every noise, movement, etc - he's leaps up to check it out. We keep hoping he'll settle down. He hasn't yet.

 

Alone training is a great idea - except that he doesn't bark or cry very often. It happens occasionally, and never two nights in a row. So we sometimes go weeks and weeks without an incident, and then it suddenly will happen again. It happened a week ago, it happened Saturday, and nothing since. And we'd had no problems for a month or more before that.

 

I do appreciate the suggestions! One thing we've been working on is making sure to get him plenty of exercise and keep his mind active in the evenings so that he's tired....

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Guest Lochshumans

He sounds a lot like our boy, maybe a little more destructive though. Within the first couple months we started having problems with him in the crate at night. He would do the same and then as soon as we caved and brought him out of the crate and in our room, he was fine. He is just not the kind of Grey that ever liked his crate. He was ok while we were gone, but only for another couple months before he was having accidents in his crate. Be careful of his behvior in the crate as we had to stop crating all together when I came home from work one day and noticed Loch had been trying to pry the crate open (this was no cheap crate either) and we started getting scared he would really hurt himself in there (ehe had a little scar on his nose where we think he was prying with). I just don't want your boy to hurt himself in the crate. Loch has some behavioral issues regarding crewing anything hard plastic, so we actually keep his muzle on him during the day while we're at work and he has been great since! No more crate and no more chewing! If you can begin to trust him with the muzzle on, it might be something to start in short increments. Seems like some Grey's just aren't made for crates.

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Guest blueberri

Our boy was baby-gated down one end of the house so we could maintain a cat-zone at the other end. He did well with this. Eventually as the cats chilled and got used to him we had on-leash excursions to the other end of the house, and when his excitement settled and he was calm each time, he "earned" rights to be in the bedroom. What a difference it made! So much calmer, stronger bond, more affectionate etc etc. We hadn't realised how lonely he had been.

 

I wonder about the possibility of leash-walk upstairs purely for bed, in crate, in the bedroom. Maintains cat safety, their mastery over the domain, but he is near his people and reassured by this.

 

My only other suggestion would be, depending on how many neighbours are in barking range, making a small kit for each with some earplugs, chocolates and a wee note saying you're working on training, there may be a few nights of barking and apologies in advance, but the barking will end soon. Anticipatory communication goes a long way, as does recognition of their potential upset. It can go a long way to appeasing and maintaining positive neighbourly relations.

 

All the best to you and your beautiful pup!

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If it is happening so spasmodically, I would think there is something outside disturbing him on those occasions like neighbours coming home late or some animals sound he can hear. If that is the case he may learn to ignore it but there isn't much you can do if he can't sleep next to your bed.


Sue from England

 

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Guest OPointyDog

Thanks everyone for your thoughts - much appreciated. We had about 5 minutes of whining a few nights ago, but nothing serious. I did chat with the neighbors and they haven't heard him, so that's a relief.

 

It's funny, because I mentioned it to one of our other neighbors, who is a mental health specialist, and she immediately said, "Supermoon!" I laughed, and she said, "No, I'm serious!" Apparently it's a well known psychological phenomenon that there are more reports of mental health issues around the full moon. Not sure I buy that, but who knows. The huge barking incident was the same night as the supermoon, though!

 

If it is happening so spasmodically, I would think there is something outside disturbing him on those occasions like neighbours coming home late or some animals sound he can hear. If that is the case he may learn to ignore it but there isn't much you can do if he can't sleep next to your bed.

 

I wouldn't have thought so, but our OTHER neighbor said that she saw 4 deer in the front yard early that same morning. So maybe!

 

I did contact my group, and they're sending me a CD of dog calming music for us to play.

 

The other reason I'm hesitant to bring him upstairs is the stairs themselves - the back stairs are carpeted but EXTREMELY steep. The front stairs are original hardwood - we live in a historic home, so no option to carpet them. Mika might be able to manage, but our other hound could not - she had a broken hock and can barely get up and down the wide, easy 3 steps to our deck (and that's after 16 months of practice.)

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If you can't trust him with the cats, if he's in a crate in the bedroom, they're still safe! Or use a babygate across the bedroom door that the cats can get UNDER.

 

If he's crated while you're not home AND at night, well, I'd whine too.


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Susan,  Marcai's Mister Bigglesworth (AKA Da Evil Won), and Sleekat's Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming and George (Driven by Chile) and Buck (Vogo Player)

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Guest OPointyDog

More barking last night, but only briefly. I took him out again for P&P to make sure he was empty, and he did both. Then went into his crate and not another peep out of him. I did play him some music when we came back in, so maybe that helped (Loreena McKennitt). I'm beginning to think there's just no pattern and it's all random!

 

If he's crated while you're not home AND at night, well, I'd whine too.

 

Currently he's not crated during the day, as my partner is working from home this summer. He gets lots of attention and walked three times a day. Like I said, my preference would be not to crate him, but he is CRAZY destructive and really a blocked bowel surgery just waiting to happen since he chews up and eats everything. We do it for his own protection. Short of putting him in a rubber room, there's not much we can do.

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