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Sa Or Insomnia?

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Pretty much since early November, Magic has been not sleeping through the night. I usually go to bed around 11 and my housemate around 12. Magic gets a large Milkbone around 11 and then goes out at least once. He's downstairs alone and he starts barking and won't stop despite my calling to him to lie down. I've gone down to make sure he doesn't need to go out again. Usually, he does not. He sleeps downstairs for a couple of reasons: arthritis and a nerve issue (degenerative myeloneuropathy), my bedroom has very little space for him, and the cat's litter box and dry food are upstairs. Also, if he would go upstairs, coming down could be a problem because the landing is very small; and, if he came down too fast, he would crash into a wall which covers the stone exterior of the house and the wall is not that thick.


The vet suggested Melatonin nightly which I've given him the last couple of nights and it has worked a little. I don't want to give it to him every night since he doesn't act up every night. If he starts, I'll give it to him.


My question is could this be simple insomnia or SA or maybe something else? The barks are his normal bark when he wants something so it's not pain.


Any thoughts?

Carol, missing Magic (1/5/01 - 4/15/15) but welcoming Fuzzy's Joy Behar (Joy) into my life on 5/31/15.

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Sounds like he's just stressed because he wants to be with you. My dogs are the same way. If they know I'm somewhere in the house and they can't get to me, they freak out. I understand your situation, though, re: him not doing stairs well and the issue with the cat food.


The best thing you can do (and it's easier said than done) is to ignore him. If you're continually calling out to him and he hears your voice, then he had learned that his actions are getting attention. In this case, the negative attention (i.e. being yelled at) is reinforcing the behavior. If you 100% ignore and are consistent about it, he'll learn that this is his routine, and that's it. No point in trying to change it. I don't even think you need the Melatonin. A kong or some type of treat/chew that will keep him busy/distracted before bed would probably be just as effective.

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He tried something, and it worked.


He barked, and you came down and he got attention. Pretty much 100% sure this would not happen if he slept with you.


I understand your reasons for him being downstairs, so to put an end to it, you're going to have to ignore it. Which won't be easy!


Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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He wants to be with you.

Greyhound angels at the bridge- Casey, Charlie, Maggie, Molly, Renie, Lucy & Teddy. Beagle angels Peanut and Charlie. And to all the 4 legged Bridge souls who have touched my heart, thank you. When a greyhound looks into you eyes it seems they touch your very soul.

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more then he loves himself". Josh Billings


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Carol, as you probably remember, Brady gets up in the middle of the night, too. (Actually, it is now between 4:00 - 5:00. Before, it was between 1:30 - 5:00.) I have done a few things to help with this. I increased his evening meds in case he was getting stiff or having some pain issues. He was downstairs and it is cooler down there at night and the chill bothered his back. I also have night lights and soft music playing, so he doesn't feel totally isolated. All of these measures helped to keep him quiet longer.


When he is awake and wants me up, he starts off quietly, just puffing and snorting. No response gets him louder and louder until he barks. I will shush him and when he is quiet, then I get up.. He is learning to make his racket for me to wake up and then waits for me to get up and escort him downstairs so he can go out.


I did find, however, that with the increased medication, he felt better and he is once again coming upstairs with me at night. However, he still gets up around 4:00 - 5:00 because he needs to go out. He does come right back in and goes back to sleep on his bed downstairs until we get up for the day.


Regarding the stairs, mine are carpeted. However, he will only go up them if I am behind him. Sometimes, he needs a little boost or butt support to be able to get up enough steam to make it all the way up. As for going down, he knows that he is not allowed to go down the stairs unless I am 3-4 steps below him (facing him, with my back to the bottom of the stairs and my hand on the railing) and am a buffer in case he slips. When we reach the bottom, I stand with my back against the wall (the space between the bottom of the stairs and the wall is about 3.5 feet - hallway width) and he will jump of the bottom two stairs and his head bonk into me instead of the wall.


So, I would try the lights, the music and making sure he is warm enough before taking additional measures.


My situation isn't ideal, but it is what seems to work best for us. I am not a fan of having my sleep interrupted, but it beats not having him around to interrupt it.


Good luck and keep us posted!




Cindy with Miss Fancypants, Paris Bueller, Zeke, and Angus 
Dante (Dg's Boyd), Zoe (In a While), Brady (Devilish Effect), Goose (BG Shotgun), Maverick (BG ShoMe), Maggie (All Trades Jax), Sherman (LNB Herman Bad) and Indy (BYB whippet) forever in my heart
The flame that burns the brightest, burns the fastest and leaves the biggest shadow

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Thanks for the suggestions.


When he started barking at around 8, I got up but didn't go downstairs right away. He actually stopped. I don't know if he heard me and decided to be patient. Obviously ignoring him helped a bit.


Magic does wear a coat during the night but I got a blanket from his SS so I'll put it on him before bed. The house is not exactly warm during the winter but on cold nights (less than 40 degrees), my housemate does the wood stove.


The other night I gave him a rimadyl before bed and he slept. Maybe he does ache a bit.

Carol, missing Magic (1/5/01 - 4/15/15) but welcoming Fuzzy's Joy Behar (Joy) into my life on 5/31/15.

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