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Incessant Barking


Guest Katka21
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Guest Katka21

My 2 y/o boy has been a bit "insomniac" lately. Basically the moment we turn the lights off he starts whining and barking like crazy. The only thing that helps is letting him on our bed but only for a few hours, he'll usually wake up in the middle of the night and start all over again. I have to get up, take him to his bed and sit with him there until he falls asleep. Then he'll wake up at 6 am and will only stop barking if he gets food/ walk. Then he'll bark if I try to go back to sleep - only if I sit with him in the living room he'll go to his bed and sleep like a baby. I've even tried giving him a "midnight snack" for chewing but he'll bark when he finishes. I know that by taking him out or feeding him I'm basically rewarding bad behaviour but we have neighbours and I don't want them to complain. I'm very tired and not sure what to do - he used to be able to sleep throughout the night without any problem.. We've actually been doing much longer walks now that winter is over and weather is getting a lot nicer, so I don't think that lack of exercise is the issue. Any suggestions about what could be bothering him and how to deal with it? Thank you.

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Basically the moment we turn the lights off he starts whining and barking like crazy.

 

Try leaving a night light on for him. I keep a holiday candle plugged in and it's just enough.

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Guest OPointyDog

We had this problem and tried all kinds of things to make it stop. He would bark all night long and it drove us crazy. A professional trainer evaluated our guy, and determined it was attention seeking behavior and not separation anxiety (we also had him checked out by our vet). What finally worked was a no bark collar (Gentle Spray) that sprays him with compressed air under his chin when he starts barking. He hates it, but it only took two sprays and he stopped barking! You can also fill it with citronella. Does not hurt the dog, but startles them into not barking.

 

The other thing that helped was to keep him awake and busy for several hours before bedtime. Exercise is good!

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If you're sure all his basic needs have been met (not hungry, has a comfortable place to sleep, has been out and both pooped and peed), then this sounds like learned attention-seeking behavior. By responding to him when he barks - sitting with him, giving him food, taking him for a walk - you've essentially taught him that this is how he gets attention when he wants it. Since you mention that he used to sleep through the night, do you remember how and when this behavior initially started?

 

Honestly, the best thing to do is to ignore the behavior, although it may mean a few sleepless nights, unless earplugs work. How close are your neighbors? Can you be proactive, and go talk to them about this? If you let them know that you're working on it, they may be more tolerant of a week or two of barking. I'm not a fan of the no bark collars, but the ones that use compressed air or citronella are definitely better than ones that utilize electric shock.

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