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Night Pacing

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Hi All!

As they say, long time follower of the forum, first time poster! :-)

I’m just wondering if anyone else has issues with their grey’s walking around and pacing during the night?

We have fostered a lot of greys and they all sleep in our bedroom, and have found that they all sleep the whole night through however wake up around 5am each morning, however after a few weeks start to learn to sleep in.

I now have 2 retired greys, a girl Jazz, and boy Gin, who are both 3 years old who we fostered and could not let go (usual story!) and have had them for five months. Like our previous fosters they slept well and woke early however they are now waking in the middle of the night and pacing around the room, often a few times each night, each dog. We have tried putting them in another room however they cry all night and want to be near us; we have tried seeing if they need to go outside, which they don’t and we have tried just ignoring them but they then also start crying. We have also found they want to wake us up as early as possible to play and to get their breakfast, which when you need a sleep in, does not happen! I’ll also state we don’t have crates and don’t plan to get them unless really required.

Has anyone else experienced this with their greys, and if so, how did you get them to stop?




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:welcome Congratulations on your latest happy "foster failures"! :)


Offering a bedtime snack of about 1/3 cup of kibble (held back from their regular dinner portion) often helps prevent hunger, and/or upset tummy (from excessive bile) between meals.


I realize you tried this, but if a hound gets up and paces, we escort them outside for a potty break -- even if they act like they don't want to go outside. They can usually squeeze a little urine out (which could help them sleep longer in the morning).


Increasing exercise during the day may help them sleep through the night.


Perhaps an ex-pen could be useful for your hounds (since you don't want a crate). Our most useful, safest ex-pens are metal 48" high and are used for a host of reasons: medical recovery; outdoor Greyhound events; U-shape air-lock/catch pen to place around fence gates or house doors; hotel travel; visiting family/friends' homes, etc.


All our newbie hounds and fosters have been crated, but the above tips worked if they became restless during the night while crated in the bedroom with humans. Sometimes hounds hear critters/neighbors/vehicle noises that we can't hear. Good luck, and please let us know what works for your hounds.

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I don't know if this is possible for you but when we had the same issue some time ago I stayed up late and took them for a last walk around the neighbourhood - 20 minutes, just for some pee.

After that we went to bed and everyone slept until 9 o'clock.


Paddy likes to change his beds during the night. We just leave the doors open and he starts the night in our bedroom, goes for a nap into the guestroom or where ever he likes to stay for some time and arrives back in our bedroom in the wee hours of the morning to sleep in.

Sorry for butchering the english language. I try to keep the mistakes to a minimum.


Nadine with Paddy (Zippy Mullane), Saoirse (Lizzie Be Nice), Abu (Cillowen Abu) and bridge angels Colin (Dessies Hero) and Andy (Riot Officer).

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When he was younger, Rocket would do a 4AM security check of the house, going room to room, then returning to bed. It was actually pretty funny, but he took the same route through the house every night. Now that he prefers sleep, he says "Screw security - you humans are on your own." :bgeorge


I agree with the others, a late evening snack and/or a late evening brief walk or outing might be all it takes for them to sleep through.


Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 


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If your house is cold at night due to AC use (or you live in Australia and it's winter!), they could be getting cold, and waking themselves up. You can try jammies or a blanket to see if it helps. Are there new noises that have started up at night? A white noise machine could help with that.


Otherwise, the above suggestions are also good to try. If they don't fix the issue, you can also be a bit more... proactive. Though it will mean a few sleepless nights. When they wake up, ignore them until they settle down (you can then toss them a small treat if it's not disruptive). If they start barking and whining, use a short squirt from a squirt bottle. They will probably go lay down to pout at that point ( :rolleyes: ) and you can toss a treat.


You can also train a command like "settle down" or "on your bed" (whatever your words are) so they know to go lay down on their beds. That way you have something you can tell them to do that they *should* understand.

Chris - Mom to: Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom, Lilly

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Our newest dog came with a warning from his foster mom : Expect a 5 AM wake-up call

Well we cured that in a week!

First off, a nice walk right before bed
A cookie right before bed (he was getting hungry at 5)
An alarm clock BEFORE 5 AM. It's a pain, but he learned quite quickly that alarm = momma gets up. Last Saturday he slept until 7 AM :)

Cynthia, with Charlie (Britishlionheart) & Zorro el Galgo
Captain Jack (Check my Spots), my first love

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Hi! We had a short period where out boy did this. So now he is taken out at 11pm for last pee, given a small cookie and trained to get back onto his bed. He is allowed to get up do one stretch, turn around and then back onto his bed. Now anytime he has an issue, he will put his nose on my arm to let me know. Otherwise its back to bed.

We actually found our room got TOO hot for him (he runs hot all the time) and anytime its above 70 he'll be fussy from being too warm.

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Thanks everyone for your ideas!


Yes it’s winter here but they both have pj’s, blankets, pillows and a single bed each (very spoilt!) and are warm so it’s not that. There are some possums in a tree a few doors down, which they have caught two of previously, so I do believe that they are waiting to see if a third makes the mistake of coming into the yard but not the primary reason for pacing.


I think it could be perceived hunger pains, so will try the mini meal before bed and we do have the water squirt bottle for other behaviour, so I will trial it during the night along with the treat idea for doing the right thing.

Fingers crossed!


Enjoy your weekend!


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Glad you're trying to understand the root cause of your hounds feeling unsettled at night. Hope the bedtime kibble will help.


I agree that teaching your hounds a "bed" cue will help clarify human-canine communication. Positive reward-based teaching methods are much preferred, especially for our sensitive Greyhound breed. It's so easy to watch for and catch hounds doing things right naturally. Simply verbalize a cue word during their natural action, and be ready to reward immediately with treats and happy praise. They often catch on quickly. :)


I'm not a fan of squirt bottles (punishment), especially when trying to earn dogs' trust. Punishment-based reinforcements can resurface in unexpected negative behavior later. One example: If hound is squirted due to pacing while s/he needs to eliminate, hound may learn to skip attempts to communicate his/her needs to a human, then hound may eliminate on the floor out of desperation. Also, hound may learn to shy away, and feel less safe to approach humans for affection, or collar/pj changes, etc. It's much more effective to redirect hound to a preferred behavior with reward-based reinforcements (praise, treats, toys, etc.).


Again, great that you're exploring potential causes for your hounds change in overnight behavior. Nocturnal opossums are a strong possibility too, especially after they've been self-rewarded with a fresh catch! That would certainly peak their hunting instincts.



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Good input from everyone above. Another thing you might try - wait it out. Sometimes just ignoring the behavior will make it go away. "Well - nothing to do in the middle of the night - so I'll just go back to sleep, and I won't bother to get up and wander tomorrow night,".


I had a notorious wandering foster once. I tried everything. Was she hungry? Hot? Cold? Upset? Enough exercise? Etc, etc? Tried to fix it all. There was nothing to fix.


She was just nosy and restless, and needed to fix her sleep schedule. So I went to bed with noise-cancelling headphones so I couldn't hear her walking around for a few nights ( I was TIRED at that point!). She just gave up and quit wandering during the night. Complete lack of response to her behavior made her give up and sleep better. Not saying that's your dog's situation - but if you can't figure out any "reason" - you might try it.

Edited by sobesmom
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