Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I’ve had my 3yr old rescue almost a year now. He’s the light of my life, loves dogs and loves people. His only major issue is sleep startle. After about a month of adopting him I started letting him on the bed at night. Which worked well until it didn’t. One night I went to roll over half awake and he bolted up with what I would describe as a snarl/scream. In the moment it sounded like murderous rage but I realized later it was a scream of terror. Like “I must fight this threat I’m terrified but If I don’t I will die” sort of noise. He didn’t bite I don’t think it all happened super quick but he did lunge and hit my head. It was a really scary experience and I had no idea what had happened or why. I had considered even giving him back to the rescue at that point I was so distraught. Thankfully our in home trainer assured me my dog wasn’t possessed he was startled and just reacting out of fear. 
 

he is generally very wary of the dark. If a neighbor pops out onto their porch late at night he’ll run and bark at them. The same neighbor he begs for affection from during the day. 
 

currently he sleeps in a crate but no matter what I’ve done he really hates the crate. I’ve resorted to bribing him and even that doesn’t work sometimes. I’m not sure what a good sleeping arrangement for him would be. I’m not sure I could trust him not to get on the bed at night. Or what would happen if I needed to use the bathroom at night. I’m not sure if roaming free in the main room would work or if he would whine at my door. 
 

I was originally planning to bring him camping a lot but didn’t really plan for sleep startle. I’m curious I guess if there’s a cure or just something I have to work around for the rest of his life.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

From what others have said sleep startle tends to be something you have to learn to live with.

Put his crate in your main room but leave the door open so he can come and go as he wants. Put a child gate across your bedroom door so he can sleep in the main room but still hear and see you but can't jump onto your bed. When you go to the bathroom say something to him if you need to go near where he's sleeping.

Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Buddy has sleep startle which scared the crap out of us about four weeks after we got him, and like you, we considered returning him until we understood better (and basically changed our behaviour to accommodate him). It seems to have settled somewhat with him having been with us for two years, but we still approach him with caution when he’s sleeping (it seems to be worse when he’s exhausted).
 

Buddy doesn’t sleep in our room, he sleeps downstairs so we don’t have an issue with disturbing him during the night. I don’t think I’d let him sleep on my bed knowing that he might react. Can you set him up outside your bedroom with the door open? Lots of people use baby gates so the hound can see and hear you but can’t get to you. Is this an option at home? You can still take him camping, you might just have to have him sleep in a different compartment of the tent. 

Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's terrifying when it happens. We (grey rookies) did disturb him a couple of times in the early days accidentally (leant over him, tried to move him as was falling off the bed..etc) and nearly lost our noses or fingers as a result. We learnt quickly :-) 

Our grey sleeps in our room on a separate sofa. He's allowed on the bed during the day but come "bed time" is not allowed to sleep with us. I was worried I would send mixed signals and he wouldn't be able to get the difference but he actually did pick it up quickly. 

He does, when he has woken up and is doing his adorable "I'm hungry feeeeeed me" staring, nudging and grovelling, get on the bed in the morning. But only when we've called him up. 

I also would love to take mine camping and think it probably is a case of having separate compartments as MerseyGrey has suggested. Let us know how you get on!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sheba has had sleep startle for all of the 12 years I've had her. Fortunately she doesn't like to sleep with me on the bed and sleeps on her own bed at the foot of my bed. When I sometimes get up at night to go to the bathroom, she snarls and grouses because I disturbed her. Everyone has learned to leave her alone when she's on her various beds throughout the house, sleeping or not, as she reacts negatively.

I suggest you not allow him to sleep in the bed with you. You probably will get bitten at some point. You can train him to sleep on his own bed near you, just not on your bed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know how scary sleep startle can be, and I commend you for seeking the trainer's advice and understanding what happened! Some dogs apparently do grow out of it somewhat, but Sweep never has (we've had her almost 8 years now). She has never tried to get on furniture, so thankfully that has never been an issue. She slept for many years on her own bed in our bedroom, and fortunately we had enough room that even when we got up in the night she was not disturbed. These days she sleeps downstairs on her bed, and we keep the nosy cat in the guest room because he can't resist sniffing her. :rolleyes: The combination of a baby gate or x-pen and putting his bed somewhere he can still see you is a good idea if your bedroom doesn't have enough space for you to safely move around him. (An x-pen or two could also come in handy for camping.) He might feel more secure with a nightlight too if the dark is a trigger for him. Definitely he shouldn't have furniture privileges, and any visitors should know not to touch him when he's lying down. You'll be fine; it's just a quirk you have to work around, and they make up for it by being extra sweet when they're awake!

17369590311_3d5eeef92f.jpg

Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, MerseyGrey said:

Buddy has sleep startle which scared the crap out of us about four weeks after we got him, and like you, we considered returning him until we understood better (and basically changed our behaviour to accommodate him). It seems to have settled somewhat with him having been with us for two years, but we still approach him with caution when he’s sleeping (it seems to be worse when he’s exhausted).
 

Buddy doesn’t sleep in our room, he sleeps downstairs so we don’t have an issue with disturbing him during the night. I don’t think I’d let him sleep on my bed knowing that he might react. Can you set him up outside your bedroom with the door open? Lots of people use baby gates so the hound can see and hear you but can’t get to you. Is this an option at home? You can still take him camping, you might just have to have him sleep in a different compartment of the tent. 

Yea I may try that. He wasn’t well potty trained (or really at all) when I got him so I’m a little worried about that overnight. My other concern is I may never get him used to a crate but he may have to be in a crate sometimes in his life (boarding, vets office). So I’m not sure if nixing the crate would make having to do it later harder. 
 

I could try the baby gate. He’s a real Velcro dog so I’m not sure how long he’ll last before he’s pitifully whining at me outside the gate asking to be let in. (He hardly lets me go to the bathroom alone without whining!)

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, ShebasMom said:

Sheba has had sleep startle for all of the 12 years I've had her. Fortunately she doesn't like to sleep with me on the bed and sleeps on her own bed at the foot of my bed. When I sometimes get up at night to go to the bathroom, she snarls and grouses because I disturbed her. Everyone has learned to leave her alone when she's on her various beds throughout the house, sleeping or not, as she reacts negatively.

I suggest you not allow him to sleep in the bed with you. You probably will get bitten at some point. You can train him to sleep on his own bed near you, just not on your bed.

Yea after the first incident he’s no longer even allowed in my bedroom. And thankfully prefers sleeping on his dog bed at least in the main room. He could sleep in a dog bed on the floor of my bedroom if I could trust him to not climb into bed at some point during the night. Not sure how I could accomplish this and trust him 100%. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Feefee147 said:

It's terrifying when it happens. We (grey rookies) did disturb him a couple of times in the early days accidentally (leant over him, tried to move him as was falling off the bed..etc) and nearly lost our noses or fingers as a result. We learnt quickly :-) 

Our grey sleeps in our room on a separate sofa. He's allowed on the bed during the day but come "bed time" is not allowed to sleep with us. I was worried I would send mixed signals and he wouldn't be able to get the difference but he actually did pick it up quickly. 

He does, when he has woken up and is doing his adorable "I'm hungry feeeeeed me" staring, nudging and grovelling, get on the bed in the morning. But only when we've called him up. 

I also would love to take mine camping and think it probably is a case of having separate compartments as MerseyGrey has suggested. Let us know how you get on!

How did you end up teaching your dog to not jump on the bed when you’re sleeping in it? I haven’t tried doing commands related to furniture as he just currently is not allowed in the bedroom and uses his dog bed during the day.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Does he have another dog bed in the bedroom?  We have multiple beds placed all over the house.

Can you put a small X-Pen around his bedroom bed to keep him from jumping on your bed?

NSK-Winter.jpg.a6ea578c2e544932c5222b81cda3216d.jpg

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeter has sleep aggression.  It's more than sleep startle -- he sounds/looks like Cujo when awakened.  The dogs are allowed on the sofas and the spare room bed but never on my bed.  This was easy to teach ("No!  Get down!  Good dog!")  and they sleep on the sofas, spare bed, or one of the seemingly hundreds of dog beds around the house, including on the floor in my bedroom.  I allow Jeter next to me on a sofa when he's awake -- he adores getting his tummy rubbed -- but tell him to get down before he starts sleeping.  I am sometimes awakened by Jeter snarling at Milo during the night.  
 

siggy_z1ybzn.jpg

Ellen, Milo, and Jeter

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

our angel Larry had pretty bad space/sleep startle.  When we got him, our Nube (then 9) had always slept on our bed with us but Larry slept on his bed near my husband's side of the bed.  He never tried to get into the bed with us and we never encouraged it.  After Nube passed as we got Zeke, we got an 8' x-pen to encircle ZEKE's bed to keep him safe from Larry.  Fortunately we have a large bedroom so there was plenty of room to do this.  I would suggest and X-pen instead of the crate (if your room size allows it) as it's very roomy compared to a crate.

good luck with your boy!  I truly feel for you (and having been bitten numerous times by Larry, never hard enough to break the skin, thankfully).

Kim and Bruce - missing my sweet greyhound Angels Rainey (LG's Rainey 10/4/2000 - 3/8/2011), Anubis (RJ's Saint Nick 12/25/2001 - 9/12/12) and Zeke (Hey Who Whiz It 4/6/2009 - 7/20/2020) and Larry (PTL Laroach 2/24/2007 - 8/2/2020) -- and Chester (8/31/1990 - 5/3/2005), Captain (10/12/1992 - 6/13/2005) and Remy (?/?/1998 - 1/6/2005) at the bridge
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -- Ernest Hemmingway

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/14/2020 at 8:23 PM, Boogerbear said:

How did you end up teaching your dog to not jump on the bed when you’re sleeping in it? I haven’t tried doing commands related to furniture as he just currently is not allowed in the bedroom and uses his dog bed during the day.

We just told him “off - bed time” and jiggled the duvet (he doesn’t like the ‘ground’ moving so jumps off), and when he obliged praised him.

He seems to understand that bedtime = his own bed. He also gets off when told to at any point during the day (eg changing the bedding etc so that helps 😁)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...