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Help! Puppy barking at night.

(29 Posts)
clam Sun 05-Jun-11 11:17:50

OK, so he's 9 weeks old and a poppet during the day. Ticks all the boxes re: temperament, doing well on the house-training front (all poos outside, wees hit-and-miss) and is well-socialised.
He's very attached to us and, as we've all been around since he arrived on Wednesday, has seldom been alone. This may be the problem.
He will settle for the first hour or two at night (in the kitchen) as he's exhausted, but then wakes and barks constantly - would happily do so for the whole night. The vet said to ignore him, but another vet (a friend) has suggested we go down to visit him, but keep it dull and to-the-point (toilet, make sure he's safe and comfortable, leave). We leave the radio on (maybe he doesn't like Classic FM?) and subdued lighting. I really don't want him upstairs with us for company, although I know he'd quieten like a shot, because he's as good as gold during the day when he's with us.
We're trying to leave him alone more during the day and praising him like mad when he's quiet or in his crate/bed, but it made no difference last night at all, worst night yet.
Any ideas, oh wise doggy people? DH back at work tomorrow, and kids have school exams. They need sleep.

daisydotandgertie Sun 05-Jun-11 11:27:30

He's only a baby - it's likely he'll bark at night. And he's only been living in your house 3 or 4 days. He has an awful lot to get used to - and he's not at all used to being alone.

Is he having enough sleep during the day? An over stimulated puppy is generally an unhappy one IME. My first advice would be to manage his rest carefully and make sure that he continues to be carefully socialised and not overstimulated or over tired. The more exhausted he is, IME, the worse he will sleep at night. Think of the change he's had to adapt to in the last 4 days; a new home, no litter mates, new experiences and a whole new world of expectations. Be gentle with him and he more than likely will sleep better.

There are many, many theories on what to do with a pup at night. I can't ignore ours and have always gone to them to let them out and soothe them back to sleep. If a pup has been seriously distressed, then I've put the crate into our bedroom to calm the whole situation down and then gradually moved it further and further away and into the kitchen as the puppy has got more confident/used to us.

It's also possible to ignore a crying puppy - lots of people do it. I just can't.

Honestly, you should gear yourself up for another month or so of disrupted sleep (at the very least ....). Puppies are hard, hard work - but worth every exhausted second of it.

Kingsroadie Sun 05-Jun-11 13:16:01

clam watching this with interest. Our puppy generally happy at night in crate although if he hears someone get in late he usually wakes and barks for a bit... Also my husband put him to bed the other night and he barked quite a lot at the start, almost like he wanted me to do it as every other night he hasn't made a peep!

He is also not keen on his crate in the day - I have gone out for half an hour and left him in there and he was quiet when we got back but if we put him in the crate and are still in the house (ie I go to have a shower or get my daughter dressed etc) he generally goes fairly mental and barks his head off. Perhaps he needs to get more used to being left but he isn't keen on his crate. I can see how this could be normal at first - is it? I haven't really put him in much at all during the day as a result and he is happy on the sofa asleep. But do I need to persevere and crack this now?

I feed him in the crate, throw treats in randomly, occasionally praise him when in there and treat etc. I don't let him out when barking but it's hard as if I walk away to wait for him to stop he won't! Or will take 30 mins or something ridiculous. He is quite stubborn I think... Bloody dog grin. He much prefers to sleep near me which I quite understand esp as he is only 9 weeks on Tuesday.

Any advice?

clam Sun 05-Jun-11 13:58:57

Well, he is napping a lot during the day, but equally, there have been a lot of comings and goings with visitors etc.. which may have over-stimulated him.
Today has been really quiet, and he's been on his own in the kitchen behind the gate a lot. He's currently curled up in a pile of dirty washing which is waiting to go in the machine! Clearly likes our smell! We're wandering in and out as if it's perfectly normal.
Then the pesky dawg let himself down by poo-ing indoors! First one in 4 days!

clam Sun 05-Jun-11 14:02:48

kingsroadie he's not mad keen on his crate either, but he did opt to go in there yesterday when one of the kids was getting on his nerves. Sat with his back to us!
We keep his water bowl in there and feed him in there too. Door open. But for the moment he has the run of the kitchen, thanks to the stairgate.
My vet friend said she's known post-op dogs in her surgery bark non-stop for up to 24 hours! shock I'm trying to forget that snippet of info!

Spamspamspam Sun 05-Jun-11 15:56:38

Kingsroadie, you HAVE to ignore the barking even if it is for half and hour. Choose when you are going to put him in crate, shut the door and ignore him, don't even look at him. He will settle eventually if you all just carry on around him, let him see you, talk over him but ignore him. It sounds like he has learn't already that him barking means you will come and get him out.

Kingsroadie Sun 05-Jun-11 17:46:57

Spam, I do ignore (I think I said I did in my post but just that it is hard to as sometimes it goes on for a long time). He barked very loudly and very long from the start. We do ignore him at night now as I know he can go through without a wee and the other night he was barking on and off for 2 hours - so I do ignore him, I really do - I am strict with him. I think perhaps we didn't put in enough effort building up to him being in there at the very start as I don't really use it much during the day. And the other issue is first thing in the morning he wakes and starts whining - I assumed that was due to needing the loo a lot (which certainly seems the case when I let him out), so then I do go down as I just think he wouldn't stop as he is trying to tell me he is desperate for the loo (after 8 hours)? i do wait outside the crate and say "sit" and when he does and is quiet he is allowed out. He is also obv v excited to see me which doesn't help.

Do you think I should sometimes put him in at random intervals for a few minutes even if I am in the house? (I have put him in a few times if showering etc but as he hasn't been jabbed we can't take him out anyway really (as I can't carry him and push my daughter in buggy easily, plus once at park she wants to walk etc) so have been in the house mostly and haven't had much need to crate him.

So if he goes into a barking frenzy and then pauses for a minute (as he is want to do), I assumed I could let him out then as he isn't barking? Is that not correct? How long do I have to wait for him to be quiet before it is the end of the "barking" behaviour? And what about if he has been in a little while and I suspect he needs the loo - he will whine then to e let out to go won't he? And presumably won't stop until he can go to the loo - so what happens in that situation as he can't hold his bladder for long yet? Again, just wait for a pause?

Sorry for all questions - I am consulting my crate training, The Perfect Puppy and Complete Idiots' Guide to Dog Training as well.

Kingsroadie Sun 05-Jun-11 17:47:21

And I meant to add I really appreciate you taking the time to reply - thank you very much!

Kingsroadie Sun 05-Jun-11 18:45:03

Hmm - today we have been putting him in and shutting the door for a short time sitting outside it and praising lots and treating. And I have just put him in whilst I put my daughter to bed and he went in, I gave him a nice treat and he didn't make a sounds and I have come down and he was sleeping.

I have just realised I have been keeping the crate covered on three sides during the day as it is at night. Which may well have meant he couldn't see us and got upset - maybe that's what it was?! Anyway looks as though he might be getting a bit better...

Spamspamspam Sun 05-Jun-11 19:28:16

Let's just talk about daytime first grin Sorry, I thought you said that when he cries during the day you give in and go and get him out, so in my very inexperienced opinion I would say that's the wrong thing to do. I would wait until he is really settled not just a pause in the bark, they will eventually give up and settle down, by settling down I mean curled up in the bed and just resting or looking at you. He won't need the loo, he can wait 3-4 hours before needing the loo he just wants your attention.

I have said before that I take the blankets off in the morning so pup knows when it's night and when it's day, I also move the crate for the daytime to the diner/kitchen which means she can see and hear us.

Yes put him in there and shut the door and just be around him talking. I wouldn't sit outside the crate praising and treating I would just ignore him. We did this from day one - nobody ever gave the puppy any attention when she was in crate with the door shut. She has very quickly learn't that door shut is downtime and chill out time and she is left alone, it has worked wonders if I leave her with the roam of the kitchen/diner and her crate with the door open she whines at the kitchen door even if we are in the house, the minute I close the door she settles down to sleep.

I would definately shut the door of the crate when you are in the house and just be around, coming into his area, going out for a few minutes, popping by him, talking around him but absolutely no eye contact and ignore him even if he is being good, at this stage just let him learn that crate door shut is his time. Let him get used to being in the crate and later you can praise and talk to him but for now you have to make him realise that crate door shut means no attention and I feel you are confusing him a bit with mixed messages. Everyone in our house knows that crate door means no attention whatsoever, the cleaners come in and I put her in her crate and they do say hello puppy and give her attention and she is a bit bemused grin

Spamspamspam Sun 05-Jun-11 20:28:52

One more thing..I do treat her whilst in crate, well I did in the early days I casually threw in a few bits of cheese but I don't look at her or talk to her, I also give her a puppy kong occasionally. I think you are being over anxious about him not liking the crate when he clearly does as he is happy sleeping in there when it suits him. I just think you need to change this to when it suits you and not him!

Kingsroadie Sun 05-Jun-11 21:14:13

Thanks Spam! I will be firmer with him on this (by ignoring the wails grin).

Reassuring what you say about him not needing the loo - I suppose it makes sense as obv he is able to hold it 8 hours at night!

He is in kitchen/diner all the time but I really think I cocked it up by keeping the blanket on - just didn't really think about it - and this evening we moved the crate into an area where he could see us more and I removed the blanket and he went in there and was quiet actually. Think I have been a bit of a wally not realising that perhaps he needed to blanket off to be able to see us from lots of directions etc.

Will def work on crating. What I was doing is putting him in and he was quiet and sitting then praising and giving a treat then walking away and it seemed to be okay. The crate training book suggested doing that to get them used to it at first and making the crate a nice place for them. I am going back to basics to get a solid foundation (hopefully).

He still doesn't take himself in there to sleep (preferring the small sofa in the kitchen or the floor) but I am sure that will come.

Thanks Spam, what would I do without you....!? grin

clam Sun 05-Jun-11 21:21:18

I need to get him outside to wee and poo before bed. However, it's pissing down with rain and he refuses to go out! So I carried him, plonked him down and he just wobbled back to the door and cried to go in!
Hmm. Now what?

Kingsroadie Sun 05-Jun-11 21:32:11

Yes it is pissing it down isn't it! Um, maybe get your coat and an umbrella and go out with him to see if that helps? I have NO idea so feel free to ignore me! It's a tricky one...

Kingsroadie Mon 06-Jun-11 10:19:12

Erm, so I just put him in his crate and went upstairs to shower - he barked for about 10 mins. Then went quiet for 15 and has started again. We have come down and he is going nuts barking his head off. And I think was shaking a bit too although might have stopped that now (?!). We are just getting on with stuff ignoring him so he knows barking doesn't get him anywhere. Bloody hell he is so loud (and annoying!)

daisydotandgertie Mon 06-Jun-11 12:32:42

Crate training is about making the crate a safe haven for a puppy. Not as a place where they're shut in and ignored. It's supposed to be a place they willingly go into to settle down and feel happy in. By shutting a dog in while they get deeply stressed you are in danger of making the crate a very terrifying place to be.

Your puppies are tiny. They haven't a hope of learning that their crate is where they're supposed to sleep so soon. Nor will they understand that being put in there with the door shut means they're supposed to go to sleep or be quiet. Puppies crave company. By depriving them of company and shutting them in alone you are doing pretty much the worst thing a puppy can imagine.

You need to teach them - and it'll take more than a few short days. Let them go to sleep where they like and once asleep, pop them into the crate and leave the door open. Try to do this most times they sleep and they'll soon pick up what you want them to do and most importantly, will start to see the crate as a safe, soothing place to be. Feed a few meals in there - but definitely not all of them. As they warm to the crate, use it as a place for treats and kongs. It will happen.

Your posts all sound as though the worst thing you can imagine is that a puppy learns that barking tells you something is wrong. You're all the puppy has to look after it - it needs to be able to ask for help. Be kind to your dogs and build up a strong trusting bond. That'll give you a well mannered dog which will be easy to train. Please don't terrify them by ignoring them - it won't help.

Spamspamspam Mon 06-Jun-11 12:56:07

daisydotandgertie - my puppy is not terrified at all!! and I stress my posts are just my experience with my puppy. She absolutely adores her crate, is in there now with the door open, she has got a sofa she could sleep on if she choses and a lap but she chooses crate. I hardly shut the door during the day but I know if I have too she is comfortable and happy. If I leave my puppy to roam around the kitchen/diner when we go up for a shower she cries and gets upset, but if I pop her in the crate she settles and goes to sleep immediately. We ignored her in the beginning but we were around her and she learn't very quickly - within a day or two that crying wasn't going to get her attention and she didn't cry that much, maybe five minutes at most. I built up slowly with my puppy and left her with the door open at first and then I moved to another room, she used to allways follow me but now she stays in her crate so obviously feeling relaxed and happy. In fact my daughter wanted her to come out of crate this morning so she could give her a kiss goodbye but puppy wasn't moving so my daughter had to climb in there to get her kiss!

She doesn't spend all day everyday in there as some sort of punishment, she has company all day long usually with two people and is regularly being cuddled on a sofa somewhere!

I can't stress enough that she chooses crate for her downtime...it has worked wonders for her because she can get away from mayhem, she is definately lessed stressed by separation as we have worked at making it a comfortable nice haven for her and doing things slowly at her pace. When we first had her she got completely hyper all of the time and wouldn't have any down time because she was constantly in the rooms we were in and kept playing, this didn't help her sleeping at night either.

I have a very happy puppy thank you, no terrified mite here!

Kingsroadie Mon 06-Jun-11 20:19:58

daisy - I have been letting him fall asleep and the putting him in with crate door open, although equally he is sometimes left on the sofa etc. Quite often if I do move him to crate when sleeping he often wakes and leaves the crate and wakes up so I let him. He isn't a puppy who drops down fast asleep often. He seems to need a bit of help! He was awake for about 4 hours this morning and went totally mental as a result.

I regularly treat him in the crate (and leave bits in there for him to find) and praise him for being good when in there. I honestly barely leave him in there at all. I have to put him in when I go and shower etc as he would chew and possibly do himself harm, and as Spam says, yelp and pine too. He also can't get off the sofa (I have to lift him on) so it's not ideal to leave him there asleep while I go upstairs if I might be 20 mins or so. He gets fed in there - my crate training book does suggest feeding all his meals in there. Do you think I shouldn't?

He gets millions of cuddles and always gets a cuddle before I put him into the crate. And I have used it twice today - once when I showered and got dressed and got my daughter dressed, and again this afternoon when I went to the shops for 40 minutes. This morning he barked and this afternoon he has been amazing - went straight in and no fuss, when we came back he was fast asleep. I honestly am doing everything I can to make him feel loved and secure. We have had him since last Saturday and I have barely left the house as I didn't want him to be afraid alone.

Yes he will bark in the morning as he needs to go to the loo. I think he is getting the hang of it but I really do want to get him used to being in it as I will need to leave the house for a bit longer at some point soon! I assume there are people who take a week off work and then have to go back after a week and so the puppy is left 3/4 hours alone in a crate. I have left him for 40 minutes twice since he has been home.

Thank you for your advice - it's a bit tricky as sometimes the books say one thing, someone else says another and all I want to do is have a happy secure puppy! He seems pretty happy in general and is currently crashed out next to me on the sofa smile

Spamspamspam Mon 06-Jun-11 20:35:10

Kings, glad to hear your pup is happier grin

My pup has chosen to sleep in her crate all day, apart from 2 play sessions - lazy mare! but since five has been an up for it puppy! She has had a lovely walk, has had a play in the garden and is now up and down from my lap and can't decide what she wants to do, she is in play mode - bless! I know that the moment I take crate into utility and cover it with blankets she will sneak in there and I will have to encourage her out for a cuddle on the sofa!

Terrified????? urrmm no!

daisydotandgertie Mon 06-Jun-11 20:43:07

Spam - I'm not accusing anyone of having a terrified dog - just that it's very easy to make a mistake. It sounds as though your puppy is as happy as larry in her create which is exactly as it should be.

Kings - I think the best advice anyone can give you after all the reading is to follow your instincts. I have had 2 puppies on the trot who just wouldn't unwind and belted around for as long as they were allowed to. And then were just vile because they were over excited and over tired so I know exactly what you're up against.

Of course puppies can be left in crates, but it usually takes time for them to become happy there. Build up the time he's in there during the day and the build up the amount of time you go out and leave him. Are you also taking him out with you every day for a mooch about?

I don't feed every meal in a crate because I think it encourages dogs to become territorial - and don't keep my dogs crated past about 6 months so want them to be used to eating in more than one place.

The thing I'm trying to say really, is that your puppies have been at home such a short time and while it sounds as though both of them have learnt masses and are very happy they can't quite manage miracles.

It takes them a while to learn what's expected from them. And even longer to remember to do it grin.

Kingsroadie Mon 06-Jun-11 21:23:47

Thanks Spam - me too! Are you serious?! Cannot believe how much your pup has slept - mine has done about 4 hours all day!

Yes he seems to be getting the hang of it although won't go into his crate to sleep yet (but then again won't really go anywhere to sleep (apart from sometimes to whine to be put on the sofa in the kitchen as he loves to sleep there) as he needs to be "told" to sleep - by putting him in crate and shutting the door I think!) Actually I have realised I did put him in the crate one more time today - at about 12pm as he had been awake for 4 hours and was going loopy, attacking things and rolling around and jumping up loads. And that time he just went in and I continued getting lunch for my daughter, talking normally etc and there was no whining and he settled down to sleep. So I think he is getting it now. I hope!

I am trying to follow my instincts too and we also have 2 cats so although am a total dog novice am not a total animal novice grin

Interesting re not feeding every meal in crate - good idea. Might stop that after he really loves his crate!

Btw I was building up to leaving him in crate before I left him alone. Do you think it is realistic to aim for being able to be out for 1.5 hours by the end of next week? Will be 10.5 weeks and with us for nearly 3.

Can I ask what is a realistic amount of sleep at night? He goes in crate at 10:30/11 (usually nearer 11) I would ideally like him not to get up before 7 (well actually 7:30/8 would be better as my daughter doesn't wake til then but I appreciate that might be a little optimistic!) and currently it's about 6:30. What can I do to lengthen it? He obv wakes up and whines as he needs the loo I assume - I always rush down and let him out very quickly. Will this come with age? Or do I need to try and train him a bit now? Thank you!

clam Mon 06-Jun-11 21:50:44

Yeah, thanks for the tips about not feeding all meals in crate - will vary that from now on, and also about putting him in there when he's asleep, but with the door open so he wakes in there and gets used to viewing it as a safe place. The crate is not so much of an issue for us at the moment, as I'm happy that the kitchen is safe and secure. But I want to reserve my rights for the future for when we go away at weekends so he might sleep in there then.

Much better night last night - woke at 3am but re-settled quite quickly. then went through til 6. With my DCs, that would have been a nightmare scenario, but after the other night when he barked pretty much all night, this seems like a good deal. He chose to sleep the night on his pile of laundry instead of in his nice bed! Whatever! Radio and soft lighting seems to be working too. Plus, he's clearly feeling very much more settled with us, so he knows he's at home and we're nearby.

DH is being very rude about this idea, but my vet friend suggested using a baby alarm back-to-front, so I can reassure him from upstairs! Part of me thinks it might freak him out to hear this disembodied voice floating about(would me!) but friend adamant that lots of her clients swear by it. We'll see. grin

daisydotandgertie Mon 06-Jun-11 22:04:30

Kings - yes. An hour and a half should be perfectly do-able by the end of next week. I'd pop him into the crate with a stuffed, frozen puppy kong and to be honest, by the time he's got bored with playing with that he'll be tired anyway. I wouldn't put anything else in there though.

Not sure whether to tell you the truth about the sleep thing grin. Some dogs don't get past the sixes for months and months. One way of trying to lengthen it is to get up at about 4, do a quick wee and poo with no interaction and then straight back into bed. Unpleasant to do, but often keeping control - ie going down before you're summoned makes for faster learning. Depends whether you're allowing toiletting inside at night, or going all guns blazing for all poo and wee to be outside all the time.

Having said that, our 11 month old girl can still wail at 6.00 if she guzzles too much water before bed.

I'd try the baby alarm. It just might work and as it's mostly comfort they're after, your voice may do the trick.

clam Mon 06-Jun-11 22:14:10

Well, I tested it out earlier to get DH to bring me a cup of tea. Worked for that! grin

Kingsroadie Mon 06-Jun-11 22:20:55

Perfect - I will aim for that or 2 - tbh as long as we're not going somewhere for the whole morning/afternoon and just going to park etc it's usually more like an hour anyway. Would def like to be able to visit friends again but that will be a few more weeks I guess unless I can take him with me.

Ha daisy - glad you did. I expected that tbh and luckily because my daughter does sleep late I have time with him and a play and then he usually has another nap not long after and I doze on the sofa (and have snuck back to bed a couple of times actually!) Interesting idea re the 4am thing. I will see how fed up of a 6:30 start I get and make a call then... (I do realise that most mothers are up at between 6 and 7 anyway so I was very lucky - remind me why I got a puppy again? grin)

No loo in the night (no paper out just crate) as I want him to learn that loo = outside. We didn't have a single accident yesterday but today have had several. My fault I am sure for not being vigilant enough - despite leaving door open and nearly freezing as a result all day!

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