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help!! No sleep since getting dog

(27 Posts)
jollymollie Thu 29-Sep-11 06:59:38

We got an 18 month old dog last Friday. He seems to have settled well but night times are awful. We had him in our room on the first night but realise that was no good long term so we have put him in the kitchen to sleep and also when we go out. He spends ALL night scratching the door, barking and crying which results in no-one getting any sleep and it is really driving us mad. DH is going to work tired every day and we are starting to regret our decision to get a dog sad I know he must still be missing his previous home and it is too early to expect him to settle but he has been pooing in the kitchen every night too. (he doesn't do this during the day). Should we get him a crate? we've got a cat flap and I'm wondering whether we should open that up for him but DH is worried he'll be barking in the garden at night and we won't know. Please, please help we are desperate and arguing all the time through lack of sleep!

Crosshair Thu 29-Sep-11 09:21:04

I would crate train him.

jollymollie Thu 29-Sep-11 11:11:37

Even at 18 months? I thought he'd go mad being confined to a crate at his age. In his old place he didn't even have a bed! Do you think a crate would be a good idea?

GrimmaTheNome Thu 29-Sep-11 11:23:39

When we got our current dog (10 months) I used a method similar to what is sometimes recommended for small children - 'gradual withdrawal'. Essentially I put him to bed (he did have a crate, as it happens, which probably made it easier) and sat quite close to him. Then gradually moved further and further off until I was out of the room. This took quite a while - provide yourself with a book or suchlike! - but seemed to ease him into being left.

Or you could try something analagous to 'controlled crying' - which while contentious for babies, may be helpful for settling a dog, better than just leaving him to bark. Go down, reassure, leave; repeat at longer intervals.

Good luck! Dogs do settle down.

Crosshair Thu 29-Sep-11 11:50:05

Yeah dont just stick him in and leave him to it, train him as you would a small child/puppy.

jollymollie Thu 29-Sep-11 11:51:25

Thanks for the advice. In desperation I have asked in the pet shop and they recommended me some drops called serene for dogs. This is supposed to relax the dog and help with separation anxiety. Has anyone used these? thanks

toboldlygo Thu 29-Sep-11 12:55:35

What breed is he and where did he come from, out of interest? Separation anxiety is utterly draining (as you know!) and would be a common reason for giving up a dog of this age, I'm just wondering if this is more than just not settling in and is a pervasive issue.

As it is I would introduce a crate and go for gradual withdrawal - set it up in your room and have him in there with you for as long as you can stand, then gradually move him out to the landing and then the spare room or kitchen, perhaps leave the crate door open but block up the doorway with a stair gate so he can still see and hear you.

Normal crate training rules apply, never force him into the crate, get him to see it as a safe place with soft beds and nice treats, feed all meals in there, settle him in there after walks and training (so both brain and body already tired) with a nice big bone/chew and pop in and out of the room at random intervals, just a few seconds at first, make sure he can still hear you moving about the house.

Same for leaving the house, desensitise him to any cues by putting your shoes on and slamming the door at random intervals without actually leaving, then only leave for seconds before you come back, gradually stretch it out to minutes, it can take months to work it up to hours. Use stuffed kongs, raw marrowbones etc. to distract and keep him busy. Stair gates are really useful, set a couple up throughout the house so he's unable to follow you from room to room, he must get used to settling on his own for short periods, although initially being able to see and hear you in other rooms through the gate before you start pushing the distance and time.

I don't think any of the calming stuff works - I know both DAP and Zylkene have been proven to have an effect in trials but I personally didn't see any difference with a truly anxious dog, true separation anxiety will not respond to pills alone and needs systematic careful training to overcome. I always hmm when people trill "have you tried leaving the radio on for them while you're gone", it's a little more complex than that.

bemybebe Thu 29-Sep-11 13:01:44

"When we got our current dog (10 months) I used a method similar to what is sometimes recommended for small children - 'gradual withdrawal'. Essentially I put him to bed (he did have a crate, as it happens, which probably made it easier) and sat quite close to him. Then gradually moved further and further off until I was out of the room. This took quite a while - provide yourself with a book or suchlike! - but seemed to ease him into being left."

Agree. Also, having a thick blanket over the crate may help. Place the crate in the room or just outside with the door to the room open, so that he can feel your presence and move it every day further and further away and close the door into the room.

Make it interesting to go into the crate. Frozen kongs with some yummy stuff (frozen yogurt and banana if he likes it) or similar may pacify him.

Starting crate training is never too late. Insisting on it when the dog is clearly upset for a long time is not reasonable though. Worth giving it a shot. It is always trial and error...

bemybebe Thu 29-Sep-11 13:04:16

Agree with tobo (and x-post)

jollymollie Thu 29-Sep-11 13:07:16

He's a lhasa apso and came from a place where there was an older dog that he'd been with since he was a young pup. I really didn't get a good answer as to why they were getting rid of him as he is a lovely dog apart from the seperation thing. He follows me from room to room all day!

Ephiny Thu 29-Sep-11 13:25:48

With ours we built up the time alone slowly, so starting with just going out of the house and coming right back in, then going to the end of the road etc. Agree about making no fuss about coming or going. A lot of it was just time though, time for him to settle in and adapt to his new home.

At night, it helped to do all our faffing around and getting ready before shutting him downstairs, and then being very quiet - it seemed to set him off more if he could hear us talking or moving around upstairs. He did get used to it and settle downstairs after a while. However we've got a lot more relaxed about things and these days he sleeps where he likes - usually in the bedroom doorway!

jollymollie Thu 29-Sep-11 21:14:54

Gosh this is getting worse. My 6 year old dd went to stroke the dog and he growled at her, quite fiercly. A couple of hours later he actually snapped at my 8 year old for the same thing. There was no provocation at all. What do I do now???

toboldlygo Thu 29-Sep-11 21:18:29

Did you get this dog through freeads/online ads, etc? sad

bemybebe Thu 29-Sep-11 21:23:42

Do not panic! You can keep the dog separate from the kids for now. Where did you get the dog? Was it a rescue or a private rehome?

bemybebe Thu 29-Sep-11 21:36:05

The reason I am asking is because a reputable rescue would have assessed the dog. In a private rehome it is a bit of an unknown entity. Just to understand whether it is normal behaviour of a dog that still feels unsettled or not.
Growling is good. It means the dog is warning not to touch it before it actually biting. I am sorry, it sounds dramatic, but it is normal.

I would take the dog to the vet tomorrow to see if it is in pain or overly anxious, if all ok, try to find a behaviourist (vet can recommend) to help you out with this behaviours.

bemybebe Thu 29-Sep-11 22:46:35

Having looked around the net, it looks like Lhasa's were bred as sentinels (guard dogs). "The ideal Lhasa temperament is to be wary of strangers while being loyal to those closest to them". There are also references that they can be impatient with children if bothered, but "they aim to please their owners and enjoy training." (Quoted from wiki, but I have checked some other sites also.)

Sounds like your little doggie just does what it says on the tin and that with the right training it will make a smashing companion. But you do need to put effort (and make precautions whilst it settles proper).

bemybebe Thu 29-Sep-11 22:59:52

Just to add, it has been only since Friday, so just a week. If you have not researched the breed yet, give these guys a call http://www.lhasa-apso-club.org.uk/

Breed-specific clubs very often have a person who is happy to talk about temperaments and challenges those pose and give contact details of clubs/literature/trainers/behaviourists who can help out. I am not sure if there is a good Lhasa-specific forum (I have a labrador and there is a fantastic one for labradors), worth looking into this also.

Please come back to update and good luck!

bemybebe Thu 29-Sep-11 23:01:01

www.lhasa-apso-club.org.uk/

GrimmaTheNome Fri 30-Sep-11 00:13:26

When we got our dog (he was 10 months) he attached himself first to DH, who had brought him home and growled a bit at DD and me. Then he switched to me (guess who does the feeding!) - carried on being a little wary for a couple of days but pretty soon settled down. I wouldn't worry too much at this early stage, the dog is bound to be a bit unsettled and need to work out who's who - just tell your DDs to give him space for the time being and let him come to them once he's got to know them. Might be an idea for them to do things like put the food in his bowl, throw him a treat - do nice things without crowding him IYSWIM.

jollymollie Fri 30-Sep-11 09:37:45

Thanks for all the wonderful advice. It did panic me a bit when he growled but I have told the kids to give him space and not cuddle him so much. Think the problem is that he looks like a little teddy bear and they forget he's a dog! We have decided to have a go at crate training and have just ordered the correct size crate for him. If we don't there'll be nothing left of our kitchen door.

I know it will take time to train him to be happy in there but i'm a SAHM so have got plenty of time when it's just me and him when the children are at school. Yes, we did get him from an internet ad which maybe wasn't the best idea but we have been searching rescue places for ages and they never have anything suitable. Even though he's only 18 months he had been used for stud and has not been neutered. We are getting him neutered sooner rather than later as I'm sure this will improved his behaviour but not knowing a great deal about dogs I'm not sure! bemybebe, thank you so much for the research and the link, it has been really useful smile

bemybebe Fri 30-Sep-11 10:05:38

jolly obviously this (internet avenue) is not the best idea, but now you have him, there is no reason why it cannot work for you.

Have you already been to the vet? You need to register and get him checked over in light of his growling and see if all the vacs are done as recommended (i presume you have vaccination card and all the jabs are up-to-date)...

Also, check out the local dog clubs on www.thekennelclub.org.uk/dogtraining. Some clubs starting Bronze Award training in the next week or two, so you have these few days to enrol! They are much cheaper than the professional 1-2-1 sessions and are great way to train in a group of other dogs (helps with socialization also).

I would definitely call the club to chat on breed-specific issues.

DooinMeCleanin Fri 30-Sep-11 10:16:15

Chicken wire stapled over your door will help protect it from being chewed/scratched while you are crate training.

Wrt the growling teach the children to never approach the dog, always call him to them, so he has the option to refuse their attentions if he wishes. Never punish him for growling, it's his way of communicating that he is upset with something, if you stop him growling he might feel he has no option but to up his ante and start biting first. Make sure he has a space that is his and his alone, where he is never disturbed, a crate is great for this.

Wrt neutering it is essential however I'd contact a APDT registered behviourist first. If the dog is acting out of fear neutering could add to it. Testosterone gives the dog a sense of confidence, taking that away could increase his fear.

With two young children and an unpredictable, snappy dog in the house I'd be contacting one anyway to be honest. Training classes are great but not usefull for sorting out specific behavioural issues, you really need one to one sessions for that.

bemybebe Fri 30-Sep-11 10:27:39

Great idea about the chicken wire! I also agree with dooin about the behaviourist first. Sorry for the confusion wrt classes...

jollymollie Wed 05-Oct-11 12:49:31

Things are getting so much worse and i really can't afford to see a behaviourist at the moment. I've got the money put away for his neutering and also vaccinations as the vet has advised that we should have them done again as there is no record. He has been vet checked. I really can't see an end to his separation anxiety.

He is a fantastic dog and I am really bonding with him as it's just us during the day but if I try to go out or at night time it is horrendous. When we return he is in such a state, panting and sweating. I've purchased a crate but he really won't entertain that and when i tried to coax him in he started shaking. I don't know how much longer I can go with no sleep, last night he barked all night! I know i can let him sleep with us in the bedroom if I have to (although we really didn't want to do this) but that still won't help when we go out.

We are trying to contact the previous owner to enquire more about how she got on with him but as she had another dog he was probably fine when left. I am tempted to ask her to take him back but as I said we are all bonding with him and do love him. Could he be like this forever or is there any chance of improvement? I would persevere if I thought it wouldn't be forever but he has not improved at all since we got him sad

ditavonteesed Wed 05-Oct-11 20:59:19

have a look at this only heard of it yesterday, traier bringing me one on mon to try so couldnt tell you if it works.

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