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Help - dog constantly barking at night

(36 Posts)
boxesoffrogs Thu 02-Mar-17 06:01:53

Hi, I really need some advice/help/a good night's sleep!

One year old shih tzu has got into a terrible habit of waking up at about 3am each morning and whining and barking. She won't settle unless you get up and go to her (have tried leaving her, have tried putting the tv on for her, have tried resettling her/putting her in her crate with a chew etc) which shuts her up for about fifteen minutes and then she starts again.

She has about four - five hours a day of doggy day care/dog walking whilst I am at work, lots of playtime in the evening and then another walk before bed, and used to sleep through until about 5.30 when we let her out for the toilet. Until about two months ago, we used to let her come and sleep on the bed when she started barking, but we have tried to wean her off that habit and it was going well... oh how smug we were!

Problem is, we live in a open plan flat with rather high ceilings (yes we do have a garden that she has access to), and once she starts, the noise just echoes all around, so not only are we not getting sleep, I am terrified that the neighbours will be woken up - have gone round and asked if she is disturbing them but they say no (probably just being polite).

Has anyone got any bright ideas? She doesn't do this if we have to go away and leave her with her dog sitter (who she adores), but he has his dog who I think is a calming influence on her.

Sorry for the long post, I am just so so so tired and at the end of my tether (dp has been working away for the past week or so, and I am pregnant as well, so probably hormonal). I have been up since 4am and I feel like crying.

Help?

SallyGinnamon Thu 02-Mar-17 06:13:28

I hope someone better gets back to you soon but DDog just sleeps on our bed! All night. That's why we have a king sized bed now.

Not much use if you're having a baby though, sorry.

BiteyShark Thu 02-Mar-17 06:14:20

How long have you left her to bark in the morning? I am assuming she isn't waking because she needs the toilet?

BiteyShark Thu 02-Mar-17 06:20:25

The reason for asking how long is I am thinking back to early puppy days when it would take up to 30 mins for my puppy to settle back down. Without having a timer to see exactly how long he cried for it seemed like an eternity. Could you try and wait it out, get up take outside if no pee or poo straight back to the crate and leave but time it so you know how long she cries for and can see whether the time descreases each night.

boxesoffrogs Thu 02-Mar-17 06:26:04

borders the bed is big enough as she is only small, but oh dear lord, the snoring! Plus since I've been pregnant, I can 'smell' her if that makes sense, even though she has never smelled before, is groomed every six weeks and is a clean little thing anyway!

bitey, 15 mins is about the longest before my nerves just give way. It's not constant barking, starts off with a sort of twittering, goes on to a whimpering before the full bark. It's like her own personal bloody concert.

She is very good at letting us know when she wants to go out to wee/poo, she sits at the top of the stairs and scratches on the gate we have across them. Took her out about half an hour ago in the pissing rain and she just farted about, clearly didn't need to go! She is now sitting outside my bedroom door, barking for no particular reason. ARGHHHHHHHH.

She is categorically worse when dp works away, its like she knows I am the weak one who she can crack. Seriously I love her to absolute bits but this is doing my head in. Still barking. Been outside, been fed/watered, been given a quick cuddle, has her favourite toys. What else can I do? What does she want???! Sorry, I just don't know what else to do.

boxesoffrogs Thu 02-Mar-17 06:27:11

If anything, it's getting longer. Previously she just used to whimper to herself and then resettle back to sleep. Now she is wide awake and wants every body in the bloody neighbourhood to know about it.

boxesoffrogs Thu 02-Mar-17 06:29:11

Ps when we lived in a house, :late was downstairs so it was easier to let her bark it out and resettle. I am worried that because there is literally no escaping it in the flat and I am desperate for sleep that I am giving in to her habits and going to her, which is what she wants and is now learning that barking = attention...

picklemepopcorn Thu 02-Mar-17 06:32:04

My boy was like this. He got scared one night by someone dropping keys through our letter box, and has been unreliable at night ever since. We got a citronella bark collar, which I hate using, but has been effective.

Now when he is very barky, and every bed time, we put the collar on but don't switch it on. He seems to understand that means we are well fed up and he needs to stop the nonsense!

picklemepopcorn Thu 02-Mar-17 06:33:12

Try padding around the crate to reduce the sound. Use sofa cushions etc so the sound isn't bouncing off hard walls. Just for a while obvs, while you are training her.

BiteyShark Thu 02-Mar-17 06:35:20

My feeling is it's getting longer because she is rewarded by crying in that at you go to her. So if it works after 15 mins if she cries a bit longer you will turn up again.

Personally I would set a timer and let her cry up to 30 mins as they should be able to settle themselves during that time. The reason for the timer is to stop you giving in as you can see exactly how long it has been. I remember the gut wrenching sound and I know others categorically won't let dogs cry but for me it worked when he was crying simply because he wanted attention.

boxesoffrogs Thu 02-Mar-17 07:07:08

bitey you are right. But it is ear splitting. Can't believe I have caved and given into her. Will try the 30 min thing. But this is the fourth night in the row of being woken up from 3.30 onwards... thing is she has always been relatively good, but this has been on the increase since November (we moved in September). Hoping it's a phase as she has just turned one, but got a horrible feeling it's not...

pickle her crate has a bed in it, plenty of blankets, vet bed, throw over the top and a more blankets over the top. She was ok in there for a while over January (we previously had her bed out of the crate which she slept on, but as there is only an arch between the living room and the bedroom, she used to get up, scrabble on the door, get on the bed and go straight back to sleep. But as I said, want to get her out of that habit. Maybe I should just let her back on the bed?

Just got to work, and want to cry. it's going to be non stop til 5, then obviously today would be the rare day that I have a really late meeting til about 8... (she is going to the dog walker, and I will go home in between finishing work and the meeting to see her, so she will be looked after and entertained).

nigelforgotthepassword Thu 02-Mar-17 14:49:23

No advice but watching in hope as mine also does this and I've tired Ignoring, sleeping down there with him, having the crate in my room-nothing works-except having the little beast in bed with me it seems.

BiteyShark Thu 02-Mar-17 16:05:58

You could warn your neighbours that you are working on it over the next few days so you don't cave because you are worried it will wake them plus set a timer and try not to give in. I know how hard it is not to go to them when they cry its like your heart is being ripped out. It's either that or you are sharing your bed grin

boxesoffrogs Thu 02-Mar-17 23:48:06

She has just barked for 45 mins straight. I just had to get out of bed, get dressed and take her round the block. She has been out all day, and I've taken her out once already this evening.

This is actually driving me mad. I cannot cope with another sleepless night, I've been up since 4am and need to be up again at 6...

BiteyShark Fri 03-Mar-17 05:25:17

How was it over night after you had taken her out? One thing you could do is get a trainer/behaviourist in to help you with this because if you arr sleep deprived it's going to feel 10x harder.

picklemepopcorn Fri 03-Mar-17 06:19:06

Try the collar?

boxesoffrogs Fri 03-Mar-17 06:39:47

She was ok once I had settled her with a chew stick. Started whining and almost doing her version of the dawn chorus at about 5.30, so gave her a dentastick and she shut up. She is very quiet now...

Thank goodness dp is back tonight, so will see how she is over the weekend, but you are right bitey, if there is no improvement I think it is time to get a professional in.

popcorn how does the collar work?

Apologies for my slightly hysterical late night post, I really thought she was going to be going on through the night!

ErrolTheDragon Fri 03-Mar-17 07:53:17

Our dog went through a phase of waking and barking at night recently, for some reason. He sleeps under DD's room, she's yr13 and working so hard for A levels and has to get an early bus, so we took the line which seemed likeliest to work quickly (having in the past caved in when his predecessor tried it on).
So, we decided on minimum interaction, no 'reward' for barking in terms of attention. The dog is fond of us all but I'm his goddess, so it was DH not me who would go down - no talking, just put him out into the garden - us interpreting nighttime noise as 'I need a wee', not 'I want attention' iyswim (even though I'm sure it really was the latter). Doing this consistently (even if the barking wasn't long before we got up in the morning) resolved the issue within the week.

It may take you longer because you've (entirely understandably!) taken a softer line but you need to get this sorted out before you have your baby, so I think you really do need to be much firmer and consistent. Hopefully if your DH is home now he can do the going down, the dog does indeed know who is the softer touch!

Best wishes - I really do sympathise!flowers

picklemepopcorn Fri 03-Mar-17 08:24:08

The collar has a matchbox size gadget under the chin with a sound sensor on it. When the dog barks it releases a squirt of citronella. The dog hates it. To be honest, I hate it too.
Use errol's method first, but if it doesn't work...

ErrolTheDragon Fri 03-Mar-17 11:14:26

DH decided to try one of those collars on the previous dog. It wasn't triggered by whining, and the dog rapidly learned what level of woof he could get away with. hmmToo darned clever.

picklemepopcorn Fri 03-Mar-17 16:54:42

Yes, my dog wuffs and huffs while wearing it, but doesn't wake me up at night anymore! If he wears it in the day, he stands in front of us huffing, just so we know. He's a chopsy so and so, my dog. Very opinionated.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 03-Mar-17 22:22:53

Don't flame me, I've never been in this situation but have you tried negative reinforcement? Rather than positive? So if she wakes you up in the middle of the night, you tell her off. A sharp 'no!' and then ignore her and go back to bed. Might take a few attempts, if you can bear it, and perhaps as a last resort. She persists in barking because it brings a reward. Dogs learn by experience and association and she needs to learn that barking in the night does not get her what she wants. Bloody hard though, sympathies.

boxesoffrogs Sat 04-Mar-17 07:45:02

pickle, what an annoyingly clever dog! What breed is he/how old?

Dp is back, and guess what? Not a bloody peep from the little bitch, referring to her sex of course! fluff ball allllll night. He finds this hilariously funny, after my hysterical middle of the night texts telling him I can't cope and that I am going to set her free to bark at other poor sods (was only half joking as well, amazing what sleep deprivation does...)

Have tried the 'no!' and ignoring her, but she responds much better to having a chewy treat thrown her way. She is my first dog, and I thought I was doing so well with her, until this! But fingers crossed, and if she is bad again during the week will try the citronella collar, don't really want to, but if it works initially and then later just as a sort of warning, like it did for yours pickle then it's worth a go.

Oh and if one more person tells me it's good practice for the baby.....!!!!!! I can see it turning into some sort of competition, who can keep me up the most at night...

boxesoffrogs Sat 04-Mar-17 07:51:19

Ps, here is a picture of the little thug, just to give you an idea of the sort of monster she is...

BiteyShark Sat 04-Mar-17 08:50:54

Just be careful on giving the chews when crying as again it's a reward for bad behaviour.

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