Teaching a dog to sleep...(2 Posts)
This is a bit of a random one, I think, I can't find anything online about it at least! Our 18m working cocker is a lovely cuddly albeit bouncy mischievous dog. About 95% of the time he is really well behaved and chilled out, the other 5% of the time he ranges from irritating to down-right cantankerous!
We have over come almost all the issues with him, and he responds well to his training. However there is one major issue we just can't solve, one which we think is causing the 5% of bad behaviour.
He will not sleep unless he's crated, and he doesn't know how to ask to go to bed. He is out and about all day, he will potter about or sit watching people out of our front window and having cuddles. He gets lots of exercise during the day, and has both interactive games and time to do things for himself, but unless we put him in his crate he just won't sleep.
He likes going in his crate, and when he's really tired he just won't come out when we open it in the mornings, but unless we take him to it he won't go, and he won't just curl up somewhere and sleep.
We've tried having a crate in the lounge with us but he won't sleep, he just lays in it wide awake, like he does when he is out of the crate. If he gets tired and wants to go to bed, he starts acting up, doing things he knows he shouldn't - a behaviour we need to change - until we take him to bed.
So I have two questions:
1. I'm thinking that having something specific he takes to bed with him, (he always has something as he has to bring something out when he gets up) that we can teach him to get if he wants to sleep may be a good start? How have people taught their dogs to ask to go to bed? He can't necessarily get to the room his crate is in, so sitting by the door may not work.
2. How do you teach a dog to sleep uncrated? Or at all? Literally the only time I've seen him sleep uncrated, was when he managed to eat a Freddo; (followed by a check up at the vet) he had a sugar rush and then crashed out for an hour. Obviously an experience never to be repeated!
It sounds like he's really struggling to self settle which isn't an unusual problem at all, especially in very active dogs. The good news is that it's perfectly possible to teach him to switch off! at home!
Kikopup has an excellent video on the subject called Capturing Calmness. I'd also highly recommend the book Calm Down! by Beverley Courtney which centres around teaching your dog to relax using mat training.
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