Dog won’t go to bed at night! Please help.

(30 Posts)
BigRedDoor Fri 03-May-19 06:56:47

Short version: dog won’t go to bed but barks and barks for attention or to be allowed out, just to sniff the air and bark some more, not because she needs to wee. This happens every night. Any ideas on how to get her to stop?! She’s now started doing it at 5am too. I’m broken. I will try anything other than letting her sleep in my or dc’s bedrooms.

(Very) Long version:

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, now 9 and becoming more and more needy. Lots of health issues. She is very good in the day, sleeps in her bed mostly, is near me as I work from home so she is with me but doesn’t have lots of time being fussed. She gets a walk and some attention, she isn’t totally ignored, but she only wants 1 walk, she refuses a second one most of the time and isn’t interested in playing. Sleep and cuddles are her two main interests.

In the evenings she loves cuddles on the sofa and will spend whatever time I have free cosied up next to me or the dc.

But this (and it might be 3-4 hours of cuddles) is never enough for her and when it’s bedtime she just sits in her bed and barks. And barks. I have to run down over and over again, every night, to get her to be quiet. I don’t fuss over her, as I don’t want to reward her with attention. I am firm and tell her “quiet” “bedtime” (both of which she understands) in a low voice. But it will take 2, 3, 4 or more trips to get her to settle. The first time I always offer her to go out in case she needs a wee but that’s rare. She is keen to sniff the air and bark though. We are in a residential area so I can’t let her do that. I can’t leave her to bark, I’ve tried for a short while but she just doesn’t stop and I don’t want her to wake the dc or disturb the neighbours.

She used to have a crate for night time as otherwise she would run round the downstairs of the house barking at urban foxes through the front door. She genuinely loved the crate, would ask to get in, now she hates it and won’t get in, barks incessantly otherwise (door always left open), I put her bed in the same place with the dog gate across to make a mini pen, she liked that, now hates it, barks incessantly if left and refuses to sit in her bed. I’ve given her the run of the kitchen, she liked that but now sits in her bed barking, or gets out to bark through the back door.

I think she would only be happy if she were sleeping in my room and that’s my red line. To make matters worse she’s not even my dog, I took her on when DH’s exW couldn’t look after her as DSD, who she was bought for, would have been heartbroken if she’d had to be rehomed. DSD is now at uni and DH now works away Mon-Fri so I’m the one having to deal with this.

OP’s posts: |
YouJustDoYou Fri 03-May-19 07:02:20

Sounds like in her older age she needs a bit more reassurance, though 9 isn't massively little old dog always just needed to be near us so slept on his bed in a corner of our all night and was fine. Put him away from us in another room and he would be full of anxiety, barking all night.

Singlenotsingle Fri 03-May-19 07:08:43

Not sure how long the life expectation is for a CKC bit maybe she's getting bit senile. Probably best to speak to the vet? Maybe they have a relaxation medicine for dogs? (I don't have this problem. My dog goes up to bed when she's tired).

stucknoue Fri 03-May-19 07:31:14

Dogs do get more frightened as they age, our 7.5 year old dog has developed various phobias and the vet said it was quite common.

BiteyShark Fri 03-May-19 07:35:14

* I think she would only be happy if she were sleeping in my room and that’s my red line*

I think sometimes you just have to decide what's the worst of two evils. Sleep deprivation or a dog in your bedroom.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Fri 03-May-19 08:07:05

I'm tempted to suggest a check up at the vet, just to check there's nothing medical going on that could be causing the change in behaviour.

BigRedDoor Fri 03-May-19 08:48:19

Saw the vet last month, he suggested she is getting a bit senile.

Dog in bedroom is not going to happen, apart from the fact I don’t want a dog in my bedroom she will start in her bed then she’ll want to be on my bed then she’ll want to be in my bed. She’s not even my dog, and I cannot compromise on that, I’ve already compromised quite a bit of my life for this dog.

OP’s posts: |


snowdrop6 Fri 03-May-19 09:19:54

My dogs would like very much to be in my bed too..I love my dogs ..but dog smell and pet hairs in my bed .no .plus how would you have sex with a dog there.

BiteyShark Fri 03-May-19 09:33:00

Oh I totally get not wanting dogs in bedrooms but if the OP is 'broken' with sleep deprivation dealing with an old dog where age may be playing a large factor I just wonder how easy it will be to solve compared to a younger dog.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Fri 03-May-19 10:23:09

Let her sleep with one of the DC? If they're happy with it, it keeps the dog happy and you get your sleep back...?

I completely understand why some people don't want dogs in their bed, but mine sleeps under the covers and I quite like it, so a DC may feel the same way.

EnidPrunehat Fri 03-May-19 12:07:08

The problem, as I see it, is that you simply aren't going to compromise. Which is your prerogative. However, I fear you will continue to be being 'broken' from lack of sleep if you really can't give consideration to different sleeping arrangements. I can quite understand why you'd not want to start an upstairs (and ultimately in bed with you!) sleeping habit with a young dog. But you can't use the same training options with an older dog that's growing senile. You just can't. I get the impression that you dislike this poor old dog but it isn't her fault that your DH's ex-w couldn't cope with her so try and make what I suspect is the limited time she has left, as comfy as possible.

pigsDOfly Fri 03-May-19 13:12:04

Like Avocados I was going to suggest a visit to vet just to check her out.

My dog started doing the exact same thing a few weeks ago, refusing to go to bed, wanting to go into the garden at night just to sniff the air and wander/dig/chew grass. And whilst she does like to be out in the evening this was extreme and, like your dog OP, happened several times over the night.

She was restless and needy the whole time, not sleeping well even during the day, which was very unusual for her.

In the end I realised that something wasn't right and took her to the vet. Turned out that a flare up of her pancreatitis was in the process of brewing. Even though the obvious vomiting and diarrhoea symptoms were not present, she had all the other symptoms was in some considerable pain, hence the change in behaviour.

Obviously, I'm not suggesting that your dog might have pancreatitis OP, but that sort of change in behaviour could indicate she's in some sort of pain.

I could have written your post, everything was so similar and I too was exhausted by being woken. After the visit to the vet, when she'd been given an injection for the pain and started on treatment, was the first night I had slept properly for days.

Some times these things sort of creep up on us, and with an older dog - mine is 8 years old - you start to think maybe it her age, but any change in behaviour should be investigated, and now she's getting better I realise how unwell she actually had been and I can see that she's back to her old playful happy self. It was nothing to do with her age and really she's not that old.

Beachbodynowayready Fri 03-May-19 13:15:26

Can the dc not have her in their room? I shared my bed with a huge collie her whole life with us...

adaline Fri 03-May-19 15:02:47

If you're not willing to compromise I'm not sure what the answer is.

She's not a puppy - old dogs gets anxious when they age and if she's going senile it's very likely that she's confused and just needs comfort and reassurance. She's barking because she doesn't understand where she is or why she's feeling the way she is.

You say you don't want her in your room, but why can't she sleep in your DC's room if they're happy for her to do so?

YouJustDoYou Fri 03-May-19 15:16:30

Well if you dont care about her needs then give her to someone who does. Shes an older dog who is probably getting a bit scared and needs company a d if you're not willing to do what it takes to help then she needs an owner who can.

Ilovemylabrador Fri 03-May-19 15:22:50

Mine sleep in with me on the floor normally although I don’t mine them in the bed. They are pack animals and mine sleep together when not with us. You have several options - ignore and rough it out for a few weeks - crate and all. And do not go down under any circumstances. Take her in with you or rehome. Personally if she was awake at 5am I’d think it was the light mornings and go for a black out over a crate. But let’s face it people get up in the night to go for a wee- they are the same. Needs change. It sounds like she needs love and cuddles and that’s perfect for a DC😍

OverFedStanley Fri 03-May-19 17:55:30

Definitely a vets visit - there is medication and supplements that can help a dog if the vet does think she is going senile. Night time distress can be a sign.

Other things are check that she is warm enough, her bed is comfy enough if she has aches and pains that may cause her to be in distress.

Maybe change her mealtimes split them up over the day so she has a full tummy to go to sleep on. Is it possible to move her walk to later in the day so she is more relaxed for night time etc.

How long have you had her?

BigRedDoor Fri 03-May-19 23:02:15

Thank you to all offering help and suggestions. I have moved her into a smaller warmer room, given her dinner in 2 parts so she has gone to bed with a fuller stomach and she’s had lots of attention and cuddles for the evening ( that bit isn’t new smile). I will take her to the vet again next week if needs be, she’s been seen twice in the last month as she has lots of health issues and at no point did the vet think she was in pain, just getting a bit older. I’ll see what else they can offer for senility, we had some supplements for anxiety but they didn’t have a lasting effect.

She won’t walk in the evenings beyond an amble and a sniff. If I leave her main daytime walk until later she is more likely to refuse it, she’s at her most active first thing in the morning.

For anyone who doubts me, I do love this dog but it’s not easy to take on someone else’s pet when you weren’t actually in the market for a pet personally. I will always do my best by her but I don’t have the same bond that someone who’s actively sought out, chosen and trained their dog might. I would never rehome her. She is well looked after and much loved, she costs a fortune in vets bills and we suck that up. But the nighttime issues are frustrating and tiring and I’d like to do what I can to solve them without taking a step that would be irreversible (if we let her in the bedroom once that would be all she’d ever want).

OP’s posts: |
bratzilla Sat 04-May-19 03:47:15

My dog is going senile and is up a lot at night, she prefers sleeping downstairs and also barks a lot, at nothing. Mine has chews/toys to keep her buys/quiet.

Dottierichardson Sat 04-May-19 03:58:34

Ask your vet to check for any signs of arthritis this happened with an older dog of mine, couldn't sleep and started getting weird about walks, reluctant or refusing. Arthritis can vary in pain levels, can make walks uncomfortable, eases off then flares up so starts with being intermittently fussy about walks. Also painful when lying for long periods at night and the pain can cause anxiety. If it's that then the vet can prescribe painkillers, we also found herbal anti-anxiety pills with skullcap and valerian - formulated for dogs again from our vet helped - plus warmer room and softer bed. The herbal pills help with sleep anyway we give them to our older dog during the season when fox cubs around so that she doesn't freak out when she hears them in the night.

Dottierichardson Sat 04-May-19 04:03:04

The herbal pills are by Dorwest, Scullcap and Valerian - it's a bit like the dog having a couple of glasses of wine, relaxes them and makes them sleepy. We also started Arthriaid Liquid Omega Joint supplement as that helps with their joints, good for older dogs generally.

Alicewond Sat 04-May-19 04:14:41

She’s not that elderly, it’s either an emotional or physical issue. I would get her to the vet ASAP. When anything minor changes with a dog it can mean something more than they could tell us

Dottierichardson Sat 04-May-19 07:34:24

Alicewond the problem is that the vet says no real problem. That's why unless it's practice with more than one vet worth asking for specific things to be checked. I've seen replacement vets and told one thing is wrong only to see usual vet who's found things the locum missed, so vets are not infallible. If the OP has a practice with more than one vet I'd book an appointment with another or get a second opinion.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Sat 04-May-19 08:28:05

Not going to fix the problem all by itself, but you could throw Adaptil into the mix. I find it takes the edge off my dog's anxiety.

ImpossibleNovelty Sat 04-May-19 08:39:03

Sorry if I missed it, have you tried putting her to bed with a high value longish lasting treat, like a stuffed kong or similar? I feel for you OP, it’s so frustrating when they learn new bad habits.

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