11 month old puppy wanting to be fed at 3am (my fault)

(31 Posts)
FranAndFern Fri 09-Aug-19 08:39:55

She used to wake up at 6am and bark to be fed, which I didn't mind too much. Then ist started slipping back to 5:30, 5 etc. Then it jumped from 4 to 3. She is a spaniel and has a loud bark, I live in a semi detached house and my attached neighbours have children aged around 2 and 5 and both parents work.

I feel so guilty about the barking that I have to feed her. The neighbours must hate me, quite rightly. Its also killing me. I will need to find a job soon, and then it will kill me even more.

If I don't feed her she just barks and barks. She doesn't need the loo or want attention, she just wants food. If I let her out and go back upstairs she just carries on barking.

I think what I need to do is speak to my neighbours and apologise, but tell them I'm going to have to start ignoring her so it may get worse before it gets better.

Does that sound like the right thing to do?

Thanks for any help or advice you can give.

OP’s posts: |
FranAndFern Fri 09-Aug-19 08:44:32

I've thought about getting an automatic feeder, but that doesn't really solve the problem. Also she needs to be let out after eating. And knowing her she would chew the feeder to its ultimate destruction.

OP’s posts: |
Jouska Fri 09-Aug-19 08:50:26

Fed her later at night

FranAndFern Fri 09-Aug-19 08:59:19

I'm doing that, feeding her when I go to bed. It's not making any difference. I think she's just got into a routine sad

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Fri 09-Aug-19 09:10:15

You have two options, I think:

1. Go cold turkey. Place her the opposite side of the house to your neighbours and did deep to ignore her. By all means go down to her, tell her to get back in her bed and then leave her. Repeat, repeat, repeat until she relearns that barking only gets a response of 'get back into bed' not food.

2. Put breakfast on a cue. Set an alarm for 2.30am that you both can hear and get up and feed her. Then go back to bed and sleep. Repeat for 2-3 nights until she cottons on that alrm = feeding. Then start to sneak the alarm back in time. So, go from 2.30am to 2.35am then 2.40am etc. Don't ever get up before the alarm and try to start it at time before she barks (you don't want her thinking barking triggers the alarm). Keep sneaking that alarm back until it's back to 7am.

I think at 11 months old I'd be tempted to buy the neighbours a nice hamper, apologise and explain and use Option 1.

itsasausage Fri 09-Aug-19 09:14:24

what are you feeding her?

AgathaF Fri 09-Aug-19 10:47:28

Can you leave her some dry food down overnight? Let her help herself if she wants to, and ignore any barking. At 11 months she's perfectly able to go through the night without eating. She's just got into a bad habit.

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Nesssie Fri 09-Aug-19 11:37:37

Put the food is a slow feeder so that it takes her a while to eat it. Then gradually give it to her later and later (even if its just by 5minutes a day.

i like @missbattenburg idea about using a cue sound (ie alarm clock) but that might be setting yourself up for problems later on in life if it becomes an ingrained response.

Wildboar Fri 09-Aug-19 11:40:57

Can you try giving a big meal at bedtime and go the route of cold turkey in the morning. Buy your neighbours a big bottle of wine and let them know in advance.

Wildboar Fri 09-Aug-19 11:42:13

Plus never feed her if she barks. Only ever feed when she’s calm.

adaline Fri 09-Aug-19 12:03:09

Don't leave food down for her overnight - dogs absolutely don't need to be eating at 3am!

There is no way I would be getting up to feed my dog at 3 in the morning - just ignore her. If she sleeps somewhere where she's bothering the neighbours, can you put her in a different room temporarily? Then, just put earplugs in and pretend you can't hear her. She won't bark forever.

At the moment, even by just getting up, you're rewarding her barking which is what she wants. Barking must be ignored.

swissmilk Fri 09-Aug-19 18:08:27

Can you find out if your neighbours are going away soon on a summer holiday?
If so, that would be great....time the cold turkey routine for then.
If not, I would book the dog into boarding kennels and let them get the routine there, it won't take long....I am a bitch without sleep! (But also a lovely owner to a respectful dog who would not do that to me!)

missbattenburg Fri 09-Aug-19 18:22:07

Booking into kennels is a bit of a risk. Dogs are not great at generalising learning so he may learn breakfast is at 7am in the kennels but never apply that learning to the home environment afterwards.

Looking to fit training in with a neighbour's summer holiday sounds like a great plan, though.

sunnydaysareheretoday Fri 09-Aug-19 18:25:02

I would definitely ignore no way does a dog need feeding at that time. You're training her to bark and receive food!

BiteyShark Fri 09-Aug-19 18:28:37

Go speak to your neighbours and explain the situation.

Move dog into the furthest room from their bedrooms and ignore but expect it to get worse before it gets better.

They are very good at punishing you for your mistakes winegrin

FranAndFern Fri 09-Aug-19 19:16:15

Thanks for the suggestions, especially the alarm one. I think I'm going to go cold turkey. She is in the furthest room from the neighbours, but I can hear her so loudly from my room they must be able to hear her. I'm going to shut the living room door too.

She is eating Forthglade wet food atm. If I put dry food down for her she would wolf it all down in one go anyway.

I'm well aware it's all my doing, I just worry so much about her disturbing the neighbours I've got into the habit of giving in.

OP’s posts: |
swissmilk Fri 09-Aug-19 23:26:56

Good luck! You do have to been quite firm (but fair) with some dogs...it can be a battle of wills sometimes.

FranAndFern Sat 10-Aug-19 01:22:54

I spoke to the neighbours last night and warned them.

DDog started early because I got up to go to the loo. She has been barking solidly for ten minutes and is showing no signs of stopping sad

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FranAndFern Sat 10-Aug-19 01:46:34

She's finally stopped barking. Thank god, I thought it would never end.

OP’s posts: |
FranAndFern Sat 10-Aug-19 02:16:11

Oh FFS..

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NarcolepticOuchMouse Sat 10-Aug-19 02:30:42

Stay strong OP! If you cave now what has she learnt?

FranAndFern Sat 10-Aug-19 03:13:06

Ah there's no way I can give in now. It's a battle of wills!

She seems to be able to hear my every move. If I turn over in bed she starts up again sad My sciatica is killing me so is hard not to.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Sat 10-Aug-19 05:50:23

It's awful as I know how hard it is to ignore ( I too have a spaniel and his bark is surprisingly loud for his size).

Remember it's going to be painful and expect a few regressions along the way but the end goal is sleep for both of you.

Good luck.

FranAndFern Sat 10-Aug-19 06:15:32

Well that was the worst night ever.

I just hope is better tomorrow!

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Sat 10-Aug-19 06:20:36

Don't be surprised if it takes a few nights and even when you think you have cracked it he relapses a few times in the future.

Even without the habit of waking for food I know my dog at that age used to regress in his behaviour every now and again. Maybe buy some earplugs and wine for you and your neighbours today? grin

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