So exhausted from puppy randomly barking early morning

(10 Posts)
Twinmama32 Wed 09-Oct-19 13:29:49

Help! I’m at the end of my tether... had puppy 2.5 months always sleeps from 11-7 no problem. Suddenly 2 weeks ago he is waking randomly from 4:45-630 and barking. It’s horrible, I can’t anticipate it as it changes everyday, he’s always lying down, doesn’t need a wee (have to make him!), doesn’t seem stressed. What the hell do I do as I can’t function!
Considering an anti bark collar now which i know is awful, is there anything else I can do?

OP’s posts: |
adaline Wed 09-Oct-19 14:12:15

Please don't use a bark collar - they're aversive and will only make your dog associate whatever he's barking at with fear.

Can you put a camera up and see what's triggering him? Could it be a cat or fox outside perhaps? Can he see outdoors and something is moving and exciting or scaring him? If he sleeps in a crate - try covering it with a blanket and using a white noise machine so he's not disturbed.

Good luck - ours went through a similar phase of waking up and barking at nothing - I'm pleased to say it didn't last!

Veterinari Wed 09-Oct-19 14:34:44

I suspect there’s some inadvertent reinforcement happening here - do you touch him/give attention?
He’s likely just looking for reassurance that you’re still around. Does he quiet if you call down to him?

Twinmama32 Wed 09-Oct-19 14:53:35

Yes he’s in a covered crate and can’t see outside...a white noise machine is a good idea, we currently use a radio. I have a pet calm plug in going constantly too. This morning he was just lying casually in his crate so clearly not agitated just wanted to wake me up!
I go down, make no eye contact/no talking, straight outside for wee (he never goes immediately) then straight back to crate where he then goes ballistic. Previously would go inTo crate with no bother in the morning and certainly had no qualms going in at any other time of the day. He’s 18 weeks now and we’ve had him since 10 weeks, and had no issues until recently. Just can’t work out what’s changed.
* adaline* how long did it last for you?
* Veterinari* no sadly doesn’t quieten down if I call.

I really don’t want to use the collar, but how can I tackle this without losing my sanity?!

OP’s posts: |
adaline Wed 09-Oct-19 15:20:13

@Twinmama32 I'd say maybe 2-3 weeks and then he settled again. I still have no idea what disturbed him but he's been absolutely fine since!

The best way to improve nuisance barking is to ignore it, but I appreciate that's not easy at 4am! I have a noisy breed and he does bark a fair bit but ignoring him works much better than anything else.

If I shout, he thinks I'm joining in and will bark more. It also gives him attention which is ultimately what he wants. Ignoring him means he gets nothing from me - no eye contact, no verbal communication - zilch, zip, nada. If that means I walk out of the room until he stops, so be it. He now stops within seconds whereas when he was younger it would take upto thirty minutes to shut him up blush

If going downstairs makes it worse, I would be tempted to just stick earplugs in and ignore him completely. He should learn after a couple of days that barking won't get him what he wants.

missbattenburg Wed 09-Oct-19 15:23:57

This is an entirely normal part of puppies growing up. He is at the stage in his life where he is really starting to understand that his own behaviour can shape and influence the world around him.

e.g. If I bark = humans get up and life becomes more exciting

This will not be the last 'naughty' behaviour that he experiments with.

If you are sure he is barking to wake you up then you need to break the connection in his mind between barking and humans turning up.

There are multiple ways to do that but with battendog I used an alarm. That alarm was set earlier than he would wake naturally and we had a simple rule:

- nothing of value happened before the alarm went off; it didn't matter if I got up for a wee or let him out for a wee or moved about or whatever. If the alarm had not gone off then the day had not started. If I went for a wee he was ignored. If he needed a wee he was taken out into the garden, wee'd and put straight back into his crate and ignored. If I moved about, he was ignored.

- the day only started when the alarm went off. That was the signal that we were getting up and walks and playtime and food would begin.

When it was clear to me he really did understand what the alarm meant because he never got excited by anything until the alarm went off, then I started to sneak it back from 5.30am to 5.35am to 5.40am and so on - until it was at a decent time.

Now he's an adult, the alarm still signals the start of the day but I can switch it off at the weekend and he just snoozes through until I get up (it helps that get up quite early but have, on occasion, slept in until 10am wthout bother).

Pet plug ins won't make any difference to this circumstance because they are not sedatives (not that I think sedatives are the right answer either).

Black out curtains and whte nouise may well help because they will reduce the outside signals that the day has started. I would imagine by now he has started to learn the radio schedule - e.g. when the presenter's voice changes from Vanessa Feltz to Chris Evans then it must be time to get up smile. Setting the radio on a timer to come on at a certian time in the morning could work like the larm clock above, if you set it up that way.

TwattingDog Wed 09-Oct-19 15:24:46 Electric shock collars - which is what most anti bark collars are - are being banned thank god.

Have you tried NOT crating him? What happens if the door of the crate is left open overnight?


Twinmama32 Wed 09-Oct-19 15:47:07

TwattingDog lately when I’ve brought him back in for his wee I’ve just left him loose in the kitchen and gone back upstairs but I’m obviously still awake as am anticipating barking! This morning I left him with a pizzle on the kitchen floor and I suspect chewed for a bit and fell asleep, he was quiet though.

I know I just have to ignore it but I’m so conscious of the neighbours, i wait till he pauses barking before entering but that is obviously not as good as ignoring altogether.
There’s no easy way through this is there?! grin

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Wed 09-Oct-19 15:56:47

There’s no easy way through this is there?!

There never is grin

Buy your neighbours a box of chocolates and explain your plan so they know it's not going to be barky forever.

Twinmama32 Sat 12-Oct-19 07:10:05

Right so we’ve toughened up and ignored the barking for the last 3 nights. It was hideous as the first day was 4:50 am and the second 5:30 but he did eventually stop each time after 30 mins. this morning he didn’t start until 6:10, he barked for 15 mins then stopped I waited 10 more mins then when down as he was silent.
I feel like we are getting there, thanks for your encouragement and straight talking, I clearly just needed to hear the hard truth that it wasn’t going to be simple or easy!

OP’s posts: |

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