Older Dog Overnight Routine Help

(3 Posts)
astridforty Mon 16-Dec-19 17:36:33

At my wits end with our 13 year old Bichon early morning behaviour - hoping there might be some wise words from Mnetters.

Bichon has always slept upstairs on the bed then taken herself off to the landing/ bedroom floor when she gets a bit hot. Has always been bomb proof in terms of toileting and gone 12/13 hours through the night with no bother - you’d have to rouse her to go downstairs. Fast forward to 13 years and we’re really struggling to get any sleep - ironically we’ve a newborn baby and it’s the dog that’s keeping everyone awake hmmconfused

She gets up around 5am, not quietly, think banging round the bedroom, snuffling, head shakes - enough to wake the house and the other younger dog who then follows her downstairs. They are toileted pretty immediately, if left at this point they’ll bark to go out and might have an accident inside.

The 5 ish wake up is seriously affecting DH who struggles with insomnia at the best of times and just can’t go back to sleep. We’ve tried bedroom door closed, access to landing/ hallway, putting her to bed downstairs (total disaster - pooing and 48hours of stress vomiting), later bedtimes, adjusting evening meal times in case it was hunger. If we go to bed at 9.30 ish, she could wake as early as 4. She’s regularly checked by our vet, no health conditions other than some long-standing skin issues which are permanently medicated.

What am I missing - other than the obvious missed boat around training your puppy to sleep downstairs.. Do we just need to resign ourselves to a permanent early alarm? Has anyone successfully reset their dogs body clock?

OP’s posts: |
FeedThemFlumps Mon 16-Dec-19 20:11:12

An unsettled day/night routine is a classic sign of canine cognitive decline/disfunction which happens to a lot of dogs as they age. Even without that, there are real biological reasons why elderly dogs (and people) wake very early due to a decline in melatonin levels.

I would take him to the vet for a check up specific to this issue. I'd also try and have as much patience as possible, this is an elderly dog who likely has an age/medical reason, not a training one. Not easy with a newborn, I realise.

astridforty Thu 19-Dec-19 17:23:48

Thanks, vet appt booked and we’ve also upped the exercise slightly - difficult balance with the older one as too much seems to make them stiff. We got to 6am this morning grin.

When they get up we tend to feed them, on basis that they are hugely irritating until they get their breakfast. I’m worried that just reinforces the early get up. Do you think we should be holding out for a set reasonable time for breakfast?

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