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6 month old puppy barking and whining in his crate at night

5 replies

inexcessive · 07/01/2020 09:35

Hi all. We have a lovely six month old Cockerpoo. He has been doing brilliantly sleeping in his crate since we got him at about eight weeks. However, something seems to have happened!

Over Christmas, we were away and he was very unsettled in his crate alone downstairs in a new environment. We gave in - we couldn't keep everybody else in the house up, so we let him sleep in our bedroom for the few days we were away. Now we are home, he will happily go into his crate at bedtime but about 30 minutes later he starts whining and barking. Again, we can't leave him to bark it out indefinitely as we have neighbours (we have tried this and he can keep going for quite some time)! He is absolutely fine when one of us goes to him - I think basically he thinks that sleeping together is a really great idea and he'd like to continue with it! We don't want him in our bedroom or upstairs largely (but not only) because upstairs is very much the cat's domain. The last couple of nights I have lain next to him in his crate until he has gone to sleep and then left him - but this morning he woke up at 5am and started barking the house down until I went to him. At which point I got him out of his crate and he went back to sleep next to me on the sofa.

So, just wondered if anyone could tell me whether this is some sort of developmental stage (he is getting a bit teenagery)!? Is there anything else I should or could do to discourage him from doing this? I am really tired!!

Thanks in advance.

OP posts:
TheyAllFloat · 07/01/2020 09:57

I suspect developmental as lost of dogs start testing the world about now - but is there a specific reason he has to be in a crate now rather than a bed in the kitchen (or wherever)? Mine graduated out of the crate at about that age.

Anyway, the trouble with your approach right now is that when you try to ignore barking but sometimes, eventually give in you are setting up a kind of reward schedule that will encourage the barking behaviour - in short, behaviours that sometimes result in what you want and sometimes do not are far more persistent than those that are always rewarded.

If you want to use ignoring him as a method then you must do it absolutely, every single time. It'll probably get a bit worse but then should stop.

Taking him out the crate could work in your favour here as it may reset his expectations re barking. If you leave him out the crate and ignore all braking he MAY stop sooner than in the crate because he now has experience that barking in crate means someone may come to him sooner or later.

inexcessive · 07/01/2020 10:50

Hi Theyallfloat, thanks for this, I agree with everything you are saying! I think I might ask the neighbours what they can hear through the wall so that I can know whether it's OK with them to leave him to bark. We don't have a fantastic relationship with them so could be a bit tricky!

We keep him in the crate partly because he's a terrible chewer and if there is anything at all that he can swallow that he shouldn't, he will! We do our best to make the kitchen (which is quite large open plan and also our sitting room) puppy safe but I just don't know for sure whether he would go for a rug or a piece of soft furnishing or something else while alone!

One night he did actually get out of his crate and seemed to find it all a bit confusing and worrying - but that was a few months ago so could have changed. Hmm, some things to think about here. Thanks again!

OP posts:
TummyTurtle · 07/01/2020 13:16

We have had this same problem several times, particularly after a change in routine e.g Christmas. One if us would get up if they cried, let them outside in case they needed a wee, and then put them back in their crate after a couple of strokes. Somehow, ours understand the word "bedtime" meaning "you're going to go in your crate now and we're going to bed". If they are being stubborn and continuing to make a noise, my husband says "Bedtime" in a firm voice, which usually does the trick and they settle down.

As TheyAllFloat has said, you need to decide what you want to do as you know your dog best, and then stick with it!

sillysmiles · 07/01/2020 15:54

Personally I'd move him back into your room for a while and slowly migrate him out of it - first to the halllway and then back to the kitchen. Slowly.
Sounds like he is confused and missing his humans and realised that having his humans there at night is nicer.

inexcessive · 07/01/2020 16:37

Thanks all. I agree that we do need to be consistent but that means responding to his crying because of issues with noise. So I need to think of a way of doing that so that he doesn't think that crying gets him what he wants!

Sillysmiles, he is definitely confused, and he would prefer to be with his humans (especially me!) at all times but we also need to work on his separation anxiety I think so that he gets comfortable being left alone for short periods.

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