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Turning into a zombie...need some sleep


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I have been watching this board for a long time and really appreciate all of the valuable information especially as a new border collie owner. I have been searching for some help to my problem, but haven't been able to find the answer so I thought I would ask for some advice.

 

I have a 8 month old BC. He has been crate trained since we brought him home. My husband and I work so he stays in his kennel during the day with someone coming to play with him at lunchtime and late afternoon and one of us is home by 6pm. From the time we come home we are active with him playing, taking a walk, catching tennis balls, etc. The problem is at night. We go to bed around 10pm and every night he wakes up at 1am and again at 4am. When he wakes up he starts whining, barking, and digging in his kennel to get our attention. At 1am, I am usually able to tell him to quiet down and he will go back to sleep. However lately when he wakes up at 4am he is doesn't give up. I have been letting it carry on until 5:30am then I let him out. He immediately wants to play. We are starting to think that he realizes we will be going to work and the earlier he wakes up the more he can play. He can sleep all day so no worries for him, however my husband and I are sleep deprieved and worried this pattern may not end. Any advice?

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Is the crate in your bedroom? Maybe you could move it to another area where you won't hear him. By telling him to be quiet, you may be inadvertently encouraging his behavior--he's still getting your attention. You might try covering his crate with a sheet too. Also, you mention that from the time you get home till the time you go to bed, it's play time. It may be he's too wired to sleep. Try to engage him in some quiet activity an hour or so before bed time. We've taught Scooter "play time's over" and he will chew on his bone or nuzzle a favorite toy for a while by himself. His way of winding down before going up to sleep for the night, usually around 10:30 p.m. Puppies and children will play as long as you let them, but like a child who's tired but won't give up, you need to be the one to call a halt to the activities. :rolleyes:

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From the time we come home we are active with him playing, taking a walk, catching tennis balls, etc.

You may have answered your own question right in this sentence - your dog has come to expect that when you are home, he is going to receive active attention and playtime.

 

What I would suggest is that you make sure that when you are home (evenings, mornings, weekends, and so on) that while you do spend time with him in physical and mental activities (and mental activities are more tiring than physical), you also make sure that he understands that there are times when he is to be quiet (using his "off" switch).

 

I have a pup who is not quite six months old. He is crated on work days (7 am until 5 pm and, until this week, a neighbor boy has come over to simply potty him once during the day) and at night, and sleeps quietly (or rests quietly) in his crate whether or not we are in the house (realize that he's not perfect yet and does do some whining and occasional scratching if we are still up and around, and he receives a verbal correction if that happens). But, he is also able to occupy himself with chewies, toys, and our other dog (which is not an option for everyone) or to simply be quiet for periods of time during the day or evening when we are home and he is not crated.

 

Developing an "off" switch is important with a mentally and physically active dog like a Border Collie. I think that, in your well-meaning efforts to provide plenty of exercise for your dog that you may not also be teaching him to be quiet and/or self-occupied (in a good way) when you can't be interacting with him.

 

One additional factor may be that, at his age, he is an adolescent and will be pushing his boundaries. It is even more imperative to be consistent and realize that every interaction is a training opportunity (for better or for worse).

 

Best wishes, and I am sure others will contribute more helpful comments and advice.

 

Whoops, posting at the same time!

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I think the advice you have been given above is great. The only thing I would add is to make sure that you and other people that release him from his crate don't get all excited and gitty when you are approaching and opening the crate or for the first few minutes when he gets out. This may help to lower some of his excitement level about getting out to play, therefore lowering some of the anxiety level.

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I think the advice you have been given above is great. The only thing I would add is to make sure that you and other people that release him from his crate don't get all excited and gitty when you are approaching and opening the crate or for the first few minutes when he gets out. This may help to lower some of his excitement level about getting out to play, therefore lowering some of the anxiety level.

That's a really good idea, that I did not think to mention. Actually, when we get home from work, or in the morning when we let them out, we keep it low-key and take them immediately out to potty. After they are done with their business, then we do the greetings and, by that time, they are usually quite calm.

 

They have also been taught to "wait" when the crate doors are open and not just come barreling out. The youngster is still learning this and sometimes even the older dogs have to be reminded when they are enthusiastic.

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How big is the crate? Could it be the dog is getting too big and could use some more room? That happened to us. We kept having to get bigger crates, with the bigger crates she would settle down. Also giving her a slow stimulating toy like a Kong. And again I'm no expert and my dog is a bit nutty, I don't know what others think about this, but around that age, maybe a little later or earlier, I don't remember, we started letting Pan out while we left the house -- not for 8 hours at a time -- but we were never gone for 8 hours at a time -- we just let her out for short breaks and then gradually increasing. That's a long time to stay in the crate and then again at night or it seems to me. I bet if she was out and about in a room in the house that was puppy-proofed she wouldn't be so restless at night. Also, you should never acknowledge the restless attention-seeking crate behavior -- don't tell her no, don't tell her anything, even negative attention when a dog is restless can be reinforcing -- and never let her out of the crate or even LOOK at her in the crate until she is silent. I second the sheet over the crate too. Start doing that when she does this--without even looking at her--if I did that, Pan always immediately went to sleep

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Thanks for the advice. I tend to agree that we need to teach him have his own quiet time. We tend to be guilty about being at work all day we want to make up for it at night. I almost think he believes it is his job to keep playing with us and his toys at night. We need to find a way to teach him to keep himself occupied.

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I have been watching this board for a long time and really appreciate all of the valuable information especially as a new border collie owner. I have been searching for some help to my problem, but haven't been able to find the answer so I thought I would ask for some advice.

 

I have a 8 month old BC. He has been crate trained since we brought him home. My husband and I work so he stays in his kennel during the day with someone coming to play with him at lunchtime and late afternoon and one of us is home by 6pm. From the time we come home we are active with him playing, taking a walk, catching tennis balls, etc. The problem is at night. We go to bed around 10pm and every night he wakes up at 1am and again at 4am. When he wakes up he starts whining, barking, and digging in his kennel to get our attention. At 1am, I am usually able to tell him to quiet down and he will go back to sleep. However lately when he wakes up at 4am he is doesn't give up. I have been letting it carry on until 5:30am then I let him out. He immediately wants to play. We are starting to think that he realizes we will be going to work and the earlier he wakes up the more he can play. He can sleep all day so no worries for him, however my husband and I are sleep deprieved and worried this pattern may not end. Any advice?

 

Why would you have a 8 month old BC if the dog was going to be in the crate for 18 to 20 hours a day? Could the animal at least spend the night beside or in the bed with someone to get some attention? Ken

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Why would you have a 8 month old BC if the dog was going to be in the crate for 18 to 20 hours a day? Could the animal at least spend the night beside or in the bed with someone to get some attention? Ken

 

 

 

I can appreciate your comment. I am currently working most Fridays from home and we are spending every waking moment with our pup. Until we can trust him on his own we are doing the best we can.

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Gator, my dogs are crated while I am at work and one is crated at night as well, because she also is young and can't be trusted. They get play time, training and interaction with me every day in the evenings and most of the day on the weekends. And they are just fine, happy, and well-adjusted. Someone who is home all day doesn't spend every waking moment with their dog anyway. You are doing fine with your pup.

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I can appreciate your comment. I am currently working most Fridays from home and we are spending every waking moment with our pup. Until we can trust him on his own we are doing the best we can.

 

It just seems like a long time and there could be problems in the future. I hope it works out. Sleeping with you can be a fun time and it would be more time spent together. We will board only BC pups that have moved on and when they come back to visit, vacation, holiday or anything, they are from 4 months to 2 years and they get to stay in the house during the night in the bed and we have never had a problem or accident. It works well for us. Try it, it might work. Ken

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We are looking forward to that day when we can have him do as he pleases at night. We thought he was ready and we tried it last week. Unfortunately the dresser took victim. We were both so tired, we didn't wake up when he started chewing on one of the drawers. So for now, we are back to the crate until we sure he is ready.

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I would also suggest putting a tough knuckle bone in his crate. Not a rawhide one or one that can be easily chewed, but one that will last for literally a month if not longer (http://www.bullysticks.com/knuckle%20bones.htm). Mal is crated when I am at school during the day and he used to also be crated at night and when I was home, but unable to keep an eye on him (shower, nap). At night, he would whine and rip up the blanket in his kennel. So, every night his bone would get put in and whenever he woke up, he could just chew quietly and then go back to sleep. It was taken up during the day so that it was a special thing he wanted to chew on. Also, if you think he really has to go out, try making it a total non-event. Go so far as to wait until he is quiet then clip a leash on him so he can't run around and get excited, and without saying a word, take him outside so he can potty and then put him back up. Make it as little rewarding as possible for him to wake you up.

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I can appreciate your comment. I am currently working most Fridays from home and we are spending every waking moment with our pup. Until we can trust him on his own we are doing the best we can.

 

It sounds like you are giving him a good amount of exercise and attention. He's getting play breaks during the day. What are you doing in the way of training and stretching his mind? Sometimes that will go farther to tiring a dog than exercise. Otherwise, it sounds like he is in need of an off-switch and learning a "settle" command. You seem very patient. I'm not so nice when I'm sleep deprived. Try not to ever let him out while he is barking or making a racket so the unwanted behavior is not reinforced.

 

Coming up with a strict schedule and sticking to it religiously may be helpful. In other words, if you don't want to get up before 7, then if you must take him out during the night because you think he needs to potty, that is all he does, on leash as Katie suggested, then right back into his crate until the appointed time for everyone to get up. I'm not fun to my dogs when it's time to sleep. I barely talk to them even if I'm taking them out.

 

Decide how much play/free time you want before work and that is all he will get every morning. I think a schedule goes a long way to helping a youngster learn what is expected of him and to accept there are times he needs to be chill either in a crate or around the house while you are busy with other stuff. I always make sure the pup has something approved to chew on, crated or uncrated. Usually Nylabones and Kongs. I don't stuff the Kongs or give anything beyond a small cookie as far as eating in the crate though.

 

Is his crate is big enough to stretch out in? Quinn was crated as a pup, though by 6 months he finally agreed to sleep all night on the bed instead of looking for other things to do. I was so relieved when we hit that milestone. He didn't bark or dig at night in his crate, but kicked around a lot (he likes to really stretch out and often sleeps on his back) and frequently woke me up.

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On the crating at night thing...

 

My female BC was in an x-pen during the day and crated at night until she was about 2. Then she was allowed out at night, and then eventually allowed loose during the day.

Our male aussie was crated during the day and at night until he was about 3 and since then he's been on his bed beside DH's side of the bed attached to a leash that is actually tied to the handle of the mattress so he can't wander off at night and get into things - works fairly well. He still has to be crated during the day because he gets anxious and I'm worried he'll do something bad.

He couldn't even have a blanket or towel in his crate until he was about a year old because he'd eat it. My BC always had a blanket in hers and was fine.

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