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Help with our "watchdog"


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Our foster Rose is a good watchdog! Too good. For the past several nights she has reacted two to four times to what I can only believe is some small stimulus. She jumps up and barks several times, inciting Cerb to do the same, runs out into the living room, then returns when she finds nothing to savage. As I only get 6 hours of sleep on a best-case-scenario work night (we live in the sticks and I have a killer commute) this can't go on for much longer without me physically crashing. I don't go back to sleep very easily.

Because we're asleep when the barking starts, we never know what sets off the sequence. Cerb has never barked like this and our previous dog did so only very rarely. It might be our daughter shifting in bed or the cat jumping up on, or rubbing, something.

Since we can't catch this behavior in a timely manner (we're asleep!)how can we address this before I fall asleep at the wheel on my way to work?

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Tricky! The longer I have my reactive dog, the less he reacts to outside stimulus. But when I first had him, he barked at e-ver-y-thing. Leaves twitching outside, cars going by, conversations three doors down. Oy.

 

Patricia McConnell has a pretty good protocol. I used to run it during prime rail-commuter-passby hours (4 - 6 p.m.). But honestly, I slacked off the first winter (closed windows = less noise) and I really didn't train the barking out of my dog. He is better, though.

 

Good luck!

 

Mary

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I don't have an answer, however, I am suffering from a different, but related problem myself. My foster boy, Glyn, has taken to expressing his affection for me by flopping his front paws on me -- pinning down with his weight -- and vigorously licking my face. At 02:00 - 02:30 ! He has always been an affectionate fellow, but this is getting too much. I suspect that he has learned this from Senneca, but she does it to wake me up at the proper time and is extremely gentle when she nuzzles me. Glyn on the other hand has a more robust style -- I feel like I am getting impaled when he prods me.

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Have you tried crating her?

Yes, she was crated for the first week here and still barked. Unless it's a soundproof crate, how would that help? Not to anthropomorphize,but I wonder if she now feels like a part of our pack and feels protective. She's reacting to some yet unknown stimulus and the best case scenario would be that she were desensitized. I'm willing to try just about anything within reason.

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Our foster Rose is a good watchdog! Too good. For the past several nights she has reacted two to four times to what I can only believe is some small stimulus. She jumps up and barks several times, inciting Cerb to do the same, runs out into the living room, then returns when she finds nothing to savage. As I only get 6 hours of sleep on a best-case-scenario work night (we live in the sticks and I have a killer commute) this can't go on for much longer without me physically crashing. I don't go back to sleep very easily.

Because we're asleep when the barking starts, we never know what sets off the sequence. Cerb has never barked like this and our previous dog did so only very rarely. It might be our daughter shifting in bed or the cat jumping up on, or rubbing, something.

Since we can't catch this behavior in a timely manner (we're asleep!)how can we address this before I fall asleep at the wheel on my way to work?

 

I know I am often guilty of anthropomorphizing, but to me, this kind of barking (especially in the crate) is like the wakey wakey baby in the middle of the night in the crib phase. If you are sure there is nothing wrong (i.e. a burglar or the house is on fire), let her fuss it out - start on a night when you don't have to go to work in the morning. If you don't want her in a crate, keep the door shut in the room that she is in to prevent the mad gallops through the house. If she fusses, ignore her.

 

BTW - DH and I had several serious disagreements over crating and when to respond to the dog fussing from the moment Brodie stepped paw in this house because Brodie has been determined right from the start that he is going to be promoted to "bedroom" status and periodically registers his complaints about 2 AM. No way, dude. Ladybug is not a dog. She is an enchanted Celtic fairy princess :). That is why she gets to sleep in the bedroom. You are in the crate in the mudroom beside your brother and there you will slumber. DH made the mistake of letting him join us two or three times when he was a pup (because he also was bleary eyed with lack of sleep, and Brodie has never let us forget it and so now and again takes a notion to howl his displeasure.

 

 

ETA - It might well be the cat setting her off. It might even have become sort of a game between them - Cats are like that :).

 

 

Liz

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This response will show how much I really like to sleep. Our new dog ( we have had her 6 months now) is a border collie, bernese mountain dog mix. I think the bernese part makes her act like a 24 hour watchdog. At night she would bark multiple times and wake me up. We tell her everything is okay and she usually quiets down. Sometimes I am desperate though.... my solution is to allow her to sleep next to me. This is successful 100% of the time with no more barking during the night. She settles in, moves very little and sleeps through the night. Go figure.

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Yes, she was crated for the first week here and still barked. Unless it's a soundproof crate, how would that help? Not to anthropomorphize,but I wonder if she now feels like a part of our pack and feels protective. She's reacting to some yet unknown stimulus and the best case scenario would be that she were desensitized. I'm willing to try just about anything within reason.

Well, if she's in a crate next to you, you can 'shoosh" her before she gets worked up into full protection mode. Also, it will keep her from running through the house which will only work her up more.

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I'd second crating and covering the crate. The fact she can run and get Cerb excited along with her can only build the behavior. Kelleybean's suggestion of crating her in the room with you might help, too. Maybe?

 

Or perhaps one of those citrus-squirting bark collars? I've never used them, but ...

 

I definitely think leaving her loose to build her own excitement and get Cerb involved, too, is a no-win. Good luck!

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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Running through the house to chase away the bad guys is a self-rewarding behavior. Definitely crate her. Cover if needed.

 

I have very strict rules about nighttime/sleeping behavior in my house. Any new dog is crated until they prove they are able to sleep quietly through the night. Then they graduate to sleeping on the bed. If they move or make a peep, they go back in the crate.

 

I like my sleep and don't want anyone waking me up unless it's an emergency. And FYI, I can't tell you how fast the sound of a vomiting/retching dog can wake me up and have me on my feet....

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I like my sleep and don't want anyone waking me up unless it's an emergency. And FYI, I can't tell you how fast the sound of a vomiting/retching dog can wake me up and have me on my feet....

 

Totally this^^.

 

To the OP, I vote for crate, covered crate, and possibly a white noise machine. After summer wound down this year, and the a/c wasn't running I kept waking up around 2am with June on my head. She's very sound sensitive and the only thing I could figure was she was hearing the trains docking. I put her a white noise machine in the living room (she likes to sleep on the couch). I have not been awakened by a June on my head but once since - and that was the night we had a power blink and the machine turned off. If you have a white noise machine handy it might be a place to start, actually.

 

I totally feel your pain. I don't handle chronic interrupted sleep very well, personally.

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Our Aussie (5 yrs. old now) still has to be crated at night. She will also start barking and running through the house at 2 or 3 in the morning. She also likes to "patrol" at night. She can sleep all day to get her sleep, but DH and I have to work during the day, so she is crated. :blink:

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Our Aussie (5 yrs. old now) still has to be crated at night. She will also start barking and running through the house at 2 or 3 in the morning. She also likes to "patrol" at night. She can sleep all day to get her sleep, but DH and I have to work during the day, so she is crated. :blink:

 

Rosie was great last night. We closed the door as much as we thought practical with an 11 year old in her bedroon at the other end of the house. She did, however, look really hurt when I pulled her limp carcass off the bed and put her on the floor. How a 40lb BC can take up 3/4 of a Cal King bed is beyond me. :rolleyes:

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How a 40lb BC can take up 3/4 of a Cal King bed is beyond me. :rolleyes:

 

I had a 15 pound cat who easily managed to take up the entire bed every night, leaving me with only a slim sliver on one edge.

 

In contrast, I now sleep with 2 40 pound border collies, who actually manage to leave me room between them to sleep. But it's a good thing I like feeling like the filling in a sandwich.

:D

D'Elle

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Cerb, out 55lb BCx seems to always find the spot at the foot of the bed where he's least likly to disturb us. Even when I pull him up between us to scratch his belly and say good night, as soon as I'm finished, it's back down to the foot, curled up into a little ball.

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