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laurenandkimi

Rescue BC barking through the night

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This last Saturday we rescued our new Border Collie, Kimi. Kimi's 3 and has come from a previous family home with another, older, collie and three kids. Our house on the other hand, is just me and my husband, and our cat Sam (also a rescue, also 3, but we got him 2 years ago and he was a stray before that).

Kimi was good as gold the first couple of days and actually seemed to completely contradict a lot of the advice that I'd found doing research beforehand on rescue dogs - he's very friendly and has already started claiming our laps whenever we sit down on the sofa, and he seems completely chilled out on walks - he gets on well with all other dogs so far and doesn't seem bothered around crowds of people. 

We've separated off our kitchen and living room as 'Kimi's spot' so that the cat has the run of the rest of the house, as we didn't want him to feel too uprooted (we're working on introducing them, but at the moment they're kept completely separate). The first night, Kimi went to bed in the kitchen and slept through til about 7am no problems. The second night, he went to bed in the kitchen but must have managed to open the sliding doors and get into the living room but again, only woke us up at 7am ish. 

Last night, he got into the living room again and then barked through the night - from midnight onwards. I think he stopped for a couple of hours at one point, but then he was going again up until I got up at 6:30 to let him out and feed him his breakfast (I tried to time it in between barks, so that he didn't see me as coming in response to his barking). I then popped back upstairs to get dressed for the morning dog walk and he was barking again within minutes. 

The barks weren't non stop but they were consistent, and they ranged from a sort of normal pitch bark to more of a high pitched yip. He didn't howl at any point though. While my husband popped downstairs at midnight just to double check he didn't need to go out, we ignored him the rest of the time as I was concerned that if we responded he'd see it as encouragement/success - we didn't acknowledge the barking at all. (We are completely exhausted today though!) 

Some other points that may or not be relevant - we don't have curtains in our front room, but we do live in a very quiet cul de sac. He didn't destroy or chew anything other than some pawing at the door - he also didn't wee or poo inside. We haven't yet been able to find a toy that he likes to chew/cuddle, so he wouldn't really have had anything to distract himself with (we're paying a visit to Pets at home tonight to try a few more things). 

Exercise wise, since we got him the routine has been one 45-60 minute walk in the morning in the local park (on retractable lead) along with some en route training e.g. getting him to come and sit when he gets too far ahead/when we're coming up to a crossing. He then gets a 60-90 minute walk (around 5-6pm) including at least 20 mins off-lead running about and playing fetch/doggy ping pong. Then we do 10-20 mins of indoor training/sniffing out treats in the evening with one last 15 minute walk to let him go to the toilet before bedtime at around 10:30. 

Basically - I'm just looking for some advice. Does it sound like he needs more exercise/stimulation? Do we need to find him something that he likes to occupy him e.g. frozen kong/chew? Do we need to get curtains? Is it just a change in routine and we need to wait out the next few nights and not respond to the barking? I don't know if it can be SA as he doesn't seem particularly bothered to be left during the day - when my husband popped back at lunch today to double check he was snoozing on the sofa quite happily. 

Unfortunately, having him in the bedroom isn't an option as we don't want to take yet another space away from the cat - at least not until (if) they get used to being in the same room peacefully. 

 

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Welcome to the Boards and congratulations on adopting your beautiful dog.

My guess is that he's lonely and/or anxious about being separated from you a night. Dogs are extremely social animals and feel the need for companionship very strongly. He's probably crying out for his people, especially because he was used to living in a home with people..

I suppose there are a couple approaches to this. One would be simply to ignore his barking through the night as one would a puppy crying in its crate the first time it's been separated from it's mother and litter mates and wait it out till the barking extinguishes.  It's not the approach I personally would take.

The other is to move him into the bedroom to sleep in a crate near your bed. You could introduce him to the cat earlier than you'd planned, and even if you didn't introduce them directly ahead of time, the crate will protect the cat from any harm. It could cause some barking at the cat, of course, in which case it would be even closer to you to interrupt your sleep.

You might also try some long lasting chew toys or frozen stuffed Kongs with part of his dinner in it to keep him occupied for a while.

Personally, when I adopt a new dog, it always sleeps in a crate right by me bed so it knows it's part of the family.

Best wishes.

 

 

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This is a tough one for you and there isn't an answer that will not be to some degree something you don't really want to do.  I agree with Gentle Lake. If it were me, I would probably move him in the crate into the bedroom and at least give that a try. As noted already, he most likely is responding to feeling isolated. Cover the crate so he can't see the cat.

 If the cat freaks out or gets depressed, or if he continues to bark all night, that may not be the solution. If that happens, and it continues, I would probably give a stuffed Kong (with something really yummy in it) and again put a sheet over the crate so he cannot see out and wait it out. He won't keep it up forever.

It is definitely not an issue of not having enough exercise or stimulation. You are doing fine there.  He is getting a good amount of time and exercise and what you are doing sounds great for his age. However, that could possibly be contributing to his barking....as in "hey! where are you? I want more attention!" I'm not suggesting you should cut down on the exercise, just mentioning a possible cause. Knowing the cause isn't the issue, though. Getting it to stop is the issue and it may just be a matter of time. Rescue dogs often take a while to adjust, but he will

Welcome to the boards. Stick around. Lots of good, helpful people here.

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My advice is pretty similar to the 2 posts above.

Rescue dogs can take a while to settle in - days, weeks, or even months. I am not surprised that he is showing different behaviors as he becomes more comfortable in your house. That is normal.

I agree that he may be missing being close to his humans at night. Do you know how he was treated in his previous home? i.e. did he stay inside at night? free run of the house?

Funny story: One of my first fosters (I foster off and on for a border collie rescue group) was a BC mix that was used to roaming around her neighborhood because her owners couldn't be bothered to take care of her. She became very social as a result. She did NOT like being kept in a crate in the living room when we went upstairs to sleep at night. 3 straight nights of barking/whining. At least every 5-15 minutes. I couldn't sleep a wink, but my husband was fine because he is pretty deaf and takes his hearing aids out at night. On the 4th night, she started the barkfest again. I said what the heck and went downstairs to let her out of the crate with the intention of moving her crate into our bedroom. The second I opened the door, she zoomed upstairs. I ran after her to see what she was going to do, and got there just in time to see her disappearing under the bed. That 60 lb BC mix just DOVE under our bed, and stayed there without a peep until we woke in the morning. Problem solved for the duration of her stay with us.

I agree about trying to keep him in a crate at night in your bedroom. As suggested, a cover over the crate may be helpful depending on how the dog reacts to the cat, and how the cat reacts to the dog.  You have to try different tactics to see what works best for your situation.

If the cat is feeling very frightened by the dog, try tethering the dog to you inside the house so that he never has a chance to chase the cat (if that is what is going to happen). A lot of dog/cat interaction can sometimes be determined by how the cat acts. If the cat is always going to run because he feels scared, the dog will want to chase. I find that if the dog doesn't chase the cat (and you can prevent chasing by keeping the dog tethered to you), the cat can feel more confident, may not run and therefore, the dog is less likely to chase. This is just one scenario. There are so many issues with the dog/cat interplay that you will have to do your best depending on the tendencies of the two species.

I also agree about using a frozen, stuffed Kong for calm behavior in the crate (and other times too). If you bring him into your bedroom, give him the frozen, stuffed Kong when you put him in his crate. Hopefully it will calm him during his first minutes in the crate. And after that, hopefully, we will remain calm.

Good Luck.

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Thanks all - really appreciate your advice! 

Had a chat through it all with my husband - he's really not keen at all on having the dog in the bedroom, so while I definitely think that's probably the easiest option we're going to try to work through it without doing that. 

Last night I slept down in the living room but didn't interact with Kimi and he settled down v quickly beyond a quick sniff of my head on the pillow, which makes me inclined to agree with the idea that he is genuinely worried about where we are/being left alone and not just attention seeking. 

We have a gate across the living room door (as well as an actual door which we're keeping shut at the moment to keep on top of cat v dog interaction), however we're quite lucky layout wise in that we have a spare bedroom just across from the living room door, so next step might be to sleep across there with the gate shut but the door open (with the cat safely shut away with my husband upstairs) and work up to moving back upstairs.

My question is - how do I manoeuvre this so that I don't allow any bad habits to develop but also help him feel as secure as possible in his new home? When I move across to the spare room, do I acknowledge him at all if he cries? (e.g. say shh so he can hear I'm nearby) 

Thanks again all for your help so far - he's not just our first BC he's our first dog, so I'm constantly second guessing myself at the moment!

 

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He may not make noise at all when you move over to the spare room, as long as you don't make that move too soon. As with all things, take everything one little step at a time. spend a week sleeping in the living room, then another week in the spare room, and see if he doesn't just settle down. There is also a difference between a scared little whine, which might be helped with a shhh, and a demanding bark. since you are not experienced with dogs you may not know these differences until you learn them from him. Very close observation of your dog is always a good idea, but especially necessary for a new dog owner. Spend as much time as you can simply watching him, his body language, his energy levels, his vocalizations. Watch him when he is in the yard, watch him when he is on walks, watch him when he is with you in the evening.  He is his own creature, with his own language and personality. Do you best to learn who he is, and it will serve you well.

 

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14 hours ago, D'Elle said:

He may not make noise at all when you move over to the spare room, as long as you don't make that move too soon. As with all things, take everything one little step at a time. spend a week sleeping in the living room, then another week in the spare room, and see if he doesn't just settle down. There is also a difference between a scared little whine, which might be helped with a shhh, and a demanding bark. since you are not experienced with dogs you may not know these differences until you learn them from him. Very close observation of your dog is always a good idea, but especially necessary for a new dog owner. Spend as much time as you can simply watching him, his body language, his energy levels, his vocalizations. Watch him when he is in the yard, watch him when he is on walks, watch him when he is with you in the evening.  He is his own creature, with his own language and personality. Do you best to learn who he is, and it will serve you well.

 

Thanks so much D'Elle - really appreciate your advice! I slept in the spare room yesterday night with the doors open (but gate shut) and a dim light and very low classical music on, and he was settled through the night until 6:30am, so I definitely think the dark and having the door shut might have been particularly distressing him. We're going to keep the door open at night I think, so we'll keep the cat shut upstairs with us at bedtime until we're certain they won't confront each other through the gate.

I think I have been massively overthinking everything and not acknowledging that he's actually only been in our house under a week, so can't expect him to be fully chilled and settled straightaway! 

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Easy mistake to make, and one I made myself with foster dogs when I first started fostering. Then I shifted my focus completely and concentrated my energy on observing the dog as closely as I could, asking myself "who is this dog?". I made it a mission to find out who the dog was, what the dog was like, what scared him, what made him happy, etc. It made all the difference, and things went a lot faster. You gotta let the dog have his or her own time to adjust and understand what is going on. For all he knows at this point, you are only another way-station on the way to who knows where. He doesn't know he is home yet. But you are doing fine; he will learn that this is for keeps and will relax.

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That's so true - I need to stop thinking about all the things that he could be thinking/feeling and pay attention to what he's trying to communicate to me! 

I moved from the spare room back to my bedroom as a test last night and he slept all the way through from 10:30 to 5am, barked once and settled straight back down when I called down for him to go back to bed, and then up at 7am - so already great progress! :) I really think he just didn't like being moved to the kitchen and the door being shut on him, it probably felt much more like we were 'leaving' him, whereas now he can just keep chilling on the sofa and hear us upstairs. 

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