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Hello, I’m new to the forum and looking for some general advice and/or reassurance! Sorry this post is long...

We have a 6 month old border collie, generally things have been going well. He goes to puppy class and is learning well, is house trained and is learning boundaries. He can sometimes be a little anxious and seeks reassurance. He gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation in the day. 

He used to be pretty good at going to bed, he sleeps in a crate downstairs and would maybe give a little whine for a couple of minutes before settling down and sleeping all through the night (between about 9.30pm - 6am). 

He then got an upset stomach one night and woke us up a couple of times. Of course we went down each time to let him out as he was alerting us that he needed to go to the toilet.

However since then bedtimes have become a battle. He will cry and bark when put to bed. We tried the tough love approach but that was really unhelpful, he was clearly upset and we have close neighbours so it wasn’t great for anyone.

We changed our approach and would put him in his crate and then sit in the room quietly talking. This seemed to help, he would bark/whine on and off for 5-10 minutes and then settle down and sleep.

We’ve recently had a really bad storm in the night and this scared him. We went to him when he started barking to reassure him. He also gets an upset stomach when stressed so we let him out for that. Unfortunately he did have an accident in his crate that night.

We have now gone right back to the beginning and nighttime’s are even worse then before. Last night we put a camp bed in the room he sleeps in and tried to sleep with him but this really didn’t work. He just stayed awake longer! In the end we left the room at about 3am, he whined for a couple of minutes and eventually fell asleep. It was a particularly hot night so this may have affected him. 

It has been suggested that we put his crate in our bedroom. We are reluctant to do this as we don’t want him sleeping there all the time and also we have 2 cats, their quiet space is upstairs and we don’t want to invade that.

Sorry this post is long... does anyone have any similar experiences and if so what helped? Is this something he will eventually grow out of or should we be concerned we are never going to get a good nights sleep again!!

Many thanks in advance,




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  • 2 weeks later...

In your place, I would simply ignore his noise at night. It sounds as though he eventually settles down, so just wait him out.  This includes thunderstorms. He will learn, if you stick with it, that his noise gets him nowhere and it will last less time, and eventually will fade out completely. If you continue to get up and go to him or sleep in the room with him it will take longer, because he is getting intermittent positive results which he interprets as "it works sometimes, so I just have to keep trying". If necessary, speak to your neighbors and let them know that this won't last forever, and put him in the room that is the best for sound-proofing, and close the door and window. 

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How is he being left alone in crate for variable lenght of time, with you elsewhere in house, during the day?  Wondering how much of this is a nighttime thing and how much may be a crate thing in general (which is easier to fix).

You might try leaving some source of 'white noise' playing quietly in the room... a fan or a radio set quietly on a just-static setting.

I find my dogs (only one of which is a bc, though) do a lot better if I ignore them (or shout 'quiet!', which they know means "shaddup, and I'm not coming in there, really really") than if I go in and try to settle them down. The hardest part of getting each of our dogs (all rescues) to sleep thru the night during the first few months having them has always been getting my HUSBAND to quit going in there and talking to them... they may settle some when he enters but start up twice as bad as soon as he leaves. That said, this only applies to dogs with normal worries/grumpiness/anxiety, who are still capable of some level of thinking... there are a few dogs out there (altho it does NOT sound to me like your dog is one) who get so hysterical that it may not be safe to just leave them alone.

Good luck,

Pat P

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We have had the same problem with our boy who is now 15 months. The first few months went really well, apart from never sleeping beyond 5.30 am, but we got used to that. We live on a corner so get a lot of people, dogs, cats and foxes going past at night. This unsettles him and we have quite a few dogs who are let out after 10 pm who bark and set off all the other dogs. This causes ours to get anxious and won’t settle. We went through this stage for about 2 months, every night he would wake up and low bark continuously. There are 4 of us here, so we took it in turns to go down and settle him. Although this worked, he started waking earlier and earlier each morning. Everyone told us just let him sleep with you, he will sleep longer, We tried this, but he isn’t used to sleeping on a bed so slept on the floor for a couple of nights. He would then bark and scratch at the door to go downstairs on his own. Which is where we are now, he gets free reign of the lounge and hallway, not the kitchen. Where he sleeps I don’t know, I’d like to think he goes in his crate with the door unlocked. I am pleased with this as I really didn’t want him in my bedroom. Love him to bits, but I do like a little me time on my own.

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Thank you so much for your replies, it's great to get some information from other border collie parents!! We have changed things up a bit since I posted, which seems to have really helped! We have made the conservatory at the back of our house "Maddox's Bedroom" - he still has his crate in there but we now leave it open for him and he can come and go when he wants. Most nights he starts out sleeping on a blanket on the floor and then gets in his crate later on, which is great for us!

Generally things have been going well, he now goes to bed earlier and settles a lot quicker. Slight downside is that obviously if we have another storm I think being in a conservatory will be difficult for him but for now it's working great and we can cross that bridge when we get to it.

Thank you for all your positive words of wisdom and encouragement.

Emily and Maddox

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