I have a couple of questions and was hoping you could help me out. When the weather gets better I’m hoping you can come by and help me with both my dogs barking and Abbeys temper problems but for now, hopefully you’ll be able to help me out on fb. My dogs (now almost 1 and a half) do not sleep through the night- when we first got them I had an other dog (she was 17) and she obviously she couldn’t hold her bladder so she’d wake up at 3am every night to pee… This habit never seem to stop with my “not so much puppies” I love them dearly but is there anything I can do to break the habit? No they are not crate trained- they are terrified of cages. Sometimes they even cry in the middle of the night for food?? what am I doing wrong? Please help!
I feel for you, and the issues you are going through with your dogs, as I can just imagine how difficult and stressful this is!
It sounds as if your dogs have learned that crying in the middle of the night gets you to attend to them. I would first make sure to rule out any medical problems, such as a UTI or any other type of infection(s), as these can cause excess urination in our pets.
If it is not a medical issue, then the dogs will need to learn that whining in the middle of the night will NOT get your attention…because dogs will always do what pays off best, or what works for them. And so far, crying at night does get your attention, so they keep doing it.
They need to learn that the barking to wake you will no longer pay off. To achieve this, you’re going to have to let them ‘cry it out’ until they learn that the behavior does not get them attention from you in the middle of the night. They are more than capable of holding themselves over night at this stage in their lives.
It will be hard at first, because they will try harder and harder, and get louder and louder to wake you to attend to them….because it’s worked for them for so long already, that they won’t understand at first why their crying and barking isn’t working anymore. This is where you’ll have to stick to your guns. I’d suggest first starting on a Friday night, or at another time when you’ll have at least a couple of days where you don’t have to wake early in the morning. Let everyone in the family know of the plan as well, so no one else gives into the crying and whining that will most probably be beyond irritating. It is critical that you don’t give in, no matter how loud or irritating they get. Because if you do….then it’ll be that much harder to try again, because they will inadvertently learn that it will just take louder and harder barking on their part to get you to let them out.
I might also leave an article of your clothing with them while they sleep, so it will help to calm them down a bit. You can also use a DAP Diffuser (dog appeasing pheromones, that help calm dogs down), or some essential oils to also aid in relaxing them at night time. I might also suggest giving them more mental and physical stimulation during the day, to help tire them out some.
It won’t be an easy ride for the first couple of days, though if you stick to the plan, I know that you will succeed!
Good luck and happy training!