Help! PJ, now 10 mos. old, has started barking in the middle of the night. He has always slept in his crate without a problem. Usually if either one of them yips in the middle of the night, its a bathroom emergency, which is not common. For 3 nghts now, PJ has barked, but doesn't have to go, and then just keeps barking. Tonight it started at 11 p.m. and he kept barking for about an hour, then was quiet for a while ( 15 mins maybe) and then started in again. He was getting pretty frantic so I checked him again, made sure his bed wasn't soiled, went outside again (nothing) and put him back to bed. He has been yipping on and off (mostly ON) for over an hour. Their crates are in the kitchen (poor Abby...she hasn't made a peep) and that's where they've always been. We're at our wits end, not to mention exhausted after 3 nights of this. Other than this, his behavior is fine and normal, appetite normal. Any suggestions?
Does he bark when you let him out of the crate? It would help if you describe your routine and his actions from when you first hear him bark.
As our other corgi has digestive issues, we are quick to respond to a yip in the middle of the night, because it indicates a bathroom emergency. After PJ learned to sleep thru the night, about 5 mos. ago, its been the same with him, the infrequent mid-night bark meant he had to go. Except for the past 3 nights. The 1st 2 nights, one of us would take him outside for a few minutes, (quietly, keeping lights low and to a minimum) and then quietly back into the crate. He'd stay quiet, for an hour or two, then start yipping again,but instead of heading straight to the outside door when we'd let him out again, he'd bolt for the living room. Last night, after he didn't go when we took him out at 11, and only stayed quiet for about 15 minutes after going back in the crate, we decided to just wait him out...As he was getting very frantic, I took him out again at about 12, no go, and he immediately started barking as soon as back in the crate. He finally wound down about 2 a.m.
I would not let him bark. Barking is a so called self rewarding activity, so it usually escalates if not corrected. Assume he does not have a bathroom emergency and just wants out of the crate at night. Arm yourself with a spray bottle and, as soon as you hear him bark, go and say QUIET! or STOP THAT! and give one well aimed spray from outside the crate without opening it, then go away. You may have to repeat it several times, depending on how persistent he is. Keep it up. He needs to make the new connection, barking at night does not get him out, it gets him sprayed. You can add a drop or two of vinegar to the bottle (no more) just to give it an unpleasant scent and it will not harm him. The barking should lessen and resolve within two or three days at the most.
Two problems with that approach:
1 - the crate is covered, and he doesn't sleep well w/o the cover, and
2 - he loves the spray bottle...tried to use it to stop them when the wrestling gets out of hand, and he runs to it and opens his mouth to catch the water. I don't think that would work with him. I thought about using something that makes noise (like an air can, because he doesn't like that), but that would freak out the other dog and then I'd have both of them going.I can't believe Abby has stayed quiet with all his barking, but she really really hates the spray can (and the water bottle too).
In case its sounds from outdoors that are waking him, we put a fan in the room for tonight, to create a white noise. Wish us luck!
The white noise is a good idea. You're right about the air can and not wanting to upset Abby, but find a way to convey you're upset and stop the barking (even if only for awhile) without letting him out of the crate at night. Also make sure he gets enough exercise during the day. Good luck for tonight, I know how hard it is when you can't get your sleep.
Thanks for your help guys! We've had a couple good nights now, it was helpful to have someone to turn to! Now if we cold just get him to sleep later than 5 a.m.....since that's the time we get up during the week, I guess I'll have to live with that on the weekend too...LOL!
Connie, glad things are looking up. As your pup matures, he will learn the difference between weekdays and weekends, most do.
I went through the same process that Kevan describes with Lucy a couple of months ago. It is hard to ignore at first, but it did work. At about the same time, it seemed Lucy no longer wanted to sleep in her crate (its size is supposed to be ok for a Corgi, but I think it is now too small). She now sleeps in her ex pen which gives her freedom to move around a bit and change positions easily. I began to wonder if there was some connection between her wanting attention at night and finding the crate a little small.
I also agree with the person who mentioned exercise--the more Lucy gets, the better and longer she sleeps.
What size crate do you have? We had found conflicting info - some places recommended 30" and some 36" - so we ended up getting the 36", which is plenty of room for each of them to stretch out and turn around. My guys are on the small side, though: Abby is 24 lbs and PJ 21lbs, but he's got a bit more growing to do. They probably would have fit fine in a 30", but I'm glad they have plenty of space. Also glad to hear there's someone else who keeps them confined at night; most people seem to think I'm nuts to make them sleep in their crates.