My dog keeps pawing/digging at me

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My dog keeps pawing/digging at me

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Old 08-23-2018, 09:48 AM
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Unhappy My dog keeps pawing/digging at me

For the past several days, my dog has come into a very strange habit. In the middle of the night around 2AM or so, he would go into random fits of digging into not only the bed but my arm, my head, etc. At first I thought he wanted something but after attempting to take him potty, give him water, even give him food, he is inconsolable.

He would keep up this hard digging for at least a couple of hours not letting us sleep. I took him to the vet and they had no idea. They told me it might be anxiety for which they prescribed trazodone but it didn't seem to help at all.

He is a Pomeranian Mix, 5 years of age, at about 14 lbs.

Any help would be appreciated as my wife and I have not had a good nights rest in a while!

Thank you.

ps. we did try crating him at night and he freaks out. I'm sure he'd get used to it eventually but I wanted to figure out why all of a sudden he wakes up in the middle of the night in random bouts.
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Old 08-23-2018, 05:29 PM
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Sorry to hear about your dog's sudden restlessness.

To me, it sounds like anxiety or something close to a panic attack. My Gracie dog (heeler mix) does the furious "digging" at times on our carpet in our bedroom, but usually only around thunderstorm times. Or she will come paw us relentlessly. It is hard to watch because I know she is ultra stressed if she is doing this self protection type of primal digging.

Sometimes this type of anxiety is caused by a single event, and now the dog is worried that it may happen again at that same time.

Do you recall any event that may have occurred around that time? Did it thunder? Ambulance siren? Fireworks? Argument in your house? Phone ring suddenly? Very windy? Did your dog hear a wild animal (opossum,raccoon etc) in your yard? Did you get up to go to the restroom in the middle of the night and stub your toe and scream? Roll over onto your dog in bed and startle your dog? Something fall in your house? You get the drift.

Maybe your doggie just had a bad dream and woke up suddenly? You may never be sure at this point.

What to do now? For me, when Gracie starts doing this, I do one of several things, or a combo if needed, to get her to settle and relax or go back to sleep.

1) Give her a massage if she will let me (different then petting)
2) Give her ultra yummy food-- wet food or meat or cheese
3) Put down my robe that smells like me for her to sleep on (comforting)
4) Open up a small"cave like" space in our bedroom corner for her to sleep and feel more secure and protected
5) Run her tricks with her (if she is able to focus) and pay her generously with praise and food
6) Turn on relaxing music to soothe her
7) Tell her we are all good, no need to worry

You guys have no idea how many times in the past three years I have gotten up dead tired in the wee hours of the night to comfort AND counter condition Gracie when she was spooked. But it has really paid off for sure-- her fears are nothing compared to before and she can now think and not just react in most all situations!!

Hope this helps and you all get some sleep soon!
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Old 08-23-2018, 05:47 PM
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Meds can help anxiety, but not for all dogs -try counter conditioning!

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Originally Posted by CaesarZeus View Post
. They told me it might be anxiety for which they prescribed trazodone but it didn't seem to help at all.
By the way, I started doing all my counter conditioning work way back for Gracie when she first showed signs of extreme storm fear/panic. It was storm season here and we were going through months of heartworm treatment and she could not have her heart rate increase... or she could die of an instant blood clot from the treatment.

And my Gracie was beyond terrified of going to the vet for the treatment! And we had just adopted her from the shelter, so we had no bond or trust established yet. I was so scared that the thunderstorms and vet visit anxiety was going to kill her. Seriously it was that bad.

The vet gave us prescriptions for several different anxiety meds--NONE of them worked for her. I also tried benadryl , melatonin, chamomile tea, you name it. The meds actually increased her anxiety and heightened her. Made her fidgety and worse.

I know meds really can helps some dogs immensely, but for us, I decided I needed to [I]change her mindset about how she feels about her fears, so she would be able to self regulate or be able to relax on her own over time.

Counter conditioning has worked wonders for us.
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Old 08-23-2018, 06:45 PM
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My foxeranian was digging me & super hyper even shaking & squealing last night & she was staring at the ceiling in the hall, I went & had a look /listen - the rat is back!
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Old 08-24-2018, 02:27 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I don't recall any events that might have triggered him. Actually since I've posted this, he's had another episode but this time during the day and 20 minutes after a run. It seems to happen randomly and occasionally as he is sleeping. I really hope it's nothing more serious than anxiety.

I will try the counter-conditioning thanks for sharing what you tried with your dog Gracie!
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Old 08-24-2018, 04:19 PM
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Glad to help. Hmmm seems a bit of a mystery at this point with your dog. Maybe over time you can see a pattern or identify a trigger, hopefully.

My Puma pup seemed to be obsessing and staring randomly at my wooden patio posts for the last few days. Weird. Not like her. Thankfully not nervous or fearful, just super interested, didn't even want to come inside to cool off. Was she spooked?

Today I found out why! She has been gecko watching!! Silly girl. But then again we thought she was part mountain lion/cougar when we named her Puma as a baby Chasing geckos--such a cat!

Keep us updated, @CaesarZeus ok?
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Old 08-26-2018, 04:43 PM
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Cute story with the gecko, I'm glad you figured it out!

Happy to report that he hasn't had any episodes all weekend! We did take him to the dog park a couple of times, I think exercising and getting him tired definitely helps.

I will keep you updated, thanks again for the tips!
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Old 08-30-2018, 05:34 PM
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Ahh, so glad to hear that your dog is doing better. Maybe he was hearing something weird, who knows, right?

You are most welcome for the tips. You can use them anytime your dog is feeling anxious or fearful.

And I agree with you on the exercise/ stimulation part. If I don't take my cautious Gracie out for our "adventure walks" regularly, or do mental stimulation work with her, then I feel like she is more anxious or reactive to things.

I hope your doggie continues to do well so y'all can all get some good sleep!

Last edited by AthenaLove; 08-30-2018 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 09-08-2018, 09:08 PM
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So we figured it out (sorta). He was reacting to some of the pop and crack noises that our house makes as it settles. That's why he only freaks out at night because during the day, we have music or the TV on that probably drowns out that noise. Still not sure why all of a sudden this bothers him.

Trazodone definitely helps but he's so lethargic and not himself on it. We feel bad making him become like that.

Thanks @AthenaLove for the concern.
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Old 09-10-2018, 08:35 PM
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Thanks for the update! I am glad you figure it out Good job!

Our Puma pup was acting weird the other night...I think one of the fences was making a weird creaking sound in our yard that she could hear in our bedroom. But she is over it now, or else it stopped. Who knows?

You say your doggie is more worried about the noises at night, well could you maybe sleep with some light relaxing music in the room so he won't hear it?

We sleep with very low volume relaxing music every night. Our is on our TV and it is called Soundscapes. No words, just calming music.

Maybe with the light music playing he could come off the meds? I would think he would be able to get used to the sounds esp if the soothing bedtime music is playing in the background.

I am not a vet, so I can't advise you on meds, but if the meds are making him lethargic, maybe talk to your vet about getting dosage adjusted....or try the music and see if that helps?
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