Profile: My wife and I have a 4 year old black lab and a 4 year old min pin that we love to death. I work an odd schedule that can fluctuate from parts of the year, but for the last year I have been working from 6:00AM to around 5:00PM. My wife works as an independent contractor so she works even odder hours sometimes during the week and normally has time to spend with the dogs on certain weekdays. The routine is when I wake up (Around 4:45-5:00 AM) I let the dogs outside and then let them eat breakfast. After breakfast I put them back in their crates and go to work. Their crates are in the basement and its half finished and plenty warm. My wife wakes up between 7:00AM - 8:00AM and lets them go outside once more. I usually never am around during the half part of the day to let them outside, but sometimes with my wife's schedule she is able to let them outside if she is home or has a break in her day. I would say they don't mind their crates and they consider it their home or safe place to relax. We live in Michigan so we experience all 4 seasons. Bed time is around 8:30 PM and I'm not sure if they can tell time, but they know when its time because they will start looking at the door. We let them go outside, they come back and jump in their crates for a treat then they go to bed. Sally (Black Lab):
Is a loving, loyal, emotional, and gentle lab that is one of the most caring dogs I've ever had. She loves to be active by taking walks and swimming when the weather permits. Sally may have issues with anxiety and being very needy on occasion. She has been a great dog and no complaints until these last few months. Mandy (Min Pin)
: I think this breed may speak for itself, but Mandy is more like a cat than a dog. Comes as she pleases, goes where she pleases, doesn't listen, but loves to cuddle under the blanket. She is very stubborn unless she is getting rewarded or something she wants.
Update: We recently started lessening the food given to the both of them from eating three times a day to two times a day. We realize that most dogs do not get 3 meals a day so we've started balancing that lunch portion into their dinner and breakfast. Sally can sometimes puke when eating too fast so we gave both dogs a bowl that has ridges on it preventing them from scarfing food down, this has been a few years now with these bowls (Highly recommend). We normally do quite a bit of walking and being outside during the spring, summer and fall, but the winter is very tough for the dogs. It becomes difficult to get active during those months and I know Sally doesn't like less activity at all. As usual, Mandy doesn't really seem to be bothered by much at all during any month, time of day or moment (Cat like dog?).
1. Sally also barks at my wife during the day like she wants to play or wants something from her. Sally does not bark at me, but continues to torment my wife. However, when she barks at my wife it is a regular bark and sometimes can sound aggressive. We're not sure if this is demand barking for lunch that was cut out, "I want to play" bark or something else. Mandy does not exhibit this behavior or copy it.
2. Just before I wake up Sally will start barking every 5 seconds (give or take a second seriously) and the pitch of bark starts low each 5 seconds then raises to a high pitched shriek bark. At first we started catering to the bark and let the dogs go outside then upstairs to eat breakfast. The weekends where we both want to sleep in is where it gets difficult. Sally continues to bark starting at 4:00 AM and will not stop for hours until we get up. Sally does go to the bathroom each time she goes outside which usually is urination, but we decided to take her to the vet just in case last week. The vet wanted to check her thyroid because of frequent urination. Her thyroid check came back ok so now we are wondering if this is a behavioral issue thats needs help. Mandy does not exhibit this behavior or copy it. I have been trying to ignore her bark the last week or so when I feel like she is doing this from the basement, but it adding a lot of stress on our sleep, mental health and mood waking up. We may be staring a family this year or next so adding a baby to a mix might be very troublesome if Sally continues to act this way. Some mornings Sally has responded to stop barking if we ignore her, but 30 minutes she is back at it until we get up. It is very tough, but are we doing the right thing? or could there be something else wrong that we are not seeing?
Things we will start doing: Having a later bed time of 9:30PM or so. Giving them a little bit more food even though their weight is perfect. Trying to do more activity as much as possible to keep them from being bored.
We love Sally, but this problem is becoming very tough on us and we want all of us to be happy. Please let me know what you guys think and I truly appreciate any advice or comments.