Hello! I'm new here to the forums--looking for some advice to keep our dog from waking us up in the middle of night.
My husband and I have an 11 year old miniature dachshund. She's a rescue, and we've owned her for five years. Lately she has been barking in the middle of the night, seemingly for no other reason than to wake us up. Let me explain...
We have a set of stairs for her, which she has been using for at least two years to get on and off our bed and is free to do so whenever she wants--it's where she spends most of her time during the day. When we go to sleep for the night, she will usually start in bed with us, but within 15 or 20 minutes she will go down to her own bed on the floor. She'll sleep there most of the night, and then around 4 or 5 in the morning, she'll begin to bark at us from her bed.
She is not the kind of dog that barks often. She will bark when she's excited for food, and occasionally when there is a stranger at the door (though, being 11, we're pretty sure her hearing is going and she does this less than she used to).
When she does this, we try to ignore her, but she will continue barking until we acknowledge her (reinforcing the behavior, I know...). It's not enough to say her name (which reinforces my belief that she's losing her hearing)--she waits until one of us sits up in bed and makes eye contact with her. At that point, she will leap out of her bed and use her stairs to come back up on our bed, where she'll sleep between us until we get up.
She knows how to use her stairs--that's not the issue. It's almost as if she is waiting for our permission to come back into bed (though we've never trained her to ask), or that she is checking to make sure we're still up there. She's sitting up in her bed looking in our direction, so it's not as if she's barking at something outside. She's very healthy for 11 and has all of her cognitive faculties. She never barks to go out to go potty, and we always take her out right before bed, though I suppose this could be a reason (but I'm doubtful). Before we got her the stairs, we used to make her sleep in her own bed because she would jump off our bed in the middle of the night, and we were worried about her back. She used to bark then for me to let her up in bed in the middle of the night (hence, why we bought the stairs).
She has been doing this on and off for a while now, but lately it has been every night. If you have any suggestions why she might be doing this or how we can get her to stop, I'd appreciate any input--the husband and I are getting desperate for an uninterrupted night of sleep!