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Discussion Starter #1
Hello –

My wife and I have a 2 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Abbey who recently started barking at night when we put her in her kennel. I feel like we’ve tried everything, so I’m curious if anyone has any suggestions for other things we can try. I provided a lot of details below that should set the stage a little. Thanks for taking your time to read this!

Why I think this is happening
  • About 8 months ago, Abbey was sleeping great in her kennel, but my wife wanted her in the bedroom. It started off with her on a bed next to us on the floor, but Abbey would keep clawing at the bed to climb up with us.
  • Then she was sleeping in our bed. I have insomnia and am a very light sleeper, so I can’t have a dog sleeping in my bed or I’ll never sleep. Unfortunately, that is the only place she won't bark or make noise.
  • We transitioned her back into her kennel in the other room (described below) at night. Some nights she was fine, others she would bark (like she is today).
  • The thing that finally got her to stop barking was, we got her a Thunder Shirt. It was amazing. The 1st night with it, she barked for 5 minutes at 3am, then not a sound from then on out.
  • Then, I went to Australia for 5 months and my wife got Abbey back sleeping on the bed. I came home and we started the transition back to the kennel. That was 2 months ago, and she has been fine (no barking). Then she started to bark in the middle of the night and we’d let her outside (bad, because we’re responding to her barking, I know). Then that turned into more barking and her in our bed.
  • So…she likes to be with us all the time and is barking when she’s not with us. If we put her in the kennel in our room, she claws at the gate and makes lots of noise. If you have her in a bed on the floor, she walks around and tries to get on the bed. Basically, wherever she is, all she wants is to get on the bed. Since we’re denying her of that, she’s not happy.
The setting
  • We put her in a kennel at night (see picture below), which is in a bedroom across the hall from our bedroom.
  • The window is closed and blinds are shut (little outside noise makes it through).
  • There is a fabric “cover” we put over it to make it more of a den for her than an open cage.
  • The kennel is roomy, comfy, and she does like it. She will "put herself to bed" sometimes and go in on her own.
  • She is out of her kennel during the day, so it not cooped up all day long.
What she does / what we do
  • About 10 minutes after putting her in there, she starts to bark.
  • This has only been a problem recently (on and off for the last 8 months or so).
  • We used to try to calm her down, but that doesn’t do any good, so we just let her bark. After a little while, she stops. Sometimes we go sleep in another bedroom downstairs so we can ignore her and sleep.
  • She will often bark in the middle of the night (between 2am and 5am). She actually started barking at this time and not when we went to bed, and my wife brought her into the bed (which led to her barking when we go to bed now, because she wants to be in there with us).
Other info
  • We work during the day, but take her on a long walk every morning and after work.
  • We play with her every night (for about a half hour).
  • If we’re outside, she’s with us.
  • If we’re not on the couch watching TV by about 8:00, she stares at us and isn’t sure what to do. We try to give her an hour or more of “lap time” before bed.
 

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Hi @Ryan27 -

That was a well explained post! :)

Have you tried crate games with her? I think you may have to go back to square one with crate training her. When I got my pup, she HATED the crate. She wanted to be with us all the time. I introduced crate games and they worked like a charm. I don't have a link handy but a simple google search should give you good results.

Good luck! Abbey is beautiful! :)
 

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Adding to this, although I'm sure you know... consistency is key. If you go out of town 3 times/year and your wife allows her to sleep on the bed, Abbey may get confused.

This is not the case with every dog, and may not be the case forever. Sometimes Aspen sleeps on my bed, sometimes in her crate. She's content either way, now.
 

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I agree with Aspen. She is barking because she knows she's going to get her way. Every single time she gets to come to the bed, she is rewarded for her barking. As long as your wife continues to let her out/on the bed, the barking is not going to stop. I think your best bet is to begin crate training from the beginning like you've just picked her up and she's never slept there before.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi everyone - Thanks for the tips, we'll give it a shot! I found a PDF with some "Crate Games", and I know what we did for crate training when she was a puppy, so we'll incorporate that as well.

Thanks!
 

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Why not put her crate in your room? That way she'd be near you but wouldn't be able to disturb you while sleeping.
 

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Why not put her crate in your room? That way she'd be near you but wouldn't be able to disturb you while sleeping.
We tried that. She just scratches at the gate, grunts, and I think she wined too. We only tried that once because it was a failure.

Someone once suggested putting the kennel at bed levels so she can see us, but I don't want to have some huge clunky box or something in the room that raises this big kennel up to the level of the bed.
 

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Someone once suggested putting the kennel at bed levels so she can see us, but I don't want to have some huge clunky box or something in the room that raises this big kennel up to the level of the bed.
I wouldn't want that either haha
 

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wouldn't that be the same as them being in the same bed?
Nope, the humans still have their whole entire human bed to themselves, and the dog has their own entire space beside the humans. I would love to get one for my dog, he likes to crowd me all night long, but there isn't enough room in my bedroom. :(
 

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We'd like to leave her out of the bedroom completely (plus, if she was in a "side bed" thing like that, she would definitely just use it as stairs to get to our bed!").

Part of the crate training is to put the dog in the crate, wait for them to bark, then do something to reward her when she stops. The thing is, she doesn't bark if we're in the room, only when we're NOT in the room. So, we'd be having a really boring staring contest if we tried that.

Out of the last 3 nights:
1. Barked for about 20 minutes when we were going to bed, then again at 4am.
2. Didn't make a sound all night
3. Barked for about 20 minutes when we were going to bed, then nothing the rest of the night.

Right now, we're just continuing to ignore her and hopefully the barking stops completely. If not, we'll look into re-crate training, but we may not get very far because she does like her crate, she just wants to be with us. I think it's a little separation anxiety combined with the fact that Cavaliers are just really emotionally attached to their humans!
 

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@Ryan27 - I was in the same situation when I got my dog a year ago. She was only 12 weeks old, so it was a bit different, but she would only bark when we we out of her sight. I just ignored it. There were some LONG, LOUD nights but it did get better! :) Now, sometimes she sleeps with me, sometimes in her crate but she's comfortable in either spot. I think ignoring her barking will work, it may just take some time. Once she is comfortable in her crate, it'll be important not to let her sleep in the bed or you may be back at square one. After 6 months-1 year, if she's calmly sleeping in her crate, your wife may be able to let her sleep in the bed when you're not home. I would just wait until she has a proven track record of being calm in her crate. Keep us posted! :)
 

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Hi @JoanneF just having the same issue, where my pup wakes up on random nights and barks for hours. We have gotten a lot of ideas for things to change: diet, kennel/crate, location, distraction, etc. Just hoping for something tried and true. Was hoping he could tell me how it worked out with his pup. Thanks for letting me know he hasn't been around.
 

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Where is his kennel? And can you identify what sort of bark it is - excited, looking for you to get him, alerting you to something, anxious?
 

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Currently, he sleeps in the kitchen, with a gate up, and has done so since February without incident. The bark is excited usually, he's wide awake and wants to play BAD! Usually ends up with 2 hours minimum of play time. We use toys for fetch, a laser toy and a flirt pole.
 

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Did anything happen since February to trigger this? How old is he, what breed? Is it also possible he could be hearing something that is disturbing him, either outside or even a kitchen appliance?

I think I'd be teaching him that daytime is playtime, night time is for sleeping.

Make sure he has plenty of play during the day and evening, and also train a ”settle down” which you can then use at night.

I'd also suggest having his bed in your room for a bit, so you are right there to settle him - it doesn't have to be forever, once he is settling on cue, you can move it back to the kitchen, although I recommend doing this in steps, not just over one night.

These videos might help.


 
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