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Hey All,

I'm new to the forum (and dog ownership). Happy to be here. I'm hoping to get some help on somewhat urgent issue...

We have a 10 month old, rescued, boxer/hound mix, puppy. She's a bit high strung and has a big personality, but she's sweet. For the last several months she has slept very well at night, not hearing a peep from her until about 7am. However, about a week ago, things took an unpleasant turn - Now, every night she wakes up a couple hours after bedtime. She rings the bell hanging on the door to go outside in the backyard (which is fenced in), she nervously darts to one end of the yard and then along the fence line on the other end. After a few minutes, she comes back for me to let her in. She will then proceed to repeat this behavior 2 or 3 more times throughout the night. If I try to ignore her she will loudly whine/cry at the door until someone lets her out. It doesn't matter if she's in her crate or on her bed, she will cry until she has her way.

We are losing sleep and it's really becoming quite a stressful situation. I'm on the verge of putting her crate in the garage at night so we just won't hear her until morning, but this won't solve the underlying issue. Note: this is not her typical go-potty-in-the-backyard behavior, it's like she's nervously searching for something or guarding the yard, but not really. Very odd.

At my witt's end here.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

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Hi Skatz & welcome! Something has spooked your dog, who knows what! Last weekend my dog decided she was too scared to pee in the garden, this lasted 3 days then back to normal! :confused: How do you feel about having your pup sleep in your bedroom? Mine have always slept in our room & we have never had a problem, they know we are there & settle fine. You could start off in the bedroom & gradually move her further away. & the best thing is, you will get some much needed sleep :thumbsup:
 

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Hi Skatz & welcome! Something has spooked your dog, who knows what! Last weekend my dog decided she was too scared to pee in the garden, this lasted 3 days then back to normal! :confused: How do you feel about having your pup sleep in your bedroom? Mine have always slept in our room & we have never had a problem, they know we are there & settle fine. You could start off in the bedroom & gradually move her further away. & the best thing is, you will get some much needed sleep :thumbsup:
Thanks, Judy. I think this could be the case. Unfortunately, we tried, the second half of last night, to keep her in our room, but she once again insisted on going down to the backdoor to get out, cried, etc... I guess we can try bringing her bed into our room and getting her settled a bit first.
 

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Thanks, Judy. I think this could be the case. Unfortunately, we tried, the second half of last night, to keep her in our room, but she once again insisted on going down to the backdoor to get out, cried, etc... I guess we can try bringing her bed into our room and getting her settled a bit first.

Another thing to try is a hard play session around an hour before bed, making sure to have at least 30 minutes for her to calm back down so she's not to amped to settle down to sleep. That's what I do with my boy and he'll sleep soundly though the night without problems.
 

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It kind of sounds like maybe some critter (cat, coon, possum) might travel through or near the yard and she's smelling it with that hound nose of hers. Is she sniffing a lot as she's darting and going down the fence? Does she potty or just run around?

Regardless, I can think of two options.

1. If the backyard is safe and she cannot escape, leave her out there! Buy her a doggy igloo and let her enjoy herself. She may eventually get over it, but if it's possible, just have the outdoor set-up in case.

2. Wait out the whining and crying for a night. You're already sleep deprived, might as well give up the sleep for one night to fix the problem instead of continuing to teach her to wake you up so she can go out. Move her to the garage if that helps, and let her cry it out.

If the yard is secure, I'd put her to bed as normal, but the first time she whines to go out, she'd be out for the night. If she cries, scratches, etc to come back in, the crate would go to the garage until she learns whining gets her nothing.

It's good to be attentive to them, but sacrificing sleep and your ability to function during the day is too much.
 

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I tried something similar to the iggloo suggestion where I put her crate right in front of the doggy door so she could either be in the back yard or on her crate in the house.

That experiment failed for us for two reasons:

1)She decided to bark her fool head off in the backyard in the middle of the night and one of us would have to go retrieve her.
2)She resource guards her crate and with the crate in the main area of the house she was intolerably snappy to our other dog almost all the time.

We moved her crate back into the spare bedroom and the guarding behavior was better (this is an ongoing issue we are working on).

To address the barking-to-go-play-in-the-yard we did two things:

1)We set an alarm in the middle of the night to let her out weather she needed it or not. No amount of barking resulted in her being let out, only us coming to get her on a schedule. This gave us comfort in knowing she was not suffering.

2)We attached a citronella spray collar with a remote control to the crate (not the dog, the crate). If she barked I would beep audible alert on the collar with the remote from across the house. If she barked again right away I would hit the spray button once. After only 2 sprays she stopped barking as soon as she heard the beeping. After just a few days she stopped barking all together as she knew that she was only let out on OUR schedule, not her whims.

3)We started bumping the middle of the night alarm closer and closer to 6 AM until we no longer needed a middle of the night alarm. Turns out she can go all night just fine. She is 10 months old and 30 pounds.

I wish i had done this so much sooner. We were going crazy getting up multiple times in the middle of the night, neither of us getting any sleep. Now everyone sleeps through the night.
 

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As I said earlier, my dog sleeps in my room, therefore never had a problem, she knows I'm there, I know when she needs out. If people want to use tricks like citronella collars, then so be it, I prefer to not scare my dog into not doing things I disapprove of :rolleyes: Dogs don't do these things to annoy us, there is often a reason, they need reassurance, not fear.
 
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