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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just out of curiosity, has anybody ever dealt with a dog that seems to have night terrors or nightmares?

My border collie occasionally just starts a howling fit in the middle of the night. It takes him a while to settle down from it too, he can't just snap out of it quickly. He howls and cries at the top of his lungs.

It seems to be triggered from unusual circumstances of separation from me, but I could be wrong. Like when we were staying in Utah for 6 weeks and I made a midnight run to walmart, leaving him with my boyfriend, he had a night terror that night. Or we were packing the car and I was making him wait in the hotel room so he wouldn't be getting underfoot, he had one that night too. Another time was when I had just locked him out of a room I was in because I was wrapping christmas presents and didn't need him stepping on stuff or stealing it. He had a night terror that night too. The only other time he used to howl like that is when I'd leave him, if I'd go in the front yard to wash my car and leave him in the back, that kind of stuff.

Would you guys say that this is even plausible? I've had him since he was a pup, so he's never dealt with anything traumatic like abuse. The only "traumatic" things he's been through is being sedated to have foxtails removed from his ears, being smacked by my cat when he was harassing her, and being separated from me.

I've never had a dog do this before, but I realize that border collies tend to be more on the emotional side. He's also very much a velcro dog. I've asked other dog people, but they've always been perplexed by it. It's not just a normal doggie dream where they twitch and run and sometimes whimper. The only other thing I can think of is if he gets a cramp or his leg falls asleep and he over reacts (he's quite dramatic sometimes).
 

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Champ has them. He never howls when he is awake, but on occasion will wake him self up from his heartbreaking howl. He looks startled and confused, and it takes him a minute to snap out of it, too, and realize where he is. They started after he had a painful (and paralyzing) spinal injury but have become less frequent. When he has bad dreams now, I don't know what is causing them because, while an anxious dog, nothing has happened recently (ie within the past year + ) to scare/hurt him....
 

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Tod will occasionally bolt up out of a dead sleep, barking a blue streak. Sometimes he launches himself at the wall beside him before he's conscious enough to realize what he's doing. There is no trigger. It's definitely something he's dreaming.

I feel badly for him. He's usually out-of-sorts for a while afterwards.
 

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i actually talked to our vet about Addy's night terrors as it is just spine chilling. She was so neglected and starved as a puppy. She will cry awfully, like a beloved person has just died, and her twitching shakes the whole bed. I thought maybe seizures but the vet says no. I will wake her up from them and it takes about 15 seconds for her to be awake, she'll sigh and go back to sleep...and resume her twitching in 10 minutes. I try to keep my hand on her during sleep as it really seems to help a lot. It's every night.
 

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MA: re: triggers. People dreams often incorporate events of past times, good and bad. Is this not possible with dogs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I'm glad this isn't super uncommon.

@Pkelly, poor Addy :( It takes about 15 seconds for Tigger to kind of recover from it too. He'll still whimper and whine a bit before he calms down, and then he goes into happy spazzy mode like I just got home and he hasn't seen me all day.

@Crock, I've considered that too. I'm sure their brains are capable of replaying scenes that they've experienced. It just seems almost out in left field that he's dreaming about being alone. That's the only thing that really scares him and bothers him. The only other time he ever howls like that is when he's been separated from me. Maybe it's not so out in left field.
 

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Josey used to have nightmares, particularly during daytime naps. It was definitely associated with stress.

These started when we were working with a bird dog trainer who turned out to be too harsh.

Now he has not had nightmares in at least a year, but it did take more than a year for them to stop after we quit the trainer. BTW, the trainer did not believe me about Josey's bad dreams.

And yes, I am quite convinced dogs dream like we do, both happy and bad dreams.
 
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my keylo also has nightmares....she will cry and i do the same as suggest above. shes only 4 lbs and sleeps in between dh and i so i just rub her belly to wake her a bit and then keep my hand on her for awhile after....she goes right back to sleep. i always wonder what shes scared about..she is a rescue from louisiana and was spayed between 10 and 12 weeks very young and has ct which i often wonder if surgery so young caused it..(not proven one way or the other from what i have read). maybe she has terrors of that time in her life. good luck i hope you can find a solution to the nightmares.
 

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Do anyone of your dogs growl in their dreams? Champ does on occassion (It seems to have increased in the past 6 months:: real life correlation he has actually improved with a lot of his sensitive/reactive/aggressive tendencies, but about a month ago did start becoming leash reactive after a bad experience). I haven't decided whether I should be concerned; ie is he is feeling particularly stressed or upset/unhappy/angry? Is this an indication of increased aggression in general? I mean, I know I have some murderous/crazy dreams sometimes, but they don't come close to meaning I'm going to go psycho or violent....
 
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