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Ask Paris: My Newly Adopted Dog Wakes Us At Night!

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My husband and I adopted our dog Chewey three weeks ago. We’re having a little problem and don’t know where to go to get answers. Then I stumbled upon your page and was hoping you can give me advice. Chewey is about three years old. He’s a Lhasa Mix, not sure with what. He’s VERY well behaved.

The first week he was with us he slept through the night. He wouldn’t get up until the last person did. That could be from anywhere between 7:30-9:00. Not even to go to the bathroom. But that week he was sleeping a lot to begin with. I think he was going through some adjustments. Now he’s getting used to us and is VERY playful. But now he won’t sleep though the night. He gets up in the middle of the night and walks around, which wakes us up. If he hears a strange noise he’ll bark. Last night he wanted to play at 3:00AM.

The last three mornings he’s up at 6:30 and wants to go out and eat. He sleeps in the room with us. We let him sleep in our bed, which he likes. We also put his bed on the floor so he goes between our bed, his bed and the throw rug. We don’t mind him moving around as long as it’s to just reposition to go back to sleep. What could we be doing wrong? I read something about exercising before bed. Or putting the crate in the room with a blanket over. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

I think Chewey is just now settling down into his new home so that’s why you’re seeing the change in his sleeping pattern…he’s feeling at home! I know that doesn’t help you sleep through the night, though 🙂 Our dogs sleep with us so I know how it can be when they wake you up!

First, I’d make sure you exercise him in the evening. If he has plenty of exercise (like a 45-minute walk), he’ll be much more likely to want to settle down to a good night’s sleep. Be sure to exercise him early enough that he’s settled back down before bedtime.

Also, be sure he has gone out for the last bathroom break of the day just before bedtime. I take our dogs out just before bedtime and have taught them the “pee pee” command. (Watch your dog then, just the second you see your dog is about to eliminate, say “pee pee” or whatever command you’d like to use. When he’s done, give him great praise like that was the best thing ever! If he always eliminates right before bedtime, that will help him sleep through the night.)

When your dog does wake you up in the night, don’t reinforce that behavior at all. I quietly tell our dogs “shh” and then just turn over, ignore them (assuming they’re not having any kind of problem) and to return to sleep. Any kind of action or talk on your part will be seen as attention by him and will make him more likely to continue to wake you night after night.

Also, try to put away all his toys and chews before bedtime so he’s not tempted to get up and play in the night.

Many people prefer to have their dogs sleep in a crate (and many do cover their crates with a blanket). It takes some training for most dogs to feel the crate is “their” place. The main thing to emphasize to your dog is that the crate is a fun and comfy place, never a punishment. Our dogs were shelter dogs and really dislike crates (maybe they’re too much like cages to dogs that have been caged) so we never use them but I do know that many people use them very successfully.

Keep me posted on how Chewey is doing…I really think he’s just settling in and will do great! Paris

What advice would YOU have for Chewey’s mom? Has your dog kept you up at night?

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