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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Help with Barking

Charlie is just a little over 3 months and we've had him about five or six weeks. He is an awesome little guy! We've been able to do training (come, sit, stay, down), he's almost housebroken (some days 100%), but sleep is something we have not had!! So I need some advice.

He has a den area that's about five by five for during the day when we go to work. He has a pee pad area and a separate area for his travel crate that he sleeps in at night with the door open in this den. He also sleeps in this at night, uses the pee pad, etc. He easily goes to bed at 9 when the children go to bed. He's figured out their bed routine and will actually go his den after he sees them get in bed. It's like if they aren't awake, he doesn't want to be out and about. He is VERY attached to the 10 year old. But almost like an alarm clock at 4am he is barking.

When he first came to our house he slept through the night (9pm to 6am). Then about a week in he started this 4am barking. I've tried comfort, but don't want him to think he can just call us at 4am. I've tried ignoring, doesn't work, he's happy to bark. This morning I put him in bed with the 10 year old, we got to sleep until 5:30ish.

Is this a phase? What can I do? I've tried keeping him up until 10:30-11, that doesn't change the 4am thing. If we could sleep until 5:30am we could probably deal with this, but I do not kid, 4:00am to 4:02 EVERY morning. He just seems ready to play. Any advice is great, because I want to do right by him, but I need my sleep too! And I've left food in case he's hungry, that's not it either.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 04:57 PM
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How long are you at work? Do you think it's possible it's just a matter of too much time in the den?

Maybe, since he's doing so well with housetraining, you could try setting up an ex-pen in your 10 year old room? Maybe being with people will allow him to sleep better.

The only other thought I have is a long play session or walk before bed to make sure he's had enough exercise.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 05:50 PM
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This type of barking is called attention or demand barking. It usually works for the dog because we reinforce it by paying attention to it. He could have learned that it worked in other cases and tries it in this situation. So long as it's not tied to house training issues, the best way to deal with it is ignore it. You said that so far that doesn't work. I bet he has learned that it does work. Even if he hears you stir , he's figured out he's got your attention. Dogs will try this for a fair bit of time, in the hope that you do give in . This is called an extinction burst. Yes the barking increases in length and intensity. And the only way to make it work is TOTAL ignoring it, not a peep or a creek. lol . You Hav to wait it out without reinforcing it. But remember to practice this in all aspects of demand barking. And yes , he could be cooped up too much, try to keep him up later as well. And when you decide to go get him wait for at least a twenty second pause in barking first.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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He is never more than five hours a day in the den. And that's only 3 days a week. Most days he is out for hours on end.

I have let him bark til his hearts content. It was like an hour and a half. Is that bad?? I am fine ignoring it. But I'm afraid of barking that long being a stressor too. How long is too long to let him bark?


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 07:08 PM
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He is never more than five hours a day in the den. And that's only 3 days a week. Most days he is out for hours on end.

I have let him bark til his hearts content. It was like an hour and a half. Is that bad?? I am fine ignoring it. But I'm afraid of barking that long being a stressor too. How long is too long to let him bark?


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no, let him bark. It gets worse before it gets better. How is he as far as separation anxiety goes. ?

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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He only has separation anxiety when the 10 year old leaves. My husband is often coming home when I'm leaving and sleeps for a few hours. He says that Charlie only barks a few minutes when put in his den and then plays very happily with his Kong and other toys. My husband can also get him to have den time when the children aren't home that we can't seem to have if they are at home. Again, terrible barking. He seems to also have figured out how long my husband sleeps and starts barking if my husband doesn't get up after a snooze or two. But he is content when my husband is home, can have freer roaming in the house and no accidents. He also doesn't have any anxiety when we go to bed.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TeeItUp View Post
He only has separation anxiety when the 10 year old leaves. My husband is often coming home when I'm leaving and sleeps for a few hours. He says that Charlie only barks a few minutes when put in his den and then plays very happily with his Kong and other toys. My husband can also get him to have den time when the children aren't home that we can't seem to have if they are at home. Again, terrible barking. He seems to also have figured out how long my husband sleeps and starts barking if my husband doesn't get up after a snooze or two. But he is content when my husband is home, can have freer roaming in the house and no accidents. He also doesn't have any anxiety when we go to bed.
that should improve with time., don't forget he's still young. When you son leaves that's a good time to interact and play with him, bring out a kong, things like this , so that he associates the departure with something good. Patience is a virtue. You've got the right ideas.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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I just thought I'd update the barking situation. And ask for a little more advice. We have started letting Charlie sleep with the 10 year old. No barking. Whew. But 10 year old had a sleepover. So after trying den and 10 year olds room alone my husband ends up sleeping in 10 year olds bed w Charlie.

Do Havs prefer same location every night or just people company. I can say that the 10 year old is going to be gone at times (thinking about the week of summer camp) and we need a back up plan. I'm too light a sleeper to sleep with him. I was thinking about putting him in our room on a couch but I'm afraid he's gotten used to our little human.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 01:10 PM
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That would be someything to try sure. You want to get him used to being in various circumstances and places. They can develope preferrences, but the more subtle changes we throw at them the better.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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