2

What to do when a dog won't sleep?

asked 2014-12-13 23:48:40 -0500

So, we're on our first booked stay....and wow, despite the meet and greet, this little girl is not as advertised!

"She mostly sleeps all day!"

Or not.

She's been here for 6 hours and hasn't slept once! She's in constant motion from one end of the house to the other, mostly looking for food.

Her owners want us to let her sleep in a person's bed...but she doesn't sleep. Instead she wanders the room looking for garbage to eat (not that we have garbage everywhere, but teenage boy = candy wrappers in the trash can)...or marking....or clawing at the bedroom door.

Her owners also do not crate her, so we don't have that option for a "time out" or break.

Any suggestions?

edit edit tags flag offensive close merge delete

9 Answers

Sort by ยป oldest newest most voted
4
answered 2014-12-14 08:07:49 -0500

You can try to take her on a long walk...sounds like she in anxious and needs to get tired out. Let her play outside if it's an option until she wears herself out.

edit flag offensive delete link more
2
answered 2014-12-16 14:30:33 -0500

I've had the same thing happen - the owner swore her golden doodle went to bed at 8 pm every day, like clockwork. He did not. 2:30 am, he was still pacing around and barking at every tiny noise outside. As everyone else has said, lots of exercise will help diffuse some of that nervous energy, but especially if it's a dog you don't know well in a brand new environment, there's not always a good fix besides time. Physical exhaustion only goes so far.. imagine you've had a few too many cups of coffee. You can be physically exhausted but you still can't get your mind to just turn off so you can sleep.

If you can get the dog to engage in mental activities, like a stuffed toy or working on obedience or learning a new skill, that will likely have a better effect, but a dog that is really anxious may have next to no attention span for that sort of thing. Every new sound or smell may trigger more anxiety, and if you compound that with frustration over not being able to figure out what you've asked of them, it may not help. Start small.. remember you don't have a really strong bond with this dog yet, and work with them as though they've never had any training at all. Reward generously, and advance slowly.

For times when you can't be interacting with the dog (you have to sleep, even if the dog won't!), you can try putting the dog in a more confined, safe space with some white noise, music, or TV on. The noise can help with calming, especially if the pup is triggered by the sounds around your house. If all else fails, the majority of the anxious behavior usually stops after the first night or two.

edit flag offensive delete link more
1
answered 2014-12-18 16:21:42 -0500

I always ask owners to bring along a blanket and an article of clothing of theirs (they do not mind giving to their dog)-this will allow the dog to keep their owners scent and calm them when they get anxious. Ob other occasions when a dog howled or cried all night, I slept on the couch in the same room as the dog and after a night or two he knew he was safe and would sleep at night.

edit flag offensive delete link more
1
answered 2014-12-14 12:05:06 -0500

In addition to a nice long walk (with mental stimulation like asking for sits etc and treating the mental excersises to keep her mentally busy) I might suggest a kong filled with something difficult to remove like frozen yogurt or broth with some kibble or treats mixed in. My very busy 2 year old is one week into a two week stint in the cone of shame and we are doing all meals in kong form spread out throughout the day to keep her occupied! Works great fo the food motivated.

You can also put some canned pumpkin or broth or something else nice in ice cube trays and make pup pops - some dogs will worry and lick them but some will crunch-- but a simple treat to create and see if it keeps an anxious dog a little busy!

Good luck with your guest--some dogs just need time to get situated in a new environment. :)

edit flag offensive delete link more
1
answered 2014-12-16 16:20:48 -0500

I keep extra towels and fleece blankets around for "swaddling" nervous dogs. Wrap the dog up or let them burrow into the cloth themselves. A chew treat that lasts a while helps too. The dog is in a new space with new people and things and acting like a dog. This is not uncommon when dog sitting. Part of the job is first day jitters (for the dog and you). There are also some useful videos on YouTube about calming dogs via massaging the ears, etc.

Good luck!

edit flag offensive delete link more
0
answered 2014-12-16 16:22:34 -0500

Lots of Exercise and continuous Kong.

The dog is nervous.....

edit flag offensive delete link more
0
answered 2015-01-10 03:59:30 -0500

Be patient as everything is unfamiliar, and this Dog does not know why or for how long s/he was dropped off and separated from her/his human. If you are sitting for a Rescue, they may have extra anxiety feeling like they have been left again. Comfort is key, and this can be accomplished in soothing ways such as talking calmly to them, sitting and spending time with them, grooming, occupying them with comfort items...and the anxious mind tends to relax when the body is stimulated and can release energy. A balance of activity to release anxiety and being a source of calm comfort (e.g., invite them and show them around and make them feel at home) should help a nervous pooch relax. I always think that having a familiar item from home to comfort them will help them, too. You can comfort them if you imagine what it is like for them to be left in an unfamiliar place with no bond to anyone. Then, help them to bond with you.

edit flag offensive delete link more
0
answered 2014-12-16 09:50:43 -0500

I had a very similar situation. The dog did not have rules in his house so you can imagine the chaos I had since my 2 dogs are very obedient. The pacing back and forth is normal for the first 24 hours this is usually caused by separation anxiety. Taking the dog on long walks helps a lot and as other posters said, keeping it stimulated with Kongs can help to. I don't crate any of my dogs but I do leave them in a large area with baby gates. You might want to invest in a few of those, like that you can give him/her a time out. Some dogs cannot have the liberty of roaming the whole house, they do need to be confined when there is bad behavior. This is part of the rules and limitations they need to obey.

edit flag offensive delete link more
0
answered 2014-12-15 11:48:55 -0500

Play with her, wear her out, walk her, etc. I had the same problem on my first stay with a dog except I was up till 4am because he would not stop whining and clawing at doors. It might be separation anxiety so making her tired will calm her down. Also, I read on a trainer website that a dog with these qualities is usually because of bad behavior issues and the place is still new to them so it takes time and patience. If you have a fenced in yard that is great so you can let her out and wear herself out.

edit flag offensive delete link more

Your Answer

Please start posting anonymously - your entry will be published after you log in or create a new account. This space is reserved only for answers. If you would like to engage in a discussion, please instead post a comment under the question or an answer that you would like to discuss

Add Answer