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Old 04-16-2007, 05:43 PM
kyliesmom kyliesmom is offline
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Default Whining and crying in the morning: help!

I'm having a bit of trouble with my 9-year old German Shorthaired Pointer waking up earlier and earlier, and whining, barkiing and crying to be let out. Here's the background:

She's been sleeping on her own chair in another room ever since I stopped crating her at night. Over the years that's generally worked well, and in the morning when she wakes up she kind of bangs on the door seperating the living room and bedrooms. I would then feed her breakfast.

Over the years I met and married my husband and the routine evolved slightly into Kylie sleeping in the den, banging on the door in the morning and one of us getting up to feed her, and then she'd get into bed with us for a little while (usually with him as I have to get up for work earlier than he does).

I know, I know...letting her into the bed really messes up the pack dominance thing but we both LOVE cuddling with her and since there are absolutely no other dominance issues in any other area, it hasn't been an issue at all.

Until this recently. For the past several months, she's been waking up earlier and earlier. We started using a baby gate to keep her in the den so she couldn't bang on the door; and as a result, she's taken to whining and barking until someone lets her out and feeds her. This was becoming 5:00, 4:40...3:45! So finally I said, this has got to stop.

For the past few weeks we've been trying to "retain her" to a more respectable 6am time. To that end, I've been trying to just ignore her whining and crying to let her know that it won't get her what she wants (to get out of the den). The problem is, not only does it drive US nuts, but we have a housemate to consider as well.

Sorry for the long winded post, but does anyone have some ideas about what I could do to sort of "reset" her internal clock? We've been trying to get her as tired as possible at night and that does help, but we can't do that every night as it takes a 7-mile hike to wear her out! Is the problem the sleeping arrangement? We've considered having her sleep in the room with us on her own bed, but I think after being used to being IN the bed she won't go for a seperate bed easily at all.
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:45 PM
kyliesmom kyliesmom is offline
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By the way, I should add that I am not sure whether the bigger reward system here is the feeding (in which case I could try buying an automatic feeder and see if that works) or the getting into bed with us, or both. Probably both I guess.
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:54 PM
IliamnasQuest IliamnasQuest is offline
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You might consider going back to crating her IN your room. Let her sleep where she has contact with you, but insist that she stay in her area. Once she's gotten accustomed to that, allow her to sleep on her bed in your room but maybe tethered to something so she can't arbitrarily decide to jump into your bed.

I think you've already seen that part of the problem is most likely the reinforcement for her whining, barking, banging on the door. Since these actions have resulted in good things (getting let out, eating, spending time with her people) it is pretty logical that she might start doing them earlier. Maybe something set her off originally and she was nervous and wanted out - and since her efforts were rewarded it's resulted in her trying earlier and earlier. It sounds like she really doesn't like being isolated during the night and she's doing what she knows works for her.

The options I see are to put her in a place where no one can hear her so that she doesn't get rewarded for barking/whining at 3:45 a.m., or put her in your room so she is happy and may no longer feel the need to try to get attention in the middle of the night. Personally I'd do the latter.

Good luck, and hope it all works out well (and quickly so you can get a good night's sleep again! *L*).

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
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Old 04-16-2007, 06:20 PM
kyliesmom kyliesmom is offline
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Maybe something set her off originally and she was nervous and wanted out - and since her efforts were rewarded it's resulted in her trying earlier and earlier. It sounds like she really doesn't like being isolated during the night and she's doing what she knows works for her.

Yes I bet you are absolutely right. And of course the double reward of an early breakfast + getting to sleep in bed with mom and dad..well that's just too powerful a reward!

Yeah, I think we will have to try to set her up on a bed in our room. Unfortunately there's not a lot of space around the bed in there so it might be awkward for awhile. We'd frankly just let her sleep with us if she didn't end up hogging the bed and making us so uncomfortable!
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