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Question
Posted by: Belinda | 2012/05/18

sleeping through the night

Hi Scotty

I have a 21 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback that is causing many sleepless nights. Every night between 10 and 11 I take her out for a toilet break and then we all go to bed. Then the party starts. She wakes us up anything up to 6 times a night to go out. Some nights she sleeps through but other nights it''s a never ending trip back and forth to the door.

During the day she also drives me mad. If she is inside she want''s out, if she is outside she want''s in. The only time she is happy is if I leave the door open. But for security reasons I cannot do this so I am jumping up every few minutes to let her in and out. She is very large for her breed (70cm tall at the shoulder and well over 40kg) so I cannot leave a space big enough for her to get in and out without it being big enough for a person.


Lastly, how do I keep her off my furniture? We have bought her a lovely soft doggy bed, added a continental pillow and a nice soft blanket, but if I turn my back she jumps on a couch or bed. She knows that she is not allowed and is very sneaky about it, in fact she sometimes comes to check what I am doing before going ahead and jumping on to make sure I am not returning any time soon. If anyone is in the room then she will lie on her bed but as soon as everyone leaves she jumps up. If we return she immediately gets off again.

Thanks for your help
Belinda

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Belinda, shame, you do have your hands full with her at the moment - looks like she has trained you pretty well!!
Ok, first things first and lets address the night time toilet routine. First, spend a day or two and check what her normal elimination pattern is i.e. how long between each urination, is it a long flow of urine, or several short one's etc. Even if possible check the colour and the odour - see if she is licking extensively in this area. Once you know what her 'norm' is, a phone call to your vet is in order. You can tell him she is going xxxxx times per day,urine colour etc. He will then be able to determine if there could be an underlying physical concern and may ask to see her. You could do this the opposite way around as well and phone vet tell him the problem and ask him what pointers you should look out for. If you have any underlying physical concerns, then virtually nothing you do from the behaviour point of view will assist.
Next point, some dogs feel the cold more than others, so make sure that she is warm enough at night as this could contribute to the excessive urination.
If all above ok, then what you have is a dog that has figured out a way to train you pretty well and you are doing exactly what she wants too!

Starting immediately after vet has cleared her, attention is given on your terms or not at all. By this stage you will be sure that there are no physical problems regarding urination and know what her daily patterns are in this regard, so not letting her out if she needs the toilet will not be a concern.
If she demands to go outside - simply ignore her - do not talk to her, interact with her or even look at her. When she has given up (and she will), give her about 3 minutes to digest the change in circumstances and then 'on your terms', open the door and let her to outside. The same applies for coming inside as well.
I am a bit concerned that you may be setting yourself up for sep anx from your dog, as this breed can be prone to it plus she is far too demanding.
In addition to taking her out daily for nice long, smelling around walks and giving her a variety of nice chew toys to keep her occupied, I really would like you to read through the article links I have put below including the one on sep anx just to make sure this is not creeping in. If you think it is, you can start working on it straight away. . These are from my website and free and will give you more tools to start working with her. What I would suggest you bring in are:
1. House Rules
2. Alone Time Training
3. 50 Ways with Kongs (to keep her busy and entertained)
4. Article on sep anx

With regard to jumping on the chairs, for a few days, simply booby trap these by putting on some crinkly brown paper, some silver foil, odss and ends of emply cardboard boxes, coke cans tied together and draped over chairs. In fact anything that makes it harder for her to get on chairs. Good luck and if you think you need more help, please dont hesitate to get in a professional behaviourist to help you - you have a lot of work ahead of you. thanks S
http://www.friendsofthedog.co.za/house-rules-for-puppies.html

http://www.friendsofthedog.co.za/separation-anxiety-in-dogs-by-scotty-valadao-ndash-accredited-animal-behaviourist-abc-of-satrade-ndash-t

http://www.friendsofthedog.co.za/50-ways-with-a-kong.htmltouch-practitioner.html


The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

1
Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2012/05/21

Hi Belinda, shame, you do have your hands full with her at the moment - looks like she has trained you pretty well!!
Ok, first things first and lets address the night time toilet routine. First, spend a day or two and check what her normal elimination pattern is i.e. how long between each urination, is it a long flow of urine, or several short one's etc. Even if possible check the colour and the odour - see if she is licking extensively in this area. Once you know what her 'norm' is, a phone call to your vet is in order. You can tell him she is going xxxxx times per day,urine colour etc. He will then be able to determine if there could be an underlying physical concern and may ask to see her. You could do this the opposite way around as well and phone vet tell him the problem and ask him what pointers you should look out for. If you have any underlying physical concerns, then virtually nothing you do from the behaviour point of view will assist.
Next point, some dogs feel the cold more than others, so make sure that she is warm enough at night as this could contribute to the excessive urination.
If all above ok, then what you have is a dog that has figured out a way to train you pretty well and you are doing exactly what she wants too!

Starting immediately after vet has cleared her, attention is given on your terms or not at all. By this stage you will be sure that there are no physical problems regarding urination and know what her daily patterns are in this regard, so not letting her out if she needs the toilet will not be a concern.
If she demands to go outside - simply ignore her - do not talk to her, interact with her or even look at her. When she has given up (and she will), give her about 3 minutes to digest the change in circumstances and then 'on your terms', open the door and let her to outside. The same applies for coming inside as well.
I am a bit concerned that you may be setting yourself up for sep anx from your dog, as this breed can be prone to it plus she is far too demanding.
In addition to taking her out daily for nice long, smelling around walks and giving her a variety of nice chew toys to keep her occupied, I really would like you to read through the article links I have put below including the one on sep anx just to make sure this is not creeping in. If you think it is, you can start working on it straight away. . These are from my website and free and will give you more tools to start working with her. What I would suggest you bring in are:
1. House Rules
2. Alone Time Training
3. 50 Ways with Kongs (to keep her busy and entertained)
4. Article on sep anx

With regard to jumping on the chairs, for a few days, simply booby trap these by putting on some crinkly brown paper, some silver foil, odss and ends of emply cardboard boxes, coke cans tied together and draped over chairs. In fact anything that makes it harder for her to get on chairs. Good luck and if you think you need more help, please dont hesitate to get in a professional behaviourist to help you - you have a lot of work ahead of you. thanks S
http://www.friendsofthedog.co.za/house-rules-for-puppies.html

http://www.friendsofthedog.co.za/separation-anxiety-in-dogs-by-scotty-valadao-ndash-accredited-animal-behaviourist-abc-of-satrade-ndash-t

http://www.friendsofthedog.co.za/50-ways-with-a-kong.htmltouch-practitioner.html


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