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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19466
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Our 5 month old Lurcher puppy does not like sleeping alone

Customer Question

Our 5 month old Lurcher puppy does not like sleeping alone downstairs in her cage. She only sleeps for about 2 hours then howls and whines, so we let her into the garden to toilet, but really she wants contact with us.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,
.
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
.
Is there a reason she does not sleep upstairs in your room in the crate?
Do you always come get her and let her out?
Is she spayed?
How often is she fed?
Is she walked?
How long and when are her walks?
Do you let her investigate and sniff on her walks?
What have you tried to stop the behavior?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

When we first had her (at 9 weeks old) she slept on our bed for a week or so. We then bought the crate, which is in the living room, and put her bed in there because at Puppy Classes we were told to get her "out of the bedroom" presumably because of forming a habit. She if given a treat when she goes into her crate, and we have just started putting some of her toys in with her .


We have tried sleeping downstairs with her which at first worked regarding her not whining and going to sleep but have stopped that now because she whines with us in the room with her and whines almost immediately she goes into her crate which gets worse when we leave her to go to our bedroom. She eventually goes to sleep for an hour or two , but not sleeping soundly, we feel, then wakes up and we toilet her, and the process repeats itself.


In the day she rarely goes into the crate and lie down but prefers to sleep on a blanket on the settee. Sometimes if we have visitors and there is a lot going on and we're sat at the table having a meal , we put her into the crate for a rest which doesn't bother her and she stays there quietly.


She has not yet been spayed as she is only 5 months old.


She is fed 3 times a day.


We take her for 2 walks a day - in the morning 10am - 11am maybe around the streets where there are patches of grass where she likes to snake in the grass, or maybe to the park where she is sometimes let off the lead if there aren't any other dogs or children around as she jumps up to them, likewise if she goes to the woods in the afternoon say for up to an hour and a half , 14.00 - 15.30 she is let of the lead if there are not too many other dogs around. This is not to say she doesn't socialise with other dogs as we are always stopping to let her say "hello" to other dogs being walked, but she is always the one to be jumping up on the other dog. We were taught at Puppy Class not to let them sniff on a walk as you should be the one leading the walk and not your dog but obviously when she is let off her lead she is able to sniff as and when.


We have tried a couple of different beds for her. One of the oval type with sides and another plain rectangle size which covers the crate floor.


We always give her treats when she goes in the crate.


We love her dearly and think sometimes that we spoil her too much with too many cuddles.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.

Maggie,

.

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. You probably do spoil her a bit, but that is pretty normal. First off, you need to get her off the settee. Dogs should not be allowed on furniture as it makes them think they are the boss and allowed to do what they want when they want. Just keep a leash attached to her and every time she goes to jump up, give a short tug to get her attention and a firm low toned NO. Soon she will learn that she isn't allowed up anymore and will not even try. When she does that, reward her with a tasty treat like a hot dog (vienna sausage) sliver or liver slivers. This helps naturally keep her more submissive and less demanding.

 

I'd get her neutered. If she goes into heat before spaying you lose some of the benefits or spaying such as reduced chance of breast cancer.

 

Start obedience training in earnest. Classes are great, but you can start at home. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

 

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

 

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

 

Training and nilf program all help a dog learn that they are lower in the pack than the humans and the humans make the rules.

 

I've never had a problem with dogs sleeping in the bedroom as long as they are on their own bed or crate and not up in bed with the humans. Of course, they have to be well behaved in the crate and not carry on. Perhaps they were just concerned over you sleep since it is harder to sleep if a pup is whining and crying in the same room .

 

For the whining and crying, the only thing that works is to totally ignore the behavior. Each time you get up and let the dog out to eliminate or pay the dog any attention including yelling at the dog, they are rewarded for the behavior because they either get out of the crate or get attention.

 

I do recommend some changes to your routine with her that will help. First feed her the last big meal at around 5pm and keep a little aside for a small snack meal right before bedtime. You also want to take up water at the same time so she has plenty of chance to empty her bladder and bowels before bedtime. You should also take her for a long walk (30-45 min) before bedtime. Make it a fast paced walk with the opportunity to eliminate before you come in if she hasn't already gone.

 

Next buy a kong toy. Fill it with peanut butter or yogurt early in the day and then freeze it. When you put her in the crate, give her the kong with frozen treat. These things will tire her out so she sleeps sounder and longer. The kong will either keep her away a few hours longer before going to sleep thus keeping her asleep longer or will give her something to do if she wakes up in the night time. If she has something in her mouth she isn't whining.

 

Invest in a good pair or ear plugs or head phones and start this on days where you don't have to work the next day. In my experience, it usually only takes a few days before they learn that whining no longer has the same response from you. Now the first few days it may get even worse as they are just convinced you can't hear them or something, so stay strong and ignore it. I've had clients that plugged earphones into their TV so they could better ignore the pup. The pups learn though.

 

Dogs get bored with the same toys all the time, so only give half of her toys and rotate them each week. You also might try a DAP collar. They emit a pheromone much like the one a nursing mom emits to calm her pups. It is helpful for cases where dogs have separation anxiety.

.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have.

Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19466
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We thought your advice was very good, our dog has been in her cage in our bedroom, for 2 nights now and she is very quiet.


 


We wanted to get her nights sorted before we concentrate on leaving her at home in the day - we are not confident about this as we think she has separation anxiety - we will look into the special collar, is there anything else we can do ?


 


We have a kong and think she may make use of this when she wakes@ 5am and doesn't want to return to her cage but as yet that is now early days.


 


We have tried to get her off the settee before , but she went back on it. The vet nurse seemed to think it was ok if we didn't mind - she is certainly becoming confused as we're trying to get her off again and also if we put a lead on her she thinks she's going for a walk and we feel that it is tricky keeping a lead on her all the time as she wanders round the house and in the garden.


 

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Maggie,
.
Her lead doesn't have to be a long one, just long enough that you don't have to grab her collar to make her get down. Once she stays down off the settee and gets the tasty treat she will be happy to stay down, but you have to be consistent in the early days with rewarding her.

If you feel she has separation anxiety, try a DAP collar available at pet stores and online. They use a pheromone to calm a dog similar to the one a nursing mom uses to calm her pups. They are proven to help with separation anxiety. Also start doing things that make her think you are leaving like getting on jackets or shoes or picking up purses and keys but then don't leave or leave without doing those things. This will help keep her from becoming anxious before you even leave and help stop her from going into that anxiety mode more.

Here is a site that also offers idea to combat separation anxiety.
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/overcoming-separation-anxiety.aspx

Another option is medication, which is discussed on this site:
http://www.cpvh.com/2011/08/08/separation-anxiety/

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Just a quick follow up to see if you had a chance to try any of my suggestions. I hope you found my suggestions helpful.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We have rated you - we are managing to keep our puppy off the settee sometimes. We haven't put a leash on her because she gets on when we are no in the room, but can see what you mean, but surprisingly it is working slowly by word of mouth or physically taking her off and she is getting better. We are going to buy the collar to help with separation anxiety. She is still being quiet in her cage in our bedroom. We did some training at Puppy Class, like when to sit and lay down and to walk properly to heel. Also when we recall her when off the lead she returns well. Could you say what other training you suggest ?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Maggie,
.
You might work on her with tracking training which can be found on the same site as the obedience training. It might help keep her mind occupied which with a lurcher, you definitely want. I'm glad there has been improvement.

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