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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20172
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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we have a six year old female labradoodle called Hebe - to

Customer Question

we have a six year old female labradoodle called Hebe - to say we adore her would be an understatement.
True she could be better behaved but that is my fault for not being the 'pack leader' but in saying this she does not have an unkind bone in her body .
Most evening we watch the tv and every now and again we let her out in the garden for walk round etc. and she comes back in ! this may happen 2 or 3 times in the evening.
So normally no problem here at all !
However last night and once before say two weeks or so ago she decides not to come in and stays in the garden ! to the extent that we have no choice but to leave her out there for the whole night ! the first time she did this she scratched on the door at about 3 am and in she came ! last night however - no scratch at the door but I let her in at 6am as she was barking at I believe the neighbours alpacas !
So you can imagine it is worry and an aggravation to be faced with this as I can hardly sleep worrying about her being outside -to be fair we have a large safe garden in the country so there is no real safety issue of her !
The question is why is she suddenly doing this ? she is most certainly a pre madonna and I am as soft as lights with her - but why does she do this I wonder ! any ideas ?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 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.

There could be a few different reasons for this. It may be that she is not getting enough exercise and thus is awake and bored so wants to be outside where there is more going on. this can be corrected with a nice long formal leashed walk before bedtime and a small meal. You might get a Kong chew toy with the treat compartment as well. You can fill it with peanut butter or yogurt, freeze it and give it to your dog at night to keep her occupied while you are sleeping. If given just at night, it will help convince her to come in when called as well.

Another possible reason is that she has an undiscovered possible health issue. Often dogs that are feeling under the weather will elect to stay out where it is cooler. It seems to help them feel a little better and they can eat some grass which they often do when they have an upset stomach. In a pack situation, an ill or injured dog can be driven out of a pack and even attacked, so dogs will instinctively move away from their pack in these situations.

And another possibility would be that she is starting with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). It has been seen in dogs the same age as your dog. There is a wonderful site that explains it well and also explains how to document your dog's behavior and discuss it with your vet.

The good news is that there is a drug called L-Selegeline (Anipryl (R)) which has been recently approved for use in the clinical indication of cognitive dysfunction (CDS) in dogs.

Please see this site for more information and other causes that may exhibit the same symptoms.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

So the first thing I would do is check the symptoms of CDS since one single symptom wouldn't be enough to diagnose it, but if she is also exhibiting other signs such as barking at animals that she has been around most of her life, asking to go out and wanting back in without eliminating, getting lost behind doors, etc. that might help determine if it is the issue.

Then I would have a thorough exam done including bloodwork to rule out any health issues. If there is no medical issue, then I would do the walks, increase obedience training and use the toys to help keep her occupied INSIDE at night. 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.

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 .