sleeping at night

Posted by theresa-james
Mar 9, 2014
We have a 7 month old Boxer, Lab, shepherd mix. He can go all day while we are at work without peeing in his cage as long as there is no blanket in the cage (if there is a blanket or towel in the cage he will pee on it then push it to a corner of his cage...but he gets us up several times a night to go outside to pee...what can we do to get him to stay quite through the night?
Posted by kjd
Mar 9, 2014
Hi, theresa-james,
You have a smart puppy there! Take a look at it from his point of view: he spends the whole day alone, resting in his crate. Then you come home, from whatever fascinating adventures you have, eat, and, before he knows it, have him back in the crate for the night. He's not tired, but he is lonely. He's found out he can obtain companionship by saying he needs to pee.

First stop feeding him and cut off the water about three hours before bedtime. Then let him out to potty just before bedtime. You don't want him uncomfortable and it isn't pleasant to be lying in bed needing to go to the bathroom.

Of course, you have taken him out for a walk. However, I'd like you to do more those last several hours before bedtime. Play with him. Do some obedience training. Play hide-and-seek (one of you goes off and hides, then he tries and find you); this will also improve his coming when called. When he finds you, don't give him treats -- love him up. Find books (or places online) with ideas of games. These will help tire your pup both physically and mentally. The rewards should always be petting and snuggles from the two of you.

By bedtime, you all should be exhausted. He might seem a bit hyper, but you can calm him down and let him realize how tired he is by spending time brushing him. Then he gets his potty break and goes to bed.

Ignore his requests to go outside. You know he can hold it, since he does in the daytime. He may have taught himself so well that he errs that first night, but he is now getting what he wants, and plenty of it, before he goes to bed. It shouldn't take him long to give it up.

Now, there will be times you aren't able to give him his playtime. In the beginning, he will revert back to "I need to pee!" You have to be strong; ignore your guilt feelings; don't respond to him. Also, if he does pee in the crate, he is not punishing you: he has taught his body to pee several times during the night. So this habit of his will have to be unlearned. However, if you give him plenty of attention and tire him out before bedtime, he will learn to sleep through the night.

Good luck,
Posted by Preethi KOP
Mar 10, 2014
Hi Theresa and Kjd,

Thank you both for writing in.

Theresa, I couldn't agree more with what Kjd has said in response to your message. Your puppy is one smart cookie and knows the tricks of the trade. She is right in telling you to give him lots of love,praise and cuddles, from the sounds of it, it is what he craves most. For some dogs any attention is good attention, even if it involves getting a scolding from their owners. You have to be firm and never give in to his whining, the more you give in the longer he will whine and disturb your sleep. Get him into a good pee/poop routine and use a set phrase as a trigger, eg. "Go pee _". It is important that you use the same tone and phrase every time.

If you don't have much time to play with him each evening, find a playmate for him. A young playful dog his age in your neighbourhood would be the ideal candidate. Puppies have incredible amounts of energy and it is really hard to get them completely tired out. Having a playmate around will kill two birds with on stone and not only will you have a nice sleepy puppy each night but also a well socialised pooch in the doggie world.

Kjd, how are you and Sunna getting along? I hope she hasn't gotten any worse since we last heard from you.

Best wishes to both of you and your pooches!

Posted by theresa-james
Mar 18, 2014
Thanks for the suggestions problem is I have tried to ignore him and he will pee in the cage. This morning at 4:30 am did not really whine much I got up and he was sitting in the pee like it wasn't even bothering him! We have a 4 year old lab the he plays and runs with all evening. He can't hardly keep his eyes open after 7 pm and we try to keep him going and put him out for the last time between 9-10 pm we are up in the morning by 5:30 am
Posted by Preethi KOP
Mar 19, 2014
Hi Theresa,

Thank you for your update.

It has only been a few days since you have started trying to 'cure' him of this behavior. I suggest that you continue doing so for a few more weeks before giving up on the idea.

Another thing to consider is his water consumption. You said he plays all evening with your other pooch. Does this mean he gets really thirsty because of this and drinks a lot of water? If this is the case you may want to schedule his play time earlier in the evening or even encourage it in the morning and see if doing so helps your situation. Also, what do you feed and when? You could try changing his feeding routine if you give him a meal late in the evening.

Please do keep us posted on his progress. Good luck!