Having to re-crate 6 month old puppy in the night

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Posts: 1
Joined: 11 Jan 2021, 14:40
First Name: Laura

Having to re-crate 6 month old puppy in the night

Post by Ernie08112020 »

Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated..
At 5 months Ernie was sleeping through the night with no toileting accidents so we decided to take him out of the crate over night and into a big boy bed, he never liked the crate and would only go in overnight. All was going well for around a month, sleeping right through, then all of a sudden last week he’s waking in the night and eliminating in the house and not trying to get our attention to be let out, only crying after the fact. After a week of middle of the night clearing up elimination in various areas of the hallway and living room we’ve re-crated him tonight to at least control where he’s doing this, at least if he needs to go during the night he should cry at which point we can let him out to eliminate outside... has anyone experience this regression and have we done the right thing to re-crate him only it feels like a massive step back as I write this listening to him crying as he doesn't like the crate?
Any help or advice would be very much welcomed..

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Re: Having to re-crate 6 month old puppy in the night

Post by zeta1454 »

Hi Laura and welcome to the Forum :)

Is the night time behaviour the only issue with Ernie as you want to be sure there is no health problem causing him to pee and poo during the night. It could be worth a vet check just to be sure in any case as it is unusual for young dogs to need to go to the toilet through the night if they have been before bed.

However, if it is an issue related to anxiety it could be that something has spooked him either on one occasion or that there is a regular noise / light / scent which is disturbing his sleep and causing him enough stress that he toilets in the house. It will have been a big change moving from a crate (even if he doesn’t like it) to having the whole of the house or even the downstairs area to roam. For many dogs, being alone in large spaces can be worrying - watchdog breeds or type of dog are quickly alert to any sound or scent that may be a threat and if they feel vulnerable or need to investigate or deal with the ‘threat’ it can be very stressful for them. With our first three mini schnauzers we would leave them in a bedroom at night as well as when we went out through the day. The curtains were closed and they had a biscuit and settled down - it was a routine of encouraging them to understand that they did not need to guard or watch out and just settle until we came home. If they had been left to roam the house there is no doubt they would have been at the windows and the doors, listening and looking for anything unusual and barking at things that worried them. By reducing the space and having a set settling down routine, it really did make a difference.

If you are sure there is no health issue with Ernie, I would try putting him in one room e.g. kitchen or, if your house is open-plan getting a playpen or just sectioning off a smaller area with bed, safe chew toys etc. where Ernie can sleep with more ‘security’. Have a set routine for him going to bed e.g out to toilet, into the pen and a biscuit, and then leave him. If he does toilet at night at least it is in one area so easier to clean up. Was his crate downstairs or in your bedroom? He may just be feeling lonely but, if he has been sleeping for a month with no issues, I would think it more likely that something has spooked him. Dogs have very acute hearing and sense of smell and the smallest unusual sound can affect them. Despite having had the usual upbringing in our home with all the household noises, one of our dogs always reacts to the gurgling sound of the water draining from the dishwasher and barks at it...and she is now nearly 5 years old! If some sound or light or scent has happened to startle Ernie or something happens regularly at a particular time during the night to wake him this may be why he is wandering and toileting in the house. He won’t be asking to go out as it is anxiety ratter than need that is making him do this. Make sure the room is dark and warm and no obvious reasons for sounds that might waken him.

I would also say that there is no reason why a dog should not sleep in a crate through the night even as an adult dog - we have four dogs who do so and one mini schnauzer who only started sleeping in a crate aged 9 years when she didn’t want to sleep with the other two minis in their bedroom and now sleeps in mine (in the crate). So, if Ernie had become or would become settled in a crate there is no real need to change this but, of course, if it is going to be distressing for him, I would try him in a larger but still enclosed area instead.
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Re: Having to re-crate 6 month old puppy in the night

Post by Schnauzerluv »

Whether or not you crate him overnight again, I would go back to setting an alarm mid-night and take him out for a potty break. Let him know he will have the option to eliminate during the night. I suspect he's just not sure when he will get outside again.

I would look at sectioning the room he sleeps in or and area as suggested above to limit his freedom access to the home during the night.

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