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Canine Behavior/Owner passed away and dog won't let us sleep through the night


We inherited my mother-in-law's miniature dachshund, Frank E, over a year ago when she passed away.  He is now 5.5 years old.  When we first got Frank E, my son took care of him, and Frank E slept in his room with him on his bed.  Six months ago my son left for college, so my husband and I are now Frank E's caretakers.  The problem we are having is that Frank E wakes up my husband at least once per night.  This is a big problem because my husband has many medical issues and doesn't get enough sleep already, and having to get up with Frank E even once per night is having a more negative impact on his already poor health.  Frank E usually wakes him up to go potty, but sometimes he wakes him up if he is out of water or can't find his chew bone.  We have tried to limit his water intake at night and before bed, but he will wake us up if he drinks all his water.  His food and water are out and available for him whenever he is out of his crate, but he will only eat in the evening and during the night.  He can go for at least 8 hours in his crate, and even when out of the crate during the day when we are home, without having to go potty.  Our sleeping time is only about 6-7 hours, so it seems like he should be able to hold it at least that long.  How can we get him to sleep through the night?  Thank you very much for any help you can offer.

I think I need a little more information in order to better answer this question. I must let you know, I'm going out of town and may not receive your reply until I get back next weekend. But I will respond to it if I do get it (sometimes followups come through even if I'm on a vacation hold).

Frank E is crate trained. Is he comfortable in the crate? Does he have activities to occupy him when in there such as a chew bone? How much time does he spend in his crate over the course of a given day? And how long at a stretch is he in the crate, followed by how long out of the crate?

You indicated that he has food available at all times when he's out of his crate but that he doesn't actually eat until evening or during the night. At what time does he typically eat? How much food are you providing in his bowl - the recommended amounts on the bag of kibble are daily amounts, not meal amounts. What does he eat? What kinds of treats does he get and at what times of day and by whom and for what reason (e.g. he's just too cute, as reward for doing skills or tricks, because you're eating, so he gets a bite, etc)?

Where does he spend his nights right now? In his crate? On your bed? On a bed in your room? Roaming the house - sleeping anywhere he chooses?

What kind of exercise does he get each day - both physical (e.g. walks, running around, playing fetch, tug, etc) and mental exercise (e.g. problem solving activities such as food dispensing puzzle toys, interactive puzzle toys that require a little more supervision, hide-and-seek with toys or food for him to sniff out and find, etc)?

Did he sleep through the night when he stayed in your son's room? Ask him if he had to get up with Frank E regularly and if so - for what reasons.

What is the nightly ritual beginning from about 4pm until bedtime? What time does he wake up and disturb your husband (or the window if it's not exactly the same time each night)? About how long before a second disturbance and any others?

Generally, young and healthy dogs should sleep through the night without interruption. So there is a chance that there's a medical condition that may need to be addressed. I encourage you to have Frank E get a complete check up, including blood work that includes a full thyroid panel. Discuss with the vet the specific issues that you're experiencing as they may provide insight to look for certain medical conditions.

If he's truly of sound health, then the next step would be addressing his daily activities and nightly routines so that he's actually tired enough and used to the routine enough to sleep through the night.

Please use the followup button in this reply to answer these questions and I will asnwer them as soon as I receive the reply.

I look forward to your respnose.

Los Angeles Behaviorist

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, MS, CPDT-KA


IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 8 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members and many other issues. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.


I have been a professional obedience trainer for 9 years, and specializing in behavior modification for 8 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I own my own dog training and behavior modification business called Nutz About Mutz.

I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications ; ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

I have a masters degree (MS) in Animals and Public Policy, with a minor in Animal Behavior, from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. I also have 3 years of graduate education in Animal Behavior and Learning from UM-Missoula and UL-Lafayette. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences, workshops and seminars. Beginning in March, 2017, I will be the Behavior & Training Manager at Second Chance Center for Animals in Flagstaff, AZ.

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