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Canine Behavior/Sleep changes in my JRT, age almost 13


My JRT Shannon, for about 2 mos. now used to get up at 6 AM which as a retired person I could handle.

Unfortunately that has changed to 4 AM & I'm not able to continue this terrible change.  I understand things change with age (including myself) BUT any suggestions?  She does have thyroid problem that she's been on a pill for almost 2 yrs.  She goes for her annual check up next month.  

Also, I'm rationing her water intake as she's had many accidents this whole summer.  Thank you

As you may know from your own experience (thyroid medication is common for people), this supplement can wreak havoc with our lives: urination need can increase, anxiety can increase, sleeplessness can occur, or just the opposite; weight gain, etc., are all part and parcel of messing around with thyroid medication!!  This medication requires an every-three-month blood test to evaluate levels.

Let's see what your veterinarian has to say.  Rationing water is not a good idea. Hydration is important and kidneys will function poorly if there is insufficient hydration, causing extra urination rather than less in some cases.  Also, try a doggy diaper for Shannon overnight:

These "panties" won't stop urination if it is urgent and health related; if it is behavioral, they will (since the urine is retained close to the body and the dog will quickly learn to avoid urinating when wearing one).  Do not respond to her signals at 4AM, regardless of whether or not you are awake and stay awake, even if this means you have to stay in bed with your eyes glued open staring at the ceiling LOL.  Some of this change may be an inadvertent reaction to your response!

Reminder to your veterinarian: this is an elderly dog.  An "annual" checkup is certainly not even close to adequate, especially since she is taking a thyroid supplement.  If your veterinarian does not agree, I suggest you find one who is more contemporary in his/her practice.  Please let me know what the blood test shows.  While 13 is elderly, the JRT can live many more years.  If her blood levels are normal with the thyroid supplement (and I will be surprised if that is the case), then we will address this behaviorally.  Please use followup feature so I can see original question/answer.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

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Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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