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Hi,
I have a 10 month old female beagle named Laya  who has what I call sleep anxiety (if that's what you call it). Basically no matter what she is like before we go off to bed as soon as we all crawl into bed she thinks it's play time. She'll wrestle with my other dog, bring her toys in the bedroom to play, bark, chew anything to not go to bed. She has been this way all her life. She simply does not want to go to bed. We've ran, hiked whatever to reduce all her energy before bed and nothing works. She can be sleeping on the couch and moving her to the bed room she is wide awake. Please is there anything we can do for her to reduce or control what I call her terrible sleep anxiety?

thanks,

Shay

Answer

Hi Shay,

It doesn't sound like Laya has any form of anxiety, overtime I think it's just become her habit to become energetic once you want to go to sleep. This could be due to several reasons, including if your dog is alone for long period of time during the day. By paying attention to Laya's outbursts of energy, you’re reinforcing the very dog problem behavior that you're trying to eliminate. The next time she is trying to get up a game at bedtime, try "no touch, no talk, no eye contact", in other words completely ignore her, and see how how it goes. You might be surprised how quickly she settles down.

You've said you've hiked and have tried to reduce her energy, but have you done that just before your own bedtime? A really vigorous walk (if that's possible) or active play before you go to bed would be a good idea. Once you’ve burned some of that extra energy, Laya should be more tired and better able to calm down and be quiet. Also be sure that Laya is getting the correct amount of exercise she needs every day. As she grows up, she will calm down, but she's still a puppy right now. Beagles need A LOT of exercise because they're hunting dogs. They've been bred to run for 3 to 4 hours at a clip! That's why it can seem that no matter how much you exercise her, she still isn't tired. Be sure Laya gets a good 40 minutes of aerobic exercise every day.

Laya shouldn't have the run of your house when you go to bed. If she's not crate trained, contain her to part of a room (using child gates), or use an indoor dog pen so she can't try to get you to play once you've gone to bed, or roughhouse with your other dog (if you don't want her to). Some dogs become hyper out of sheer boredom and the simple act of having something to do with her mouth can help to dissipate some of her energy and boredom. When you go to bed, contain Laya, and give her something to do. Kong dog toys are widely used and recommended for therapy and prevention of under-stimulation, boredom, separation anxiety and other behavior problems. A Kong toy that you've packed with tidbits that she needs to work to remove, is good time-consuming mental stimulation. Read more about using Kongs:

http://www.trainingolderdogs.com/dog-separation-anxiety/kongs-for-mental-stimula


You can train Laya to settle down on command. Read more about that here:

http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/teaching-dog-relax

http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-articles/teaching-your

http://www.dogspelledforward.com/dog-settle-calm-down


Other things to try which can help calm Laya at night:

• Lavender is said to relax human beings, a soothing smell can also have a very calming effect on dogs.

• Try using dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP) in the form of either the plug-in diffuser or embedded in a collar. Read about using DAP to calm a dog here:

http://pets.webmd.com/features/pet-pheromone-products-for-behavior-problems

In a nut shell, if you give your dog the attention she looking for when you want to go to sleep, you reinforce the bad behavior. Ignore Laya when she’s displaying behavior you dislike, and give her positive reinforcement when she’s calm.


I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,

Patti  

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Patti

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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.

Experience

My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

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Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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