Nervous in the night when toddler wakes

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Nervous in the night when toddler wakes

Post by Vicki29 on Thu Feb 09 2017, 02:10

I'm having a week from hell here!

My 4 year old staffy is nervous, panting and shaking like mad when my toddler wakes in the night.

He's so bad that he's been pooing in the house and when I let him out into the garden he doesn't want to come back inside.

There's no calming him at all and I'm having to put him in the kitchen and I'm terrified he's going to start ripping the place to bits in his panic. He's generally not a nervous dog at all, with the exception of fireworks and thunder.

This is now the 3rd night in a row.

Any ideas?

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Re: Nervous in the night when toddler wakes

Post by LizP on Thu Feb 09 2017, 08:22

That's an interesting one!

Does he react to your toddler at other times or is it just night? Is it when he's asleep and is woken or any time that it's dark, or are you not sure because you're asleep?

I usually advise trying to pair the trigger (in this case the noise) with something really positive, and to break down the experience into tiny chunks that you can work with the dog before he gets to the point he can no longer cope. It might be hard in this case but not impossible, and it might also be difficult as the best results involve avoiding the trigger during training, which you clearly can't do. I do think it's worth looking at fireworks at some point, though, as that can be done and might help his confidence generally.

There are some products on the market that can help with anxiety - Adaptil is one of the best known, it's most commonly used as a plug in thing but is also available as a collar or in tablet form. Thunder shirts have also got good reviews. I've not used either myself but know people who have and who swear by them. Neither are guaranteed - you don't know if your dog responds until you try.

Where does Jerry normally sleep? Another thought is to have him sleeping in with you. He might find it less stressful to hear your child's noise with the reassurance of your presence. You'd probably end up with him on your bed forever, though!

If I have any other thoughts I'll let you know.


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Re: Nervous in the night when toddler wakes

Post by Vicki29 on Thu Feb 09 2017, 14:51

Thanks for your reply. He sleeps with me on my bed when my partner is at work and on his bed on the landing other times. He also has a bed downstairs should he feel the need to be downstairs.

I've tried giving him calming tablets but they didn't work at all.

He doesn't react at all during the day if my toddler is noisy or crying. He's really laid back and nothing really startles or phases him.

It all seemed to start when my little girl moved bedrooms. When she was in her old room he never cared at all whether she woke in the night.

It's all very odd. The only time I can think that he's ever done anything like this was once when we changed his food he went through about a week of doing this between 8pm and 9pm then calmed down at bedtime. We changed his food again and that stopped that.

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Re: Nervous in the night when toddler wakes

Post by LizP on Thu Feb 09 2017, 16:54

If you're happy to give him full run of the house including your bedroom, what I'd try is to see if you can build up a response that says 'when the little girl makes a noise, I run to mum to get a treat'. Not only are you building up a positive association between the crying and the treat, you are also giving him something else to do that is incompatible with what he's doing at the moment.

I'd have treat stashes around the house so that you've always got something to hand. Every single time your daughter makes a noise, call him to you for a fuss and a treat (unless there's an emergency, of course!). Be really fun about it, yay what a brilliant game oh my goodness this is the best thing ever, and make sure the treats are worth his effort, even what that's hard. Every single time to start off with so that he knows what's coming and that it is just great!

He'll find that easier during the day - hopefully other than night times it should be fun and really nice for him to do - and nights might prove tricky to start off with but I hope that you should be able to build it up to include any time. I know, you'll end up with him coming to you all the time but you can break that habit later when you no longer need it.

Try to call him at the first gurgle. What you're aiming for is that he knows that response BEFORE he gets worried at night. Once adrenaline kicks in it's much, much harder for him to think straight and you're more likely to get a fear response.

Don't worry/give up if it doesn't make a difference immediately, keep on for a good few days and see how it goes. These things can take a little time for old habits to break and new ones to form. This is how I've taught dogs to overcome their fear of fireworks and, with patience, consistency and a lot of treats, it did work.

I can't promise it'll solve it for you but it's worth trying.


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Re: Nervous in the night when toddler wakes

Post by Vicki29 on Thu Feb 09 2017, 20:40

Its definitely worth a go. Thanks very much for your help.

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Re: Nervous in the night when toddler wakes

Post by Mia05 on Fri Feb 10 2017, 23:08

If at all possible let the dog have the run of the house being a staffy its natural they wamt to make sure the babys ok.do you have an old article of your babys clothing ? Perhaps that may help.xx
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