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Dog has started whining when alone again

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Rachel2832, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Rachel2832

    Rachel2832 New Member Registered

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    My Labrador is almost 2. I’ve used a crate as she chews things when left alone for longer than an hour. She didn’t like it when she a pup, then I stopped using it as she was ok alone, then I moved house and she chewed lots when alone, so I got a big crate and she took to it really well, went in to chill in the evening even when people were home.

    Now my housemates have told me that the last week or so she has started to whine during the night (I do night shifts sometimes and she sleeps in her crate when I do, whereas when I’m home she sleeps in my bed. This has been the case for almost a year and she’s been fine) really loud. I’m assuming she’s the same when everyone is out during the day

    I don’t get why she has suddenly started being unhappy with it again, I feel awful!

    Does anyone have any idea why this is happening and what I can do?

    I’m moving next week, into a house with a live in landlord. He also has a dog but doesn’t use a crate. He’s happy about having my dog live there but I’m worried he won’t be if she whines all night when I’m not there. Help!
     
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  2. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Now she's older, would you be able to leave her out of the crate? She might be happiest if she could curl up on your bed when you're not there.

    As for why this has just started - could she be cold? Can you think of anything that has changed recently? Has her food changed at all? Has anything happened that might stress her? If you can't think of anything, and she's been fine for some time prior to this, it would be worth getting a vet check. Something like a bladder infection could make her want to go out sooner than she normally would.

    It's possible that she's fine during the day but not at night - you could check this by recording her when you go out.
     
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  3. Rachel2832

    Rachel2832 New Member Registered

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    Thank you, I have thought about leaving her out but I’m terrified of her chewing things as before the crate (last year when I moved) she chewed an armchair (my housemates) and bits of carpet.. I can imagine she would be happier to curl up on my bed but I don’t know if she’d sleep the whole time or start chewing things after a couple of hours. I might try it for a short time today and maybe record it.

    The only changes are that I’ve been pretty stressed with finding a new place/getting ready to move. I also haven’t been spending as much time hanging out in the lounge/dining room which is where her crate is, I don’t know if this could be a cause - because shes only down there for longer periods of time when I’m out? Maybe I’ll try the crate in my bedroom?
     
  4. poptart

    poptart Member Registered

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    The move could be a factor. Dogs are super sensitive to our feelings.
    If you're worried about letting her sleep on your bed, could you give her something with your scent on to sleep with? It might help to reassure her.
     
  5. Rachel2832

    Rachel2832 New Member Registered

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    She actually sleeps on my bed when I’m home (I know a lot of people think this is crazy but I feel that if she’s on her own when I’m at work then shouldn’t she have company as much as possible when I’m home?) so it’s s not that, it’s the worry that if she’s left alone she might not be as relaxed as when I’m there?
     
  6. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Good morning,

    How long is she left alone in her crate when you're doing night shifts?

    And how long is she left in her crate during the day?
     
  7. Rachel2832

    Rachel2832 New Member Registered

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    Maximum 6/7 hours in the day. And then in the night my housemates are in with her in the evening and will put her in her crate when they go to bed around 10pm-midnight, then I get home at 8am. So longer then, but I know most dogs sleep downstairs/away from their owners so it’s quite typical for them to be left for that time at night?

    Like I said she has not had any problems with it for a year until the last couple of weeks. Is there any way a behaviourist would be able to help? When it was an issue in the past before I brought the crate back, I tried everything from plug in diffusers, leaving the radio on, I always leave her a kong filled with frozen Greek yoghurt, etc. But nothing seemed to help, I just got the crate and she was happy in there straight away!
     
  8. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Personally I think 6/7 hours is far too long for any dog to be left in a crate. Especially a big dog like a Labrador.

    The evening like you said, she should be sleeping anyway. I have a black Labrador and I've actually nicknamed him Needy Nigel for this very reason!! There is obviously something about where her crate is that's making her unhappy.

    Are your housemates new? has something happened whilst you've been at work? I think it would be a good idea to get a monitor to watch watch she does in the day and the evening.

    Dennis sleeps in our room every night and I know that he would whine and cry if I ever tried to change that. Maybe she's happy in the day because she knows that's part of her routine but then of a night time she knows that she would be sleeping with you and that's why she cannot settle in her crate?
     
  9. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    sorry lots of if's in that post!
     
  10. poptart

    poptart Member Registered

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    Do you know what your housemates do when she whines? Have they perhaps unwittingly encouraged her by giving her attention? It's so easy to reinforce this sort of behaviour without knowing. But it's difficult to deal with when your sleep is being disturbed.
     
  11. Rachel2832

    Rachel2832 New Member Registered

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    I understand that it may be too long but as she was chewing everything/anything when left to roam, but was totally relaxed when in her crate (I did film her when I started to use it again) it was the only option to keep her and the house from harm! I would much prefer to leave her to roam the house I’m just too worried about her chewing which could a) (and this is the biggest worry) cause her harm/choke her/electricoute her and b) destroy something expensive in the house that isn’t my own!

    So I guess another question is how can I stop using the crate without the above happening?
     
  12. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    A personal suggestion would be (some of these things you may do already):

    1. Take her on a nice big walk before you have to leave for work
    2. Settle her in the dining room (or where ever it is she can stay) with lots of enrichment. A kong like you already said, a few soft cuddly toys and maybe another food based game.
    3. Can you pay for some one to come and break her day up and take her out again after about 3/4 hours? It may even just be for 30 minutes but it would be some exercise and company?
    4. Ask the dog walker (or trusted person) to leave some more treats down for her when they leave?
    Labradors don't enjoy spending lots of time by themselves so it's probably a mix of boredom and anxiety.
     
  13. Rachel2832

    Rachel2832 New Member Registered

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    Thank you! I always take her for a walk before she’s left, I also have dog walkers come in often if it’s a longer time she’ll be alone for. But again this is all in the crate. I also don’t work 5 days a week, often it’s only 1 or 2 days and 1 or 2 nights.

    As you said the night is normal for them to be left alone for longer, and this is one of the issues which can’t be solved by a dog walker etc.

    It’s all been working out fine up until now, so I suppose I need a solution or to work out what’s caused it to change and fix that?
     
  14. Rachel2832

    Rachel2832 New Member Registered

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    I only know that a couple of nights ago she was doing it so loudly that one of them got her out and into their room for the night (I didn’t even know it had started happening again until yesterday when I asked why she slept in there and they told me it had been happening for the last couple of weeks though I don’t think she’d slept in anyone else’s room before this week) My housemates have been here for a while and are fine with the dog, however they are part of the reason for moving/the stress I’ve been having,
     
  15. poptart

    poptart Member Registered

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    Hmm, it's a tricky situation. She's now probably learned that whining gets her attention so she'll keep doing it. When you move it would be an opportunity to break the pattern. Maybe having another dog for company at night will help settle her down.
     
  16. Rachel2832

    Rachel2832 New Member Registered

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    Yes I was thinking it may be safer to leave her if there’s another dog there, this would only be an option at night though as the other dog goes to work with my new housemate. What I really need is a job where she can come with me This was one of my biggest worries when I got her as a puppy, I’ve had quotes from behaviourists today but I don’t know how much more they can do, hopefully I can work on it myself. It’s so expensive and I’d rather use the money for dog walkers etc
     
  17. poptart

    poptart Member Registered

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    No offence to anyone reading this who is a behaviourist, but you should know that it is not a regulated profession. Anyone can claim to be a behaviourist and charge what they like. Be careful before you hand over your money to someone. Remember you know your own dog better than anyone, however qualified they may be.
     
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  18. Rachel2832

    Rachel2832 New Member Registered

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    Yeah, I read some reviews about some of them and are so mixed I don’t think I could trust them with the amount of money they charge! I think I’ll just work slowly with her and take everyone’s advice from here! I’m sure she’ll be ok!
     
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  19. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Definitely try a few things before getting a behaviourist - and after you move the situation will change anyway so it wouldn't make sense to get one before then.

    I would try to arrange your bedroom in the new house so she can be left relatively safely in there. Chewed sheets, duvets and even the odd bit of cheap furniture can be replaced, and the cost of this would be less than a session with a behaviourist;) You can move the odd thing like pillows out of the room before you leave the house, and maybe fence off any area of the room where she might do damage with a dog playpen. If you're able to take time off when you move to get her settled in and leave her for shorter periods that would be great, but I know it might not be.

    I've noticed that when my dog goes on my bed, it doesn't matter how carefully I cover it, he likes to dig down to the bottom sheet, or lie on the pillows, or any bit that has been in contact with OH and me (he's shut out the bedroom in the day now as I got fed up of ripped, muddy, gritty sheets). So don't be too surprised if you give her a nice blanket to sleep on on the bed and she scrabbles down to get to the bits that smell of you;) He did seem better when I tucked a duvet cover in the bed with us for a few nights and then put that on the bed for him to lie on.
     
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  20. Rachel2832

    Rachel2832 New Member Registered

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    hi everyone.. hope you get this as a notification as needing more advice and you've all been super helpful so far. So I have moved to my new place, been here a week, she seems to be settling well. I've recorded her while I've been out and in her crate she was absolutely fine, slept the whole time for an hour. When I went out for 2 hours she whined a little (very loud but not for long) after an hour then went back to sleep. Today I went out for just under an hour and thought I'd try leaving her downstairs out of the crate. She's been left here before when my housemates dog has been in for short periods and overnight, so I didn't think it was too risky! Was terrified the whole time I was out though that I was gonna come back to chewed sofas etc. I didn't, she was fine, nothing chewed. I recorded her and she didn't whine apart from very quietly after about 20 minutes. But she did spent almost the whole time looking out the window.. which broke my heart! I would love to keep leaving her like this, out of the crate, giving her more freedom.. but how can I gradually up the time when she is obviously waiting at the window like that? Good thing was she didn't bark at anyone walking past, which she has been doing sometimes when I've been home. But how can I up from 50 minutes to a few hours, without her getting scared/anxious/upset and chewing things/scratching doors?
     
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