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Hello everyone. We have a male Labradoodle which is 5 years old, and have had him for about 3 years. I'm in my 50s, and this is my first experience of having a dog. When we got him, my daughter was keen to have him in her room overnight, so that's where he slept. She's now developed teenageritis, and so doesn't want him in there anymore. So by default he now sleeps (sort of) with us.

This is frankly a nightmare. He's on and off the bed all night, chews his paws, shakes his head, scratches at the carpet, barks at the foxes, and anything else he can think of to keep me awake all night. Before going to bed I now have to put barricades against the curtains so he can't see the foxes, and put ear plugs in to try and drown out the noises from his other attempts to keep me awake.

I want to get him to sleep in the kitchen, but my wife says he's too old and set in his ways to change now. I'm sure that can't be right, but have no idea on how you go about changing a dog's routine. I did try once, but he pooed and weed everywhere, and was clearly quite stressed about it. Do you just persevere? Any suggestions welcome. Thank you.
In my honest opinion, he should be able to sleep in with your teenager - it's what he was used to and was happy with, and what she agreed to, and this change is affecting both his quality of life and yours, making you both miserable. Is it possible you can persuade her to change her mind - I say persuade, but you might need to be firm and not give her much of an option. (I've had teenogres, I know this is easier said than done;)).

Why do you think he was more settled in her room - does the position of the room mean he's less likely to hear foxes?
Thanks. He wasn't very good when he was with her either, which is why she got fed up. Basically he's just a fidgety dog who needs to be sleeping in the kitchen! I just don't know how you go about training him to do that.
I think the first step should be to help him settle wherever he sleeps - if he's not settled with you or your daughter, he's not going to settle in the kitchen on his own. Is he any better if you both leave your bedroom doors open?

Does he generally find it settle during the day too, or is he more chilled and relaxed in the daytime. Also, how much walking and mental stimulation does he get during the day? A longer walk later in the day might help.

I'm wondering if there's something else that might be making him anxious at night. If there's a lot of fox activity, he'll be able to hear them even if he can't see them, though it's difficult to know how you can prevent this. Even electrical appliances that run at nigh could be an issue, so you'll have to think outside the box.

You mentioned him chewing his paws and shaking his head - is it possible he has an allergy that might be bothering him? Things like that always feel worse at night... It could be worth a vet check just to make sure there's nothing that might cause him discomfort.

What do you feed him? Some dog foods have additives that can affect dogs' behaviour.

You could try teaching a 'calm settle' in the day:
Once he can do that, you might be able to tell him to settle down in the night.

Remember, he's not trying to keep you awake, he sounds like he genuinely has something bothering him which he's trying to communicate to you. It just might take a bit of detective work to work out what he's saying...
Remember, he's not trying to keep you awake, he sounds like he genuinely has something bothering him which he's trying to communicate to you. It just might take a bit of detective work to work out what he's saying...

I just wanted to highlight this at it is so important. You said you've had him 3 years and he is now 5, do you know anything about his first 2 years before you adopted him? If he's always struggled to settle at night, maybe there is something in his past that is relevant...
Thanks for the replies. The paw chewing is an ongoing issue, and there's been multiple visits to the vets about it. He currently has a daily dose of Apoquel, and we've also tried Nutripaw. His diet has also been changed, but none of these seem to have much effect. He also generally gets 2 decent walks a day. The ear shaking is also ongoing, and he was back at the vets about it very recently. We have some stuff to put in them which does help. He was previously with a different family member, but they had to give him up due to not being home enough because of work commitments. He is now very attached to my wife, and follows her wherever she goes.

But to be honest, even if he was the greatest sleeper in the world, I still would prefer if he slept in the kitchen. This is my first dog, so I don't know what the norm is, but other people at work say their dogs sleep in the kitchen. If this is an unrealistic expectation at his age, then he can stay where he is, but if there's some sort of training technique that can be done to make this happen then I would like to explore this. I think his attachment to my wife would be a big hurdle to overcome, and maybe it's not possible.
This is my first dog, so I don't know what the norm is, but other people at work say their dogs sleep in the kitchen.

There's no 'right way', just whatever works for you. It's quite normal for dogs to sleep in their owner's bedroom, either on their own bed or on their owner's bed. Often people start with their dog downstairs but the dog can't settle so eventually they let them in their bedroom and everyone's happy. The difficulty is that nighttime in general seems to be a problem for your dog.

Training techniques can only go so far, and won't work as long as he is so anxious at night. If he was OK at night in with you, I'd suggest getting him used to a nice cosy bed, maybe even a crate, in the kitchen in the day first - and then for the first few nights sleeping in the kitchen with him, so he doesn't have to adjust both to being in the kitchen and being alone at night at the same time.

Actually, as somewhere to start, I'd suggest creating that cosy space in the kitchen and teaching the 'calm settle' I mentioned. If he follows your wife everywhere, she could try the 'flitting game', as described here: It may or may not help with the sleeping problem in the long run, but worth a try. Also, observe whether there are times during the day or night when he is more settled, e.g. after a long walk, after he's had his Apoquel, when there's less fox activity, summer, winter... if there are, it might give more clues about why he's keeping you awake.

Sorry I can't suggest any quick-fixes, or even long-term guaranteed fixes, because disturbed nights suck.
I think you'll have to experiment and see what works, as others have said there is no right and wrong. When we had our first dog, a rescue called Jimmy (whom I miss dearly), we put him in our kitchen for his first few nights, and put a stairgate in the doorway to stop him coming up the stairs. We also had a webcam see we could see what he was up to. This didn't work. He hated it, and tried to get over/through the stairgate so we quickly moved his bed to the landing where he generally slept from that point onwards. We now have another rescue dog called Rusty, and he sleeps in the same place on the landing. However, I now work away from home for most of the week and when I get home on Thursday night he is very pleased to see me, and I am pleased to see him. This continues across the weekend, so he will generally sit with me in the evening and now curls up on our bed each night, between my wife and I, and at head height! It's not unusual (as Mr. Jones might say) to find him stretched out in the middle of the bed in the morning, leaving my wife and I with a thin sliver of bed. Whilst he is not a fidgety dog, he does sit up at night and will shake himself from time to time which wakes me up. I love the snuggles, but could do with more sleep!

The things he does sound stress-related to me, so perhaps, as others have hinted, there's something about night times that upset him. Could you put his bed in your room and see if he sleeps there, perhaps near your wife? I think the key is finding a place he finds safe and comfortable, wherever that may be, and your whole family will need to help with this, so no music/TV/online activity at nights which might disturb him, but be inaudible to you.

I hope these replies gives you a good starting point. Please let us know how it goes.
the key is finding a place he finds safe and comfortable,

This, this, this. An animal that doesn't feel safe won't relax, so sleep won't come easy unless they are completely exhausted (which isn't a good thing)
Thanks for the replies, really helpful. We live in a bungalow, so there's no upstairs / downstairs distinction. We have put one of his two beds in our room, and he will go in that for a bit, but generally he's happier on the bed. I'll have a look at the links above and see how we get on. Thanks again.

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