Unexpected difficulty in bedding down

Posted by Jim-Redhead
Jun 15, 2011
Since he was an 8 week old puppy my shih tzu has gone into his cage (situated in Kitchen) at night without any whining or barking. He is now 17 months old and two weeks ago he began barking and whining one night. Because it was so unusual I went to see what was wrong---and all he wanted was to play! Since it was a windy night we put it down to that. But since then he has barked every night when placed in his cage. The barking lasts up to twenty minutes before he eventually quietens. What is worse he has begun to hide defensively when he recognises our night time routines, and whereas he would often go into his cage independently during the day, he will not venture near it now.
Another aspect of this is that in the mornings when we go to the kitchen he may be sitting up awake and waiting, and whereas he is pleased to see us, there has been no whining or barking even though he may have been sitting there in daylight for some time.but without any barking. So it seems to have more to do with the time of day.
Any suggestions, please?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jun 15, 2011
Hi Jim,

First of all, what time do you put your pup in the crate and what time do you go to bed yourself? Sometimes dogs don't want to go to bed as long as their "people" are still up. They just want to be hanging around with you as much as possible.

Another thing is that he learned the lesson that if he barks for a long time you will come to see him and hopefully play with him through the only one time experience

What I would suggest is to make a ritual like "play with him for 15 mins before his bed time", then a little treat (optional), followed by tooth cleaning (optional), then in the crate.

Don't ever go even look at him when he whines or barks. Just totally ignore him for one whole week. He will learn that whining/barking won't do any good and will stop doing that.

Hope this will help
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jun 16, 2011
Hey Jim,

I agree first off that you should totally ignore your dog when he barks or whines from the crate. If you even go stand in the door to check he's ok, he'll interpret that as "bark = dad comes" and keep doing it to get attention.

Do you know if something happened at "bedtime" recently? Did he get in trouble for something then put to bed, or did he get startled by something right at bedtime when he was in his crate? A sudden aversion to a routine task/area can sometimes indicate the dog was "traumatized" there recently and now has anxiety over it. Try to encourage him to look at his crate as a happy place again by putting something that smells like you in it for a while, or his favorite toys, etc. MHN's idea of play and treat before bed will help this too, happy time then time for rest is a great way to end the day.

It may just be that as he gets older he has more energy and wants to be up later. The solution involves getting more energy out (again, play before bed will help here!) and ignoring him if he gets ansty at bedtime. It will just take patience!

Hope this helps, and good luck!