Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dog Bed Drama, Part 3

After a few quiet nights sleeping on old blankets, my Great Dane Princeton woke up in the middle of the night crying again.

I opened the door to let him out to “go potty” -- and he ran past the open door and out into the living room. He plopped right down on the top-quality dog bed that we keep there -- where we can guard it. That bed belonged to our old Dane (who died last year) and it’s made of bean hulls and organic cotton. Princeton loves that bed, but that hasn’t stopped him from chewing it. We have to scold him almost every night for gnawing on the corners, then spray the corners with bitter apple. We got a new denim cover for it, and that is helping a lot. It weighs 15 pounds and he likes to swing it around and attack it. He lost his first baby tooth while biting it. We thought that someday maybe we would be able to move it into his crate.

Well, that day came. Princeton refused to get off of that bed and growled at me when I first tried to pull him off. Finally we pushed him off and dragged the bed into his crate. He has been sleeping happily there for the last two nights. He chewed on the old sheets, but treated his bed with the respect it deserves.

Maybe we’ll all be getting better sleep now.

Click the following link for info on the organic pet beds. They really are worth the money:


Anonymous said...

These dog bed dramas are hysterical to read and also very informative.

Honey the Great Dane said...

Aw...well, I'm glad you finally found something you liked, Princeton! Hope you sleep through the night now and let your humans get some rest!!

Honey the Great Dane
ps. my human just wanted to say: "sometimes, dogs can learn to get what they want with crying! It's really hard but maybe it is better to ignore them sometimes if you can bear it - because otherwise he can learn that when he cries, he gets to come out of the crate and it's fun & games! It's OK if this is the last time and he settles but you may find that in a few nights, he will cry again and go onto a new thing. So maybe if you can just decide on one type of bed and just stick with it - and ignore him when he cries at night - he must learn that once he is in the crate at night, no more games - he has to just settle down and sleep. At his age, he should not be needing to go out to potty through the night and you don't want to encourage that, otherwise he will never be properly housetrained - he can easily hold it until morning, if he gets a chance to go out last thing at night - so you shouldn't have to worry about getting up to let him go potty if he cries. It's OK if he needs to potty at 5-6am (depending on when he goes to sleep) - but not in the middle of the night!

Dogs learn really quickly what they can do to get a reaction from their humans and it is very rewarding! Also, if you decide to ignore him, then you must stick with it - otherwise if you ignore for a bit and then finally give in, he will learn that he just has to cry for longer (intermittent rewarding is very effective - look at all the slot machine gamblers in casinos).

Princeton is not a little baby anymore and should be taught to sleep through the night, with no interruptions. But he knows that his humans love him and worry about him so if he cries, they get up and will do anything to make him happy! :-) But there is nothing he needs and nothing hurting him in the crate - so don't worry about him - just try to ignore him and teach him that crying does not get him any attention. (of course, as long as he doesn't seem ill or anything) Hope you manage to get some rest soon!"

KC said...

Yes, I think you’re right that I should try harder not to indulge Princeton when he cries in the crate. But… he’s been prone to digestive problems from Day One of his arrival here at 8 weeks. (He’s almost a year old now.)

Last night he started crying as soon as I put him in the crate to sleep, then shredded the old blankets hysterically. I ignored him for what seemed like a long time, but he just got worse. It just didn’t seem normal for him. Finally I realized he must have a stomach ache. I gave him a stomach remedy (DGL licorice), without letting him out of the crate. Within a few minutes he calmed down and fell asleep in contentment. So I feel that ignoring him is not always the best solution.

Overall Princeton has been sleeping well ever since we put the organic bed in the crate. And he hasn’t chewed the bed once! He seems to value it more now.