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Discussion Starter #1
I have a big issue with Beckie barking at night. My son comes home late at night (or rather early in the morning), and Beckie will always bark. It startles me and I wake up with so much anxiety that I can’t go back to sleep. I have a chronic illness and not sleeping is making me worse.

There are no solutions I can think of except desensitizing Beckie to my son coming home and associating his arrival with good things (treats).

We started today, here’s what we did. I’m really not sure of what I’m doing, so your guidance is welcome if you’ve done this before, or similar.

I gave my son some treats Beckie likes. First he gave her some in the house. She’s a little scared of him so it’s a good start. She was happy to go see him and she sat for the treat without him asking.

Next, he went outside, locked his car doors (which makes a beep that she reacts to), came in the house and gave her a treat. She was growling and barking a bit but went for the treat quickly.

Then, he went outside again, locked his car doors and unlocked the door to the house. Both the sound of the car and the unlocking of the door had Beckie react. More to the sound of the key in the door than the sound of the car. She barked a lot more this time. My son gave her a treat again, which she quickly took.

My son was worried we would be reinforcing her barking when he’s coming home, since she gets the treat while she’s still barking. It makes her stop as soon as she gets it though. I’m not sure if we are or not, thus my post.

Thanks for your help!
 

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Will she let your son pick her up? I'd recommend for your son to take her outside with him to his car (with treats of course, lol) and unlock, re-lock...treat, treats, treats just as he's doing it or right after if he doesn't have enough hands. Walk away, go back, repeat once or twice more. Same with the door. Take her along so she can see that HE'S the one causing it and so therefore, it's not so scary. Don'y worry about reinforcing her barking because she may not be quite aware of her own behavior at that point. She's anxious or alarmed and by having the treats associated with the alarming sounds, it might make them seem a lot better. But I'd take her right outside and show her what's making the noise and who's making it and how fun it is because there are extra special treats and lavished attention that goes with it. Do that for a week or so or however long it takes her to relax. Then try it with you holding her at the front porch but outside while he goes to the car and clicks the remote. Then maybe stand back 15 ft from the front door while she watches him unlock it to go in. In other words, show her from different angles, distances, and finally try again inside, just on the other side of the door. See if he can help you by practicing at different times of the day. You'll probably have to get up or stay up a few times late when he comes home so she can learn that it's normal to happen at that time. If he can't help you during the day, see if you can get another helper to imitate that kind of alarming noise.

You might also pick a special word or cue that goes with it. Your son is coming home and good things are about to happen. Pair that word with this event. And eventually you can use this word a tad before she hears him. Or he can text you to tell you when he's pulling in the driveway. Make that word represent good stuff which is paired with those alarming sounds that make her bark. That's all I can think of for now. Good luck. I'm sorry you aren't well and that this is wrecking your sleep.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Will she let your son pick her up? I'd recommend for your son to take her outside with him to his car (with treats of course, lol) and unlock, re-lock...treat, treats, treats just as he's doing it or right after if he doesn't have enough hands. Walk away, go back, repeat once or twice more. Same with the door. Take her along so she can see that HE'S the one causing it and so therefore, it's not so scary. Don'y worry about reinforcing her barking because she may not be quite aware of her own behavior at that point. She's anxious or alarmed and by having the treats associated with the alarming sounds, it might make them seem a lot better. But I'd take her right outside and show her what's making the noise and who's making it and how fun it is because there are extra special treats and lavished attention that goes with it. Do that for a week or so or however long it takes her to relax. Then try it with you holding her at the front porch but outside while he goes to the car and clicks the remote. Then maybe stand back 15 ft from the front door while she watches him unlock it to go in. In other words, show her from different angles, distances, and finally try again inside, just on the other side of the door. See if he can help you by practicing at different times of the day. You'll probably have to get up or stay up a few times late when he comes home so she can learn that it's normal to happen at that time. If he can't help you during the day, see if you can get another helper to imitate that kind of alarming noise.

You might also pick a special word or cue that goes with it. Your son is coming home and good things are about to happen. Pair that word with this event. And eventually you can use this word a tad before she hears him. Or he can text you to tell you when he's pulling in the driveway. Make that word represent good stuff which is paired with those alarming sounds that make her bark. That's all I can think of for now. Good luck. I'm sorry you aren't well and that this is wrecking your sleep.
No, she won’t let him. It’s hard for him to take her to the car, because it’s parked really close to the street and he would have to put a harness and leash on, which she won’t be happy about and even if he does, will make her really excited because she will think she’s going on a walk. She won’t be in the right state of mind to learn.

I can take her myself though, so she can see what the noise is.

The thing is when I’m coming home, she recognizes the sound of my car and won’t bark. She doesn’t bark either when I unlock the door, because she knows it’s me. I’m trying to make her learn the sound of his car as well, and look forward to it.

Thanks for the ideas, I will try it as soon as possible.
 

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"

You sure do have a dilemma. The only thing is to get her so she does the same with your son as she does with you...to make her see that his coming in is perfectly normal and not something to be alarmed about and something really super in fact. But it will mean you'll have to wake up to show her. But then again, you're getting your sleep interrupted as it is. Grrrr. It's got to be really difficult. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help.
 
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Idea #1) trade cars with your son for a month so your dog hears your car drive up at night instead of his, and as a bonus starts associating his car noise with something positive I.e. your arrival

Idea #2) ask your son to manually open and lock his car with the key rather than using the remote button (assuming that using the key manually on his car avoids making a beep as it does on mine)


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Discussion Starter #8
Idea #1) trade cars with your son for a month so your dog hears your car drive up at night instead of his, and as a bonus starts associating his car noise with something positive I.e. your arrival

Idea #2) ask your son to manually open and lock his car with the key rather than using the remote button (assuming that using the key manually on his car avoids making a beep as it does on mine)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I like idea #1 and I am curious to find out if it would work ! I think we’re going to try training with treats for a while more, and then try this idea. Very clever !

No 2 wouldn’t work, my son was already not using the remote not to wake us up but Beckie goes nuts when she hears the key in the door. I told him today to start using it so she would start associating the noise with him and treats. Tonight he will use it and give her a treat when he comes in.
 

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I'm sorry that your having to go this. I am a light sleeper and most times if I'm awakened I find it difficult to fall back asleep. And when I do its not a good sleep as I think I'm awake whilst I'm just lightly sleeping. Where does Beckie sleep? Is she in your room waking up when your son comes in? I had a shih tzu at one time and whenever she heard the door open she would start barking. I never could really break her of it. I am thinking that since she doesn't do this when you come in that perhaps she will stop once she becomes accustomed to your son coming in. Me I would shh her using whatever term you normally would and tell her to go to bed. I really wouldn't treat her. He can treat her during awake hours while she is becoming use to him being in the house. Just my opinion but I think giving treats and making an ordeal only will excite her more. She should just go back to sleep. I think its hard for her as she is alerting you someone is coming into your home. Perhaps if she is sleeping with you, I'd just let her stay in the bed and shh her telling her its your son & its ok.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm sorry that your having to go this. I am a light sleeper and most times if I'm awakened I find it difficult to fall back asleep. And when I do its not a good sleep as I think I'm awake whilst I'm just lightly sleeping. Where does Beckie sleep? Is she in your room waking up when your son comes in? I had a shih tzu at one time and whenever she heard the door open she would start barking. I never could really break her of it. I am thinking that since she doesn't do this when you come in that perhaps she will stop once she becomes accustomed to your son coming in. Me I would shh her using whatever term you normally would and tell her to go to bed. I really wouldn't treat her. He can treat her during awake hours while she is becoming use to him being in the house. Just my opinion but I think giving treats and making an ordeal only will excite her more. She should just go back to sleep. I think its hard for her as she is alerting you someone is coming into your home. Perhaps if she is sleeping with you, I'd just let her stay in the bed and shh her telling her its your son & its ok.
The dogs can’t be in my room because of allergies. I do yell from my room upstairs to shut her up but it’s only making me more awake and the damage is done anyways.

This really isn’t easy to solve.
 

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Not exactly a solution for your setup - but maybe there is something you can apply. I also fight with very light sleep and my prior two dogs were used to communicating with the dogs across the street. Our neighbors across the street have a full house with all kids living in the house and there is constant coming and going. Their dogs are seriously barky (and there are 5 of them!) so my big guys would at times chime in. Needless to say until I got everybody settled I was up for the night - and that would be my problem - not being able to fall back asleep. Then we added a noise machine - that has many different settings of ambient noises (we settled on plain white noise). It was marvelous the difference! My older dog was already somewhat hard of hearing so the white noise blanked out the rest - and my other dog whose hearing was definitely spot on was only barking in solidarity. For myself it helps as well since I don't hear the noises in the rest of the house anymore. Thankfully Poodle Kid is not so much of a barker and does not "communicate" with the neighbor dogs.
 

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Not exactly a solution for your setup - but maybe there is something you can apply. I also fight with very light sleep and my prior two dogs were used to communicating with the dogs across the street. Our neighbors across the street have a full house with all kids living in the house and there is constant coming and going. Their dogs are seriously barky (and there are 5 of them!) so my big guys would at times chime in. Needless to say until I got everybody settled I was up for the night - and that would be my problem - not being able to fall back asleep. Then we added a noise machine - that has many different settings of ambient noises (we settled on plain white noise). It was marvelous the difference! My older dog was already somewhat hard of hearing so the white noise blanked out the rest - and my other dog whose hearing was definitely spot on was only barking in solidarity. For myself it helps as well since I don't hear the noises in the rest of the house anymore. Thankfully Poodle Kid is not so much of a barker and does not "communicate" with the neighbor dogs.
It really is the perfect solution in your case ! Here I think it think it would have to be really loud to cover the noise of the key in the lock, and then she would be startled at my son coming in the house and she would bark her head off.

I’ll still keep it in mind. Thank you !
 

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Update : my son practiced with her again today. She was really paying attention to him and did not react to the sound of the car.

So he couldn’t practice that but went outside, unlocked the door and came back in. She barely barked the first time and the other 2-3 times she happily ran to the door to wait for him to come in and give her the treat and didn’t make a sound. She really does associate my son with the treat now.

Unfortunately we won’t be able to test her when I’m sleeping because my son went back home. He should be back next week-end.

This delay might set us back but we’ll try again next time.
 

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I've been busy this weekend, but had noticed your request for ideas about this situation. I think you are already on to the solution I would have given at the outset if I had time which is to have your son work with getting Beckie not to be so wary of her. Hopefully with some more practice for him with her she will not worry so much over his arrival. Making her understand that he is an important part of the family and that she has to mind her manners around him should help. The idea of trading cars is clever too and I could see that it might help to get her not to react to the cound of a car arriving in the wee small hours of the morning.


On a side note, I am a terrible sleeper, so I totally get how miserable it is to be awakened when you actually were asleep. BF went to a friend's house to race slot cars yesterday and he got home around 12:30 or so. All three dogs decided they had to make a ruckus when he arrived. It took a long time before I got back to sleep. Ugh.
 
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I’m not sure what the answer is. Was your son always living with you or is this new?

I think your idea of having your son give Beckie treats so she overcomes her fear of him is good. And he should be able to pick her up and put her harness etc on her without any issues which means more food treats. Hopefully if Beckie comes to fully accept him maybe she won’t bark at night when he comes home? Maybe she will follow Merlin’s lead and settle back to sleep.

I’m not sure his giving her treats in the middle of the night is a good idea. I think rather if he could come home and quickly and quietly go to bed it might help. I’m thinking about when puppies get up in the middle of the night to potty, you want to be quiet and business like and not play with them. You want to encourage them to sleep through the night and not get up and expect food or play time.

The idea of desensitizing her during the day to the sounds he and his car are making is an excellent idea.

Sorry you’re suffering and hopefully you can get Beckie over this bump in the road.
 

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As someone who also suffers from not getting uninterrupted, quality sleep, here are some ideas:

1. Tell your son he has to get a job with better hours ASAP.

2. Tell your son he must move out.

Sorry, this sounds like a really difficult sitch :(
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I’m not sure what the answer is. Was your son always living with you or is this new?

I think your idea of having your son give Beckie treats so she overcomes her fear of him is good. And he should be able to pick her up and put her harness etc on her without any issues which means more food treats. Hopefully if Beckie comes to fully accept him maybe she won’t bark at night when he comes home? Maybe she will follow Merlin’s lead and settle back to sleep.

I’m not sure his giving her treats in the middle of the night is a good idea. I think rather if he could come home and quickly and quietly go to bed it might help. I’m thinking about when puppies get up in the middle of the night to potty, you want to be quiet and business like and not play with them. You want to encourage them to sleep through the night and not get up and expect food or play time.

The idea of desensitizing her during the day to the sounds he and his car are making is an excellent idea.

Sorry you’re suffering and hopefully you can get Beckie over this bump in the road.
My son is not living with me. He comes home on week-ends. Not every week-end, but often.

He is not really the patient type and I guess he’s not that into dogs because he never took the time to develop a relationship with Beckie. She is a very sweet dog but doesn’t let people pet her or hold her unless she really knows them well. And it takes time.

He does come home really quickly. He opens the door, whispers to her to be quiet and goes down to the basement right away. He gave her a treat yesterday for the first time.

Beckie shouldn’t even bark at him, because he has the keys to the house. By associating the sound of the keys opening the door, I’m hoping she will stop barking, but only when people have the key. Otherwise, barking is a good thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
As someone who also suffers from not getting uninterrupted, quality sleep, here are some ideas:

1. Tell your son he has to get a job with better hours ASAP.

2. Tell your son he must move out.

Sorry, this sounds like a really difficult sitch :(
Well, I don’t know if I can express how complicated and touchy this issue is. My son is a night owl and he has been disturbing my sleep for years. I had to be in therapy for quite a while about this (and other stuff), and I even threw him out of the house.

Our relationship really deteriorated and this was not helping with my illness either.

He came back and I let him, because it’s worse for me to reject him than not sleep. Now he is really trying not to interrupt my sleep. He sleeps elsewhere whenever possible. I know he feels bad about it and even feels unwelcome in my house. Which is why I’m trying to find a way to keep my son AND my sleep. I’ve given up on trying to change him. It just won’t happen.

Now he has his own place but comes back on week-ends to see his friends and family.
 

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Oh gosh, Dechi, how awful :( I am wondering why he can't respect your sleeping hours, most especially because of your illness. Regardless, I hope the situation gets resolved quickly so you can get that important sleep!! :love2:
 

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Delhi The dogs can’t be in my room because of allergies. I do yell from my room upstairs to shut her up but it’s only making me more awake and the damage is done anyways.

This really isn’t easy to solve.


I hope it all works out in the end and I know its not easy to solve. I never did solve it with the previous dog I had, but she was a barker any touch of the for knob or opening/closingof the door land she went on alert. It may slow the process down learning if your son isn't there consistently but hopefully it will work out with time. Maybe she will learn its ok when she hears a key turning the lock, perhaps this could be practiced during the day with anyone you can get to help. I wish there was a magic button that could get so many of us back to sleep when awakened. I've been up on and off since 1:30 this morning. I did fall back to sleep woke gain at 3:30 the from about 4 on it was every 15 minutes I was checking the time. I will definitely need a nap today.
 
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