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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I just wanted a quick bit of advice but first I’ll give the back story.
On Sunday night we were walking our 6 month standard poodle when a VERY loud firework went off very close by. It petrified her and she was very spooked and anxious all night. She kept staring at our ceiling lights whenever she heard a noise and we think she’s relating our lights to the fright.
She has slept downstairs since she was a puppy and we’ve never had an issue with her barking or whining, she’s even slept on our bed occasionally and has gone back to sleeping downstairs without an issue.
On this evening I put her to bed like normal but then she barked and whined a lot. I waited until she paused and then went to check on her and let her out to see if she needed to pee. She was very anxious and was staring at our lights again so I decided to let her stay with us. The next day she was much better but still a little more spooked then normal. This night she started barking again so I waited for a pause then went down to check on her, I then managed to settle her back down and she slept in her crate all night. We thought this would have solved the issue but last night I put her to sleep and then about 30 minutes later just as we were nodding off she started excessively barking and whining. I went down stairs during a pause again and she was very very anxious, staring at our lights and trying to run away from them. The lights really seem to be spooking her, also worth mentioning the lights would have been off when she was sleeping, she settles better in the dark. After trying to settle her I eventually let her upstairs, I thought leaving her would make it worse.

Does anyone have any advice on how to move forwards? I don’t really want her on our bed full time. I’m at home with her all day at the moment and we have a small house so she’s always close by, I think the alone time at night is good for her and she seemed to like it until the fright. She’s been quite clingy recently (I write as she’s sleeping on me haha) and I think it must all be involved.
 

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I've been thinking about your post, trying to think of next steps for you, but I've not come up with anything that feels quite right. Would really need to see her in her environment.

How's she doing now? Any improvement in the past two days?

If she was going through a fear period when that scare happened (which is quite possible at that age) it's not likely to be an easy fix. But don't lose hope! Puppies are resilient.

Would it be possible to move the crate to a fresh location? Ideally one where she can see you if she wakes up?

When Peggy's had a scare, she is soothed inmensely by watching for our reaction. If we are calm and happy, she is more likely to shrug it off and be calm and happy. And sometimes it's helpful to hit the reset button on a routine that's been poisoned.

Alternatively, have you tried covering the crate?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi there,

Many thanks for responding!

I have definitely seen an improvement in the last two days, she’s 98% back to her normal big personality which I’m incredible thankful for. When she hears a loud sounds she still looks at the lights but she isn’t fixating on them which is positive. She’s also a little less clingy, she let me work upstairs with her in her safe area today without fussing which is good.

last night I went back to complete basics with bedtime. I tried really hard to tire her out during the day and played and trained her all evening until she was sleepy. I then popped her in the crate and stayed with her until she settled, only about 3 minutes. I went upstairs and she slept all night which is great news! We definitely tip toed around upstairs before putting her to sleep but if it means it’s a positive experience for her I’m happy to do that.

We’re now preparing for the next night. It’s currently 22:15 and I’ve tired her out best i can and she’s asleep on the rug, I’m going to pop her in the crate and do similar to last night but I will make normal noise upstairs getting ready for bed as she needs to know that’s ok.
if she does fuss i’ll go down and will re-settle her as many times as it takes!
Also just to add her crate is already covered with a blanket apart from the very front.

If this plan doesn’t work I think we’ll definitely look at moving her crate in with us or buying her a bed for our room that she can sleep on. Our rooms quite small so we’ve avoided it up until now but we’re moving to a larger house soon so it won’t hurt to start her in with in advance of this.

Thanks again for your response, any more ideas would be appreciated :)
 

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I'm happy to hear there's been positive progress! Have you tried feeding her treats while someone walks overhead? Every pop or creak = something yummy. If she is too anxious to gently take a treat, look at the ceiling together—"What the heck is that??"—and then shake it off with some silly play.

Peggy was very spooked by dark windows and reflections after a bad experience the day we brought her home from the breeder's house. It took months of gently snapping her out of every even remotely obsessive episode before we started seeing her relax around them.
 
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