2yr Old Rescue Wont Let Us Sleep - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-18-2013, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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2yr Old Rescue Wont Let Us Sleep

Back in August my family and I took in a female GSD. She was purchased as a puppy by a teenage boy who thought he would use her to breed. She wasn't able to stay at their family home so she live at a car lot, she had a kennel inside and a small caged in area outdoors (both on cement). They finally decided she deserved a (much) better life (after nearly 2 years) and we went to pick her up. Given we weren't given all of the information up front, she had missed some important vet visits and we were previously unaware she had never been inside a house before. All things considered River has adjusted pretty well, she seems to be house broken, is loving our large fenced in yard (it took her a day or so to get used to walking on grass) she has worked up stamina for nice walks and lots of playing catch.
The main problem now is that we started leaving her out in the house at night because she wouldn't stop barking in her kennel and we are a working family who does need some sleep. The first few weeks were just fine with this, she'd sleep on the floor or on her bed in my parents room (sometimes wake up a little early to go outside) and it was working. The past few weeks however she has started jumping up on my parent's and my bed and biting our blankets, arms, legs, whatever she can get whole of. She will be laying down nicely but as soon as one of us lay down she attacks. We have tried correcting this and asked our trainer for tips but still this keeps happening. We've had to start keeping my parents door closed at night so they can at least sleep.
We don't know what changed and every time we try and correct and/or distract her she gets more feisty and bite-y. It does seem that she was never trained out of her bad puppy habbits but she's now quite big and not very good at listening.
She has a good temperament but isn't getting that biting us is NOT ok.
Please any guidance from would be wonderful.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-18-2013, 01:08 AM
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How much exercise is she getting? And, how old is she? Have you tried any sort of activity toy, like a KONG, or a chew, like a bully stick, at night to ease her into bedtime?

Iry, mixed breed, CGC
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-18-2013, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
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Going by what the previous owners told us shes 18/19 months. She gets walked around dusk, and we play with her in the yard which involves a lot of her running around until she gets worn out.
She has some bones & toys that she chews on at night but wants nothing to do with kongs. She is usually sleeping or at least calm and relaxed in the evening right up until we try to go to bed. Then she starts with the jumping and biting.
We try to correct her by making her stop and calm down and distract her with chewing her bone. But then again, as soon as I try to lay down she's back at it.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-18-2013, 09:40 AM
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I personally would increase the exercise. I have a 17 month old at home and we do 1 hour a day of brisk walking, plus a session of intense fetch, tug, or swimming, plus training every day. If something happens and he doesn't get enough exercise or mental stimulation, I definitely pay the price because he will bark, steal stuff, chase our other dog and other nuisance behaviors. Punishing him at that point really doesn't help. He just needs more exercise. I wonder if your girl is the same way?

Exercise is no fun for me, especially in the winter, so I sympathize, but try doing a 1 hour very brisk walk a couple hours before bed time (that will give her time to "cool down" before sleep time).

When it is time to go to best, I would recommend crating her or tethering her on a dog bed (if you know she won't get twisted up in the leash). Make sure the activities that you are giving her are super tempting. For your KONG, what about with canned wet dog food smeared around the inside or cream cheese? My dogs can't resist 12" bully sticks dipped in peanut butter. Or what about a nylabone dipped in peanut butter or cream cheese?

Basically the point would be to: 1) tire her out so she doesn't have as much energy to be a nuisance, 2) manage her so that she can not be bad - crate or tether, 3) build in an incompatible behavior as a new habit - lay on your bed and calmly eat this KONG toy as we fall asleep.

Tired dogs who have a chance to use their minds and have a chance to chew and eat generally tend to be pretty pleasant friends. The trick is finding a way to incorporate the appropriate level that your individual dog needs and it may be a LOT. So that is the hardest part, working an appropriate amount into your schedule for your individual dog until she is tired.

I hope this helps!

Iry, mixed breed, CGC
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-18-2013, 10:40 AM
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Doesn't sound like agression to me. Dogs play using their mouths and it's sounds like she's not ready for bed but to PLAY!

And there is usually a bit of a honeymoon period when a pup is new but then when they get comfortable enough they they will start acting more normally and PLAY is pretty darn normal!

You see any of these sites? Even though she's not a teeny puppy, she missed this training but will be able to catch up WHEN YOU start the training!

Top Training Expectations for Puppies

Just starting up some great dog classes and WAY more fun exercise (miles of exercise) with a schedule will help too!

She wants nothing to do with kongs? What food are you putting in them?


Good luck!


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plus Miss Osin Blue Wildhaus

"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude

Last edited by MaggieRoseLee; 12-18-2013 at 10:47 AM.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice so far. We're keeping up the evening walks and last night I had her play with a kong-esque toy (a large tough toy that we put her food or treats in) I was afraid it would get her more riled up after she'd been snoozing for a bit but she did sleep well last night. Didn't wake us up until she had to go out and it at about 5am.
She did jump up on my bed around 2 am but she didn't bark or bite at me or my bedding, just checked on me and went back to sleep. Going to try similar pre-bedtime distractions the next few nights and hope it continues to help her through the night.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 07:04 PM
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Sounds like you are on the right track. I was going to suggest not letting her nap before you went to bed (which it sounds like you are doing) and perhaps getting involved in something like your local schutzhund club or agility work - both are fairly demanding of a dog and a lot of fun overall for the humans involved.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-26-2013, 09:27 PM
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You sound like you are doing a great job. It is very hard when you rescue a dog & then they give problems, especially when it comes to your sleep schedule! Both my dogs were adopted & I love my sleep. They would try to wake me up for the first few weeks but I just told them "go lay down", did not get up until I was ready & now they do not get up until I get up, even if it is 8:30 a.m. on weekends & 5 a.m. on weekdays. They will learn to adapt to your schedule, sometimes it takes time & absolutely persistance. If your dog jumps on the bed & starts biting, nothing wrong with just firmly saying "go lay down" real tall with a pointing arm & I know mine listen to that now. Good luck - your dog will settle in soon & you will be so happy!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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She's doing much better now. Our trainer told us its just another puppy phase that she hadn't had the opportunity to go through before. She sleeps well at night and even if she isn't sleeping she doesn't bother us or get into anything. She'll just chew on her bone till she's sleepy again. So happy we got through the no sleeping phase, she seems to be much happier and of course, so are we! Thanks for the tips and words of encouragement!

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