7 month old won't sleep at night in his crate anymore - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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7 month old won't sleep at night in his crate anymore

Hi all,

We have a 7 month old GSD Sawyer. We had issues with him for the longest time about how he would paw at his crate 3-4 times per night when he was ~4 months old. He got over that in time but now he's started up again the past few weeks.

He used to willingly go in his crate at night. Now we take him to it and he lays down outside of it. Some nights he'll immediately start pawing at it the instant we put him in. Our daily schedule is the following
  • 5am-8am ~ Take him out of crate (he'll sleep on the couch until 6:30 or so)
  • 8am-12pm ~ Wife will put him back in the crate
  • 12pm-12:30pm ~Wife will come home on break and take him out for potty/quick playtime
  • 12:30pm-3:30pm ~ Back in crate
  • 3:30pm-10pm ~I get home and play with him for at least an hour outside (weather permitting). He is out of the crate and we are spending pretty much every second with him playing/keeping him stimulated.
  • 10pm-5am ~ Bed time (in crate)

Is he spending too much time in the crate? Last night we went to bed at 10 and he woke us up at 12:30, 3:30, and 4:30. He never went back to sleep after 3:30...until I took him to the living room and slept with him on the couch. There he went right back to sleep. We used to let him whine and paw at the gate but most nights it would take him an hour before he'll settle down and we were both losing wayyy to much sleep that way (we have the crate in the bedroom with us).

We're in the process of leaving him alone in the living room (where it's puppy proofed and blocked off from the cats) for longer and longer periods in hopes that we can leave him out of the crate in the morning. We're up to about 2 hours but we're not sure how we feel about leaving him for 4 hours just yet.

I'd like to train/play with him in the morning but I'm so sleep deprived (from him) I can't wake up on time in the morning. Not to mention I snap awake when he starts his antics which cause me headaches (auras/migraines sometimes, from snapping awake too quickly).

Sorry for such a long post that's going in lots of different directions but we're in desperate need of help. We haven't got 6 uninterrupted hours of sleep in over 5 months and we're really feeling it now. Has anyone encountered this before? Is he just being a bratty teenager?

Any advice is appreciated!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 11:09 AM
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You mentioned that you're working up to 4 hours out of the crate in the mornings. The only way to know is to just do it. You may be pleasantly surprised. What are you worried about, that he'd tear up your house? Or are you worried that he would urinate and defecate all over the floor? The general rule for a puppy is for every month it's alive, that's how long in hours it could go between bathroom breaks. So for example, a 2 month old needs to go out every 2 hours. A 3 month old...every 3 hours. A 4 month old...4 hours. And so on. At 7 months old, he should easily be able to go 4 hours without a bathroom break especially if he's potty trained and knows not to go in the house. If you're worried about him tearing up your carpet, chewing on your furniture, etc, then I don't know. I've used the bitter apple spray and that's worked great for me. Someone else may have better ideas.


My experiences with a crate...When he was a pup, I used it at night and when I left the house to go shopping or eat out. Most of the time, he was out of it. Then 1 day when he was about a year to 1.5yo, he just didn't want to be in the crate anymore. He rocked the crate and chewed on the wires. I let him out and he was never in it again. In 10 years he's only pooped in the house once (I don't count the times at the end of his life when he was fighting cancer) after I put the crate away and that was because he had an upset stomach and had diarrhea. Nothing a Rug Doctor can't fix. Anyway, good luck. I hope that helped, even a little.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 12:52 PM
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Don't know. We have different approach.

Got my girl when she was 2.5 months old. She was sleeping first week in the crate, but she hated it. So since then she is sleeping in our bed (under our foots) and is allowed walk freely around the house all day and all night. There was never a single problem with this arrangement (except licking my face at 11am at Sundays to finally wake up her human).
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for the answers.

@andywhite Unfortunately leaving him to roam the house freely is out of the question. There's too many things to get into and he would most definitely chase the cats when they start bombing around the house at 3am.... I wish he would sleep in until 11am...heck I'd even take sleeping in until 8am at this point.

@tc68 He only pooped in the house during the first 2 weeks we had him (9-3-17). So he hasn't pooped in the house in about 5 months. He hasn't peed in the house for a few months either. The thing we're most concerned about is our door. When he has to go potty he's started the habit of scratching at the door. He's already done a number on it :/ I talked with the wife and we think we're going to try it during a shorter period (a 3 hour session alone) and go from there.


We had another bad episode last night. We took him to bed at 11pm and the instant he walked in his crate he turned around and started whining/pawing at the crate. He continued on until about 11:25 when I decided to take him outside for a potty. Once we got back in he wouldn't even step foot in the crate. After luring him back in he pawed at it until 11:40 when my wife decided we needed to get some sleep so she took him in the living room. Even there he seemed to be on edge as he would let out a bark every minute or so and was pacing around the living room. Finally around 12am he settled down for the night.

We plan on washing all of his crate blankets and will rinse down the inside of the crate this afternoon. For some reason he just gets super anxious and stressed. He was panting heavily and even started licking the crates walls and door. We've never seen this from him. We're going to call the breeder/vet to see if they have ever seen this before.

Again, thank you two for the responses. Any other replies will be greatly appreciated! We just want to make sure he's at ease!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 01:10 PM
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As for the scratching of doors - that's a good thing. He is trying to communicate. Instead of doing his business inside your home, he is trying to go out. You would be your own enemy trying to eliminate this behavior. You just have to change his signal, since scratching the door is the best one he could come up with and it's not desirable.

Hang a small bell next to your doors. Take treats and teach him how to ring it (encourage touching it by his nose). And before you open door to go potty, ring it first. He will associate: ringing the bell => doors open => he goes potty. And instead of destroying your doors he will start ringing the bell.

Last edited by andywhite; 02-14-2018 at 01:13 PM.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 05:40 PM
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This probably won't help you too much. I never started out with any of my dogs crates in my bedroom. My hound mix has his crate in the kitchen. My shepherd mix has hers in the dining room. They are 3 and 5 now. They are not in their crates during the day, unless they want to be. (Door left open.) They usually sleep in their crates at night. The shepherd was the worst with crying, as a puppy. I always ignored her. If she needed to potty, I quickly took her outside. Right back into the crate. No playing. No petting. Back on ignore.

It's like having a kid and you have already lost the battle. No matter how long you wait, before you let him out and sleep with him - he has won. Now he knows that if he wears you down enough, he will get his way. My dogs are quiet in the crate all night long. They know they don't get out until I am ready to let them out. You must be much nicer than I am. Everybody - husband, kids, dogs , know not to wake big mama. lol!

The crate is a very important tool. My hound is having surgery soon. While I have been willing to allow him to sleep out of the crate, I need the crate during his recovery. When people come over and the dogs need to be out of the way - they will happily go to their crates. If I just need them out from under foot for a bit - crates. Therefore, I would never give up completely on the crate.

I get migraines too. It sucks having your sleep broken up.

Good luck!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 06:00 PM
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I sort of recall having some regression around the crate at this age. Time goes so fast it is sometimes hard to remember. One challenge goes away and another takes it's place lol.

Do you have a wire or airline crate and are you sure it is large enough to make him comfortable? If it is wire you may want to try covering 3 sides with a blanket. We have cats who like to come out when the dog goes to bed, this helped him not see the cats so well. The other things I did was go back to the crate games to reestablish the crate as a great place. I lured him into his crate each time he went in and he got a treat. Did not take long to change his thinking about the crate. Maybe try putting something in his crate (if he won't chew it up) that smells like you an old T-shirt or bath robe something like that.

I would be sure that when it's bedtime it's bedtime. So if you think he might need to potty or you are concerned about ignoring him because maybe he does need to potty it is right outside no words right back to crate you can give him a treat.

We keep the crate in the family room.

If you are concerned about potential separation anxiety developing, I would look for games you can play and training ideas so hopefully it can be nixed.

HTH
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 08:23 PM
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Have you tried just putting his bed in your room on the floor next to yours? I got my pup at about 13 weeks and just let him sleep with me until about a week ago (he will be 7 mo in 2 days!) - he is just too big now and I wasn't getting restful sleep, also he is starting to shed more. A few nights ago I kicked him out down to his own bed next to me with no issues. If he needs to go out in the middle of the night he will wake me (very rare occurrence). I feel better having him there anyway just in case we ever had a break in he wouldn't be able to help me much in a crate at the other end of the house.

He is crated while I am at work from 7:40 till about 1 when my neighbor lets him out for about 20 mins, then back in till the kids get home off the bus at 3. I feel too guilty to make either of my dogs go back in the crate for the night after being in there a good part of the day, so he sleeps in my room and our Shorkie sleeps with my daughter.

Hope this helps!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andywhite View Post
Hang a small bell next to your doors. Take treats and teach him how to ring it (encourage touching it by his nose). And before you open door to go potty, ring it first. He will associate: ringing the bell => doors open => he goes potty. And instead of destroying your doors he will start ringing the bell.
I trained mine to do this and now at 7 mo he is super reliable with it. He does a turn near the door and whacks it with his tail now lol. I got the one that you install on the wall near the door, and it rings for some time just off the slightest touch! We were so proud (and suprised! the first time he did it himself when we were in the living room.)
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2018, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by JaxsMom View Post
I trained mine to do this and now at 7 mo he is super reliable with it. He does a turn near the door and whacks it with his tail now lol. I got the one that you install on the wall near the door, and it rings for some time just off the slightest touch! We were so proud (and suprised! the first time he did it himself when we were in the living room.)

I would've trained mine with a bell too but he was really good at letting me know when he had to go out. In the middle of the night, he'd lay his head next to my pillow and whine in my ear. In the middle of the night, it usually meant diarrhea. During the day, he'd chase his rear once (like he was chasing his tail), stop, and look at me. Then do it again, if I was too stupid to realize. Peeing was never a problem.
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