Hoping for some ideas.
My wonderful neighbor has a wonderful 15yr old lab. A couple of years ago Rocky quit going upstairs to the bedroom on his own and chose to sleep on the downstairs couch. All was well until 4 or 5 months ago when he has started to bark intermittently during the night. When he started this she would come down and find if he needed or wanted anything but he didn't appear to need anything. She then stopped, hoping not to reinforce this behavior but its gotten worse and she's in desperate need of sleep. I should probably mention that Rocky is nearly totally deaf and my neighbor is nearing 80 so getting him up the stairs or her sleeping on a couch downstairs with him probably isn't an option.
Any ideas anyone?
Is she getting up for him when he barks still? That may be a reward for his behavior. I'd try ignoring him a few nights and see if that makes him knock it off. It's probably just a habit.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Maybe given his age & the fact he can't do stairs anymore, he's barking because he's in pain from arthritis? Might be time for a vet check up?
Also, when he was upstairs with her, did he sleep on the bed? Maybe he's just missing that contact with her. What if she left him some of her clothing to sleep on? Maybe if he had her scent with him, he might settle down?
Does he stop barking when she comes down?
Don't know if this is feasible for her, but when my Kasa was too old to go upstairs, I bought a sofa bed to be near her at night. If the vet check is OK, maybe Rocky is lonely.
Thanks for the ideas...I'll pass on the clothing one especially. He recently has been to the vets and is on medication for arthritis. She takes him out for 4 or 5 short walks a day and he's pretty good for his age. She stopped coming down to check on him after a few weeks, so he hasn't been reinforced for at least 3 months. I wondered about getting him a companion...probably a kitty because a puppy would probably be too much for the old guy but she travels a lot and although she's committed to Rocky to the end, I don't think she wants another pet because of the travel issue.
Thanks again...and more ideas are welcome. I knew this was the place to come.
I agree with Garth about him maybe being lonely. Tessa didn't sleep at first unless she had some of my clothing. Now she wants to sleep on the bed, and I don't so she is back to having my clothes with her and she stays in her bed.
The dog may also be sore with arthritis. There are lots of treatments which might ease the pain. Erns is restless at night if he is sore. I put a coat on him in winter to help and he sleep better.
I don't think I would get a companion at his age he needs more peace. Maybe Rocky is lonely for his owner and may eventually settle.
could he be senile and not realize time?
I agree with the senility statement from Bett. My last dog was just like that. She would bark all night sometimes...even if I was there. She was about 14 when she began the barking at night.
I'm suspecting senility as well...I don't suppose there is much you can do for that?