Another question - why does my dog scratch the floor during the night?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by MrsSB, Feb 11, 2011.


  1. MrsSB

    MrsSB PetForums Junior

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    We have had Ben now for three months. He is a 2 year old Collie cross, who we took from a rescue centre. He had been a stray so we know nothing of his past.

    He is a really good dog, no destruction, house trained, etc etc. However, over the past few weeks he has started scratching at the kitchen floor during the night as if he is trying to dig. I laughingly say he's trying to dig an escape tunnel :). He sleeps downstairs and has a large house extension plus the kitchen to move around in, but is stopped from coming upstairs by a gate across the kitchen door. The first time he did it I came downstairs to him and, being daft, took him back up to bed with me. I quickly realised that this was a mistake and so ignored him the next few times he did it. However, this ignoring approach doesn't seem to have made any difference. He doesn't do it every night, but last night I heard him at least four times. Eventually I came downstairs just to tell him to stop and to get back into his bed, but he didn't even look at me, just turned his back and wandered back to his bed.

    It's okay for him to be up half the night, he sleeps half of the day. Unfortunately that can't be said for the rest of us, so I'd really like to find a solution to this if I can. Fortunately it's not every night, but it does seem to be becoming more frequent.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Mydass

    Mydass PetForums Newbie

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    You could try giving him some Rescue Remedy in his water or you can put it straight into his mouth


    This may take the edge off his anxiety of being on his own.
     
  3. Bobbie

    Bobbie PetForums VIP

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    Does he do this when you go out through the day or is it a night thing? Many collies like to know where you are to take care of you he may be concerned you are going to disappear.. To him if he is with you in the day he sees no reason why he can't be with you through the night.
     
  4. MrsSB

    MrsSB PetForums Junior

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    I don't know if he does it when I'm out. There are no visible signs. The floor is a bit scratched but it's not possible to tell if this is from nighttime activity. I wonder if we should move his bed so that he's with us (we did try that on his first night with us and he couldn't settle but maybe he could now he's been with us a while).
     
  5. hutch6

    hutch6 PetForums VIP

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    Does he pay any attention to this spot during the time you are with him?

    Is the heating on at night or any appliance i.e. washing machine etc?

    A friend of mine kept their dog in a room like this and had the scratching. Turns out they ran their washing machine at night as it was cheaper to do so and the very slight noiuse of the pipe that ran under the doorway was what set the dog off.

    If you take your dog to your bedroom is a slower process to get them back downstairs again. With every new dog int he house I have slept downstairs with them fo rthe first night or two and never had any issues, so far ;)
     
  6. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    I've had several collies that do the same. In fact one of my sister's current dogs scratches the floor/carpet a lot. I'm going down there next week and the guest bedroom is directly over the kitchen so I expect she'll wake me up.

    I've always assumed that they are making/digging a comfy nest to settle in, as they then usually lie down on that spot.
     
  7. MrsSB

    MrsSB PetForums Junior

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    No he doesn't pay any attention to the spot. In fact looking at the floor there are about three spots in the kitchen where he's scratched and they have nothing in common other than being in the kitchen. No washing machine running or heating pipes either.

    I had hoped ignoring him would show him that this wasn't getting him any attention but as he just walked away from me last night (I didn't go into the kitchen, I just spoke to him from the other side of the gate and told him to go to bed) then it doesn't even look as if he wants attention. The first time he did it I thought there was something wrong and when I got to him he was all "big eyes and waggy tail" so ended up coming up with me. Since then if I've come down to him I've just told him to go to bed and he does just that.
     
  8. MrsSB

    MrsSB PetForums Junior

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    You could be right, though his digging doesn't actually alter the floor. He may well be making a sort of nest.
     
  9. hutch6

    hutch6 PetForums VIP

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    If he uses one leg to scratch and shuffle around at angles then he will be nesting. If he's using two paws quite rapidly then he coul dbe digging to try and get out or trying to dig a recess to get lower out of the imaginary wind and weather.

    Are the other two spots near points of entry to the room?
     
  10. holly1

    holly1 PetForums VIP

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    Our foster dog does this.
    But he does it anytime.Whether we are in or not.
    At night it wakes me sometimes.He has the thickest bed youve ever seen,so isnt uncomfortable.Its like he is scratching to get comfy.
     
  11. MrsSB

    MrsSB PetForums Junior

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    Yes one of the spots is just next to the gate across the doorway leading to upstairs. He definitely sounds like he's using the two paws rapidly. I haven't seen him in action as he stops as soon as he hears movement from upstairs!
     
  12. hutch6

    hutch6 PetForums VIP

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    Sounds like he's trying to get to you more than trying to dig a recess to get out of a draft. Try sleeping downstairs with him for a night or two and see if that makes a difference.
     
  13. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    Ive found with all the dogs I have had if its just a few scratches then just turning round a couple of times before settling its really more of a "bedding" ritual for want of a better discription.

    If its continuous mindless scratching that goes on, it tends to be a stess thing (Which my malamute does) at times of stress like fireworks etc. I get round his by saying nothing going up and just calmly standing in the spot.
    He then seems to stop and lay down then,for which he gets praised for.

    If its continuous bouts of scratching in the night rather than one or two short
    "bedding" ones, then it sounds like he could be getting stressed for some reason. You could try leaving a radio down low on a talking station, this can calm and reassure them when they wake. Or you could try DAP products. Plug in diffuser form would probably be best, put you can get collars too. It emits an artificial version of the pheromone mum emits to calm and soothe pups, I have found they help, and someone on here recently whos dog was starting to cry in the night tried it and found it helped. You can get them from pets at home or vets, they tend to be cheaper at on line vet pharmacies though. Vet-Medic - the same medicines as your vet at consistently low prices. is where I get mine, but check others to see best prices, if you think one might be worth a try. Order line is
    0800 387348 if you decide to get one to try and dont want to do it online.
    Just one other thought leaving a tee shirt or jumper you have worn in their beds also helps as your smell can also calm and reassure them. so something else that might be worth ago that will cost nothing.
     
  14. Jonesey

    Jonesey PetForums VIP

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    No advice sorry, but I hope it's not a mouse!
     
  15. fifimcq

    fifimcq PetForums Junior

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    Our BC X has been doing that at night time too & kept me awake so I have bought her bed upstairs & put it outside the bedroom doors & bingo she has stopped:thumbup:

    I think hers was stress about being alone so she is now much happier as she is nearer to us
     
  16. fulwood

    fulwood PetForums Junior

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    I have three collies. My youngest Eddie does this sometimes. You know how we plump our duvets up, tuck in our bottom sheet, possibly shoo the hob-nob crumbs off the covers, etc.? Well some dogs do this too. I'm convinced he's making his spot 'clean' and free from 'others' before he rests. When I was house-training him, I'd get up every two hours, take him out the back and bring him back into his crate at the side of my bed. I noticed as a pup, if a toy or draught excluder in his crate was in the way, he'd move them out of the way to make a comfy spot. I still get woken the odd night when he's changing positions and bedding down. By catching him doing it during the day, I've been able to get him to stop doing it on command by just saying No. As a child we had a rough collie. Shep used to do it behind the front door (where, incidently we had an ant problem every summer).
     
    #16 fulwood, Feb 12, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
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