Saturday, November 22, 2008


SUMMARY: Dang Boost at night.

What, is Boost reading my blog now? She made me get up at 1:00 this morning to let her out.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Dog In The Night Party Umpty-Ump

SUMMARY: Boost's nights seem to be back to normal.

In the last month, Boost has asked to go out during the night only twice: Once at Scottsdale, which was my worst night hacking and snorting with the miserable cold, which could've just woken her up thoroughly, and once more on Nov 11. But otherwise, she's sleeping through the night.

Was it the 2nd round of tougher antibiotics for a longer period? Was it putting her in her crate after she came back in after insisting on going out? Don't know, but something worked, thank goodness.

For previous posts on the topic, click the Housebreaking label. (At should bring up 4 other posts...)

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Monday, September 15, 2008

The Dog In The Night Part ??

SUMMARY: Another trip to the emergency room.

Friday night I got to bed around 9:15 in anticipation of rising at 4:15 to head to Turlock. Before that, Boost squatted to pee when I took her out, but did nothing, and I figured that she was trying to demonstrate that she really had taken care of business.

But, in the bedroom, she tossed and turned and moved around restlessly and then about 20 minutes later demanded urgently to go out. We went out. She squatted--nothing. Moved elsewhere, squatted, nothing. Repeat for about 5 minutes. Back to bed. Tossing and turning, demanding to be let out, squatting, nothing. Repeat I don't know how many times until 1:30 in the morning. I had not slept a wink, and neither had she, and now I was getting a little worried. Maybe a bladder infection--but we DID use antibiotics (ending 2 weeks ago) and she HAD mostly slept through the night for the last 2 weeks.

Could it be one of those other things that the vet had said were possible but rarer? Bladder stone? Some kind of growth or blockage?

My choices were: (1) Go to the emergency room and spend large sums of money. (2) Blow off saturday at the agility trial and wait to see my regular vet in the morning. (3) Give up my bed, drive to turlock, hope she'd be ok for 2 hours in the van and that I might be able to sleep for a couple of hours there.

Rejected (3)--didn't want to be caught out of town if it was indeed something serious. Rejected (2)--that's a lot of entry fees to blow off, plus I really wanted that one last try at Steeplechase.

So we went to the emergency clinic, which I'm grateful to have only about 2 miles from home.

An hour and a half, 2 x-rays, and $400+ later, we determined that it was probably a bladder infection still/again. They injected antibiotics and gave us a different kind of antibiotic pills to use for the next two weeks.

Returned to bed, and we were both so exhausted that we fell right asleep--for an hour before heading to Turlock. I kept my alarm clock in the van's front seat in case I realized while driving that my alertness was fading and I needed to pull over and sleep, but I felt amazingly good (for 1 hour of sleep) both mentally and physically.

Then I had those two lovely Standard runs with both dogs first thing in the morning. Maybe I should do without sleep more often! KIDDING... by late afternoon at the score table, I found myself staring blankly at scribe sheets, not able to process what I needed to do. I managed only about a 10-minute break sitting quietly with my head back and eyes closed, but it was enough to survive the rest of the day.

I slept VERY well Saturday night until Boost asked to go out at 5:30. Would've liked an additional hour of sleep, but, oh, well. Everything on her end (so to speak) seemed to function just fine all weekend. And she slept through last night at home, too.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

No Dog In The Night (and Other Gratitudes)

SUMMARY: Boost sleeps through the night, and otherwise also a good week.

I hit Boost's not-sleeping-through-the-night issue with a two-pronged attack: shock and awe... (No, wait, that was a different campaign.) ...really, Plan A: 10 days of antibiotics plus Plan B: every time she gets me up, she has to sleep in her crate when we return to bed.

This isn't a tremendous hardship, as she slept there every night for her first year here, and she still sometimes sleeps there voluntarily when maybe Tika or I toss and turn too much.

Before Plan A and Plan B, she got me up 10 out of 25 nights (after I started tracking). That included one stretch of 7 nights where she *never* woke me up, giving me false hope, but NOOooo, then 5 out of the next 10 up.

So we get to Plan A and B. After the first full day of antibiotics, she let me sleep. Then ditto for the next 3 nights. Wow, thought I, it *was* some insidious infection. But NOOoooo again, 4 out of the next 6 nights she got me up. Each time, I zipped her into the crate afterwards. She grumbled some and hit on the door a bit (it's one of those lightweight pop-up nylon crates), but I told her to knock it off and she settled in each time.

I also started Plan C: When *I* was up in the night on my own for any reason (last night: something banging around on the deck. Maybe the wind.), I did NOT let her out just because she asked. She pestered me a bit at first but since then, just accepts it. Because I think that's what started the problem--a bout of insomnia, where I just let her out every night in the middle of the night when I was up and she asked.

So then...looking promising...after the last day of antibiotics, we went 6 nights with no out--ah, ha! it WAS an infection?!-- but wait: then one night of out plus crate, two nights off, one night of out plus crate, and now 5 more nights off. So only two nights of the last 15 has she gotten me up. I can only hope. It's still a little unclear whether it was an infection or behavioral, but I'm leaning towards the latter.

Boost resting up from a hard night of sleeping through. Uzza wuzza cute widdle feeties all gathered up!

I am also grateful that I can now comfortably wear all those pairs of jeans that I haven't been able to wear since October. Thank you, Weight Watchers (no meetings this time, but using their strategies).

I am also grateful that I saved $200 on my auto/house/umbrella insurance yesterday. Thank you, Geico. (Used to have Geico auto insurance for years and loved them, but 7 years ago they couldn't insure my house and now they can. Go figure.)

I am grateful that, on very short notice and at essentially the last minute, I have found excellent DAM teams for both dogs for USDAA Nationals. Thank you, agility friends!

Let's hope that things keep looking up.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Dog in the Night Follow-Up

SUMMARY: Boost is fine probably.

The vet found nothing wrong with Boost even after doing a culture of her urine and testing for a few other things. So we're going back to the assumption that it's probably behavioral, because everything else that could be medical is both rare and harder to diagnose.

However, he did say that certain bacterial infections won't show up in the culture especially if they're mild, so let's try 10 days of antibiotics anyway and see whether it helps because sometimes it does. I'm leery of antibiotics just on general principles, but he felt from our long discussion that I had asked the right questions and tried the right things and said that, if it were his dog, he'd do it. So, OK, we're doing it.

I picked up the pills right before leaving town midday Friday and just got back. The dogsitter (Renter) said that she didn't wake him up at night and he saw no signs of puddles in the morning. Of course, I haven't even been up to my bedroom yet, so who knows--

But I'm back on thinking we'll simultaneously treat it as behavioral. Starting with, if she gets me up, she goes into her crate instead of on the bed when we come back in.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Dog In The Night

SUMMARY: Boost and her potty habits. Or what.

I am exhausted. Boost has gotten worse about not sleeping through the night. Last time I bemoaned this, someone suggested maybe she had a bladder or other urinary-tract infection, but no, I was sure it was just some sort of training that she had figured out was being trained when in fact it wasn't being trained, it was all a misunderstanding.

So I determinedly walked her out back before bedtime and insisted on a good pee and then we'd go to bed. And it got a little better sometimes, and then finally we had a good solid run of a whole week, 7 days, with no asking to go out after bedtime. Then we backslid for a few days, then we had maybe 5 days with no going out, and then the last couple of weeks it's back to almost every night.

What still doesn't have me convinced that it's a UTI is that she sometimes goes ALL DANG DAY at an agility trial without wanting to pee, so if it were a real problem, wouldn't it affect her all the time? And then the usual pattern is: pee and go to bed, then maybe within an hour, ask to go out again (what, is she holding it back?) then maybe or maybe not in another 1-2 hours ask to go out again but almost never after 1 or 2 in the morning. Then she's fine until whenever I wake up for real, which sometimes these days isn't until 9 because I'm so wiped out from being woken up.

Anyway, OK, now i'm going out of town for 2 nights without the dogs and realizing that I have to explain this to my renter, who's watching the dogs for me. I did not have to explain this back in May when I went to Arizona for a week. So clearly it has gotten worse, not better.

So this morning I went out with her, wearing rubber gloves (me, not Boost), and shoved a little baby-food jar into the appropriate location to gather a sample. Now we have a vet's appointment for tomorrow morning. The receptionist said, oh, no, they'll want to get their own sample. I seem to remember from a past dog, ages ago, where the vet said it's sometimes hard to get their own sample so if I could get one, that would be helpful. But that was then and this is now. And maybe I don't remember that well. So should I dump the sample? Nah, guess I'll hold on to it for a day and let it brew. Or maybe try again tomorrow morning just in case.

Meanwhile, Boost enjoys a little boxing. I spend money on dog toys why?

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Monday, March 24, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

SUMMARY: Is Boost night-trained or isn't she?

When Boost came to live with me, she was about 3 months old and sleeping through the night. We did have a rare case or two of peeing in the crate at night, but at the time I was using a crate with a waterproof base, so clean-up was easy. Eventually, I switched to a lightweight fabric crate, and eventually (like with all my dogs) she ended up sleeping on my bed.

I've never had a problem with my dogs regularly needing to go outside during the night. Usually, if a dog suddenly feels nature calling--even needing to throw up--she'll leap off my bed, which is what wakes me so that I can usher them outside (or, in case of imminent horking, onto the tiled bathroom floor).

In Jake's last year or two, he needed to go out during the night more and more often, but he was 15 when he died, so I'd cut him some slack. Plus he somehow cleverly figured out that, if I didn't wake up and let him out (and I tend to doze off again unless the activity continues), he could walk into my shower stall, do his business there, and get back to bed. How clever is that? I *never* ushered any of my dogs into my shower stall for anything exept a very rare bath.

During the time she was sleeping in the crate and for a while thereafter, I was going through a period of insomnia, so I'd rise in the night, don my robe, and head downstairs for a hot chocolate and a crossword puzzle to put me back to sleep. If in the crate, she'd start to make a ruckus, so I'd have to let her out to keep her from waking my housemate. Whereupon she'd want to go out, so I'd let her. When she stopped sleeping in her crate, she'd just immediately get up as soon as I did, trot downstairs, and demand to be let out. And I'd let her.

I've had less and less trouble with insomnia over time, and now (bless hormone therapy!) it's not a problem at all. So, in recent months, I've realized that she's been waking up in the middle of the night on hre own and needing to go out. Not every night, but I doubt that a week goes by where she doesn't want to go out at least one night. This is the dog, mind you, who can go most of an entire day at an agility trial without peeing and a whole weekend without pooping because things are just too interesting to want to take time for potty breaks. So I figure maybe she's just holding it.

I've started insisting on her going outside before bedtime and waiting for her to potty (and giving the verbal signal and all), but most of the time she just tries to play. (I don't do so, and I take away her toys, but that doesn't necessarily stop her.) It's rare that she'll actually do something at that time under my guidance.

I've started getting pissy in the middle of the night when she wakes me up. Maybe that's the wrong thing to do (she says in retrospect), because now she apparently tries to hold it, which makes her restless, so she moves around on the bed and moves and moves and moves and moves and moves and STOP IT DAMMIT! (or I keep telling her to settle and then rolling over and dozing off).

Two weeks ago, in one of our rare stays in a motel, she DID pee right before I went to bed, and she did get really restless in teh middle of the night and I ignored it, figuring it was the noise of an unfamiliar hotel setting. Finally I rolled over, reclaiming more of my bed--and discovered that it was sopping wet all through my dog-bed-cover, the bedding, the mattress pad, and the mattress. Fortunately there was another bed in the room. I took her out right then and she peed some more.

So I don't know whether I managed to train her to wait for the middle of the night to go potty or whether there's something else going on. We have none of the other likely symptoms of, say, a bladder infection, so I'm just thinking it's a training thing, and I'm struggling with fixing it.

Friday night, she woke me up leaping off the bed and refusing to settle. In the yard, she walked all the way around the yard slowly (not her usual pottying mode, which is a trot to an appropriate location), peed for about half a second, and then came back into the house and settled for the rest of the night. Does she think she HAS to go out in the middle of the night even if she DOESN'T need to go? Dang dog brains.

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