Bedtime aggression

Recently my EL D has been acting up after we go to bed. By that I mean if I happen to roll over up against him, he semi-snaps at me. But it only happens when he's curled up facing my way. I can't tell if it's because I accidentally hit his tail/butt or his nose (under covers after all). It only happens when we're in bed and he's +/- sleeping and as soon as he realizes I'm there, he quits. So I'm thinking maybe he felt attacked but wonder if something else. Anyone else have this experience?

Typically my B gets to bed before I do. Prolly 99% of the time he's awake or has been awoken by me when I go to bed. He stays on top of the covers until I get in and then he crawls underneath the covers and lies next to me for warmth.

However, on only ONE occasion, I was up REALLY late playing games on the computer on a weekend (maybe 3am) and he had got tired of waiting and had already gone under the covers. He was definately still asleep when I got into bed because I could hear his thundering snoring. When I moved next to him he freaked out because, I guess, I completely woke him from a deep sleep. His reaction was rather frightening because he woke with a start and was snarling and biting everything around him. Luckily, there was a comforter between him and I and I only felt the pressure of the bites. Once he had woken completely and realized it was 'just that human that loves him', he settled down and passed out again.

A LOT of B's wake badly and will be all snappy, if woken from a deep sleep. Some moreso than others.

Yeah I agree with Tucker's dad…I have the same thing happen with TOPAZ. She's a very grumpy sleeper :eek: Once she realizes it's me she stops but it's really annoying when she decides to fall asleep on my lap & then I want to get up. 🙂

I've heard this is very common with Bs. Max was like this, but Zoey and Tyler aren't. As Max got older, it happened less and less. My thoughts are that it's an instinct thing–where they had to be on the defensive out in the wild--even when sleeping. So any disturbance while sleeping could be a danger.

She-Ra does this when our older cat, Booger, moves around the bed and gets a little too close to her. I think she's got the mentality of Me, the wife, and her as "the pack" and anything else coming into the area is an outsider that might need dealing with.

It sounds horrible, but it's over in about a second and then she realizes it's just "that dang cat" and then she's back to sleep.

If mine do that, then they lose bed time, period…. honestly, it really should not be accepted if it moves to snapping... gumping is one thing... snapping is totally unacceptable

Im so glad this thread is here. My Bella has been gettting very snarky (growling and lunging) with our new boy Wrigley in bed. Since he is new he hasnt gotten the "as soon as we hit the bed we sleep" thing. He likes to smell around on the bed before he settles in. This absolutely drives Bella crazy to the point I have to hold her collar and pray he doesnt get to close to her,,,,,I am really afraid of WW 3 breaking out on the bed ( they are fine most other times ). Actually my DH will be out of town this weekend and I am kind of dreading having to deal with the bedtime issues. Do you guys crate yours if they act up in bed? I know that if Bella gets snarky and I correct her by taking her off the bed she will just jump right back up there.

I never have scolded EL D for doing this nor send him to his crate (since we gave that up long ago). As soon as he realizes what's going on or hears my voice, he calms down immediately, so I've never been worried.

My previous beastie one time was sleeping on the couch curled up with his back to me and as I walked by I ran my finger across his head. He was up and out of that chair and across the room so fast I didn't even see it happen.

This sounds more and more like an instinct thing.

@TuckerVA:

A LOT of B's wake badly and will be all snappy, if woken from a deep sleep. Some moreso than others.

Oddly enough, Cory doesn't wake badly and you can even pick her up and move her and she'll stay asleep. I can move her lips around and make funny faces with her mouth while she sleeps and she doesn't awaken. We had a really sweet tempered Basset Hound who you didn't dare touch to awaken; it was the only time she would be ugly tempered. I learned to nudge her gently with my foot and then retract my foot fast. She always looked so apologetic when she realized what she'd done.

Pat

@tanza:

If mine do that, then they lose bed time, period…. honestly, it really should not be accepted if it moves to snapping... gumping is one thing... snapping is totally unacceptable

When you have a dog that has been abused and has had his tail ripped off, you learn to accomodate a little snarkiness from time to time, expecially in the wake of several people bites and as many dog fights caused by a dog with obvious fear issues. If I were to lock him out of the room, it would only lead to other issues so I deal with it, especially since it's only happened that one time and he's slept in my bed with me rolling around and bumping into him for about 450 days now. 😉

@wizard:

I never have scolded EL D for doing this nor send him to his crate (since we gave that up long ago). As soon as he realizes what's going on or hears my voice, he calms down immediately, so I've never been worried.

My previous beastie one time was sleeping on the couch curled up with his back to me and as I walked by I ran my finger across his head. He was up and out of that chair and across the room so fast I didn't even see it happen.

This sounds more and more like an instinct thing.

This is a form of the dreaded 'resource guarding'. The dog is saying don't mess with my space, regardless of being awake or asleep. The problem with saying 'oh, well, it is instinct' is that it can be behavior that escalates to not just growling, but muzzle punching, and then snapping, and then lauching off the couch or whatever piece of furniture dog is on.

I can't and don't tolerate that behavior in bed. It disrupts everyone's sleep, and if you have multiple dogs in bed, it can erupt into a fight…not very good sleeping conditions. Depending on the dog, I might just say 'knock it off' and toss them out of bed...but some dogs with resource guarding issues are likely to take that as a threat escalation, and respond even more inappropriately. At the very least the offending dog should be not allowed to sleep in the bed for the rest of the night.

If it is just an occasional..'grr, you startled me' or the dog was dreaming, or whatever, that is not the same as a recurring pattern of 'waking up badly'.

If this is happening while the human is awake...a really easy way to retrain is to be armed with some treats; when dog is sleeping on your lap, start waving the treat in front of nose, and quietly saying her name. When she awakes toss treat off lap. Basically you condition the dog to jump off lap/couch/whatever and receive reward when they wake, rather than waking up defensive.

@Quercus:

This is a form of the dreaded 'resource guarding'. The dog is saying don't mess with my space, regardless of being awake or asleep. The problem with saying 'oh, well, it is instinct' is that it can be behavior that escalates to not just growling, but muzzle punching, and then snapping, and then lauching off the couch or whatever piece of furniture dog is on.

I can't and don't tolerate that behavior in bed. It disrupts everyone's sleep, and if you have multiple dogs in bed, it can erupt into a fight…not very good sleeping conditions. Depending on the dog, I might just say 'knock it off' and toss them out of bed...but some dogs with resource guarding issues are likely to take that as a threat escalation, and respond even more inappropriately. At the very least the offending dog should be not allowed to sleep in the bed for the rest of the night.

If it is just an occasional..'grr, you startled me' or the dog was dreaming, or whatever, that is not the same as a recurring pattern of 'waking up badly'.

If this is happening while the human is awake...a really easy way to retrain is to be armed with some treats; when dog is sleeping on your lap, start waving the treat in front of nose, and quietly saying her name. When she awakes toss treat off lap. Basically you condition the dog to jump off lap/couch/whatever and receive reward when they wake, rather than waking up defensive.

Exactly Andrea… I agree totally... I have "dumped" one or more of mine on the floor for being a "jackass" in the bed... like you I can't and will NOT accept that behavior in the bed... I have been in the situation that a fight started under the covers... and I got the worst of it... and as Andrea points out, it is not acceptable the say "oh that is instinct therefore OK..."

@TuckerVA:

When you have a dog that has been abused and has had his tail ripped off, you learn to accomodate a little snarkiness from time to time, expecially in the wake of several people bites and as many dog fights caused by a dog with obvious fear issues. If I were to lock him out of the room, it would only lead to other issues so I deal with it, especially since it's only happened that one time and he's slept in my bed with me rolling around and bumping into him for about 450 days now. 😉

I can understand that you feel this is a small concession to make for the rough life that Tucker had. And like I said, one time does not a problem make (I am feeling Yoda-ish today). But although the temptation is strong to make excuses for poor behavior in rescue dogs, IMO, they should be held to the same standards as other pets. As an owner of a rescue, someone may have to work harder, or longer to get the the same place as the owner of a pampered, trained dog from puppyhood…but the expectation of good behavior should be the same, regardless of prior history.

Well Tig is still young but I pester him when he sleeps by just waking him up and moving him so doesn't get grouchy is suddenly woken up. All he does is grumble, but he grumbles at everything, lol

@WBL:

Well Tig is still young but I pester him when he sleeps by just waking him up and moving him so doesn't get grouchy is suddenly woken up. All he does is grumble, but he grumbles at everything, lol

Yes, exactly…you can inoculate a young puppy against adopting this grouchy waking behavior by gently moving, petting, waking, pestering them when they sleep, so they realize it is no big deal to be touched while you are sleeping. I also happy talk them while I touch and pester...makes them think it is fun to be woken up 😉

@WBL:

Well Tig is still young but I pester him when he sleeps by just waking him up and moving him so doesn't get grouchy is suddenly woken up. All he does is grumble, but he grumbles at everything, lol

Yup that is the way to do it… and when I have a litter, I do the same from the first day they are born... they are very used to being picked up, moved, pushed... etc...

I also agree with Andrea that while a rescue has a whole different set of "issues".. they should not be held to any less of a standand then puppies raised by responsible breeders (and that goes for puppies from pet stores and/or Back Yard Breeders).....

I meant to add that Reggie helps with this also, because Tiggy sleeps on Reggie all the time, Reggie will get to warm or just move to a more comfortable position so Tiggy get moved/wiggled/squished and all a lot.

And what does he do, curls back up and goes back to sleep. LOL

Any snarking in bed get's them the boot.;)

Actually I think EL D is just waking up unexpectedly and not defending territory. I have made it a point now to touch him whenever he's sleeping so that he gets more used to my hands on his head or rump. I've had no problems recently so hope this stays this way.

@wizard:

Actually I think EL D is just waking up unexpectedly and not defending territory. I have made it a point now to touch him whenever he's sleeping so that he gets more used to my hands on his head or rump. I've had no problems recently so hope this stays this way.

That is good to hear, but remember… don't try and make excuses for them... if the behavior is not acceptable... then work to correct it.... period... no different then children... you hear people all the time making excuses for behavior... or things they have done... "oh its not that bad"... "oh it was only once"......

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