Wednesday night was not a good night.
Figuring out what has been going on with Toby has turned out to be a painful adventure. For months, my otherwise happy puppy has been attacking me. Every resource I encountered mentioned checking the dog’s thyroid levels because low thyroid in dogs can lead to erratic behaviors. I had Toby checked; no low thyroid.
During the attacks, it were as if Toby were asleep. Sometimes he would “wake up” in the middle and looked confused or embarrassed about what was going on.
I think I may have finally figured out what is happening with Toby: Sleep Startle Reflex. Older dogs, deaf dogs – and for some reason greyhounds – tend to have this most often, but any dog can. Basically it is an old survival instinct where if anything – any little thing – happens near the sleeping dog it will attack instantly without even waking up. I don’t even need to touch Toby but make a noise near him and he will come running to growl at and bite me.
What made the condition even harder to pinpoint was that the attacks only happened in the evening or at night not during the day even though Toby sleeps at all of those times. Turns out that the SSR is only triggered during REM sleep. In the afternoons, Toby is merely napping, so he doesn’t dream then.
It felt good to find out that nothing is really “wrong” with my boy; he is just a sleepwalker…..er, sleep attacker. Experts recommend not punishing or yelling at your dog because he is unaware of what he is doing. To him, he just wakes up and everyone is mad at him. It is recommended that you put your furry attacker in a quiet room at night and block it off so that no one disturbs him. Little Toby’s heart has been breaking because I have been having him sleep in his kennel and not in the laundry. I feel awful that he can’t sleep in the bedroom with me, but this room is so small I can’t fit his kennel inside.
Maybe this will be incentive to get rid of some stuff so my puppy can toot contentedly beside me in his sleep.
I hate this kennel. I wanna come back and sleep in the laundry.
Dirty laundry – the bed of the gods.
Come see what Bitey and Super Sleep-Bitey (otherwise known as Toby) have been up to, pick up a copy of Bitey Dog and Toby in Dream Our World! Inside the boys view the world of art from a canine perspective and enjoy a day of unsupervised fun.
Dream Our World is available from my shop.
I DID SUGGEST A BIG BUNDLED UP BLANKET IN THE BEDROOM MAYBE BY TH BED. SEED IT WITH ONE ITEM OF LAUNDRY. DONT OVERLOAD THE SENSES,, JUST ONE ITEM. BUT JUST A SUGGESTION.. YOU KNOW YOU LAD BEST
ALSO TRY THE CALMING SPRAYS THEY SELL AT THE BIG PWT SHOPS FOR CATS… NO MATTER.. IT CAN WORK WELL FOR ANY ANIMAL.
I have a little bed for Toby next to mine, but if there is any movement or sound near him he can still run over and bite me. I don’t know how I might work it, but I am going to try to get my boy back beside me.
Aw. This brings tears to my eyes. Poor Toby. Poor you. 😦 😦
But now that you know what is going on I know you will find the best solution.
We send ❤ and our best wishes as you both adjust to a new nighttime routine.
Most of the things I've had to change with Coops over the years he's adjusted to quicker than I have. I take longer to feel good about change.
Please let us know how it goes…we care so much about you and Toby!!! ❤
(((HUGS))) for you!
Gentle PATS and RUBS for Toby!
Aw, thanks for caring! I know Toby is confused right now because he is unaware of the what is going on. My boy will be fine, but mommy isn’t taking it well. 💔
Yes, in the long run I think it’s always harder on us. But we are fortunate we can help them adjust and cope and thrive. 🙂
More ❤ to you two today.
Woah, Tobester! Who knew you were such a renegade? Well, I guess your Mom knew but none of us. We thought you were a laid back sort of terrorist, erm, terrier. Such a badass. Better straighten up and get your act together. Biting Mom is not a good behavior choice, short or long term. Truth to tell I never heard of this condition before but I guess it confirms the ancient maxim of “Let sleeping dogs lie.” Which, by the way, dates back to Chaucer, circa 1380, which is even older than Carolyn.😈
The whole sleep issues does make me wonder if Toby isn’t repressing his true feelings about me, and they only come out when he is unconscious. Hmm, perhaps there is a story hidden in there…
I wonder if you can correlate his incidents of waking/biting with his exercise levels? I recall years back (not Max days) with a pooch who had a Jekyll & Hyde personality. When exercised she would be a calm and cuddly companion but if she went too long lazing about and not getting a run she would be an absolute terror to deal with. Long shot but Tobe’s behavior is puzzling.
Funny you should mention that, but I have noticed a connection between exercise levels and sleep incidents. If he exercises a lot, it is more likely to happen. I wondered if he slept more deeply then and spent more time in the REM state. – Mom
Max, I sent you a message a few days ago. I was wondering if you got it? (Sorry, I don’t mean to nag.) – Toby
I don’t think I got your message. I know I would never ignore one and I’m usually a prompt correspondent. Was it an email? Please resend!
Poor guy! I’m glad you figured it out, though!
Me too. It all seemed so random and confusing for a long time. At least now we know what to do.
River does the same thing. She attacks Pocket. I don’t know what will happen if she becomes a single dog someday.
Does River attack you too? Maybe we should buy stock in Neosporin and Band-Aids!
If River is ever a single dog, she will either rest peacefully at night or she will come into your dreams and lead you to her new little sister so she can finally have someone to argue with again. Ha!
Poor little mite 😔. Can you just pick another room in your house for your bedroom? Even the living room would work, unless your entertain a lot. Sleeping is just sleeping. It seems a shame to banish Toby for something beyond his control. I was just discussing houses today and said that our homes are to serve us; we’re not supposed to conform to the house. With your new needs makes the house adapt by changing things up a bit. I also highly recommend chucking crap in general. It feels great to do that!
I’m going to do my best to make sure Toby is nearby at night. I was thinking about that living room idea too.
I am feeling a strong urge to chuck some crap tonight! 😆
I am so glad you figured out what was happening with Toby.
Me too! It’s nice not to have to be afraid around the puppy at night.