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Night Issue With Cats and Should We Kennel?
  • Ok, so I found posts about kenneling and posts about cats. But this is about the two together, so I thought maybe I would make a new topic?

    If there is a better place for this, feel free to close this and I can move it to another discussion.

    I'm curious... how many of you crate/kennel your adult Shiba at night and why?


    We stopped kenneling Moxy a few years ago. He just sleeps on the bed with us at night at this point. Doesn't do anything other than that. We stopped kenneling Tang a couple of months ago. He usually sleeps with us too, but sometimes he gets bored and starts getting into things while we sleep. We also have 4 cats who have always slept with us.

    Long story short, sometimes when one of the cats jumps on the bed while we're all sound asleep, Tang startles awake and jumps onto the cat and starts... I don't know the best word for it. I say attacking, but my husband disagrees with me using that word. Either way, the cat jumps on the bed and if its too close to Tang when this happens, Tang growls and starts after the cat, chasing her from the room and pulling her hair out in the process. Its almost always the same cat. Its our youngest, sweetest cat this happens to.. and during the day they are totally cool with each other and have even hung out. She hasn't been hurt other than getting some hair pulled out, but I worry she may get hurt and I know she is developing anxiety because she has started to lick the hair off her legs.

    I have no idea how to correct this behavior because it only happens when we're asleep ( though I've been awake, but in bed a couple of times. Thats how I know whats happening) usually once every other week or so.

    I'm asking for advice on that and if kenneling at night seems like the right choice.

    I know positive training is a must with Shiba's, but how do you positive train with this (especially because we're usually asleep when it happens)?? We can't do training with treats, because he has some food aggression. And during the day they're fine with each other.

    The other choice is kicking the other animals out of the room for their safety, but letting Tang sleep with us. I don't think thats fair either.

    It just happened again about a hour ago and my first thought was he should go to his kennel for the rest of the night, but my husband says that is really bad for his mental health and he should continue sleeping with us and I should train him not to do this. While working with a trainer recently on food aggression, she said when the dogs do something aggressive (we were mostly talking about food aggression and barking at people when we're out) we shouldn't pet them or give them any kind of praise when the unwanted behavior happens because that means they are seeing that as a reward for the bad behavior. My thought was, well, he shouldn't get to come back to bed with us tonight for that. But my husband disagrees. After this happened, Tang came right back onto the bed and went over to my husband for attention.

    Would you guys kennel for this and over time reintroduce him to being out at night or no? How you would do this?..

    Sorry if this is rambling or doesn't make sense. I'm super tired.

    I don't want to punish him and make him feel bad, but I really worry about safety for the cats, but I also want Tang to be happy and healthy.

    I'm unsure if this is resource guarding behavior (guarding us or the bed?) or prey drive or something else... or, he is just startled and doesn't know what to do other than to have this reaction.

    After it happens, he just comes right back to bed.

    If anyone has any thoughts, I would love to hear them. This isn't a issue we've ever had with Moxy or PJ, so this is all new to me and it makes me feel like a first time dog owner that doesn't know what they're doing. haha
  • MojoMojo
    Posts: 77
    I think one of the most important things to understand atm is that the crate/kennel shouldn't be seen as a bad thing, by both Tang and yourself. I think you have the right idea in making him sleep in his own space again for awhile and slowly allowing him to sleep wherever if you feel that's necessary again. As far as discipline would go you'd have to actually wake up in the process of him doing what he's doing, stop him while he's doing it, and make him understand that it's not acceptable. From the sound of your story it sounds more like he might be being scared awake and it is upsetting him. Throughout the day you say they get along but are they ever around the bed area getting along? If not, I would try putting them both in the bed area and see if Tang reacts and if he does then your resource guarding hunch is more likely to be the issue. I would put him in his crate for now and also be on the look out for a reaction while he's in the crate because that could show you that it is him being startled.
  • @MoxyFruvous - This isn't the first case I've heard of a Shiba being startled awake and start attacking something. My coworker is the owner of a 2 year old named Simba and one night decided to hug him while he was sleeping. He woke up startled and bit my coworker on the nose so bad that it required stitches. It was an accident and Simba felt so bad afterwards. Another incident is his other dog brushed against and also startled him awake and got snapped at. I think it's just the state of mind when they're not fully aware of their surroundings after getting jolted awake so I think their primitive side is to go on the offensive and protect either himself or you and your husband.

    Tali is crated at night as well as Pacman, my Maltese. My Lab is tethered to the bed next to us. We do this for a few reasons:

    1) In the case of a break in, we don't want them flying out there where the danger is.

    2) We all get our full night of rest without being kicked, pushed, punched, slapped, or licked awake.

    3) Keep them out of late night mischief.

    3) To prevent the exact situation you described where Tali might attack my smaller dog in the future when she gets less tolerant.

    The crates are their safe place and they go in there automatically when we turn out the lights. I agree that is not fair for the other animals if Tang is the one with the guarding issues. I'd personally recommend crating him next to your bed to keep everyone safe. There's no guarantee that it wouldn't be one of your other animals next so I'd err on the side of caution.

    In terms of discipline, this is kind of a tough one because it's unpredictable. He might not even be fully aware of what's he's doing so he might be half asleep honestly. Imagine sleeping soundly then suddenly getting jumped on by something. I don't know about you but my first instinct is to punch and flail like a crazy lady.
    Post edited by Nikkitine at 2015-12-19 20:05:23
  • Thanks everyone.

    The problem now is getting my husband to agree kenneling at night might be a good idea, even for just a little while.

    He claims that Tang doesn't like his kennel and finds it stressful to be in it. I asked him why he thought this and he said its because if Tang is in his kennel and my husband walks into the room, often Tang is sitting in the kennel by the door. I don't see that as anxious or that he hates it. Its more like, he hears someone coming so he gets up and sits there waiting. He goes to his kennel automatically if I bring in a bowl of food or if I say "kennel!" he goes right to it without a fight. I don't have to drag him in. He usually curls up and goes to sleep. If he found it upsetting, I don't think he would go to it. He also defends it (guarding) if the door is left open and a cat or another dogs tries to go in. So I assume he likes it.

    The rest of last night went not so great.

    Everyone was kicked out of the bedroom except Tang and Moxy. Once I settled into bed, Moxy got a bit of acid reflux and was smacking his lips, which Tang assumed meant Moxy had food, so he tried to jump on him. he was screaming and flailing. Maybe he was just all wound up from what had happened earlier. So the rest of the night/morning, only Tang was allowed in the bedroom. The poor cats sat at the door crying to come in (they like to sleep on me, which I don't mind)

    Tonight my husband went to bed and its just him and Tang with the door shut. :/

    I for sure know he is being startled awake, its just.. if I can't kennel him to keep everyone safe, what do I do?
  • MojoMojo
    Posts: 77
    You are so right that isn't a sign of him finding the crate/kennel stressful. That is actually quite normal behavior for a dog that's comfortable.. Hitting the door, whining, or trying to slip out would be more clear signs that he finds it stressful.

    Hmm sounds like your hubby has a really strong attachment to Tang.. Not bad but I think you should try to urge him a bit more to help get the situation in order. Insist that it wouldn't be a permanent thing if the behavior changes and remind him that it's not just for the safety and health of the other animals it is also for Tang as well.. Someone may end up getting hurt or damaging some of your property in the room while the chase ensues.

    If you can't convince him some how I'd move the cats to another area for sleep. I know you will miss them sleeping on you but it may be in their best interest.
  • I agree with @Mojo, Tang likes his kennel. Otherwise he wouldn't guard it or sleep comfortably in it. Tang is the aggressor in this case and I honestly wouldn't give him the reward of getting the bed all to himself while the others aren't allowed on it when he's there. It reinforces the fact that he's top dog and might even cause him to act out when other things don't go his way. You and your husband should really sit down and have a talk about what is best for the rest of the animals. We understand he's really attached to Tang but that shouldn't be an excuse to be playing favorites and punishing those that did no wrong.
  • OrangeOrange
    Posts: 123
    I have been somewhat following this thread. Just out of curiosity for things and behaviour to look out for. Anyway I really have to agree with the above posters. I would not encourage Tangs negative behaviour, by rewarding him for it by allowing him to be the only dog on the bed at night. Also the other dog/cats are definitely going to pick up on the situation as well.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    Keep Tang in his crate at night. Whether he is acting up on purpose or is startled, his behavior is still inappropriate. If you are uncomfortable giving him the "kennel!" command when he starts up (this is what I do when Kouda is pushing it - remove the dog from the situation), then he needs to be there from the beginning. The more he practices poor behavior, and is rewarded for it by your husband, the more likely he will continue it.

    The bed is a privilege, and if he can't share it, he shouldn't get it.
    Posts: 1507
    When my cat tries to get on the bed and INU is already there he chases her away. If she is there first then he will just lay down and not bother her. In my son's unused bed my cat sleeps and INU couldn't care less.

    Penny likes to cuddle in the bed but sleep in her open crate. She really doesn't bother with the cat.

    I tend to think in my case INU is saying in Shiba fashion the bed is "MINE" or more likely the cats movement elicits his prey drive.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    He is resource guarding the bed IMO. He doesn't sound ready for bed privaledges. I don't think he was startled awake all those times, but more than likely trying to chase away any one wanting to share what he thinks is now his. Shiba puppy trying to take liberties.

    The positive training solution in this case would be something involving management to prevent any further bad behavior (so you aren't having to correct after the behavior happens). You would do that by controlling the environment more and that would mean separating him/not giving him bed privaledges. Ideally.

    I may do something a little different as I am comfortable using my "Mommy is upset at you, darling" voice and I am practiced at rotating multiples, but I always have someone crated at night here (I have 8 sleeping inside atm) so the "good" doggies get as much free time as they show they can handle.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg

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