Raven is our night alerter. She sleeps in our room, next to our bed, on a Kuranda cot, as seen above. We have learned from trial and error, that if Raven sleeps on a pillow type dog bed, a foam mattress type bed, or in bed with us, she sleeps too hard and doesn’t wake up at night to alert. When she sleeps on the Kuranda cot, that is not an issue. She is able to wake up and alert just fine. That has been working well for us right up until…
A few nights ago something strange happened. I woke up, and noticed Raven wasn’t on her cot. I got scared, thinking maybe I slept through an alert, so I jumped out of bed to my daughters room. Raven wasn’t there, but I checked Stella’s blood sugar. She was fine, and in range. So where was Raven? I went on a search for her.
We have 2 crates in our house. Major’s crate is in our bedroom, and Raven’s crate is in our kitchen under a table. The crates are always open, we use them through out the day. I went to the kitchen to look for her, but she wasn’t there. She wasn’t in our family room either. I finally discovered her in Major’s crate, sleeping. I called her out, and put her back on her bed. She wouldn’t settle, and seemed agitated. I waited awhile and checked Stella again, for fear there may be a big change coming, but everything was fine with her. When I came back to bed, Raven still refused to settle, and she went back into Major’s crate. This is pretty odd behavior, but it was the middle of the night and I was at a loss for what was going on.
The next night before bed, I made sure to lock up Major’s crate before bed so Raven couldn’t sneak off. And sure enough, in the middle of the night, I hear my wife calling for Raven. I got up and asked what was going on. Laurie had woken up to check Stella, she sets an alarm for every 3 hours if we are having a “normal” night, and she noticed Raven wasn’t in her bed. Stella was high, so she wanted to bring Raven in to work her trough the high she just missed. Turns out, Raven was in her own crate in the kitchen, sleeping. Wow, now that’s REALLY odd.
Now the next night. Locked up both crates before bed, put Raven on her cot, and we went to sleep. Laurie woke me up again. Raven was gone AGAIN. This time we found her on the Kuranda cot in the family room. And that’s when I realized what the issue was. The cot in the bedroom is vinyl (as is the one in the living room). The crates and the cot in the family room all have pads or covers of fleece. Raven is very sensitive to temperature, she gets cold tail and she does a little dance with her paws on hot or cold concrete. The cot in the bedroom, and the area it is in, was getting too cold for her, and she was seeking out a warmer place to sleep.
So the following night, I put a fleece cover on the bedroom cot, and lo and behold, Raven stayed on it all night and alerted us to a high. That was 3 nights ago, and she has been back to rock star, night time alerting awesomeness through the night. As a matter of fact, just this morning, Raven alerted and woke me up. Normally, when she does, she leads me into Stella’s room after she wakes me up, and she sits and waits for me to check. If she is right (which is almost ALL the time in the middle of the night) she gets a food reward. She LOVES food rewards. But this morning, after leading me into Stella’s room, she went and crawled back onto her warm Kuranda. And that’s when I realized it was cold…
I brought her treats to her bed 😉
Every now and again, complacency sets in. Or cold weather. Or the dogs anticipate alarms. So things need to be mixed up a little. Where the dog sleeps, what the dog sleeps on, the type of reward they are given, any number of things, no matter how small, can be tweaked and modified to keep things fresh, working, or to make it stronger. Just know that what works today may require a little trouble shooting tomorrow.
You will occasionally need to mix things up.