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Hey Everyone!

I am really really struggling getting our 14 week Vizsla boy into a steady routine and saw some people on here had some great suggestions.

Basically he’s so tired at night he crashes at 9 in his bed and then settles in his crate at 10.30, waking up at 5/5.45. He’s up for 2 hours and I do a bit of training, seek game, breakfast but also do my own thing. He’ll then puts himself to sleep or I’ll have to settle him and can sleep for 2-3 hours in the morning.
He’ll have a walk in the afternoon, some play and training and hopefully settle 2/3 hours later. No guarantee as it depends on when he wakes up.
Its the evenings that are manic for us. Even if he were to cat nap until 5.30pm in the afternoon, he has the worst zoomies that can go on for hours. I go off to work 4 days a week and my partner works from home and he will just bark at me for my attention even after I have fed, played and trained him. It’s really getting to us and we are worried about the neighbours as well.
He has dinner at 6 and another walk and from then on he barks at only me and won’t settle and like I said crash at 9.
I don’t know how to settle him as if I put him in his crate with door closed he will cry and bark. If I try cuddle him he just tries to bite me.
Any advice or suggestions from you would be great! We just want him to be settled and get a enough sleep!
Thanks Pia
 

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Hello Pia, your description is similar to things I have had issues with Fergus, although not the barking. We have a routine which is quite fluid as he is constantly changing, He used to get up early, but now sleeps till 9 - 10am, which is great. We always have a long walk in the afternoon, between 3-6 km with games and other activities throughout the day, and sleeps are around one to two hours long, with periods of one to two hours where he is up. When he appears tired (usually biting starts) I encourage him off to his crate. Sometimes he just goes himself other times tries to fight it, but goes eventually. Those times I ignore him and he goes or even comes to sit on my lap to sleep.
Evenings are still an issue when the crazy time starts, but I need my time too, so I've persevered with a routine of giving him a chewy thing, when that's finished after 20 minutes he wants to go crazy, I try to calm him, sometimes I put him in his crate, he calms comes back and lies quietly beside me or if that doesn't work put him outside the back door for a few minutes, again he calms and comes back quietly. It's a real performance every night that I'm sure will eventually settle down, I hope so anyway.
We started with a dog trainer this weekend and she said that a licking board has a calming effect, so I'm going to try that either instead of, or after, the chewy thing. The chewy thing is probably making him hyper, so I'll see.
On the barking thing, I did have a couple of issues with that and put Fergus in his crate where he continued to bark. I found talking to him in his crate was a waste of time, made him worse, so instead I would sit beside the crate not look at him or speak, just fiddled on my phone. He kept barking for a bit, whch is annoying, but after a while he just stopped and would go to sleep. Another tactic I used was to use my phone to record him barking at me, then play it back to him. He was so confused and again stopped barking. These things don't always work, and may have a limited lifespan, but eventually that kind of barking stopped. Hope this is helpful, maybe worth a try.
 

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Hi Pia,

From reading your post a few times, it sounds like there could be a few issues. I think you should increase your focus on the crate training. If using a crate, the crate should be his happy place where he goes to relax and settle. As soon as the zoomies start, and my 12mo old Rosie still gets them occasionally, it's immediately in the crate. She is not allowed to do zoomies for any amount of time because they are dangerous for her in an enclosed space with furniture, walls, etc. By allowing your V to do zoomies for hours on end, he learns that this is acceptable. When in the crate, barking from a young puppy is common. Try doing some training with your V in the crate. As soon as he is quiet, give him a treat. Then he'll bark for a little, and then the instant he's quiet again, another treat. Keep repeating and being consistent with this training, and you'll be able to build up to where he's quiet for 5, 10, 15 minutes at a time. There is no magic switch for them to be quiet in the crate- for most this is a learned behavior. This will help you in the near future when you leave him in the crate and go run errands, go out to dinner, etc.

Sounds like you have your morning routine down and it's the afternoon/evening that's a bit of a struggle right now. It also sounds like you are giving him plenty of stimulation with play, training and walks. The evenings for a puppy seem to be the worst times for their behavior. I would try setting up some sort of "time out" zone in your residence. This could be a play pen, crate, or some other safe and enclosed space that's away from you. Your puppy wants to be by you, playing with you, etc. That's why he's barking when you're not giving him attention. You can try being patient and not engaging, which can be effective, or put him in time out. He'll learn he can't just bark at you non stop and get what he wants, and that barking at you will actually get him farther away from what he wants (which is you).

The last thing I would say is to make sure he gets that afternoon nap. If he's not napping or settling by mid-afternoon, put him in the crate for a nap. Puppies that are over-tired in the evening are especially tough to deal with so try your best to make sure this doesn't happen. They always want to do their own thing, which is not always what is best for them.

Overall, this sounds like a typical puppy. Your V is getting a lot of love, training and physical stimulation so you're on the right track. The evenings will get easier, trust me. Good luck!
 
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