The final bit!

Continuation from Wednesday’s Post:

Spending the night with Ray provided no revelations, but was very interesting. Most of the night was spent on the kitchen floor so, although I did doze off now and then, I was awake for a lot of the time.

It no longer surprised me that Ray wants to sleep all day, because he was either pacing around or standing still and staring at the floor, a wall, or the door … for most of the night! It could be that he has a serious “pack instinct” sense of responsibility? He can relax during the day because we are awake, but when we go to bed? Perhaps he simply sees it as the time when he must take control of the security work? That really does not explain the little occasional brief whimper, unless it was a whimper of frustration perhaps.

He stared and paced until around 5:00am, and then he went to the back door. Once again, he was leashed and, once again, he casually checked out some scents before deciding to pee. When we came back inside, he was once again on the alert.

I then went back to my bed (I need some sleep to function!), and Ray decided to follow me into my room. It is not easy trying to go to sleep when you know that Ray is pacing around, and then stopping to stare at you! It is even more difficult when he jumps up onto the bed and settles down (Oh good… he is settling down), only to jump up and off the bed a few moments later!

We were brainstorming, and it then crossed our minds that our furnace fan has been on continuously at a SLOW setting. However, about two weeks ago, and as a result of our home suddenly getting dry (our crazy climate), we turned the humidifier on (built into furnace) and increased the fan speed to MEDIUM. Perhaps the increased air-flow sound was a problem? Perhaps the faster running fan was emitting a sound at a frequency which was out of our range of hearing… but well within Ray’s?

The fan speed was returned to SLOW, and I went to bed that night wondering what kind of night I would have.

Well it was not a bad night really. I woke up around 4:30am to hear Ray pacing around…  and getting closer. I kept my eyes closed, but knew when he was standing at the edge of my bed. He would then turn and go out into the living room, only to come back a few minutes later.

He did that until I decided (4:55am) to get up. He was leashed and taken out and, as was the habit now, did a thorough scenting job over the garden. He then went back to the house. He did not pee!

Back inside, he went over to his bed and curled up, and I went down to the basement until around 8:00am. There had been no whimpering. When I came back up and took him outside, he just peed and wanted to get back for his breakfast. It was his normal performance.

Perhaps it was the furnace fan? Perhaps it was the lodger beneath us? Perhaps we had a nocturnal visitor. It was obvious that a skunk had been in the area as I noticed the scent when I was outside around 8:30am. We also do have “urban” foxes and coyotes around here. Perhaps it really is a complex mix of multiple factors?

Epilogue: We were chatting with our next door neighbors, and they were excited to tell us that at around 2:00am the other night/morning, there were two foxes wandering through their front garden. Foxes next door around 2:00am?

So where are we at now? Puzzled and curious! He still gets stressed during the night, and yesterday morning he whimpered around 7:00am. Unfortunately for Ray, we have quite a list of potential reasons for his behavior (some provided by you – thank you), many of which cannot be tested. It could even be a mix of a number of factors (trigger stacking*).

The only consolation for poor Ray is that we will keep working on it until either we find the cause(s), or he adjusts!

* We humans can accommodate numerous adverse conditions (triggers) but, if many come at the same time (trigger stacking), we can eventually lose control and intuitively react (shout, scream, throw something, or otherwise vent our frustrations). Ray (and dogs in general) is no different. He can handle negative situations (triggers) one at a time very well. If two or three come together (trigger stacking), then it will depend on what they are. Eventually, he will reach his limit and intuitively react accordingly.

33 thoughts on “The final bit!

  1. If anyone can find the answer to this riddle it is you. You are loving and persistent and smart – makes for a great dog dad! (when you said staring at the walls, I wondered about mice)

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  2. I was really hoping that the night with Ray would provide more answers. Although to me, reading through this, it does sound like the fan was a partial contributor which would make total sense given the potential for a high pitched sound.
    Does Ray tend to pee around the lattice-work area under the kitchen extension? That would be one sign to me that there were critters under there, so if he’s not, I would imagine it’s more about the foxes and bigger nocturnal animals. Bummer that those are harder to deal with.
    One suggestion – and believe me, I know this sounds ridiculous, but I have actually considered doing something similar when an aggressive loose cat wouldn’t stop coming on our property – is that because wild animals are more bothered by human smells than animal, you could, um, find a way to “mark” the property a bit yourself. But that’s super out of the box and I know it so…
    Anyway, good luck. I look forward to more updates

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    • The “visitor living beneath us” theory is so logical….but Ray never checks along the lattice. He is more interested in tracking around the garden. He is very serious (rather than excited) which would eliminate squirrels, but would suggest raccoons, possums, foxes, or coyotes. As for me marking? I have contemplated that the more we drift to nocturnals being a problem. The idea is “on the back burner” for the moment. I did do that when we first got Ray (don’t let the neighbors know) to see if it would give him some ideas as to where it can be done. It was marginally successful! 🙂


  3. Oh poor boy! I like the trouble you are going to to discover what is bothering Ray and I really hope you find the answer in the end. Their hearing and other senses are so superior to ours, it could be anything!

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  4. More questions than answers it seems. My old cat Jake would cry in the middle of the night and I spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. Hungry? Frightened? Nightmares? Outdoor visitors? Toward the end of his life he was up most of the night (and so was I as when he hollered, no one slept). It seems that’s normal behavior in some very old cats. They are losing senses (poor vision, hearing, reflexes) and get frightened or wake up and don’t know where they are. There was no resolution. I tried all kinds of things — cuddling him, medications, catnip, meals. I didn’t get a full night’s sleep until he passed. I know this isn’t at all related to Ray’s issue (not a cat and not old) but I understand the frustration you get when you can’t help him and don’t understand the cause.

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  5. Poor Ray. Hopefully you are getting closer to the solution now.
    I wonder if your neighbours are putting food out for the foxes? Ours did (our semi 1996-1998) and put cheese out at night. Barney loved cheese and cleared her 6 foot fence from a sitting position as soon as she went back inside to get it. Maggie also loves cheese, and hears the wrapper before I’ve closed the fridge door!

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  6. Still more questions than answers I see …. I may know that feeling.
    Hoping that persistence does pay off for all of you, that you get answers or like you said that Ray just learns to adjust and is “Happy Ray” again. 🙂

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  7. I feel very sure, that Ray’s behavior has to do with other animals, as he wish to protect his area, which can be difficult, when he is inside in the night. My animals do also live inside in the night and we do often have other cats as visitors, when my cats and dog are inside. Sometimes we hear them outside, other times my animals are walking around to smell all the new smells in the garden.
    This is something, as really can disturb them.
    One thing, as can help you might be to install outdoor lamps with censors for movements. Then you have a change to see, who is visiting. Another thing could be an outdoor camera.

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    • We do have some outdoor lights that are triggered by a motion detector but, so far, they have simply illuminated an empty ground! Nocturnals are possibly very close to the house and so out of our vision. I think that Ray knows exactly what is “out there” (I believe a dog basically sees the world through its nose, and vision just adds a few extra details) and could well be simply frustrated because he can’t go and chase it away. This is a really good thing because coyotes are not solo hunters, and are very good at trapping a victim …. even an 80lbs victim. We have considered the camera idea, but it would take a number of cameras to cover everywhere. Good thoughts though and really appreciated. 🙂

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