We are still working on Ray’s issues but, as is usually the case in life (at least based on my experiences), there is rarely a “black and white” answer to anything.
Ray’s unrest during the night could be the onset of “doggy dementia” where he is imagining things that really aren’t there. Perhaps he whimpers at night because he does not like being left on his own. Perhaps he is simply hungry, or perhaps his food is giving him a problem. Perhaps he has a medical condition? Perhaps he has more than one of the above.
The easiest one for us to address was his food so, after consulting with his vet and a dog trainer friend, we have switched his food to one apparently more suitable for a senior dog. Also, instead of giving him two meals a day, we now give him four (reduced quantity of course!). If digestion was the problem, then we should have resolved it. If hunger was the problem, then his fourth meal of the day should now resolve that.
The result? An improvement in a number of areas. He has not been sick for a while now. He is more alert on his walks, and has his silly moments which we hadn’t seen for a while, so we are concluding that things have improved for him. However, we are not “there” yet as he is still active (seemingly at a reduced level) throughout the night.
This seems to be associated with nocturnal “house sounds”, but he has lived here for almost 9 years so perhaps that is the “doggy dementia” possibility. It could also be that he does not like us two going to sleep and leaving him alone because he is very attached to us. It could also be that he is taking his guarding tendencies too seriously as he gets older. We are currently trying him out with some music throughout the night. So far we have tried music by Libera, Enya, Leonard Cohen, Stan Rogers and an Environmental recording. We’re still working on it!