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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19756
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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I have 2 male dogs that have been inseparable for years, the

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I have 2 male dogs that have been inseparable for years, the last month we got a new bed, and moved their large kennel out in storage. Every night My one dog Russel will jump off the bed and start pacing around it, until one of us wakes up and motions for him to come back up, (he is deaf) If we don't wake up he starts barking and growling at us. My other dog started about a week ago, aggressively attacking Russel, when he jumps onto the bed. Russel does not normally tolerate this from Cosmo as Russel is the alpha dog, but lately (during the night only) Russel has been backing down. During the daytime both dogs are fine, even if one of us takes a nap, neither dog, behaves differently. I am trying to figure out what is going on?
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

does russel or Cosmo have any health issues besides the deafness that you know of?
Does the Russel have the domed head of the chi?
When do you feed the dogs?
What training have they had?
How often does the russell exhibit this behavior?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Russel and Cosmo both do have Chi in them, but look more like their other breeds. No Russel does not really have a domed head.


I have always for the almost 7 years I have had them, fed both dogs around 9pm at night, as I work late in the evening. I tend to keep my dogs on a strict schedule when it comes to feeding times and outside times.


Both of my dogs have never been through any kind of extra training, besides what I have already done with them. Russel responds only to hand commands, but doesn't usually leave my side when I'm around. Cosmo responds to the basic sit, come, stay, etc. He has picked up a bit on some of my hand commands. Like I said before both dogs are pretty much inseparable. The only behavior has been happening since we got the new bed, and it only happens at night, during the daytime the dogs are fine when they are on the bed.


Russel has been doing this every night, several times a night for about a month, which is a bout how long we have had the bed.


Our vet does think that Cosmo might have seizures, however we are still not sure at this point. Cosmo does have trauma, some minor back problems, due to his past owners beating him. Both dogs are rescues. Russel has always had hearing problems, and sometime last summer lost his hearing completely, but learned to rely on Cosmo for a lot of his hearing, as where one goes, the other is always there. I have noticed that Russel has shown different kind of behavior since he lost his hearing fully, he gets agitated if he is not with Cosmo. He does startle very easily and this seems to be upsetting him a bit, when he does not know what is coming. He also seems to be more over protective over me with everyone, and never leaves my side when I'm home.


Dogs will often attack a dog that has health issues or to help protect the owner. Dogs also will attack a lower ranking member of the pack if they do something that is not acceptable to the alpha. The alpha position may be changing in the household as well which can cause one dog to correct another's behavior . It could be a new health issue in Russel that Cosmo is reacting to. Cosmo may also be having behavioral changes as the result of the seizures and the seizures might be linked to a health concern. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can cause seizures and behavior changes are often present. Since you feed them a meal at night, that doesn't seem as likely. However, if the liver is not functioning properly, feeding might actually cause some toxins to build up in the body and lead to seizures, so it might be a good idea to get cosmo a full checkup. However, he may just be reacting to Russel. I just wanted to touch on this in case Cosmo has issues as well.

Russel being deaf may rely on his other senses more and it may be that his sight is starting to go as well. This might lead to him getting up in the dark and not being able to see as well as he does during the day and explain his barking and growling. He might also be starting with a condition called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). Here is a wonderful site that explains it well and it has been seen in dogs younger than yours. There is a medication that can help with this problem, so discuss it with your vet. Please see this site for more information.

Dogs with CDS often display different behavior such as not recognizing people they should, getting night mixed up with day, asking to go out and then wanting right back in, and other abnormal behavior. It might also be something about the matress itself that is causing Russel to wake up. Most people sleep longer at night then during the day, so it may only happen at night because the dogs have been asleep longer.

Cosmo may also have decided that since the matress is new, no dog owns this mattress while Russel may have "owned" the old mattress being alpha. Now that Russel has lost his hearing and may not be the alpha, Cosmo may be claiming the mattress and telling Russel to stay off his mattress. The Russel wakes you up and since you are the ultimate boss can then jump up.

I'd start with checking them out medically first to be sure it is behavioral. If it is, you might want to start some sort of obedience training with both of them, so they see you as the ultimate boss. You might also not allow either on the bed and give them each their own dog bed off the floor, so there won't be an issue with your bed. It doesn't have to be permanent, just until this behavior is under control. You can then make them work for the privilege of getting on the bed.

The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

You can also leash Russel to you (be sure it is on a harness and not a neck collar) which might help prevent him getting down and stop Cosmo from attacking when he jumps back up. You can also leave a leash on cosmo (not attached to you) and if he tries to stop russel from getting back up, you can give him a short tug to get his attention and a firm "NO" to indicate the behavior is not acceptable to you and you will not allow it. It may even be Cosmo who is waking and making Russel get down off the bed. Unfortunately, unless you have a video camera to tape the behavior when you are sleeping, that would be hard to find out if it is happening.

If you have a mattress cover that you used with the old mattress, that might help with the situation. It would be worth a try and might help. I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .


Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Both dogs use to sleep in their kennel at night, this has been a change for them, they slept together..... never had a problem with it, though we took the kennel down also when we brought the new bed in. Cosmo loved the kennel and would often put himself in it, especially if he thought he needed to feel safe. We do have individual beds for each of them, but they do prefer to be with us. Should we put the kennel back up? Could taking this comfort away from them have anything to do with what has been going on? The kennel was located by the bed.


thanks for that additional information. It is very helpful. Before they were not on the bed, so YOU were the authority. Letting them up on the bed may have made them think that one of them could be the boss and thus why Cosmo may be attacking. I would put the kennel back up if possible and see if this helps. Remember that Chihuahuas and dachsunds as well as Jack Russels all are prone to disc issues, so letting them jump up and down off the bed may cause problems with their backs as well, so keeping them on the floor or lower to the ground would be a good idea. If you want to allow them up to nap with you, provide steps for them to use to come up and down.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We do have one step for Cosmo.... Russel refuses to use it.... Though after thinking about it Russel is bow legged.


Thanks for the information!