to train, or to sleep?

To train, or to sleep? That is the question we are having every day for the last two weeks.

Skye has been doing fantastically with her training since December, and we made quite some progress with her collar in particular. But since the beginning of the year, she has been barking almost every night transforming us into zombies... (She has no problem with it since she catches up her sleep with day naps!) So we talked to our vet behaviorist who recommended to help her sleep at night for a couple weeks and gave us a list of drugs to try.

We first tried a combo of 400 mg gabapentin and 150 mg trazodone, and it was fantastic! Skye slept. We slept. We did that for two nights and we felt so much better (sleep deprivation is really bad!). The only problem is that Skye slept during the day too. She wasn't interested in playing, zoomies, squirrel chasing, and training...

So we tried other drugs. Either it didn't get her sleepy enough through the night and she barked, or it did but she stayed sedated throughout the day.

To measure the efficacy of the drugs, we started recording the audio during the nights and Peter wrote a little program to analyze the barking and generate the following graphs:

It's quite interesting to see that almost every night, she barks shortly after we go to bed. It's like that she tells the world that she is on duty since her humans are now sleeping!

Also there are some nights with some very long barking sessions. She is not yelling at a critter anymore, it's probably some sort of stress/distress. The night barking seems self-reinforcing, and we do need to interrupt it. But at which price? Having her sleepy during the day as well isn't a solution. We all need to train and sleep.

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