Vent, nightly mystery noise terror for dog

I just need to vent a little. I love my dog, he’s got some quirks but it’s not usually something I can’t handle. We moved into our current house back in July and in the last month and a half he’s developed this nightly fear routine where he hears something (it’s inaudible to me) and he jumps off the bed and becomes a chattering mess. This wouldn’t be a big deal if he didn’t have an obsession with trying to put his 90 lb self into my night stand. Yes, he will attempt to fit himself in or behind my nightstand which is funny except for the fact that he’s already smashed a lamp. Usually there are 2 things that make him freak out like this: the battery dying on the smoke alarm or thunder. But not being able to know the source of the noise I have no idea how to look out for it. And when he’s in chattering fear mode he does not respond to treats or voice commands and if I try to move him out of the vicinity of the night stand he becomes a 90 lb lump. I guess I’m going to have to start crating him every night before the show starts but I wish I could better help him.

Wow, that’s sounds like a rough night! Is there any part of your house that he won’t venture into? Maybe that could help identify the source of the noise?

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How old is the dog?
could it be a physical issue that he notices more at night?
Pain ? Or fleas? Does he need worming?
Thunder Shirt helped one of my dogs who was a nervous type.


I agree that maybe it’s not a noise but something else - dementia, pain, etc.
How old is he?

If you rule out pain, I would ask your vet about anti-anxiety meds for him.


I agree with the others. It might be time for a good talking with the vet and a full physical for the poor dog.

There are lots of options out there now for dog anxiety issues. Have you tried a Thunder Shirt?

Are you sure you do not have nocturnal visitors (rodents, termites, etc)?

What would have changed in the last month and a half that wasn’t there in July? My first thought goes to something in the heating system that kicks on in the middle of the night, although you would think that would also happen during the day.


I wonder if there’s something living in the walls of your house-
This fall and last I had squirrels lifting the siding and trying to burrow in for a winter nest.
Years back I had a live snake living in the walls of a house. Found it in spring.
Mice and rats are actively looking for nesting sites inside warm houses right about now.


My last dog did this exact same thing. I’d had her from puppyhood and we were in the same house her entire life. These “episodes” occurred throughout her life. I think they started when she was around 2 or 3yrs, and would then stop for months at a time. She slept on the floor in our bedroom, but would try to squeeze behind the nightstand or behind the bookcase, whining and shaking pathetically. We were frustrated because she was distressed, keeping us up and NOTHING we tried helped (thundershirt, otc meds, holding her/ignoring her, locking her out of our room, crating made it worse). We didn’t resort to tranqs, but it was tempting!

In our case it usually happened around dawn. Then mysteriously it would stop and she’d be fine for half a year. When she became senior, she got dementia and it actually went away. My friend’s terrier started doing this in the evenings when he got dementia late in life. In short, I have nothing to offer you except my sympathy. I’ve been through it, wracked my brain to try and solve it, and never found anything to help my dog or us sleep better during these times.

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He’s almost 9, I haven’t noticed any pain, and he seems to see really well still. I’m actually wondering if I have mice/rats in the crawl space of my house, but he only does this in the bedroom.

I have used a thundershirt for his fear of thunder and at the least it seemed to comfort him. The only reason I don’t have it now is it got washed and stretched out so maybe I need another one.

This morning he woke me up at 4 am to go outside. He has a doggy door so I opened the bedroom door and he went out. I fell back asleep and woke up at 6 realizing he was still outside in the 34 degree weather. When I looked out he was huddled on the porch and when I tried to bring him in he ran away and flattened himself in the grass. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: My sister came and got him since I had to go to work and I was still worried he’d stay out in the cold. I’ll probably be ordering another thundershirt, my vet has recommended zylkene for its calming effects so I may order some of that. And maybe some rat traps to shove under my house?

I would go out and look very carefully around your house. Look for signs of debris dragged in certain areas. Debris like plastic, cloth, rags, paper, cardboard, etc. Rats and other critters
usually leave signs of nestmaking. Check out the area of the washer and dryer vents. Dryer vents
are often how they get inside and then into the walls. Also A/C tubes under the house may have hole and entry points.
Just because the problem area seems to be only your bedroom tells me, that’s where the most nightly activity is going on. You just have to figure out how they’re getting in. And find the nest.
The squirrels I mentioned earlier were only audible at night, but they were busy making nests in the walls of my bedroom.
Rats and mice are also more active at night. Time to scope out the house and play detective.
Hope you find it.

Is it possible you’ve got a possum or raccoon or something like that under your house?

I’m going to suggest something a bit off the wall - go to Lowe’s and get an EMF detector.

No, you’re not looking for ghosts. :slight_smile: You ARE looking for areas of unusually high EMF readings that could indicate bad wiring. Is the fuse box in or near your room? Does he go into your room during the day, or only at night?

The only other thing I can think of is that he’s hearing a super high-frequency sound - maybe he hears it more at night, or it’s only audible at night. I’m not sure how to test for that, though.


you may be onto something…when I first moved into this home/farm, for the first year or two my
smoke alarms sometimes acted squirrelly and made weird noises, even after I changed the batteries. Sometimes they beeped or hummed. The noises were so annoying that I took out every single one- disconnected and removed the alarms. OP says she just moved there in July. Could be faulty alarms. More detective work needed. But good point, A and B’s Mom.

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Could be epilepsy. The chattering may be a mild seizure episode.

Epilepsy can be genetic or environmentally triggered, so even if he’s never had it before, it could be kicking in at age nine.

A mild seizure can be as easy to miss as the dog staring into space for a few moments or snapping at imaginary flies.


We did the same thing since our smoke alarms were also wired into the electrical. Some were prone to going off randomly or doing that beep every so often and my old girl would practically climb the walls after 1 beep.

We put up some battery alone ones and had no issues after that. My old dog ( 10) would also come to my side of the bed and loom over me, panting heavily and was noticeably agitated and trembling for no reason I could find as the weather was fine. She was terrified of storms/ thunder. She would get under our bed and it was almost impossible to get her out.

I would pet her and talk to her and after a while ( finally) she would calm and lay down. It was always at night.

I think a vet check might be in order. My girl had diabetes and cancer and it might be your dog being older has pain somewhere that flares at night?

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The fuse box is actually behind my bedroom wall, I don’t know if somethings off there but it’s something I could pay attention to. The air conditioner is also in this end of the house as well so maybe it makes a funny noise at night. Maybe the heater sounds different from the ac or something, but the heater’s been running all day without issue to who knows.

I have ordered another thundershirt which should arrive tomorrow. My crawl space is very large, because I’m on a hill, I think one end is at least 4 feet tall and the two screens at the openings would definitely leave plenty of room for a critter to get in. I have no doubt their might be rats under the house at least. I’m finally off of work so I can do some investigating tomorrow morning.


The thing about it being AC or heat that doesn’t make sense to me is that most dogs would not be afraid of these noises. My dogs would most certainly not be afraid of noises of animals under the house - they might go nuts, but they would want to investigate or hunt. Even some kind of electrical/EMF issue wouldn’t make them panic. They might be inquisitive, but not afraid.

Noises that scare dogs are usually things like gunshots, thunder or fireworks…anything like that possible?

The severe reaction makes me think it’s night terrors, seizure or pain.


My thought was if something is wrong with it, it might be making a high pitched noise that people cannot hear but dogs can. Or even something like emitting small amounts of carbon monoxide that the dog can sense. Because those things cycle on and off, the problem could only be intermittent. And heat is more likely to come on at night when it’s colder than during the day.


OP - two comments.
First re the electrical box, my horse trainer imported a young gelding a few years ago; He was there a few weeks and began acting agitated while in his stall. Turned out, after much thinking and wondering, that was near the electrical panel and he was feeling “something”. behavior solved when moved to different stall.

Second - you say it only happens in bedroom - but have you tried sleeping in a different room with him? Might be worth a shot to help narrow down what the problem is. IE like the above horse story.
You say it only happens at night. So can the dog be in the bedroom during the day for extended period without a problem?

Lastly re the rat traps: I would be inclined to hire a pest/critter control person - they are skilled at finding small openings into the house and its walls, identifying any occupants and fixing the problem.