So this is a new one.
Last night, at around 3:20am, my dog decided she wanted to start barking. As far as I could hear, nothing was happening. Other than her barking, I mean. She had an evening full of me and up to 3 other people paying attention to her. She got two walks in the four-and-a-half hour span between when I got home and when I went to bed. She got a toy filled with peanut butter and treats.
And at 3:20am, she started barking.
Being the dog owner I am, I think I'm supposed to just ignore behavior like this because otherwise it encourages her to keep doing it. I don't claim to be any kind of expert, but that makes sense. If I get out of bed to be with her when she barks, she knows she can bark next time to get what she wants.
The trouble is, by 4am, when the barking still had not stopped, I was having mean, mean thoughts. Being up at those hours will do bad things to a person. It's a wonder we don't forgive more crimes that occur between 2am and 5am just because, hey, being up that late/early is gonna make anyone do crazy things.
So, it's 4am, I still haven't gotten to go back to sleep and the barking is still going. I know, in my half-conscious, half-furious mind that I really can't go out there and get her. It will encourage her. I've been working on teaching her that actions I don't like don't give her any reward.
So, from my bed, with all of my sleep-induced might, I shout "Shut up!" at the top of my lungs. Which, since I've had a cough for the better part of a month, isn't very top. It's like a slight plateau of my lungs, but nowhere near the summit.
Somehow, she listened. I think, about 10 minutes later, there were two more short barks, but I didn't hear from her for the rest of the "night", which was really only about an hour and a half because my alarm goes off so early.
I get up, she's excited to see me, does her little butt-waggling that she does, and I give her some breakfast as I sit down to write.
Five minutes later, this is her:
It's a dog's life, isn't it?