Romanian rescues have never had a peaceful night's sleep prior to coming to the UK. Even some UK dogs, depending on their previous home may also have experienced disturbed sleeping.

In Romania the dogs are on constant alert - essentially sleeping with one eye open in case another dog, human or other animal tries to attack them in their sleep.

When they arrive at the rescue centre the dogs still struggle with restful sleep. They are around lots of other dogs and there is always something going on. People coming in and out, washing machines and dryers on the go and at points, workmen fixing things in the centre, or training clients with their dogs coming in for sessions.

The first restful night they will ever have will be in the safety of their forever home, and it is important that their family are respectful of this to avoid sleep scare.

What is Sleep Scare?

Sleep scare is the heightened panicked state a dog can enter if they are disturbed whilst sleeping. 

If a dog is grabbed, stroked, poked or moved whilst sleeping they can wake up in fight or flight mode and strike out in panic. This can lead to groeling at people or bites in the home and to visitors.

How can you avoid sleep scare?

  • Do not approach a sleeping dog
  • Do not touch the dog on their bed or touch them when they are sleeping
  • Place the dog's bed in a 'low-traffic' area - an area that is fairly quiet and doesn't have people walking through it all day
  • Enforce a rule of nobody interacting with the dog when they are in their bed/crate
  • Monitor children around dogs, if the dog is sleepy or goes to sleep either move into another area or ensure the child knows that the dog is off-limits

What if I need to move the dog?

As mentioned above it is highly advised that a sleeping dog is left to get on with it, but if it is essential the dog needs to be moved there are a few things you can try:

  • Softly calling their name from a distance
  • Rattling a treat bag
  • Squeaking a toy gently
  • Lightly knocking on a wall/door

Once the dog is up and has moved away from their bed you can then coax them away and allow them into another room, out to the toilet or to settle elsewhere.