Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Do Dogs Have Nightmares? This Havachon Puppy Did!

Another “first”‘ for Daisy in her young life – she had her first nightmare during one of her many daytime naps (maybe that’s a “daymare”? Or a “napmare”?). I’m sure this is one “first” she could have done without!

There she was, sleeping comfortably on her warm blanket, when suddenly she yiped out of nowhere and thrust her entire body to the side so hard, I heard her leg bone smack the floor. This was far from the usual mini-yaps and leg twitches we see during normal naps.

I said “Are you okay?” and she looked up at me with BIG scared eyes. I’ve never seen her look scared before! She even looked a bit disoriented.

At first I thought that maybe some rogue spider got in and bit her, so I shook out her blanket and checked her over. Thankfully, nothing. I HATE spiders…I mean, I really HATE them! I’m not a fan of the creepy-crawlies in general.

So I went into auto-mommy comfort-mode, scooping her up and cuddling her. Boy, did she ever sink into me! I guess she needed comforting.

What on earth could she have had a bad dream about? So far in her little 10-month life, nothing bad has happened to her. Maybe she dreamed she fell off the couch? Or got buried in an avalanche of snow? Or missed her dinner? So I did a little investigating online……

It seems that researchers have found that dogs do have nightmares, particularly dogs who have endured difficulties, like abused dogs. But they say any dog can have nightmares, and that most commonly, it’s young dogs and older dogs who have them. (I guess that’s one positive thing to be said about being middle aged! LOL) It’s interesting that they classify nightmares as “dreams gone wrong”….sure sounds a lot more benign than it feels!

Daisy at 3 months old

The occasional doggy nightmare is nothing to be concerned about, but continually-occurring bad dreams that awaken not only the pooch but the owner as well can be problematic.

An article on Hub Pages says that if a dog is clearly agitated during sleep, indicating a nightmare, the owner can wake them up with soft talk and gentle pats. Personally, I don’t think that’s a good idea. If the dream is really bad, the dog could be startled awake and bite the owner without realizing what he’s doing. An expert on Pet People’s Place agrees that waking a sleeping dog is not a good idea.

Although this article says that dogs having nightmares are hard to wake up, it would seem to me that it’s best to talk or make some kind of sound outside the dog’s biting range, just to be safe. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog stuck in nightmare-mode, but it must be pretty intense.

The Hub Pages article suggests that since a night light or stuffed animal works to help children overcome nightmares, dog owners might try the same thing if their dog has recurring bad dreams. I’m not sure the psychology would be the same for dogs…what do you think?

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