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My approximately 11 year old dog is suddenly waking us in the middle of the night wanting to play. We ignore her, and if we put her in another room/place she will scratch for hours--she will not stop. Her back is having problems; she had a disc burst and has several other discs bulging. These problems started before the overnight issue and seem to be much better now (we are currently medicating with gabapentin; I do not like giving drugs for life but the surgeon explained that if we do the surgery there is no guaranty the next disc won't burst in a few weeks/months, and she's getting older so doing surgery after surgery doesn't seem like the answer. Anyway, during this time (prior to the sleep issue) she had trouble getting up curbs, walking, not slippping) she is not experiencing any of that now. Both my fiance and I were working from home, so we were with her and her 3 other doggie siblings all day. Her getting up in the middle of the night started right when my fiance started working away from home. But she doesn't do it when he leaves. She does it in the middle of the night. We video taped her all night and she appears to not be able to find a comfortable spot for hours--every 10 minutes she chooses another spot to sleep. Then after about 3 hours she starts clawing at him (or me, if he's not there) to get up and be with her. She sleeps for hours during the day so it doesn't seem to be pain related (I'm still here with her all day). She doesn't get a ton of exercise, but these past few years she hasn't gotten a ton of exercise. And with her back problems I don't think the answer is to try to physically wear her out. We've had blood tests and nothing came back problematic. I've yet to see any symptoms of the onset of senility--she is as sharp as a tack, knows all her commands, eats well, eliminates well. What the heck? Is there something medical I'm missing? If it's separation anxiety, why does she go crazy in the middle of the night while he's here? And either way, what can we do to fix it? Please help!!!!!
 

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I would take her for a good walk about an hour or so before bed. Walk her easily, on a soft surface like grass or dirt or something, then when you get back have her do some commands.
Get her lots of toys to play with, things to chew, etc. and leave them with her so she can have the option to do some different stuff.
 

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The following is just my best guess, I am not a vet and maybe you should get another opinion and look into acupuncture (which I've heard success stories about for senior dogs):

A senior dog typically needs 12-15 hours of sleep a day. I have a puppy, and I don't let him sleep too much during the day to make sure he sleeps through the night. Some dogs will oversleep if they aren't getting enough stimulation/out of boredom.
If you want a way to exercise a senior dog (that will be less stressful on his muscles/joint) swimming in an excellent way.
For indoor stimulation for senior dogs:
"Providing an environment full of both physical and mental stimulation will help keep your dog feeling youthful and active. How do you accomplish this? Dr. Lobprise recommends bringing home a few treat toys that will dispense their meals in smaller doses to improve both physical and mental function and promote weight loss in heavier pets. If they’re able to go up and down the stars, have them move around your home and go up and down stairs slowly to keep their joints moving and muscles loose. Should climbing stairs be out of the picture, invest in some ramps to help your dog keep moving around the house without causing them too much pain." - Source

Best of luck!
 

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Thank you so much; I will try these things. I can't shake the feeling that it is connected to my fiance going back to work since it started that night, and since she claws at him not me...but it doesn't look like any separation anxiety I've ever seen.
 
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