It's pretty obvious from the twitching and noise making and REMing that all dogs do when they are asleep that they dream and since they dream, I wonder if they have nightmares and if they have nightmares I wonder what they have nightmares about.
It's around 2 a.m. Rocky is in a deep sleep when he suddenly snorts and pops up wide awake and scurries out of the bedroom in the dark, bumping into things and slipping on the wooden floor in his eagerness to get out of the room and downstairs. At first I think he maybe needs to go out for a bathroom break - though that would be very unusual and quite worrying actually as Rocky has got an iron gut - but, no, he's not interested in going out. After a few minutes, I persuade him to go back upstairs and back to his bed but he just as he touches down, it's like he recalls something deeply unpleasant and he grunts and he pulls himself up and runs downstairs again. After that, I can't get him to go back upstairs.
Rocky is not one of those dogs who instantly wakes. He likes to loll about and snort and lick his paws and rub his eyes. For him to jump out of bed from a deep sleep is quite extraordinary. Then to rush out of the room for no reason other than to escape the room is quite disconcerting. I'd almost be tempted to blame a ghost, not that I believe in ghosts, but hey, you never know what spirits might be haunting a 130 year old house. I'd be tempted to blame a ghost but Stella, who is sleeping in her bed right beside Rocky's bed, is watching all the commotion with much annoyance. She wants the lights off and silence please if you don't mind. There are no ghosts disturbing Stella's sleep so I'm guessing that whatever it was that disturbed Rocky, disturbed him alone.
Downstairs, Rocky stands by me for a few minutes then he goes and lies down on the bed in the living room but he doesn't sleep. He lies there with his head up, staring at me in the semi-darkness. I go over to him give him a pat on the head and check his stomache for bloat but don't notice anything unusual and feel his heart which seems a bit more speedy than normal. After a few more minutes, I want to get back to sleep so I beckon him to follow me upstairs but he won't come. He just watches me at I climb the stairs. Rocky is a Velcro dog so for him to stay downstairs by himself is very odd. Something really must have freaked him out upstairs. I'm thinking he had a nightmare.
In the time I've had Rocky, this has happened three times, though the other two times I managed to convince Rocky to go back up. Was there a monster in his dreams that he now thinks is still in the bedroom? Do dogs even dream of monsters and if so, what's a monster for a dog? I would think if a real monster appeared on the scene, most dogs would bark at them, chase them around and generally be a nuisance to them. The only thing I've ever seen Rocky run away from is a squeaky toy. Could he have been dreaming about monsters with squeaky toy voices?
So, questions for you all. Do your dogs have nightmares? Do they bark and howl in their sleep? Do they sleepwalk? Do they wake you up in the middle of the night, frantic and looking for reassurances?