A few weeks ago, videos of a dog who likes to sleep in went viral on TikTok. Although many people could relate to Eddie’s behaviour, many pet parents wondered, “How on earth could that be?” That’s because many dog owners experience the opposite – their dogs wake up too early.
Whether you share the bed with your furry buddy or not, if your dog wakes you up too early, too often, it could become infuriating. But we are here to help. Read on and learn why they do it and what you can do to stop this infuriating behaviour.
Why your dog wakes up too early
There are several possibilities why your dog wakes up too early. In most cases, it is not just one reason that sets off the canine alarm clock, but a combination of several. The reasons range from emotional to physical and environmental. Your dog could be missing you or suffering from separation anxiety. Your dog could be unwell or has a sub-par sleeping environment. Sometimes it could be because you have encouraged the behaviour without knowing it.
It is crucial to understand the motivation for nagging you before your wake up time. Once you know the reason, take steps to change your dog’s behaviour. Here’s what you can do to stop your dog from waking up too early.
Rule out any illness or medical conditions
If your dog suddenly begins to wake up too early and shows signs like limping or whining at night, take him to the vet. He could have suffered an injury or developed an ailment like a urinary tract infection. If it is a senior dog and limping, it could be arthritis, and the discomfort could be too much to bear.
Let the vet know as much as possible about your dog and his behaviour. After an exam, the vet will advise if there is a medical condition and address it.
Deal with separation anxiety and other psychological issues
A dog could wake up too early and come to nag you because he cannot stand to be away from you. Perhaps he is afraid of the dark or misses you too much. But the bottom line is he wants to be with you. Separation anxiety is a more complex manifestation of this urge to be close to you.
Your dog will drool, bark or express other uncanny behaviour when left alone. A vet or a dog behaviour expert can help you to diagnose the condition and treat it. They could recommend several alterations to your dog’s routine, and in some cases, retraining.
Change your dog’s routine
Sometimes dogs wake up too early because you have an impractical routine. For instance, it is unrealistic to expect little puppies to hold their bladders for eight hours straight. It’s either they wake you up, or they will potty in their bed.
Does your dog wake you up because they want to pee? Or do they do it and start playing and jumping around? If it is a yes on either count, consider changing their routine. If they have excess energy, let the days be full of productive activities and the nights dull and quiet. If they are whining and a puppy, make sure they have a toy they can chew on in their bed or crate.
Remember, a worn-out dog is a happy dog. As you approach bedtime, take your dog out to pee. It will save your precious morning sleep. If it is a puppy, plan to wake up in the middle of the night and take them out to potty. Or prepare a place where they can potty within their sleeping area.
Change your dog’s sleeping environment
No matter how much your dog would love to spend the night outside, none enjoys sleeping in a poor environment. If the sleeping area is too cold, too hot, too squeezed or just uncomfortable, without a doubt, you can expect an early riser. The same will happen if the sleeping environment is mentally and physically stimulating. If you keep their toys close to them and don’t put them away when it’s bedtime, expect them to wake up too early as the temptation to start playing is too much for most dogs.
But you can change your dog’s sleeping environment. Make it less stimulating and downright dry. Your dog will have one less reason to wake up early.
Do not encourage the behaviour
If your dog has been waking you up early, and you play along, chances are, they love it and will keep at it. They do it because you encourage it. So, do not encourage the behaviour. Avoid playing with them or giving them food or treats. Just stay in bed, and keep the environment dull until the clock hits your wake up time. Your dog will eventually learn to respect your timer.
Sometimes, you may feel like there is no point in going back to bed after a disturbance by your dog. Staying in bed could be uncomfortable for you at this point. But that is precisely what you should do. Look out for anything that would encourage the behaviour when your dog wakes up too early, and change it.
There are many reasons why your dog wakes up too early. It is crucial to know why then use the above tips to address the situation. Don’t shy from seeking help from a vet and a dog behaviour expert if it is too much. Follow their advice and be patient and consistent. Eventually, your dog will learn to sleep in or wait until after your alarm clock.