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5 Ways to Stop Your Dog From Waking You Up Early

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 25, 2024 by Dogster Team

well behaved dog looking at his owner while sleeping

5 Ways to Stop Your Dog From Waking You Up Early

Our dogs’ sleep schedules don’t always align with ours. They can be bundles of energy when they wake up, especially after getting their equivalent of a good night’s rest. But if you work long or irregular hours or you just need extra shuteye, the last thing that you want is to be interrupted from your much-needed rest by a dog that has had plenty.

As much as we love our furry four-legged friends, we don’t love it so much when they wake us up hours before our alarm is set to go off. Even if your dog doesn’t come directly into your room, jump on your bed, and start licking your face, they may simply run around the house, getting into everything and making plenty of noise along the way.

If this sounds like your pup, you’re not the only one affected by this problem. Many dog owners deal with it every day. That’s where we come in! We can help you nip this problem in the bud so you and your dog can wake up every day at the same time and still feel well-rested.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TESTWhy Does My Dog Wake Me Up Early?

As much as dogs like to think that they’re independent, they still rely on you to provide them with most of their care and entertainment. There are three main reasons that your dog might wake you up earlier than you want to get up. They’re likely either hungry, need to use the bathroom, or just want to play or be near you.

Your dog can’t feed themselves, so if they’re waking you up early, they might want you to fill their bowl with food. Or, they could be telling you that they need to go outside to relieve themselves, especially if it’s been several hours since they last went. If you don’t have a doggy door, they can’t let themselves out! Even house-trained dogs will go potty inside if they have to go badly enough.

Finally, your dog could just be bored or lonely, so they’re waking you up so you can entertain them and keep them company. If they seem to be full of energy when they wake you up, they feel well-rested and are looking for someone or something to interact with.

With some dogs, it may be easy to pin down the reason for waking up their owners so early. For other dogs, it can be harder to figure out, or it could be a combination of these listed problems. If you can figure out the cause, you can typically fix the issue. But you don’t have to try to break this habit without a clue of where to start. We have a few suggestions that you can try.

Dog waking up the man
Image by: Tatyana Vyx, Shutterstock

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03

The 5 Ways to Stop Your Dog From Waking You Up Early

1. Make Sure Your Dog Isn’t Sick

If your dog hasn’t always woken you up early but has recently started to, they could be sick. But it can be hard to pinpoint one specific illness as the reason that your dog is waking up earlier or more often. Old age, infection, or just general discomfort could all be affecting your dog’s sleep schedule.

Your dog being sick isn’t necessarily the reason that they’re waking you up. But if this is a new thing, it could be seen as a change in behavior. You should closely watch your dog to see if they are exhibiting any other behavioral changes and signs that indicate illness. These include a change or loss of appetite and decreased activity levels.

Dogs can also suffer from dementia, just like humans can. It mainly affects older dogs, and it can cause changes in their sleep cycle, which could cause them to wake up earlier. Also, dogs with separation anxiety may wake you up early because they are feeling anxious and haven’t seen you in a while.

If you do suspect that your dog is sick, there isn’t much that you yourself can do to stop them from waking you up early. It’s a good idea to take your pet to the vet so any illness can be diagnosed and treated. With the appropriate treatment, your dog should return to their normal schedule.

sick dog
Image By: Igor Normann, Shutterstock

2. Turn the Room Into a Sleepy Environment

Whether your dog sleeps in the room with you or has a separate room, the room should be conducive to sleeping when it is bedtime. Dogs have their own internal clocks and will typically wake up with the sun. If your dog is waking you up early every morning, you may need to “control” the sun and other aspects of the environment in which your dog sleeps.

First, invest in room-darkening curtains if you don’t have them already. If your dog sleeps in your bedroom, hang the curtains in there, and draw them closed at night. The curtains will block out the amount of sunlight that enters the room the next morning, which will help your dog sleep longer. When you wake up, open the curtains to let the sunlight in, and your dog will know that it is time to get up.

If your dog sleeps in a crate, you can drape a blanket over it to achieve the same effect. Then, just remove the blanket in the morning. You should also make sure your dog has a warm and comfortable place to sleep and remove all toys and food from the area. You don’t want to encourage playing or eating during bedtime.


3. Take Your Dog Out Right Before Bed

Even if you just took your dog outside 30 minutes ago, take them outside to use the bathroom one more time, and then go straight to bed. If dogs don’t go to the bathroom right before bedtime, they may have to go during the night or first thing in the morning, before you’re ready to get up.

If you take your dog out right before bed and then go immediately to sleep afterward, they won’t have time to eat or drink before going to sleep. Similarly, remove any food or water from their sleeping area before bed. Doing so will help your dog sleep for longer because they won’t have to go to the bathroom as badly in the morning.

man and dog walking
Image By: Audrius Vizbaras, Pixabay

4. Make Sure Your Dog Gets Plenty of Exercise

If your dog is consistently waking you up early or even just wakes you up earlier than usual one morning, they may not be getting enough exercise. Your dog may have a lot of energy built up that they didn’t get out the day before, so they aren’t as tired.

Different sizes, ages, and breeds require different amounts and levels of exercise. Small dogs don’t need as much exercise in order to tire them out, but big dogs typically need a significant amount. Try playing with or exercising your dog closer to bedtime if they have a habit of waking you up. That should tire them out and encourage them to sleep longer the next morning.


5. Put Your Dog on a Schedule

It’s true that dogs can operate on their own routine and by their own internal clock. But just like humans, dogs benefit by being put on a schedule. You can actually alter their internal clock by sticking to the same routine with your dog every day.

It’s best to start a schedule with your dog when they’re a puppy, but you can still implement one with older dogs. As long as you are consistent, it shouldn’t take your dog long to adjust. You can time their feedings, playtimes, and bedtime this way.

To keep a certain routine, you should try to feed your dog at the same time each day. Planning your dog’s feeding around your mealtimes can help make this easier. You can also keep your dog’s playtimes consistent by scheduling playtime in the morning and closer to bedtime. This way, your dog will get a nap in the middle of the day, which will give them plenty of time to get tired again before bed.

Lastly, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Remember that consistency is key, so following a specific bedtime routine, combined with these suggestions, can help your dog sleep longer instead of waking you up early.

Dog sleeping in his orange bad by the night light
Image By: Daniel Besic, Shutterstock

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TESTHow Much Sleep Does a Dog Need?

The amount of sleep a dog needs depends on their age. Most adult dogs sleep between 10 and 12 hours per day, while puppies sleep more. That amount of sleep is divided between naps throughout the day and bedtime.

The amount of sleep that a dog gets at any particular time mostly corresponds to when they need to use the bathroom, but hunger and the amount of exercise that they receive can also affect this.

Conclusion

Putting your dog on a schedule is one of the best things that you can do as a dog owner to maintain their sleeping patterns and prevent them from waking up too early—and thus, waking you up too! That said, you should make sure your pup isn’t experiencing any health issues that are preventing them from sleeping well. If they come back from the vet with a clean bill of health, make sure they’re getting enough daily exercise and going to the bathroom right before bed, so they’re tired enough to sleep the night through and won’t be woken up by bodily needs.


Featured Image Credit: Igor Normann, Shutterstock

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