There’s nothing quite like a nice weekend after a long and stressful work week. You may love your leisure weekends; sleeping in on Saturdays and Sundays, even if just for a bit, helps to bring a newfound sense of rejuvenation to your mind. Maybe you keep trying to sleep in on the weekends, but your dog won’t let you. Animals are often a creature of habit. They don’t need a watch to know when to expect you to be home from work, especially if you arrive home about the same time each day. If you feed your dog at five o’clock every day, your dog can probably tell you when it is five o’clock faster than it will take you to glance at a clock. The same applies to waking in the mornings. If your dog is an early riser during the week with you, he won’t often know the difference between a Friday workday and a Saturday sleep-in day.
There are many reasons for wanting to train your dog to sleep later, from semi-annual time changes to changes in your schedule or even a new dog who is simply an early riser. But no matter the reason, training your dog to sleep later is something you and your dog can work on together. Changing habits takes time, even for dogs. You may start by feeding your dog dinner at a different time, or setting an example and heading to bed later yourself. Learning to ignore your dog will be imperative in retraining him to sleep in a bit later. Sure, you’ll probably be awake and frustrated or annoyed because he woke you, but give it some time. Your dog will learn from being ignored. If you live in an area where the time changes twice a year, you may have to set aside a few days to help your dog adjust to the new time just as your body adjusts. Any dog can be trained to sleep later. It will just require time and a bit of patience.
Be prepared with a schedule you’d like your dog to follow. Even getting him to sleep in on certain days such as days you are off work is possible, especially if they are the same days each week like weekends or every Wednesday. You may want to have some treats near your bed so you can toss your dog a reward for staying in bed. This kind of training may be easier if your dog is in your bedroom with you. If he can get close to you, it may be easier to provide quick comfort before spending the rest of the morning ignoring him rather than having him in another room barking for you.
I adopted Thor and his sister from our local shelter at 12 wks of age. Thor sleeps in a crate in my youngest son's room (his sister is in a crate in my oldest son's room). We put them to bed at 10 pm and Thor is up by 5 am or earlier. Once Freya hears Thor, she is up too. At what age should they be able to hold their bladder for a full 8 hours of night? We feed them at 6 am and 6 pm and take them potty right before bed. Some mornings he is up as early at 3 am. My 13 year old needs his sleep. Should I just find a new place to put his crate? My son really wants Thor to be "his dog". Please help!!
Hello Shanna, Generally by five months of age both puppies should be able to hold their bladders for eight hours at night. Some puppies are able to hold their bladders for eight hours during the night by four months of age also, but as soon as a puppy wakes up, his bladder wakes up too, and he needs to go outside. It is possible that Thor is waking up out of habit at this point because he wants to eat or to play during that time, and once he is awake he then needs to go potty too. I would recommend crating the puppy in your room for one more month, and when he wakes up in the morning before it is time to be up, take him outside to go potty, but make the trip boring by taking him on a leash and not talking to him or playing with him, and then bring him back into your room afterwards and place him back into the crate until it is time to get up with the rest of the family. Overtime this should break the cycle of waking up to eat or play, and then he should begin to only wake up only when he needs to pee, and by five months of age you should be able to then put him back into your son's room. Unfortunately he will probably cry when you place him back into the crate the first three days, so be prepared for that, but do not let him out until it is 6am and he is quiet. His body needs to learn to go back to sleep after he eliminates, which will help him to learn that mornings are a time for sleep, so that he will sleep-in later. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
In a very similar situation. Just adopted a 12 week old pup. We go to bed around 10 pm and he is up at 5 and wants to go. So, would like to know how this worked out for you. Were you able to train them to go back to sleep with this method? How long did it take? How long did they cry once back in the crate? Any update/help would be appreciated.
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Shiro eats at 6am and pm, he gets a walk after dinner and doesn't get put to bed until about midnight. He is usually up by 4am, but sometimes not until 5am and as early as 3am. As he is still a young pup we don't want him to mess in the crate so we get up with him. From what I've read, it seems we should take him out to potty and then put him back to bed? Should his crate be our bedroom? Also we have taken out the things to make him comfy as he pees on them. Not sure what to do now as it seems we have not been going about this the right way. Now what?
Hello Rob, Your speculations are correct. When he wakes up at 4am or so, take him outside to pee, but take him on a leash and keep the trip as boring as possible. This is one time where you will not give him a treat for peeing outside and will not play with him afterwards because you want him to drop that potty break when he gets old enough and not continue to wake up because it is fun. After he goes potty, calmly praise him, bring him back inside, and put him directly back into his crate to go back to bed. If he is going to bed at midnight there is no way that he should be waking up for the day at 4am. Puppies need a lot of sleep. Also, you are correct to take the bedding out of his crate. Very few puppies are ready for soft bedding in their crates. It can encourage peeing in the crate, destructive chewing, and can be dangerous if they eat pieces of it. If you wish to add some form of padding to the crate, then look up PrimoPads. You can purchase them online according to the dimensions of your crate. They are not soft and fluffy but will provide firm support, are easy to clean, and can be anchored down to the sides of the crate to keep puppies from chewing on the edges. They are also covered with vinyl so they are not absorbent. You do not want absorbent bedding in the crate or it will encourage peeing. Expect some crying when you put him back into the crate after taking him potty since he is used to getting up at that time right now. Give him time and space to work it out. He is tired and simply needs to go to bed. Since you just took him potty you can feel confident that nothing is truly wrong with him. How many nights it takes him to stop the crying will depend on his personality. Some puppies give up quickly and relax and go back to sleep immediately in just a day or two of the new routine. Some especially stubborn puppies take two weeks or longer. Try to be firm and consistent even if he turns out to be one that takes longer. The ideal place to crate him is where you can hear him if he wakes up and needs to go potty but he is far enough away that he is learning a bit of independence. The hallway, closet, or bathroom connected to your room with the door to your bedroom open makes a good spot if there is space for the crate there. You absolutely can crate him in the same room that you sleep in, just make sure that you practice crating him in a room by himself sometimes during the day too so that he will learn how to be by himself when needed while he is young. During the day when he is in the crate give him a Kong chew toy stuffed with dog food, so that he will learn to entertain himself while he is alone. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My neutered male dog is sweet, gentle and mellow, to the point of being largely disinterested in other dogs; he'll have a good sniff and maybe a bit of a run around but mostly will observe them playing and lie at my feet. However, he cannot stand intact male dogs. It is the only time he shows anything akin to aggression and barks non-stop at them. It is only towards intact male dogs that he displays this behavior. I understand this is not uncommon but I'm at a loss as to how to deal with it, short of removing him from the situation or restraining/distracting him. We live in an apartment block and there are a number of intact dogs that we encounter. We adopted him 9 months ago and from what we've been told, before that he lived with an intact male (he was also intact then). Do you have any suggestions?
Hello Octavia, You would need to work on managing his response just like you would with a dog that was aggressive toward all dogs. The difference is you will need intact males to practice around, which adds a bit of a challenge. I would suggest hiring a training who works at a training facility where there are in tact males around also. Some boarding and training facilities do not board intact males, so make sure that the one you go to does. A trainer who is also involved in canine sports where the males are commonly left in tact, such as Schlutzhund, hunting, Conformation, or other AKC sports is more likely to have in tact males on the property himself and is more likely to own in tact males, which is even more helpful. Since the issue is only with intact males, it is probably either trauma related since he lived with another intact male, or more likely, dominance related. A trainer can assess both and address whichever one it is if he or she trains using both positive reinforcement and fair discipline. For aggression management you need to build respect, trust, and self-control. You also need to work on creating a positive association toward other intact male dogs. Essentially, when your dog encounters a dog he does not like, he needs to learn to look to you for guidance and let you handle the interaction. For this to happen a trainer needs to correct, and show you how to correct, your dog's inappropriate behavior, then reward him for focusing back on you and off of the other dog, and then reward him calmly for being calm and relaxed around other dogs. Working on his general obedience and respect toward you should also help. To do that, check out the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you A trainer can help you build your dog's respect for you, but you can also work on that part more on your own. Once your dog trusts you more, then work with a trainer around other in-tact males at correcting your dog's bad response to interrupt him and rewarding him for focus on you and being calm instead. As he gets calmer around other dogs, then you can make the presence of other intact males fun by rewarding him when they are around with treats, games, and your own silliness. Don't be afraid to act a bit goofy to liven up his spirits and show him that he can relax. This will probably not be able to happen until his respect toward you is build and his outburst are corrected and refocused first though. If you are at all worried about being bitten when he is aroused or about another dog being hurt, then get Bear used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle, so that you can train safely and get as close to the other dogs as you need to without worrying about anyone being injured. When done right, Bear should not mind wearing the muzzle. Use a soft silicone basket muzzle because it will be more comfortable, and because the wider basket will still allow him to open his mouth and let you feed him treats through the holes. To get him comfortable wearing a muzzle, show him the muzzle and give him a treat. Touch the muzzle to him and give him a treat. Hold the muzzle on his face briefly and give him a treat. Hold the muzzle on his face for longer and give him treats through the muzzle's holes while you are holding it there. Finally, put the muzzle on him and give him treats while he is wearing it. Go slow and gradually increase the amount of time that you keep the muzzle on him for as he becomes more comfortable with it. Expect this process to take a couple of weeks. Don't move onto the next muzzle step until he is comfortable with the current step, and try to practice this for a few minutes every day. Doing this at one of his meal times, using his dog food pieces as treats can work well for many dogs. For further resources on treating and managing aggression check out Jeff Gelhman from SolidK9Training. He has a YouTube channel and website. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello. We have had our puppy for a week now. We have been crate training him from the very beginning. We set our alarms at night to take him potty every 3 hours so as to get a jump on him waking/whining to pee. The goal is to gradually lengthen that time every week. (Is this a good approach)? We are a late to bed/late to rise family and I have 4 children who are used to a circadian rhythm of starting the day at 8. This is something that we technically “trained” our kids to do. Our puppy, Calvin, gets taken out to pee for the last time at night at 5 am but wakes on the dot at 6:30 and begins barking pretty crazily. We are trying extinction, but we are in the 5th morning of it. He doesn’t eliminate in his crate (thankfully) and we try to wait until he has a brief moment of silence before letting him out at 8, but he is still barking like mad at that time. The first 2 nights we had him, my husband would go and lay on the floor next to him when he started barking so that he would quiet down and we could squeeze in any more sleep, so we realize we created a mild habit of rewarding those barks, but it’s been twice that length time of ignoring him now. I am wondering how long extinction usually takes to garner change?
Hello Tiffany, Congratulations on the new puppy and it sounds like you have been working hard to get Calvin off to the right start. For the first two weeks the alarm every three hours is a good approach. After that I would suggest waiting until he wakes up on his own and asks, to take him outside. At night a puppy's bladder sort of shuts down while he sleeps so he will be able to hold his bladder for much longer at night by the time he is ten to twelve weeks old. He will probably still need to be taken out once, some nights twice, but waiting until he asks as he gets older will prevent him from waking out of habit to go out. When you take him outside, take him on a leash, and keep the trip extremely boring. After he goes, put him straight back in the crate and then ignore him. You don't want him to learn to wake up because fun things happen when he wakes up. You may already be doing this, but just in case, keep it in mind. If you just brought him home, then there is a good chance that 6:30am was when he normally woke up with his litter and so his internal clock is set to start the day then, even though he is still exhausted. In some baby mammals, being overtired can lead to excess cortisol in the body, and that cortisol can cause early wakings, frequent night wakings, and trouble going to sleep initially. It is possible that is happening too if he is going to bed to late. His body is likely just stuck on the early wake up time though. It can take up to two weeks of good habits to change his behavior. The very determined dog might take three. Try not to get too discouraged. It is unfortunately just normal for a puppy to protest a crate strongly for the first two weeks, especially if your puppy is a bit willful or very alert. To minimize the problem work on the following. Put him to bed no later than 10/10:30pm, even if you are going to wake him up again at 1:30am and 4:30am to ensure that he is not getting overtired. You may even want to experiment and wait to see when he naturally wakes up on his own to ask to go out, and then take him thirty minutes before that time after that. If he only needs to go out once, then not waking him in the early morning might help him stay in deeper sleep longer in the early mornings. He should be able to sleep at least ten hours total and make it until 8am eventually. When you put him to bed, make sure that it is quiet and dark where he is right now. He will learn to sleep through distractions more later on, but right now you want to set yourself up for success. If you can put him in a location where he will not see the sun come up at 6:30am do it! The sun will keep his body waking up at 6 until his rhythm changes. You can use black trash bags or thick blankets on windows, or put his crate in a closet or bathroom without windows. If you feel like he is waking because other people are awake in the house or because he wants attention, then put his crate on a different level of the house and use a baby monitor to listen to him later on, when you are no longer taking him outside every three hours during the night. By then he should be only waking up when he really needs to go potty. If you live in a one story home, then put his crate where he will be safe, it will be dark, and he will not wake up the rest of the house. The idea is to remove your presence so that he will give up barking soon and go back to sleep. It sounds cruel because he will have to adjust at first, but if he is doing it for attention the best route to take is to remove all attention, so he can learn that it is time for sleeping. He will be safe and taken care of, and in the long run he will learn more independence that way, which can actually prevent true separation anxiety later. If you move his crate further away, give him a favorite, safe, durable chew toy in his crate, so that he can learn to chew on that when he wakes up, until he goes back to sleep. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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