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
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