How to Train Your Dog to Sleep Later

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

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. 

Defining Tasks

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.

Getting Started

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. 

The Crate Method

Most Recommended
3 Votes
Step
1
Bed introduction
Introduce your dog to his crate bed.
Step
2
Bed time
Put him in the crate after he’s eaten his dinner and gone potty outside. Give him a treat and bid him good night.
Step
3
Eye contact
Make eye contact with him before you go to bed. Quietly tell him good night and go to bed yourself.
Step
4
Whining
He may whine at first. Ignore him. He will settle down.
Step
5
Environment
Create an environment for sleeping. With the right temperature, white noise, and no distractions, drift off to sleep with your dog in the crate.
Step
6
Early morning
When he wakes early, ignore him. Do not make eye contact at this time. If he sees you awake, he will think it’s time to wake. If you interact with him in the early morning hours, he will learn to wake you this way.
Step
7
Wake your dog
Wake your dog and take him out of his crate when you are ready. Give him lots of love and a trip outside. You can even start his morning off with a treat.
Recommend training method?

The Varying Day Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Three meals
Give your dog three meals a day, splitting the amount he usually gets for breakfast and dinner into a breakfast meal, a dinner meal, and a late snack. Schedules these for the same time every day.
Step
2
Exercise
Help your dog get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. If you can do this at different times during the day so your dog's body doesn't get used to exercising at a certain time, it may help him sleep better at night. Evening exercise may wear him out more before bedtime than morning exercise will.
Step
3
Sleep ready
Create a space ready for your dog to sleep in. This should include a soft, comfortable bed for him to sleep. You may want to consider investing in blackout curtains to keep sunlight from coming in early in the morning and waking your dog.
Step
4
Break the habit
Especially during times of change, such as clocks changing back or moving forward, you will need to help your dog adjust and break the habit of waking too early. You can use an alarm to wake your dog in the morning. Each day, set this alarm 15 minutes later than he normally wakes. Over time, he might get used to the new time, especially if he is in your room and can hear the alarm.
Step
5
White noise
Turn on a ceiling or standing fan or create white noise to help your dog sleep longer. This may help you sleep in as well.
Step
6
If your dog wakes
Ignore him. If you must get up, do not feed him until you are ready to be awake. This will, over time, discourage an early waking.
Recommend training method?

The Ease Into It Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Meals
Move your dog’s last meal back by about fifteen minutes a day until he’s eating at the desired time. This is ideal for getting your dog adjusted to daylight savings time changes. After fours days, you could have your dog’s dinner meal pushed back an hour.
Step
2
Evening exercise
Tire your dog out by taking an after dinner walk or playing fetch in the backyard. Making time for your dog to exercise more during the day will help tire him out by bedtime.
Step
3
Cool and comfy
Provide your dog with a comfortable place to sleep so he is likely to stay there longer.
Step
4
Go potty
As late as possible, take your dog outside to go potty so he can better sleep through the night.
Step
5
Routine
Give your dog a bedtime routine. You can start with a trip outside and then give your dog a small treat while you ready the house for night time. Most dogs will know it’s time for bed because their owners start a routine such as turning off lights and locking doors. This is the time to give your dog a new 'go to bed' command.
Step
6
Bedtime
Walk your dog to his bed using a command to 'get to bed'. Give him a treat once he’s settled down.
Step
7
Redirect
It may take a few nights, but if your dog gets out of bed, walk him back to his bed and use the command to tell him it’s bedtime.
Step
8
Ignore
If your dog wakes early and whines or tries to get your attention, ignore him. You might be awake and even irritated if he’s bothering you, but if you jump up and tend to him, you’ll just teach him to be your alarm clock. Be persistent. Try to go back to sleep. Even if you cannot, ignore him until you are ready to be up and about.
Step
9
Practice
It’ll take time, but as long as you create a bedtime routine, fill your dog’s belly, give him exercise, and ignore his attempts to wake you, your dog can learn to sleep in with you and wake with you.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Bodhi
Yellow Lab
5 Months
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Question
0 found helpful
Bodhi
Yellow Lab
5 Months

My dog has been waking up at 4:30 every morning. Once he whines I wake up and take him out but feed later. I don’t know what to do because I want him to start sleeping in later. Also he gets plenty of exercise and goes to bed around 9-9:30.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alexa, First, at this age pup likely really does need to go potty at that time. I suggest taking pup potty on leash when they wake then if it's been at least five hours since they last went potty outside. Keep the trip calm and boring - no play or treats, then right back to the crate after they go. When you return them to the crate, you have three options at this age. 1. You can either ignore pup barking until 7/8/9 (whenever you normally want to get up) - which will probably mean an hour of barking for a few days until pup learns to just go back to sleep until breakfast, and gradually begins to sleep longer and not need that 4:30am potty trip as their bladder capacity increases. 2. Another option is to stuff 1 or 2 kongs with puppy food and freeze the night before, and give pup that in the crate for a few weeks, until they are old enough to not need to 4:30am potty trip, then you will need to ignore/correct the crying later, once pup is older and can be expected to sleep through. To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. 3. The third option is to correct the crying once you return pup to the crate after the potty trip. 5 months is usually the earliest I would recommend doing this, so it can be done now or once pup is a bit older if you use the Kong solution for a bit. To correct pup, first, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. When he cries at night or early morning, after you take pup potty and return them to the crate, or pup cries before 4-5 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Don't give treats at night/morning though - practice during the day proactively to help pup learn that quiet is good, since you don't want to encourage pup to stay awake in the early morning, but to go back to sleep instead. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Saje
Labrador Retriever
12 Weeks
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Question
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Saje
Labrador Retriever
12 Weeks

She is getting up at 5a. We believe she needs to go pee and poo, because she always does. We had been feeding her. Today we put her back into the crate. She is whining, barking like mad. We are ignoring her.

Bad idea? We are trying to break the habit of her being up and wanting to play at 5a.

Advice?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Seth, It actually sounds like you are doing exactly what you should be (taking pup potty when they wake at 5am, because they will truly need to go at that point, but keeping the trip boring, returning to the crate after, and not feeding breakfast until it's the time you want them to eventually learn to sleep until)... Until now, it sounds like pup is used to eating at 5am when they wake then, so it will take a few days for the barking to stop and pup to learn to go back to sleep when you return them to the crate after taking potty. Their internal clock needs to reset so they aren't hungry at 5am anymore and that will take a little time. Expect about five bad days of early morning barking and stay consistent. It may be a bit more or a lot less but five tends to be an average amount of time to adjust. Once pup is used to going back to sleep at 5am after pottying, and not eating until later when you wake up - like 7/8am, then pup should also start sleeping later as they get older and their bladder capacity increases, allowing them to hold it until when you wake up in the morning - because there won't be a reason to wake early other than pottying - like food or attention at 5am. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rosie
Cavapoo
13 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Rosie
Cavapoo
13 Weeks

Waking up at 5.30. Needs toilet then wants to lie on couch with me til 7am when she gets fed.
How do I get her to sleep through til 7?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Louisa, First, at this age pup likely really does need to go potty at that time. I suggest taking pup potty on leash when they wake then if it's been at least three hours since they last went potty outside. Keep the trip calm and boring - no play or treats, then right back to the crate after they go. When you return them to the crate, you have two options. You can either ignore pup barking until 7am - which will probably mean an hour of barking for a few days until pup learns to just go back to sleep until 7am, and gradually begins to sleep longer and not need that 5am potty trip as their bladder capacity increases. The other option is to stuff 1 or 2 kongs with puppy food and freeze the night before, and give pup that in the crate for a few weeks, until they are old enough to not need to 5am potty trip, then you will need to ignore the crying later, once pup is older and can be expected to sleep through. To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Milo
Cockerpoo
5 Months
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Question
0 found helpful
Milo
Cockerpoo
5 Months

Milo wakes between 5 - 6am every day, as a puppy he needs to go to the loo. I always put him back to bed in a play pen. I never feed him until 7am I try to have minimal contact and eye contact for this first wee of the day. Sadly he will then bark for the whole time between his first wake and his breakfast, I live in a house connected to neighbours and its causing issues. I have tried a variety of things in the morning to ignore him but I don't seem to be able to get him to stop barking (tough love) just isn't working. As soo as I feed him he then settles for about hour until I get up. Obviously feeding him at 5am will start another issue later down the line.
I darken the room, I feed him the same time every day for his 3 meals I walk him twice a day and have tried a late walk to tire him out.
After 3 months since I got him its never really changed and I'm exhausted.
Added to this leaving the room at any time in the day sets him off. work form home so my office is in the dinning room and I have to work. I am trying to work in another room at least hour a day to get him used to me being away from him.

I've been really tough at leaving him barking thinking he will stop but at times I have to react as the neighbours don't want to be up at 5am due to my dog. This adds to the stress of it all.
He sleeps in a create downstairs until he has his first wee but then in a play pen with his bed after that because he hates the create once he's awake.

Any help would be appreciated as I'm failing and I don't want to fall out with my neighbours.
Thanks Tracey

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tracey, Since pup is a little older, is already crate trained, and is simply barking to be fed, I recommend the following. First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below if pup tends to bark in the crate at any other times (not in the middle of the night or 5am - don't practice with treats at 5am). Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate during the day for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. In the early morning when he cries at before 7am, take pup potty on a leash and keep the trip super boring, like it sounds like you are already doing, then return pup to the crate without feeding. Tell pup Quiet, then leave the room. If pup barks, return calmly and tell pup "Ah Ah", then briefly spray the pet convincer at his side. Tell pup Quiet again and leave. Repeat the corrections each time pup barks until they are quiet. Once they are quiet and its 7am, let pup out of the crate, but open the door part way and close it again if pup starts to rush out. Repeat starting to open the door and closing it again if pup rushes until pup is waiting patiently inside. Once pup is waiting and you can hold the door open without pup rushing out, tell pup "Okay!" or "Free!" and let them out, then feed breakfast. You are setting up the expectation that pup start things off calmly and respectfully. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Oliver
English Setter
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Oliver
English Setter
8 Months

I recently moved into an apartment from living with my parents and family in a house. However, now my dog wakes up at 5:30 in the morning. With all dogs in the past we would ignore them if they woke up to early and they would eventually start sleeping in. In the apartment I can not just let him bark as I would in my house. How do I get him to sleep in?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ally, First, pay attention to anything that might be leading to the night wakings...Too much morning light, certain noises, pup sleeping for more than an hour at a time in the evenings before bed, going to bed too early (more than 10 hours before you want pup to wake up in the morning), not going potty right before bed so waking up to pee, being fed around 5:30 am or 6 am on some days but not others, so having their internal clock set to the early time. If you discover that one of the above things is leading to an early wake up, start with making adjustments there. If pup is still waking up early, if it's been more than 8-9 hours since pup last went potty, you will need to take pup potty before pup goes back to bed when first doing this. Take pup potty on a leash and keep the trip as boring as possible. Once pup goes, return pup to their crate. Teach pup the Quiet command during the day by following the Quiet method: Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark In the early morning, after pup has been returned to the crate, tell pup Quiet. If pup gets quiet, great, go back to bed! If pup continues to bark or stops but starts again, briefly spray a small puff of air from a pet convincer at pup's side through the crate wires while calmly telling pup "Ah Ah", then leave again. Do not spray pup in the face and only use the unscented air ones and don't use citronella - it's too harsh and lingers too long. Calmly repeat the corrections each time pup barks until pup either goes back to sleep or it's time to get up for the day - the time you want pup to learn to sleep until. The goal is for pup to learn to go back to sleep quietly once returned to the crate. Once pup has learned that, they will typically begin to sleep through the early morning wake up time altogether until you wake up, it's the time they are used to eating breakfast at, or they need to pee. A dog can hold it longer while asleep than while awake - which is why pup may need to be taken potty and then returned to the crate after at first - until they begin sleeping through that wake up time altogether. An adult dog can hold it for 8-8.5 hours while awake maximum. An asleep one can generally make to until about 10. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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