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

ribbon-method-3
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

ribbon-method-2
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

ribbon-method-1
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?
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Written by Stephanie Plummer

Published: 11/03/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Spartan
Border Collie
1 Year
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Question
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Spartan
Border Collie
1 Year

Our 1 Year old border collie used to sleep through the night but the last week and a half has been waking up at 1 am and barking in his kennel. We tried to ignore him the first couple days but he never settled and ended up barking for 3 hours never stopping more than 10 mins. Our neighbors have complained several times with the police showing up once. He is getting plenty of exercise and is tired at bed time and goes to the bathroom right before bed. We've tried a vibrating bark collar but he barks through it.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
981 Dog owners recommended

Hello Frank, 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. If pup doesn't bark when crated during the day, only at night, then just work on the Quiet method and skip the Surprise method practice during the day, then address nights the way I outline below either way. Alternatively, if pup doesn't respond much to the Pet Convincer, I would use a stimulation based remote training collar. Vibration can work for some dogs, but as you saw, others just ignore it. A good stimulation based collar is far more adjustable, to get a level pup will respond to without going to high, if your collar is high quality, such as e-collar technologies, Dogtra, Sportdog, or Garmin. E-collar technologies Mini Educator is one option you may want to look into. Don't buy just a cheap, three level collar, you won't be able to train the same way. A good collar has at least 40 levels. Check out these videos on fitting, finding the right level for pup, and using the collar during training. It's important to still practice during the day with crating and giving treats for quietness, like I described above with the pet convincer. With the remote training collar, you will just correct with that instead of the pet convincer, rewarding quietness with the treats. The remote training collar has the benefit of not giving pup attention when correcting. It needs to be introduced ahead of time though because pup won't understand the first few times why they are being corrected and how to stop the correction. The rewards during daytime practice when pup is quiet help pup understand. Only give treats during the day though, at night just correct, or the treats can keep pup up. Fit and Level finding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Training use example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3j882MAYDU When he cries at night before it has been 8 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. If you go straight to nights and days like this you will probably have about 3 rough nights, with lots of correcting before he gets quiet - don't give in and let him out or this will take much longer! But the overall process will go faster if you can stay strong. You will need to stay very consistent for this to work - expect pup to protest and for you to have to correct a lot the first couple nights. You may want to pretend like you are all going to bed two hours early and read in bed with the lights off - anticipating having to get up a lot the first couple of hours to correct - so that you don't loose as much sleep. If you can, let your neighbors know that you are working on training right now, so things should improve. Perhaps they won't complain if they are aware that you are addressing the issue. It may also be worth listening out for any noises that are happening in the middle of the night - like an appliance beeping or making a high pitched hum, or neighbor coming and going/dogs barking or howling, ect... that could be bothering pup. If you find that's the case, practice Quiet around that noise often to help desensitize pup to the noise and condition being quiet when they hear it, if it's not something you can simply turn off. If pup is having to go potty a lot more often during the day or having accidents at night, when that's not normal for pup, I would also take pup to see your vet, to make sure there isn't something causing incontinence, and pup's barking related to a genuine need to go potty due to that. I am not a vet so refer to your vet for any medical needs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ralph
Beagle
8 Months
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Question
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Ralph
Beagle
8 Months

Ralph wakes up between 4:30 and 5am every morning and we have tried ignoring him but he gets distressed. So we have resulted in coming downstairs and sitting outside his crate until he settles.

How can we break this cycle and how can we train him to stay asleep longer in the mornings?! Even until just 6am

He’s fed 3 meals a day, gets walked in the morning and evening after his meal and has a toilet trip at 10pm, before going in his crate. He doesn’t wake in the night anymore so we now want to move him onto later mornings.
Thanks Hollie

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
981 Dog owners recommended

Hello Hollie, I would start by taking him potty when he cries temporarily. Take him on leash, and keep it super boring. No play, no talking, no treats, and no breakfast yet. Give him 10 minutes to do his business then back inside, even if he didn't go. Once inside, return him to the crate. When he barks, knowing that his bladder is empty or he didn't need to go potty, and the barking at this point is probably just for attention, I would correct the barking. Each time pup barks, I would spray a brief puff of unscented air (Not citronella) from a pet convincer at his side through the crate wires, avoiding his face. Tell pup "Ah Ah" calmly as you do this, then leave the room again immediately after correcting. Repeat the correction calmly each time pup starts barking or protesting the crate again, until pup is quiet for at least a bit, and it's the time when you want pup to learn to sleep until. Typically pup will start to sleep through the early wake up time on their own over the next month as they anticipate not being rewarded during the wake-up, until its' the time when you normally feed breakfast. If pup also protests the crate during the day at all, you can practice the same routine, but during the day also return to sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness, to help pup learn even better than quietness and calmness is the goal. I wouldn't give any treats or food in the early morning though. Ideally daytime could also be practiced to help pup better understand the routine being followed in the morning. Make sure all food and water is being taken up two hours before bed, and when you take pup potty right before the 10pm bedtime, go with pup and make sure they are actually fully going and not just marking a little then getting distracted and coming inside. If they are, take pup on leash (opposed to letting pup into a fence if you are currently doing that), and walk pup around slowly, telling pup to Go Potty, and giving a treat after they do so, when they go potty. If pup seems not to finish, repeat walking pup around again and insist pup Go Potty calmly but firmly, using the leash to keep pup from getting too distracted chewing or sniffing one location for too long or simply lying down and not going. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Hurley
Labrador Retriever
11 Weeks
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Hurley
Labrador Retriever
11 Weeks

I’m a personal trainer and I wake every day at 5am, but my girl just wake up a 7am..
but my puppy soon he’s hear me he wake up and start crying.
The. Few min after she wake up and take him out because she worry about him poop in his kennel.
What I should do and we just have him for few days.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
981 Dog owners recommended

Hello Renato, At this age, once awake pup will need to go potty, so I would take him outside. If you want him to go back to sleep afterwards though, I would get him into the habit of being taken potty, not being fed, played with, or given treats at that time - but keeping that potty trip super boring, then returning pup to the crate until you want pup to wake up for the day, like at 7am with your other dog. At 7am, once you are ready for pup to be up, then you can also feed pup at that time. Once pup is older, pup can likely hold their bladder longer to not need that early wake up, but a dog can't hold their bladder for as long while awake as they can while asleep, so once awake the bladder short of turns back on - making a young puppy need to go after several hours of holding it overnight. Another option would be to have pup sleep somewhere where her waking at 5am wouldn't wake him, like another bedroom in his crate. Pup may still need an early wake up at this time anyway though for another month. So if you do move pup into another room, I would use an audio baby monitor to listen out for pup waking up to need to go potty, so you can take pup potty at that time. When you return pup to the crate, it's likely that pup will try barking at first. At this age you have a couple of options for how to respond to that. 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 or 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. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Teddy
Griffichon
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Teddy
Griffichon
5 Months

My puppy used to wake up the same time I wake up too.
But since 1 month as soon my father wakes up at 5 am he wakes up too.He sleeps inside but since 1 week I put him oustide at 4.30 am so that he does not see the lights on. As soon he hears my father foosteps in the kitchen, he starts barking. My father is not willing to take care of him at this hour and I am still sleeping at this time. We do not have another place to put him. I do not think he is hungry at this time because at 6 am we let him inside and we feed him at 6.45 am. How do I stop him barking at 5am as it is very disturbing for my neighbours.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
981 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nesh, Where is pup located when he wakes up? Inside in a crate, inside not in a crate, or outside? Assuming pup is inside in a crate... First, at this age pup likely really does need to go potty at that time if he is being woken up early and it's been at least six hours since he last went potty. I suggest taking pup potty on leash when they wake then if it's been at least six hours since they last went potty outside. Once pup is eight montsh, pup should be able to hold it at least 8-9 hours even when woken up. Keep the potty trip calm and boring - no play or treats, then right back to the crate after they go potty. 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 while. Because of neighbors this probably isn't the best option for your situation though. 2. Another 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 if needed. 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 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. After taking pup potty and correcting when pup barks afterwards, if pup truly can hold their bladder for longer, pup may start going back to sleep after stirring when he hears your dad, and not even ask to be let out side initially. If pup asks to be taken outside and it's been at least six hours someone will have to take pup potty then return them to the crate though, until they are old enough to not need that trip. While asleep a dog's bladder capacity changes and allows them to hold it for longer, once awake, their capacity is less though, so if pup is being woken up early they will have to potty early too if they don't immediately fall back to sleep again. The general rule is that a dog can hold it for the number of months they are in age plus one, until they reach the 8.5 hour maximum around 8/9 months. So for your pup 5 months plus 1 is 6, meaning your pup's maximum capacity if awake is 6 hours. At six months it will be 7 hours most likely. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Taco
Labrador Retriever
12 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Taco
Labrador Retriever
12 Weeks

My puppy is 12 weeks old. He is sleeping in a crate with a crate cover outside of the bedroom at night. We take it in turns to take him out for a potty break at 4.45am and he has learned to go back in his crate after this straight to sleep. The problem is he is waking up a bit too early in the mornings, he whines and cries non-stop. We have been ignoring him but I'm unsure if that is the best tactic because it's not getting any better. We always wait for a quiet moment before letting him out but should we be letting him out before he is due to start to cry and trying to get him back into bed with a chew or something? He doesn't cry because he needs to potty, when we let him out he doesn't pee for a while. What is the best tactic here?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
981 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mariana, First, I would look at pup's evening schedule. What time are they going to bed at night? If it's less than 10 hours before you want pup to be up for the morning, I would move their bedtime so they sleep in a bit. Pay attention to pup's evening napping. Puppies will nap a lot, but if the naps are lasting more than 1 hour or there are several of them in the evening, pup is probably counting that as night sleep. Giving pup a dog food stuffed chew toy in the evening, or playing with pup, going for a walk, or training can help pup stay more alert before bed. If pup wakes up and it's been more than 3 hours since pup last went potty, I would try taking pup potty before returning them to the crate, but keep the trip boring. On leash, no play, no treats, little talking, and no early breakfast. Taking puppy on a leash if you aren't already is very important - off-leash allows pup to play and get distracted in the early morning, so that play could be a reason they are waking up early. When you return them to the crate, or if pup wakes before needing to potty, you have three options. 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. 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 you are confident they don't need any nightly or early morning potty trips. Once they are old enough, you may still 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 once pup is a bit older if you use the Kong solution for a bit. In situations where pup barking is going to cause issues like neighbor complaints, it can be done sooner. I generally recommend a bit older though. 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. I wouldn't wake pup up to go potty. If you are waking pup up right now for that early morning potty trip, I would actually stop waking pup then and instead wait until pup wakes you asking to go potty, as long as you will wake up when you hear them instead of pup having an accident in the crate. You can use an audio baby monitor to listen out for pup if pup sleeps in another room. The reason for waiting until pup wakes you, even though that does mean letting pup out when they cry, is because pup's body will generally extend how long of a stretch they can go before needing a potty trip as they mature physically and get used to the crate. You want to let pup's body sleep longer if they will, so that pup will get to the point where they will sleep through the night as soon as their individual body is ready for that. That may even help pup push that initial wake up late enough that pup will drop the second early morning wake up. Expect it to take pup's body a few days to adjust to that however, once you make the change. If you won't wake up when pup asks to go because you are a heavy sleeper, it's causing more issues for you with training, or pup has accidents in the crate when you don't wake them, I would wake pup up instead still, as a secondary option though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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