Why Does My Dog Wake Up Early?

Pug puppy in bed under a pink blanket.

If you’re not a morning person, you may wonder if your dog will ever share your enjoyment of sleeping in. Unfortunately, you may find that most dogs like to get up early.

Why does my dog wake up early? Dogs wake up early for many reasons including the need to relieve themselves, too much daytime sleep, outside light and noise stimuli, and the anticipation of morning activities like breakfast and a walk. Training and lifestyle changes may modify the behavior.

Understanding why your dog is waking up early is the key to modifying the habit.

Once you pinpoint the reason, you can make adjustments so that both you and your dog can enjoy some extra snooze time in the mornings.

Why Does My Dog Wake Up Early?

Many of us like nothing better than to sleep in late on a weekend morning, but dogs often don’t seem to share the same sentiment.

Dogs seem to be up and going as soon as the sun comes up or even before. There are many reasons why some dogs feel the need to consistently rise at the crack of dawn.

It might just be part of their nature, like the way some people are morning people and others are night owls, but often there’s an underlying cause.

Let’s look at some of the more common reasons why dogs wake up early.

They Need to Go Outside

Some dogs have a hard time holding it all night. Nearly all dogs have to go to the bathroom as soon as they wake up.

Your dog may wake up early because they are driven to go outside to take care of their business.

They Nap During the Day

Your dog probably naps throughout the day, which means he may not need as much sleep during the night.

You may notice that if you have your dog with you all day doing some activity in which he doesn’t get the opportunity to sleep much, he is much less likely to get up so early.

They Hear the World Waking Up Outside

Dogs are very aware of their surroundings and alert to sounds from outside.

They may hear your neighbors or even the birds encouraging them to get up and begin checking out the world.

They Are Looking Forward to Morning Activities

Morning means breakfast, walks, playtime, and other delightful things that dogs look forward to. It shouldn’t be any surprise they want to wake up and get started as soon as possible. 

What to Do If Your Dog Is Waking You Up Before the Alarm Clock

The last few minutes before your alarm clock goes off are treasured sleep time. If you hit snooze, you may especially value these few precious moments before you have to get up and face the day. 

However, too many dogs seem to find the last few minutes before you meet the day unbearable.

It seems to point to a dog’s happy outlook on life that so many of them are delighted to meet each day, whereas most of us would rather sleep if we can.

If you are finding your dog’s habit of beating the alarm clock a bit frustrating, work your way through the following tips to remedy the problem.

1. Rule Out Any Underlying Medical Conditions

Your dog may have a reason to get up early other than excitement to meet the day.

If your dog is having a hard time holding his urine overnight, you may not want to force him to wait any longer in the morning, particularly if your dog shares the bed with you.

Schedule a visit to your veterinarian to make sure your dog is not suffering from a bladder infection or other health concern that prevents him from getting a good night’s rest.

2. Provide Sufficient Exercise

Dogs need plenty of exercise throughout the day to remain physically fit, trim, healthy, and ready for a nice long sleep.

Increase your dog’s exercise time so that he’ll be exhausted and more willing to sleep in the next morning.

Also, try to limit daytime naps and keep your dog up late with you, rather than allowing him to go to sleep before you. 

3. Feed Dinner Earlier

If you give your dog an evening meal, try giving it earlier so that your dog will have time to go to the bathroom before bed and won’t have an urgent need to go potty first thing in the morning.

4. Reduce Outside Stimuli

Dogs have an uncanny knack for being able to tell what time it is based on the movement of the sun, singing of the birds, etc.

Use blackout curtains and a white noise machine to make it harder for your dog to tell when it is time to get up. 

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5. Never Get Up Before the Alarm Goes Off

By getting up when your dog nudges you before the alarm goes off, you are rewarding him for waking you.

Be firm with your dog and never get up before the alarm goes off. It won’t be long before he learns to associate the sound of the alarm with when you get out of bed.

It can be helpful to set the alarm a little earlier than your normal wake-up time for a while so that your dog will become accustomed to having it wake him.

6. Don’t Hit Snooze

Using snooze can help you to ease out of sleep, but unless you want to spend your snooze time cuddling with your dog or resisting his efforts to get you out of bed, it may be best not to use the snooze feature.

It can be very hard to train a dog to understand which alarm actually means that it is time to get up.

What to Do If Your Puppy Is Waking You Up Early

Puppies have much smaller bladders than adult dogs and can’t hold their urine for as long.

Most puppies will cry during the night when they need to go out to go potty, provided they are contained in a crate small enough that they would have to soil their own bed. 

For some time, you can expect to be ripped from your dreams in the night by your puppy. Unfortunately, this is a normal part of puppy parenthood. 

Small breed dogs may take longer to be able to hold their urine through the night then larger dogs because their bladders are even smaller. 

To help your puppy hold it through the night, take him out as late as possible in the evening and keep him from drinking water before bed. 

If he does need to go though, by all means take him out. You don’t want to undo the housebreaking training that you worked so hard to accomplish.

If you are really concerned about your dog waking you up early and if he continues to do so even as he gets older, it may be worth considering litter box training your dog.

Yes, there are dog-size litter boxes!

This way, he can relieve himself if he needs to without being let outside. Most dogs still prefer to go outside, so the litter box will be an emergency measure only used during the night.

Are Some Dog Breeds More Likely to Wake Up Early Than Others?

No dog breed is inherently more likely to get up earlier or later than others.

That said, there are some things you can look for to avoid a dog who’s very likely to get you up early.

Breeds Bred for Human Companionship

These dogs may be less likely to be tuned into the information coming from outside and more likely to focus their behavior around your lifestyle, including your sleep patterns.

Dogs Who Are More Eager to Please

Breeds who are known for being a bit on the stubborn side, like Basenjis, may be harder to train not to wake you up than breeds who live to please you.

Dogs Who Have Lower Energy Levels

Very energetic dogs are more likely to want to get up and go first thing in the morning, while lazier dogs, like English Bulldogs, may be more willing to sleep in with you. 

Ten Pounds or More

Dogs under 10 pounds may have a harder time holding their bladder through the night, which means they may be more likely to wake you up.

Last update on 2020-07-04 at 13:29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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