Stop a Dog From Waking You Up Too Early

It's 5 a.m. and you're looking forward to a few more hours of sleep when you hear it. Your dog. Scratching at your bedroom door, barking, or running around your bedroom and even jumping onto your bed. He does this every morning, and you're missing out on some serious z's as a result. No, you're far from the only one in the world with this problem, and, yes, there are ways that you can reset your pup's internal alarm clock so you both can get some more shut-eye.

Yawning pug with blanket on his head
credit: Westend61/Westend61/GettyImages

Rule out physical causes

Dogs may try to wake you up in the middle of the night or early in the morning for any number of reasons. According to Dogster, some could be caused by physical ailments, like a urinary tract infection or even dementia. If your dog starts waking you up regularly in the wee hours, head to the vet for a thorough examination to eliminate any potential physical causes.

Provide plenty of exercise

In some cases, your dog may wake you up because she's full of energy and is ready to start the day. PetMD recommends increasing your dog's exercise during the day to help fix this problem. Treat her to a long walk, a game of fetch, or a nice swim at a local pond or beach. The more you're able to tire your dog out, the greater the chance that she'll sleep through the night and let you do the same.

Feed your dog later

Your dog may also be waking you up because his stomach is telling him it's time to eat. If your dog is hungry, it will be hard for him to ignore the feeling and go back to sleep just because you aren't ready to wake up yet. To avoid this, try feeding your dog a little later in the night than his current dinnertime and give him a treat or snack just before bedtime. The change in his feeding schedule may be just enough to reduce his hunger in the morning so he's less eager to get you out of bed.

Take a late bathroom break

Does your dog wake you up, only to anxiously wait to go out to relieve herself? If so, Chewy recommends that you try taking her out for a last-minute bathroom break just before you go to bed. Your dog may be better able to make it through the night without needing to go outside. Keep in mind, though, that your dog's bladder control may change as she ages, so if your older dog has started waking you early in the morning, it could be that she's just no longer able to make it all night without a bathroom break.

Make the bedroom for sleeping

If you do allow your dog to sleep in your bedroom with you, make the room as dark and unentertaining as possible. Remove his toys at night and install room-darkening shades to encourage him to stay asleep in the morning.

Ignore, ignore, ignore

If nothing else seems to work, determine the time that you'll get up and absolutely refuse to get up before that hour arrives. No matter how much your dog barks or whines, stay in bed (and try to go back to sleep if you can). If you use an alarm clock, your dog may come to associate the sound of your alarm clock with your getting out of bed.

Be persistent

You may need to experiment a bit to determine which approach or combination of approaches works best for your dog, and retraining your dog's morning schedule can take some time. However, if you're persistent, you can get through to your dog and make mornings more enjoyable for everyone in your home.