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How to Stop the Dogs from Waking Us Every Night at 3:15 or So?

VeryHappyVeryHappy Registered User Posts: 16,753 Senior Member
edited November 2011 in Parent Cafe
Two dogs. Wonderful dogs. Love the dogs.

Every night at 3:15 or so, one of them starts to whine. If we move in the bed, she starts to bark. It used to happen at 6:30 AM or so, so we'd get up, let them out, feed them, and go back to bed. It's gotten earlier and earlier and earlier . . .

If we ignore them, they just continue to whine and bark -- keeping us awake in the process. So we always give in, which of course just encourages them to continue doing it night after night.

What's the solution?
Post edited by VeryHappy on

Replies to: How to Stop the Dogs from Waking Us Every Night at 3:15 or So?

  • placido240placido240 - Posts: 636 Member
    Just before going to bed, I let out both of our dogs for a pee -- seems to hold them off until early morning.
  • dmd77dmd77 Registered User Posts: 8,663 Senior Member
    It's the "feed them" step in the chain. You made getting up a predictor for breakfast.

    Divide the day's kibble into two servings, one larger than the other. Feed breakfast--the larger amount of kibble--at the same time every day. (I feed at 8 AM, because my dogs poop about 22 hours after breakfast and I like getting up at 6.) Feed the evening snack about an hour before bedtime, then take the dogs out just before you go to bed. If they're not geriatric or puppies, they'll be fine until morning.

    When they wake up, ignore them. Read a book if you have to. Just don't give in and feed them. It will take two nights. You'll survive.

    If either dog is geriatric or a puppy, you may have to get up and deal with things.
  • SkyhookSkyhook Registered User Posts: 1,095 Senior Member
    I'd say dmd's take on it is almost certainly the correct one. Get the food and elimination habits worked out and life is good.

    One other thing you might check out: do you have any nocturnal wildlife which appear on your deck or in your yard around 3 am? Raccoons, deer, cats, coyotes? My dogs get very edgy and hyper when an animal gets out on the deck, and it can wake them from a sound sleep. For a while we had raccoons coming by to eat the bird seed some time after midnight. I started bringing in the feeders at night and the raccoons stopped visiting.

    Good luck.
  • college_querycollege_query Registered User Posts: 3,978 Senior Member
    I'm having the same issue - have 2 dogs, although only one of them is waking me up crying to go out. He's an 11-year old Irish Setter. The other dog is a 10-year old English Setter. Of course, after I take out the Irish Setter, I take the other one out as well.

    We take them out just before we go to bed. They are self-feeders so can eat and drink any time they want.

    I usually wake up around 5 am, but most days don't make it to my alarm. This morning was 4:30 am; can't wait for the time change! A couple of weeks ago he was on a 3:15 routine.

    He has only recently started doing this (past few months). If I tell him to go back to sleep, he does, for about 15 minutes, then he cries again. I usually get up after 2 or 3 rounds, unless I can't go back to sleep.

    He doesn't do it every night, but maybe 4 nights a week.

    The Irish Setter poops way more than the English Setter. They eat the same diet.

    This is my first large-breed dog. Could it just be old age?
  • SkyhookSkyhook Registered User Posts: 1,095 Senior Member
    Does it look like your dog is racing out the door to pee when you let him out? For an older dog, incontinence can definitely be a problem. You do not want to punish your dog, certainly, for something they can't help. They are trying to be a good dog by going outside. So you do need to figure out if this is the problem.

    On the other hand, if it is just a spoiled habit, you need to dissuade the dog from waking you up. You have my sympathy; one of my dogs is stubborn and insistent, especially about food. Fortunately, they have bladders of iron; better than mine.

    I am not a dog trainer. For discipline I use a stern voice and, if necessary, the cardboard roll from paper towels.
  • wbowwbow Registered User Posts: 972 Member
    i love my dog to pieces, but his morning walk is becoming an issue. mostly it is my fault--some mornings i have to walk him around 4:30 a.m. and consequently, that really messes up the rest of his days.

    i think the main reason my dog does bark during the night, however, is the parade of wildlife that marches through our yard. add a full moon to the mix and it almost guarantees a night interrupted by barking.
  • SkyhookSkyhook Registered User Posts: 1,095 Senior Member
    college_query, 11 years is fairly old for an Irish Setter. Maybe you should try restricting their water late in the evening for a while and see if that helps him make it through the night.
  • MomLiveMomLive Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    I was having this problem with my dog for a while. She is almost 12. Part of the problem was I was giving her a treat when she came back in. When I stopped doing that and started putting her on a leash and walking her in our yard (major pain at 3am in the morning), therefore she couldn't roam around the back yard, she stopped waking us up in the middle of the light.

    Also we let her out to pee as late as possible before retiring for the night.
  • tom1944tom1944 Registered User Posts: 5,995 Senior Member
    college_query- we have a 13 year old English Setter and I let him out between 2-3 most nights. Sometimes he just wants to sit out on the patio enjoying the fresh air. I am lucky in that my schedule usually has me getting up at that time also. Soon I am going to miss the inconvenience of letting him out. He has been worth every minute of it.
  • KajonKajon Registered User Posts: 4,366 Senior Member
    You could try using a white noise machine. (Just don't select the one with the birds chirping or jungle animals roaming around)
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,620 Senior Member
    I'd say dmd77's advice is spot on, unless your dog has a medical problem.

    If that fails, I suggest crating the dogs in the kitchen or some other room where you cannot hear them easily overnight until the habit is broken. At some point, you can try bringing them back into your room, possible one at a time, and see if they have gotten the idea. If they transgress, though, back to the crate.
  • ebeeeeeebeeeee Registered User Posts: 5,199 Senior Member
    Same as when I was dealing with our infants. It's all about feeding and elimination. Not to mention a little resolve on the part of the parent. dmd77 is spot on.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,534 Senior Member
    Just want to add that 3-315 am is exactly when a local, very chirpy bird, who frequented the tree in my front yard, would also wake up. When I was up late for many, many nights, I tracked it. Like clockwork. Probably something to do with the pre-dawn changes in light.
    Agree, try watching the late night water and etc. If there seems to be some background bladder issue, see the vet. Our dog occasionally whines, when she needs a late-night outsider. But barks, out of the blue, when a nocturnal animal passes by the house. Sometimes, we do the stern, "be quiet." Other times, we just reassure her that everything's ok.
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 52,134 Senior Member
    Just a thought--
    Due to your job, you are only home on weekends, correct? How is your DH handling the dogs inyour absence? I agree, do NOT feed them earlier than necessary. They will not starve between 4:30 and 7 am. But if they gotta go, they gotta go.
  • VeryHappyVeryHappy Registered User Posts: 16,753 Senior Member
    Yes, I'm only home on weekends. (And guess what -- it's getting worse, not better. But that's a story for another thread. :() But they also wake up at that hour when only DH is home.

    I think I agree that we should let them out but not feed them. They usually don't need to go out, but every once in a while they do. I think if we eliminate the food as a reward, they'll drop the idea.

    Hope springs eternal.
This discussion has been closed.