Stopping the 3am Dog Wakeup Call

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Stacykins, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    My mother owns two dogs (and I live with my mother, so they are kind of my dogs), and one of them has a bit of a 'problem'. Namely, every morning, without fail, Lacey the foxhound rescue MUST get up at 3am. Both dogs sleep with my mother during the night, so this definitely interrupts her getting enough sleep. Yea, Mom can go back to sleep afterward, but she never sleeps well after that. She'd normally be getting up around 5am, so that is two hours of solid sleep she is missing out on.

    Ignoring Lacey is not possible. She starts by softly whimpering. Then licking. Then increasing her volume. Sometimes she bounces to wake a person up. As sooooon as she starts up, the other dog is woken up too who also starts asking for breakfast. Normally, Ally would sleep until a more reasonable time.

    I've tried feeding Lacey later in the evening. At first I thought her tummy was telling her she was hungry. Nope, she still woke up at 3am. Maybe a snack before bedtime, then. No change. OK, so food isn't the issue here.

    Next up is her bladder. Thankfully, Lacey has a bladder of iron and has never had an accident, ever. But she gets pottied in the middle of the night. Usually around 11pm-midnight, when my mother gets up to go to the bathroom. So at 3am she shouldn't be desperate for the bathroom.

    Lacey is an incredibly high energy dog. She could go for ever and not get tired out. She gets at least two long walks a day (no runs because I am out of shape, D: ) and play sessions of fetch. Evening 'downtime' means sitting while a toy gets constantly thrown down a long hallway so Lacey can run after it. And by about 8pm, Lacey crashes, hard. It is like a light switch. She is dead to the world tired. So we manage to tire her out. Or do we not do so enough?

    One interesting thing is that Lacey and the other dog comes to sleep with me after she's had her breakfast and potty. But they don't wake me up most of the time when they slip in to snooze.

    What do you think we can do to make Lacey sleep just a few more hours? Mom works a pretty mentally taxing job. So those short hours of sleep are important. She already goes to bed early (9pm at the very latest, usually closer to 8pm). What can help change this habit?
  2. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    Is there something happinging in your environment at 3 am that is waking the dog up?
    Recently, my DH started up the water softener again and it does its backflush at 3 am - default setting. The first couple of nights it woke the dog and he started barking. Now 3 weeks later, he no longer barks at it.

    We also have train tracks about 1 mile north and 6 miles south of us. Both sets of tracks have at grade crossings, so the trains must blow their whistles when they go through. We have trains that go through at 1 am north of us and the next night it is 3 am south of us. When we first got our English Setter, he was about 10 months old and would bark every time the train whistle blew. This went on for about 2 months. He is our self-declared watchdog.
  3. Fly 2006

    Fly 2006 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2012
    Hampshire England
    This can be very irritating I am sure! You don't say exactly what happens when Lacey wakes your mum up, does she take her out? or give her attention? It could be she just needs to break the habit, as long as you are sure she does not need to go to the toilet then I would tell her to go and lie down ( I am assuming she will do this when asked? ) She needs to know she will not get any reward for waking your mum and learn that she must rest until 5am, dogs very easily get into habits and if she is getting what she wants by waking your mum at 3am she will keep doing it! It is most definately not that you need to give her more exercise so don't worry about that, will she sleep in a crate that you could cover so that it is very dark?
  4. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2012
    Northern California
    I would crate train the dog personally. Do you have a large dog carrier or the like?
  5. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Good posts above.

    If you know she doesn't desperately need to potty and you can determine that she is not being woken up by something then I agree that it is routine and she needs a firm no and then to be ignored. If she is getting attention, or to go outside, or to eat a snack or breakfast, or even go lay with you at this time then in her mind her behavior at 3am is being rewarded and is therefore correct and should continue.

    I would firmly tell her no and to lay down and be quiet or whatever commands you use with her. If her behavior continues to be disruptive I would crate her. She will learn that if does not lay down and go to sleep when asked then she has to be in her crate. These are the only two options. Once she understands this I think she will just sleep.

    edited: she might cry or be upset the first few times if she is not used to the crate but if you are firm this will stop and her behavior will improve. Ignore her. Attention is a reward and reinforces the negative.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  6. JacquiJ

    JacquiJ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2012
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm with the majority. One of our bbd*s was waking me up nightly, persistantly. I'd let him out thinking he needed to toilet, but I think he just liked being out at night and chasing the cats. It would take forever to get him back in the house. I finally wised up, realized he didn't need to potty and just ignored him. We shut the dogs out of our room at night so it took some doing to ignore the scratching on the door. As I recall it only took 3-4 nights to fix. Sounds like the same thing, just a habit. If mom can't ignore the dog, I agree a crate is in order.
  8. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    as others have said, if you know that there isn't anything that she needs, ignore her.

    The first couple of nights, it WILL get worse - like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Hold fast and just ignore her. If you cave in and let her out, she learns that if she is loud enough for long enough she will get her way. The first few nights will be bad but it will pay off in the end!
  9. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Honestly, I'm not sure if a sound has been waking Lacey up. I've been working nights lately, so I am not home anymore when this doggy wakeup occurs. By the time I get home, my mom is at work, and Lacey is ready to hop in bed with me as I catch up on my sleep.

    I have definitely shared all your information with my mother. Lacey is absolutely being rewarded for her behavior. When I shared the info, mom admitted to snuggling Lacey when she first starts up to try and quiet her down for a few more minutes. So Lacey is winning: she is getting snuggled! And then when she continues, she goes outside to potty and then gets breakfast. And often, she'll bark when she is put out rather than getting down to business.

    My mother IS lax with the dogs and their behavior. I do the most training with them, brush their teeth, etc. I mean, she isn't really bad. But they don't see her as in charge. When my dad rescued a rottie mix, he would push her around because he didn't see her as the Alpha. Ben knew he couldn't give my father and I any crap and obeyed us completely. But mom? Yea, he'd walk all over her.
  10. Godsgrl

    Godsgrl Ostrich wrangler

    Aug 27, 2007
    at the zoo usually
    I keep a spray bottle of water next to my bed for misbehaving animals. Perhaps your mom could have one on her nightstand, and give Lacey a few good blasts when she starts acting up at night. After a few times of this, your mom may only need to reach for it to settle the dog down. Good luck!

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