If your dog keeps waking up early you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you nine common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Why your dog wakes up so early
Below are nine common causes and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your dog has been doing it.
The cause could also be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if it starts showing signs of becoming anxious when you are about to leave it at night. The reason that separation anxiety might cause it to get up earlier could be that it wants to be around you sooner.
In this case, it might be worth following the tips given in this book on Amazon about dealing with dog separation anxiety.
A change in its routine
If you normally wake up at a certain time, but you have started waking up at different times, the cause could be that it is used to waking up at a certain time. This would also be likely if it tends to wake up early on the weekends. Dogs generally like having a routine and it can cause them to behave abnormally when their routine is disrupted.
In this case, it would be likely that it is used to getting to pee and eat at a certain time in the morning and it is waking up at that time because that is the time it is used to waking up at. One option here would be to gradually wake up at a certain time or to continue waking up at the new time and to wait for it to get used to waking up at the new time.
It needs to pee
The reason why your dog wakes up early could also be that it needs to pee in the morning. This would be more likely to be the cause if it wants to go outside straight away to pee, if it is a puppy or if it is elderly.
In this case, it would be important to continue letting it out to pee quickly. It would also help to let it out to pee just before bedtime.
Another possible cause is that it is hungry and that it is used to getting fed at a certain time.
If you regularly give your dog breakfast at 6 am then it’s going to cause your dog to expect to get food at 6 am. This will cause it to wake up at this time and to get excited at this time.
This would be more likely to be the issue if your dog wakes up when you want it to during the week but it wakes up too early and cries on the weekend.
Illness, injury or medical conditions
It could also be the case that illness, injury or medical issues are causing it to be in discomfort during the night. This would be more likely if it has started waking up early suddenly and if it has been showing signs of being in discomfort when awake such as by limping. If it does seem like illness, injury or medical problems could be the cause, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things it wants when it wakes up early. If you tend to give it things such as food, treats or attention, when it wakes up and gets excited early, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not wake up early in the morning and to avoid rewarding it when it does wake up early unless it is because it needs to pee.
A problem with its sleeping environment
It could also be the case that it has been struggling to fall asleep due to an issue with its sleeping environment. It might be the case that the room is too bright, loud, hot or that there is not enough space for it to lay down. This would also be more likely if it has started waking up earlier since sleeping in a different room.
As dogs become old their joints will often become painful for them. The reason why it has been waking up early could be due to being in discomfort. This would be more likely if your dog is old and if it has been showing signs of being in discomfort during the day and at night. In this case, it would help to consult with your vet about it.
Dogs are generally meant to get daily exercise. When dogs do not get enough exercise, they will often become a lot more energetic and it might be a part of the reason why yours has been waking up early. This would be more likely if it tends to wake up earlier when it did not get much exercise the way before.
It would help to make sure that your dog is getting the right amount of exercise for its age and breed.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider about your dog waking up early in the mornings.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If it did not always wake up so early, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as becoming ill, injured, getting less exercise, a change in the room it sleeps in or if you started waking up at different times yourself.
What is different when it does not wake up early
If it does not wake up early every morning, it would also help to consider what is different on the mornings that it does not wake up early.
For example, if it does not wake up early when it can sleep with you, it might be because of separation anxiety. Whereas, if it doesn’t wake up early when it can sleep in a certain room, it could be the case that the room it normally sleeps in is not ideal for it to sleep in.
How to stop your dog waking up too early
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to wake up later.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it does it because it is trying to get extra attention or rewards from you. It would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it wakes up early so that it learns that waking up early doesn’t get it extra attention. That is unless it seems to be waking up early for a different reason such as to go outside to pee.
Ensure its diet is right
It might be the case that there is an issue with its diet that has been causing it to struggle to fall asleep. It would help to make sure that it has been getting the right diet and that it has not been eating things that it should not be.
Ensure its sleeping environment is right
It would also help to ensure that the room it sleeps in allows it to fall asleep easily. It should be cool, not too bright, there should be space for it to lay down and not too loud.
Let it out to pee
It might be the case that your dog has been waking up early in the morning because it needs to pee.
The best option for you here is to try to give it water a bit earlier in the evenings and to let it pee just before going to bed. This way hopefully it won’t need to pee as much in the morning. It would also be an option to let it pee quickly in the mornings and then to quickly go back to bed.
If your dog is a puppy, while your puppy is still young, you might want to consider doing crate training. This can help your puppy to feel more secure and to make it less likely to cause trouble in the mornings.
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has been waking up early because your dog is actually expecting you to wake up at that time. It would help to try to wake up at a consistent time so that your dog learns when to expect you to wake up.
If it seems like it might be waking up early due to illness, injury or a medical cause, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to rule out medical causes and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.