My dog whines on weekend mornings
My dog Ace is on a schedule.
I’m up and feeding him at around 7 a.m. on weekday mornings. My husband gets up at 6 a.m. and Ace does not move until he hears me. This is his routine.
Saturday and Sunday mornings are a little different.
Josh and I don’t get up until about 8:30. By that time our dog is at our door making all kinds of noise licking and scratching himself and flapping his ears around. It’s his “subtle” way of waking us up without barking.
It drives me nuts.
This is a problem people ask me about from time to time.
How do I get my dog to stop whining on Saturday mornings?
For me, the answer is simple.
The dog does not get to decide when we’re getting up (and neither do the cats). The humans get to decide.
I know my dog can hold it for 9 hours. He does so every night. If I let him out two hours later on a Friday night, there’s no reason why he can’t sleep in two hours later on a Saturday morning. There’s also no reason why he can’t – God forbid – wait an extra two hours to eat breakfast like the rest of us.
So, I simply block my dog from accessing our bedroom door on weekend mornings.
Our bedroom is at the end of a narrow hallway, so on Friday and Saturday nights I put a laundry basket in front of it to block Ace.
My dog can then lick and scratch himself and do the “dog body shake” all he wants on the other end of the hall and I won’t hear him.
Sleep is important. Find a way to block your own dog.
Each dog is different, so if you’re having a similar problem, just think about how you can block your dog from waking you up.
Maybe you need to use a baby gate to block your dog. Maybe your dog needs to go back to sleeping in a kennel or in the guest bedroom with the door closed. Maybe you need to move the kennel further away from where you sleep. Or maybe you could just put a blanket over the kennel so your dog can’t tell when it’s light out.
You know what will work best for your dog, and I recommend you do it. We need our sleep!
“You know what will work best for your dog, and I recommend you do it.”
If your dog seems to have a hard time with slightly different sleeping arrangements on the weekends, then follow the same routine during the week. For example, maybe your dog needs to sleep in the guest bedroom instead of your bedroom every night, not just on the weekends.
Ignore the whining.
Ignore any whining, barking, licking or scratching from your dog. These are all attention-seeking behaviors in this context.
If you absolutely have to go to your dog and let him out while he’s whining, ask him to do something like “sit” first. I got this idea from a trainer who helped me with a foster dog. She said the dog will then think he’s being rewarded for the “sit” instead of the whining.
Ideally, if you know your dog has to go out, you would let him out before he has a chance to start whining.
Other tips to stop the dog from whining on weekends:
- Let your dog out later Friday night if you’re going to sleep in Saturday morning
- Don’t have unrealistic expectations. Sleep in an extra hour or two – not four or five hours.
- If your dog throws up a yellow bile in the morning, it’s because his digestive system was anticipating a meal. Sometimes it helps to feed the dog a small snack before bed if you know breaksfast will be delayed.
- Most dogs will stop crying or whining eventually if they are not rewarded for it. If your dog is used to getting attention for whining, it will take longer to get him to stop. Just be consistent. Earplugs help!
- Try a citronella spray collar or an anti-bark collar if needed. Sleep is important.
What about the rest of you? What tips do you have to stop a dog from whining?
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