My dog whines on weekend mornings

My dog Ace is on a schedule.

I’m up and feeding him at around 6:30 a.m. weekday mornings. Josh gets up around 6 a.m. and Ace does not move until he hears me. This is his routine.

Saturday and Sunday mornings are a little different. We “attempt” to sleep in, but our dogs have other plans.

By 6:30 Ace 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. (And now that we have a puppy, there is also some “yipping” from the other room.)

Sigh …

This is a problem people ask me about from time to time.

My dog whines on weekend mornings. How do I stop him?

How to get your dog to sleep in weekend mornings

For me, the answer is simple but it’s not easy.

The dog does not get to decide when we’re getting up (and neither do the cats). The humans decide.

I know my dogs can hold it for 8 hours. They do so every night. If I let him out two hours later on a Friday night, there’s no reason why they can’t sleep in two hours later on Saturday morning. There’s also no reason why they can’t – God forbid – wait an extra half-hour to eat breakfast like the rest of us.

So, I block my dogs from accessing our bedroom door on weekend mornings.

Remy sleeps in another room in his crate with a sheet over his crate and the blinds closed.

Ace sleeps in the living room with a baby gate blocking his access to the hallway so he can’t linger in front of our door licking himself, scratching himself, flopping his ears around or whining. I won’t hear him in the living room.

My dog whines on weekend mornings

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 like I do. 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. That seems to help with Remy, along with a loud fan to block noise from outside.

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 half-hour or hour – not three 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 breakfast 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.
  • One reader suggested setting a separate alarm clock near your dog’s kennel every morning. Start by setting the alarm before your dog normally whines, and then gradually move the time later and later. The dog should learn that the alarm is what determines when it’s time to get up. His yipping is not what determines it. I might try this with Remy.

What about the rest of you? What tips do you have to stop a dog from whining?


21 Readers Commented

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  1. jan on March 4, 2014

    I’ve never had that problem. Even though we sleep in the same room no dog stirs until I do. I wish I could tell you my training method, but it was probably years ago yelling something like IT’S SATURDAY, DUMB MUTT.

  2. Elizabeth on March 4, 2014

    I don’t care for the yellow bile so I keep them on a pretty regular feeding schedule (Belle is my culprit in this). She’s even had bad breath from it. So (depending on your size of dog) you can give them human antacids at night, or the small meal. But only for 10 days and it works for about 6months. On the weekends we do regularly sleep in. And both dogs are pretty good about not waking us up till its absolute potty time. And then they are really good about letting us go back to sleep! I also follow your tip on getting one extra potty break in. It’s helped when D.O.G. was used to one shecedule and it was NOT condusive to my sleeping!

    I do worry about blocking them from our door. I don’t like waking up to puke on carpet, etc. So I don’t mind if someone comes to wake me up in the middle of the night, but if they go out they better be quick. I understand the reasons for kenneling, however my dogs job is to guard the house, so them being in a kennel just doesn’t work for me. And CV doesn’t care for it either. I’ve purchesed a couple of airline kennels for emergency’s and CV is talking about taking the dogs to the bush so I am sure, pretty soon I’ll drag them out and start getting the dogs used to them.

    Great tips and ideas!

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on March 5, 2014

      That’s actually the same reason I don’t use a kennel for Ace. Well, he doesn’t need one anymore but even when I first got him I let him be out of the kennel at night. He’s not much of a protector, but at least he’s a big dog that would bark (hopefully). He used to sleep in our bedroom, but now he sleeps out in the main area of the house.

  3. Emma on March 4, 2014

    At my house, it is the human that wakes up the dogs too early, but the one cat wakes up the human. We have tried everything to silence that cat but no luck. Darn cats!

  4. alex white on March 4, 2014

    I totally agree with you on your point regarding “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’d definitely try with my Siberian husky. Anyways thanks a lot for the help. 😀

  5. Kimberly Gauthier on March 5, 2014

    On the weekends our dogs get a lot more exercise allowing us to sleep in a bit. Puppy class was really great, but now that we don’t have that, we’ll have to start longer walks and play sessions so that we can get that precious extra couple hours. 🙂

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on March 5, 2014

      Training classes really tire Ace out as well! I love that!

  6. Sarah at on March 6, 2014

    Wow… we have it pretty good. Our dogs sleep until we get up, but I guess that’s how they’ve been conditioned since they were little. Our schedules are often different on different days (well, my boyfriend’s is) and so they are always used to being woken up whenever we do. Otherwise on the weekend, Lola & Rio will sleep in with me and they are perfectly content with that ;).

  7. Bax sleeps until I get up and adapts pretty well to a different sleeping and eating schedule on the weekends. However, once we’re up, he knows the first thing on the agenda is a walk, so he gets pretty talkative if he thinks we’re not moving fast enough… at least he does on the weekends. During the week he’s become less and less of a morning dog. There are lots of grumbles at the 6am wake-up call, and our morning walks have gotten shorter and shorter over the past few months. As the weather warms and the sun rises earlier, I expect that will change.

  8. Nancy on August 28, 2016

    I don’t know about the cats but I trained my dog as a puppy useing diapers n at night I took her out to just before bed I always wake up before her when she does get up I take her out first thing I’ve had her for no six n a half years I can only remember three times that she woke me up in the middle of the night to go out because once she had to pee really really bad n two others cuz I noticed she had diarrhea thankfully when she wake up I say you gotta go potty n she run in a circle to let me know it’s a yes and them holding it is not a good thing n beside think about you yourself how you wake up in the middle of the night to potty or your sick with diarrhea would you like to get yourself into holding it too ask your vet

  9. JaneO on August 28, 2016

    We’ve had our two year old GSD for just under four months now. We were told he wasn’t house trained, but he’s only had one accident and that was when he had the runs. He sleeps downstairs and we have a baby alarm (how sad is that??!!) so I can hear him whine if he needs to go outside (once or twice since we’ve had him). At weekends, I tend to go down in the morning and let him out and leave the door open (we’re lucky as we have an enclosed garden) whilst I go back upstairs to bed for a lie-in. We’ve had lots of different animals over the years and I’ve never walked, fed, or anything else at the same time every day so they don’t get in a state if something they are expecting doesn’t happen. It’s worked for us – and the animals!

  10. Johnice Reid on August 28, 2016

    If your dog’s sleep pattern is annoying, do NOT have any children. We all, as mammals have needs and when we care of another life form we must consider their needs before and above ours.

    I say this not to be judgmental or mean, dogs do age quicker than humans so, around age 4-5 years, they will sleep later or at least be less regimented to a routine. The older they become the more flexible in waiting and excitement.

    To expect a puppy under 12>18 mos old to behave like an adult or senior dog is not realistic. No one forced us to become the parents of dogs, they teach us so much, mostly how to be selfless and care deeply for another who depends upon us for food, water, exercise and shelter. THINK of the dog more as a child, an infant who needs to learn the social and life skills of living human.
    Best of luck to all.

  11. Jane on August 29, 2016

    I get up, let dogs out (older dog definitely needs this), feed dogs and all go back to bed for a snooze.

  12. Ms Hanson on August 29, 2016

    Agreed, sticking to a schedule works best, especially the over-sensitive hound blend. An extra late-night stroll usually grants us a reprieve weekend mornings, too. But the Boxer lady needs more frequent outings than The Tanker, as we’ve come to call her, so sometimes we take her by herself. Seems OK with the other one.

    Whining mostly reserved for himself BUT drives me crazy because it’s outside the range of his hearing. He does clue in when I don my great big JBL headphones and roam around making coffee and such.

    Good topic.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on August 29, 2016

      I could try an extra late night stroll with Remy pup and see if that helps.

  13. Sharon on December 4, 2016

    Even though a dog can go 8 hours before they need to urinate, they also have an internal clock. Mine need to go at certain times each day whether or not I let them out 2 hours earlier or later than usual. I would adjust the morning time gradually, but I have mastiffs and an accident is a real major event.

  14. Lynne on December 4, 2016

    I have six dogs that sleep with me. They get to go to the garage when they wake up. Obviously a few weeks pass and no one wants to wake up first.

    I like this site

  15. katherine clark on December 4, 2016

    My dog coco is pretty good, but were always on the same schedule during the week and weekend. We go to bed early and get up early like four o’clock or five o’clock. She always waits until I get up than she will get up. Sometimes after she eats and goes outside to go potty she decides to go back to bed and sleeps longer. She is kind of a lazy dog

  16. Liz on December 4, 2016

    I have one that throws up the bile occasionally, but I don’t get it because I will feed them later the night before so I can sleep in. Any ideas on this? If it’s not the puking it’s a cat that wakes me up, the dogs enjoy the sleeping in.