If your dog whines on weekend mornings when you’re trying to sleep in an extra 45 mins, this article will help!
My own dog Remy is on a schedule!
I’m up and feeding him at around 6:30 a.m. most weekday mornings. This is his routine.
Saturday and Sunday mornings are a little different. We “attempt” to sleep in until about 7:30. Usually we can, but sometimes Remy has other plans and starts whining at our door.
By 6:30 my old dog Ace would also be at our door making all kinds of noise licking and scratching himself and flapping his ears around. It was his “subtle” way of waking us up without barking.
Remy tends to start “yipping” from the other room, which is even more annoying.
This is a problem people ask me about from time to time.
My dog whines on weekend mornings. How do I stop him?
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 dog can hold it for 8 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 one hour later on Saturday morning.
There’s also no reason why he can’t – God forbid – wait an extra half-hour to eat breakfast like the rest of us.
So, I block my dog 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 would sleep in the living room with a baby gate blocking his access to the hallway so he couldn’t linger in front of our door licking himself, scratching himself, flopping his ears around or whining. I didn’t hear him when he was in the living room.
Don’t let your dog sleep with you if he whines.
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!
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 your dog when he whines on weekend mornings
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
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.
Slowly change your weekend routine by 15 mins each week so it’s less of a dramatic change. For example, sleep in 15 extra mins this weekend, then 30 mins next weekend.
Do your best to ignore your dog’s whining
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!
Train your dog to get up to his own alarm clock
This might sound silly at first, but think about it. Dogs easily make associations.
If you set an alarm clock near your dog’s kennel and consistently get up and let her out right after it goes off, she will learn to wait for the alarm.
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 tried this with Remy using a light on a timer and had some success.
Also note, 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.
What about the rest of you? What tips do you have to stop a dog from whining on weekend mornings?
Let me know in the comments!
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Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training, dog exercise and feeding a healthy raw diet.