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Wakes Early

Poodle Wakes up Too Early

Question: Hello, My toy Poodle Victoria wakes up too early!  She sleeps on her bed, on the floor, in my room. The door is closed. She barks at me early in the morning to take her out. This usually occurs between 6 and 7 a.m. I can't break her out of this bad habit. Luckily, I am retired so I can make up the sleep during the day.
 
Since we changed the clocks back one hour she now wants to get up at 5 a.m. I would appreciate any solution to this problem.  Thank You, Phyllis
Answer:  Hello Phyllis,

We agree that 5 or 6 AM is too early to be getting out of a warm bed if you don't have to. We do have some solutions for you.

Let's look at this at the point of view of Victoria waking up at 5 AM.

Being a bit over 2 years old, she should be able to hold her needs for 8 hours. 

We are not sure if she is waking up to have a bowel movement or to urinate...so we will address both possible issues.

If she is waking up to urinate:
If you give her last drink of water at 9 PM, she should be able to hold that for 8 hours, bringing you to 5 AM. Therefore, if you or a family member is awake after 9 PM, we suggest bringing her outside to urinate at about 10 or 11 PM and then offering a last drink at 10 or 11 PM and then having Victoria go to sleep... This would allow her to be able to hold her needs until 6 or 7 AM. Expecting her to hold on much longer is not possible. You could train her to not bark to wake you, but she will most likely then urinate inside.

If she is waking up to have a bowel movement:

Try feeding her either a very early dinner so that she can have a bowel movement right before bedtime...or try to feed her later at night so that she can hold on longer in the morning.

If it is not possible for someone to stay awake with her until 10 or 11 PM, it is possible to train her to do her 1st morning needs on a pee pad...and then the rest of her daily needs outside.

To do this, you will be needing to put effort and work into the training for approximately 2-3 weeks...however it will then save you years of not having to wake up early.

This is how we suggest doing this:

1. Purchase pee pads...You will want a brand that has a moisture-proof backing (that side will be on your floor) and the soft pee pad will be the side she will use.

2. Each night before you go to bed, place a new pee pad right near the door that is used when she goes outside. If someone will be entering the home before you wake up, you may wish to place it as close to the door as possible, without it getting in the way of anyone who might walk there.

3. When Victoria wakes up in the morning, bring her to the pee pad. She will assume that she is going to be brought out of the door and outside. However, stop at the pee pad and do not bring her outside. You may wish to put her leash on her for the 1st week or so until she starts to learn what to do.

4. Holding the leash so that she must stay on the pee pad, stay there with her until she urinates or has her bowel movement. Keep giving a command word such as PEE PAD... it is important that she is given a command word to understand that what she is doing and where she is will be a command later.

5. After she does her business on the pee pad, give her great praise! Really show her how wonderful she did !

6. Be sure to remove the pee pad so that during the rest of the day, she goes outside as normal. *Unless you wish to always have her use a pee pad, which some people choose, especially if they live in an area that gets harsh winters*

7. After the 1st week or so, try to lead her to the pee pad without a leash. Keep saying the command word, as you get her to follow you to the pee pad.

8. Be sure to always give praise.

9. After 2-3 weeks, when she wakes up, try to just give the command word in a firm voice and see if she goes over to the pee pad by herself. You may need to spy a bit to see if she goes straight there, and lead her to the pad if she does not.

10. By the end of week 3, she should be able to go right over to the pee pad in the morning by herself. You may need to give the command word(s) and then fall back asleep.

11. As you are doing this training, she may bark and bark until you get up. After a few weeks, if she barks, just say "Shhhhhhhhhhhh", give the command word and then lay back down. If she learns that she will not receive attention, that you are going to remain in bed, and she does have an area to relieve herself...she should give in and go to the bathroom on the pee pad.

12. Don't' give up. Many dogs can learn this in 2-3 weeks, but some may take 4-6 weeks. Remember that any amount of weeks is better than a lifetime of waking up before the roosters!
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