Here in the UK, the mornings are getting lighter and it is now normal to have the sun shining through the windows and birds singing at 5am. It’s no coincidence that I’ve had several messages recently asking “Why is my Labrador waking up so early in the morning at the moment?”
Us humans have watches, clocks and alarms to tell us when is an acceptable time to get out of bed but our Labradors don’t have this luxury, they rely on natures alarm clock to tell them when it’s time to get up.
When your Labrador sees the sunshine coming through the windows and hears the birds singing, they will assume that the day has started and they will be keen to crack on with their busy routine of eating, playing, exercising and napping (it’s tough being a dog)
This is where your Labradors frustration kicks in and they can start to whine and bark to try and wake you up.
Here are my 5 top tips to teach them to be calm and quiet until you are ready to start your day.
- Rule out the need for a toilet break
- When nature calls, we want our dogs to tell us before accidents happen and we actively encourage this normally. If you think that your dog in whining because they need the toilet…always get out of bed and go to them.
- Make their sleeping area as dark and quiet as possible
- Cover the windows with curtains or black out blinds to prevent the sun shining in and waking them. If your dog sleeps in a crate, cover it with a blanket so that it is dark.
Let them sleep in the quietest part of the house so they do not get woken by road noise, neighbours or bird song.
If noise in the morning is a problem, try playing some music through the night, quietly in the background so that it masks the noise of the morning bird song.
- Take exercise before bedtime
- Try taking your Labrador for a walk to get some exercise around an hour before bedtime, this will help them to use up any energy reserves and help them sleep for longer.
- Leave them a minute or two longer each day and only appear when they are quiet
- Each day that they wake earlier than you would like, wait a minute or two longer before you go to them. This will encourage them to wait a little longer each day.
Only appear when you hear silence, even if it’s only silent for 5 seconds while they take a breath. With consistency from you, your Labrador will learn that their silence is what makes you appear.
- Let them entertain themselves and make mornings less exciting.
- Ensure your Labrador has things to do when they wake up early that don’t involve you. Leave them with suitable toys, chews, and access to water so that they can entertain themselves.
- When you do get up, make it less of an event for your Labrador so they learn that it’s not such a big deal. Say hello, let them toilet and then give it half an hour before you start to really interact with them and do exciting things.
- Don’t feed them straight away, let them amuse themselves while you have a coffee and wake up properly. This will encourage them to stay calm and ensure they do not associate their whining and barking with getting food as a reward.
Stick with it and be patient, it’s not an overnight process but with a consistent approach you will see improvements and will soon be enjoying a more peaceful morning.
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