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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20274
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Hello I have a 4 yr old ex racer greyhound. Ive had him 6

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I have a 4 yr old ex racer greyhound. I've had him 6 months now and I would like your advice on how I can stop him waking up early. He usually starts his morning chorus anytime between 4.30 am and 5.30am. On my alarm which is 6am I let him out in the garden. He has never been to the toilet in the house. I use the same routine at the weekends.

He gets 3 walks a day, 2 walks between 20-40 mins and his main walk for an hour. He gets 10 mins walk around the block just before i go to bed. This is varied which can be anytime from 10.30pm or later.

He is fed two meals a day, breakfast at 6.30am and dinner at 8pm.
The vet has given him a clean bill of health.

He likes to sleep upstairs in the small box-room which is directly behind our bedroom though when he wakes he comes into our room first whining (we ignore him).. then he heads off downstairs and barks. As we have neighbours and his bark is very loud I call him back to his bed.. sometimes he stays there until the alarm, other times hes up and about several times.

This has been going on for the entire 6 months we have had him and therefore I must be doing something wrong. Can you help please?

Georgina Keenan
07532 085308

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

Thanks for all the wonderful information. I do appreciate it. the easiest way of correcting this situation is to make some minor changes in the dog's routine. Our aim is to move that initial waking up to a more reasonalble time. This is a pretty common issue that I see especially in younger dogs and retired working dogs. Owners get used to their pups sleeping for long periods of time and when they are older, they sleep less and wake earlier. Many working dogs do start very early in the morning so schedule is to wake earlier than many family dogs.

Things that can help this situation is to provide a very small meal right before bedtime so the dog does not have an empty stomach over night. I would keep the morning meal where it is and make it a little smaller, move the evening meal closer to 6:30pm and feed a small portion right before bed. If a dog has an empty belly it can cause excess bile which can cause a dog to wake early. The meal not only helps cut down on excess bile but also helps them sleep longer since they are not hungry. Feeding the evening meal a little earlier may allow the dog to eliminate more fully earlier.

The other thing that should be done is to make the last walk right before bedtime a long fast paced walk and much longer than just 10 minutes. Optimally, this would be the walk that is the longest or at least 30 minutes. It should be a fast paced walk to help tire the dog out so he sleeps better at night. I recommend walking to a destination and then give him 10 minutes or so at the destination to eliminate, sniff and relax before turning around and walking briskly back to home.

Rotating the dogs toys can also help keep a dog occupied if they should wake earlier than the owner. Dogs get bored if all its toys are present all the time, so rotating them out weekly works well to keep their interest in them. Another good choice is to have a kong with treat compartment. Fill it with peanut butter or yogurt and freeze it before giving it to him right before going to sleep. It will keep him occupied either when he first wakes up in the morning or keep him up a little later before going to sleep. This usually moves the time they wake up to a more acceptable time.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. I will try all this advice. Would you expect to see results fairly quickly? And do you agree that ignoring him in the morning is the best way or should I give him a kong when he wakes up?

He is used to waking a bit earlier, so like us, it may take him a little while to move that waking time a little later. It might just be 5-10 minutes the first day and a little later the next, but it should move within a couple of weeks. I recommend ignoring in the morning. If you get up and give the kong in the morning, it may keep him occupied but you are then teaching him to wake you to get the treat. I would give it at bedtime. He will either leave it until he wakes up in the morning which will keep his mouth busy until your alarm goes off or he will eat it before going to sleep which will put him going to sleep later and hopefully sleeping a bit longer.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you - I'll let you know how we get on in a few weeks.