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Cocker spaniel waking up very early

(56 Posts)
anna7 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:20:39

Can anyone offer any advice about how I can persuade my 18 month old cocker spaniel to sleep longer in the mornings.

He currently wakes up between 6 - 6.30 am every day and as we are a retired couple who can get up when we want, we are finding it difficult. He sleeps in a quiet dark bed under the stairs. I have a stair gate because I don't want him upstairs. I close the living room doors when we go to bed because he is still a bit of a chewer if left unsupervised and I dont trust him. It's quite a big hall though and he has water. He gets plenty of exercise during the day. He dozes on the sofa next to us in the evenings and he will slope off to his bed sometimes. I try and stop him so he sleeps longer through the night but it doesn't help. If we keep him awake in the evening he just sleeps more the next day but still wakes up very early

I've tried walking him later, feeding him later, blackout blinds to make where he sleeps darker, not feeding him when he first gets up . Nothing makes any difference. He does want to go outside when he wakes but I dont think he is desperate, He just scrabbles like mad at the gate and makes a huge fuss until one of us gets up with him. He has even managed to open the gate sometimes. He is a very determined little dog. He is then full of beans for 45 minutes or so and then collapses on the sofa and sleeps for a good couple of hours or longer.

Has anyone any suggestions please or do we just have to put up with it.

Witzend Tue 12-Apr-22 09:29:32

He probably wants company. Dogs are pack animals.
I’m afraid to say that when our (half cocker spaniel) puppy did similar - barking and whining in the kitchen - I eventually just let her sleep in our room upstairs.

She would then (mostly) keep quiet until she knew one of us was awake. I don’t know how they know, when you haven’t even opened your eyes properly, but they do. Or she did anyway, and a previous dog was the same.

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:31:18

Apart from taking down the gate and opening the house up so that he is free to wander, I can’t think of anything.
We dog sit and she wanders around the house at night, sleeping where she wants, without waking us up, she usually comes into my room at 7am and snuggles on the bed until I get up.
Maybe your Dog is bored and feels trapped?
Puppies and older people ? Hmmmm

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 12-Apr-22 09:34:06

He wakes up at a time that’s natural for him and wants to play, like a young child. It sounds as though you really shouldn’t have got a dog.

NotTooOld Tue 12-Apr-22 09:35:07

Sounds like having a new baby. Give him a teddy and a dummy.

Coastpath Tue 12-Apr-22 09:37:06

By eventually giving in to his fuss and scrabbling at the gate you are teaching him that his fuss and scrabbling work and you respond to it.

Hard to do, but ignore it. He will realise that it doesn't work and that he has to fit in with your routine, not the other way around.

Routine is everything with dogs. If he knows he has a last mooch around the garden and a wee before you go to bed and then, when you rise he has the same opportunity to do so then this is what he will expect, he'll feel safe and comfortable with that and get used to.

Smileless2012 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:37:23

I had the same problem with our cockapoo, although she'd grown out of it by the time she was 18 months. She'd wake at 6 to 6.30 and I'd take her outside for a wee and then put her back to bed, where she'd stay for about another hour.

Don't let him have water during the night. If he doesn't drink after his last wee before bedtime, that may enable him to wait longer.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 12-Apr-22 09:37:44

I second the suggestion of having her sleep with you. Dogs need company. Ours have always had beds in our bedroom and have never been any trouble. It sounds as if he’s being made to sleep in a dark and lonely place.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 12-Apr-22 09:39:25

I don’t agree with a dog not having access to water at night, they need it at all times.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:39:51

That is his sleeping pattern. Unfortunately it doesn’t coincide with yours. 6.30am would be fine by me, but my dog snoozes until about 8am. So I am often up before our dog who might open an eye then shut it again. If he does follow me downstairs he just climbs into his downstairs bed and goes back to sleep.

Allowing him access to you would probably help. Our dog sleeps on his bed next to our bed. But of course everyone has their own rules and rightly so.

Coastpath Tue 12-Apr-22 09:40:07

Oh no Germanshepherdsmum I disagree with that. The OP is clearly trying to do her best by this little dog she loves and is trying very hard to help.

You and I both dote on our dogs but I'm sure you'll agree that they have to fit in with the family routine as much as we adopt our routine to accommodate them. Rising so early doesn't seem to be something the OP should have to get used to.

crazyH Tue 12-Apr-22 09:40:52

Agree with GSM…. I would love a dog, but I love my morning lie-ins even more 😂

anna7 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:41:34

Thanks for the responses. I have tried letting him in the bedroom with us but he literally tries to dig me out of the bed. It would be funny if it wasn't 6am! Maybe we should start letting him in the living room again. I did try but he chewed the corners off my cushions. My fault for forgetting to move them. I keep hoping that as he gets older he will get calmer but I'm not convinced.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:42:17

Oh water😲 our dog has a water bowl near his upstairs bed and with his food in the kitchen. Dogs bladders are very different to ours and they can contain a huge amount of urine to be released gradually on their walks. Maybe an elderly dog would have more of a problem, but never withdraw water!

Coastpath Tue 12-Apr-22 09:42:32

The dog does have water! It says that in the OP.

Our dog has never slept in our room. It's ok to have boundaries that suit you all.

Joane123 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:44:24

Hello anna. I think your dog just wants company; he's been asleep all night. It is just his natural time to wake up, his internal clock really. I would leave the gate off and let him wander although I think he will still want to get up at that time and want your company.

Callistemon21 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:44:26

He does want to go outside when he wakes but I dont think he is desperate

I do know how he feels.
If he chews things when he's alone it might mean he's bored too so he seems to need a wee and some company.

Our dogs weren't allowed upstairs but DH has always been an early riser anyway even now he's retired, so would let them out into the garden by 6 or 6.30 am.
It doesn't seem unreasonable - his time clock is just different to yours.

Coastpath Tue 12-Apr-22 09:44:41

Sorry, just re-read Smileless' post. Please ignore my water point.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:44:58

Springers do have masses and masses of energy. As working dogs they never seem to wear out.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 12-Apr-22 09:47:39

We’ll have to disagree there Coastpath. A young dog is like a young child. Would OP want to have to cope with the needs of a young child? I don’t think she really thought this through before getting the dog, who is obviously feeling lonely when it wakes up and wanting company.

Coastpath Tue 12-Apr-22 09:52:55

Perhaps the difference is GSM that I have always had rescue dogs and so never under a year old. I have no experience of puppies and so bow to your better judgement. My rescue dogs have valued a very predictable routine after often chaotic lives.

The OP is with her dog all day, it gets lots of exercise and she obviously wants to make it happy. I'm sure they will find a happy balance.

Smileless2012 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:53:00

Neither of our dogs have ever had access to water at night and are absolutely fine. The personal trainer we had to help with our cockapoo's separation anxiety also said about no water at night.

JaneJudge Tue 12-Apr-22 09:53:06

I think he has learnt that if he gets your attention from the gate, you will appear BUT all dogs ask to be let outside in a morning, whatever their age and if he is going to bed at say 10pm, 6am isn't that early? It's 8 hours. I need a wee in 8 hours I guess. I know I am not a dog

MayBee70 Tue 12-Apr-22 09:56:02

I have a section of my garden fenced off and have a dog sized hole in the utility room that my spaniels could get through so they could just let themselves in and out. That worked for years but I now have a whippet that doesn’t quite fit through the hole. She has developed a habit of wanting to go out at three in the morning even though her bladder is so strong she can sleep on the sofa for 12 + hours without moving! I find it very tiring. A lot of dogs do seem to want to join their owners early in the morning. I once looked after someone else’s whippet that happily slept downstairs at night but came upstairs early in the morning for a snuggle. I know how you feel, though. After years of having to get up for work at 7 the last thing I want is to have to get up (I’ve never been a morning person anyway). My spaniels always lived in the kitchen after my first spaniel became blind at an early age and struggled with being kept in the kitchen at night after being used to having access to the whole house (she also became incontinent in later life so I had to keep her where there was a tiled floor and I worried about her falling down the stairs). Spaniels are very energetic little dogs, always on the go and craving attention. That’s why I switched to a breed that slept all the time. Maybe try a dap diffuser ( it’s the first thing I try if there’s a behavioural problem). Have a radio on throughout the night as the dawn chorus might be waking him up?

merlotgran Tue 12-Apr-22 09:57:29

Is the dog well behaved during the day? If so, having to get up at 6.30 is not such a hard price to pay.

What does he do if you want to go back to bed?