Clarity needed on puppy early waking solution please!!

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by Julia1, May 12, 2020.

  1. Julia1

    Julia1 Registered Users

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    Hi,

    I'm after some help please. I have a 4.5 months old black lab (Gary) and over the last month he has started walking earlier and earlier (think the early sunrise is not helping us). Aside from a week or so he has always cried to wake us. He is downstairs in the kitchen in his crate, goes to bed no problem around 10pm and we do X1 toilet break in the night anytime between 3 and 4am, again goes back in no problem. In the mornings we always ensure we wait for a period of silence or break in the cry before opening the bedroom door upstairs, as soon as we do that he knows we're up and will wait around 10mins for us to come downstairs before getting impatient and crying. We dont open the door when he's mid cry, just in case but that hasn't seemed to make any difference. When we go down we open the door calmly and then let him outside, he's never desperate to go to the toilet though. This waking started at around 6.20am and has over the last month moved to 4.45 at it's earliest. We tried leaving him to cry, he would go silent for 10 mins and then start up again and would persist and could carry on for 40 mins (we haven't pushed it past this!) Which we just can't do as our elderly neighbour will start to lose patience with us!

    My question is around the tactic to deploy to resolve this. Having read a few links on the forum and having looked on the Labrador site I've noticed slightly different advice and I wanted to know what you would recommend. We are planning to set the alarm to go off before he wakes 5am, go down and give him a treat in his crate to reward the silence and then keeping moving the alarm forward 5mins every day until 6am. But do we then let him out (calmly) and that's it, hes up and we just do boring things until it's time to properly start the day, or do we put him back in the crate after going outside sit and sit with him until he falls asleep? Do we also increase the length of time before letting him out the crate each day or is this pushing it?

    I know there are lots of questions on this but would love some advice on which route is best.

    Thank you!!
     
  2. TheLabInBlack

    TheLabInBlack Registered Users

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    We have a 12 week old puppy and so I’m by no means an expert but we have a routine where he gets taken for a wee around 530 then put back in crate with an antler to chew and left again until around 7 when we want to get up. He is in a crate in our bedroom so I’m not sure about some of the differences if your pup is in the kitchen. He has got used to this routine although it took a few weeks and is quite happy and calm chewing his antler and then goes back to sleep again.

    Our puppy also started waking earlier and earlier with the sunrise. Our recently deceased dog used to do this too, every year. With the puppy we have been making him wait five mins longer each day before we let him out. But he just grumbles and moans rather than cries

    Not sure if that helps, sorry if it doesn’t! Your plan sounds like a great idea. We have found somethings we need to change at 1 minute intervals. I’m sure someone else with more idea will have some ideas. Hope things settle down and you get back to getting more sleep!
     
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  3. TheLabInBlack

    TheLabInBlack Registered Users

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    He woke up with the birds again today at 455 crying for a wee.....

    I take it all back!
     
  4. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    I wouldn't give him a treat when you go down. I'd be boring. Let him out and get on with your day - as you would if you got up an hour later. If you want to go back to bed you'll need to crate him again straight away, and the protests he makes will probably prevent you getting another hour's sleep. Avoid feeding him before 7 or 8 am - that will help reduce the risk of him howling for his breakfast when you push the alarm clock forwards again
     
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  5. Julia1

    Julia1 Registered Users

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    Thank you!!
     
  6. TheLabInBlack

    TheLabInBlack Registered Users

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    I’ve been doing the alarm and 15 mins later each day. Works brilliantly. Puppy is fast asleep until the alarm goes off and then goes out for wee. Chews a toy for a few mins in his crate, then back to sleep again until next alarm. So far we have progressed from a 4 hour block to a 6 hour block. Woo hoo!
     
  7. Sukhpreet Aujla

    Sukhpreet Aujla Registered Users

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    Maybe keep him up until 10.30-11pm if possible. I did this and it worked instantly I'm also going to double-down and use the tactic where I wake the pup up for early morning toilet just before I think she is about to wake herself.
     
  8. Julia1

    Julia1 Registered Users

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    Thanks everyone! We took the decision to leave his crate door open at night, the night that he cried constantly was a hot one and even with the windows open and an extra large crate he is a big lab puppy and we felt he was too hot. We now leave the crate open and he is able to move to different spots in the kitchen (secured by baby gates) and he now goes to bed quietly and we have been setting an alarm 5 mins earlier each day and are now at 5.40am (from 4.45am!) and we wake before him without him barking. Aiming to get to 6am! We leave him with his favourite chews and a peanut butter kong so he has things to entertain himself.
     
  9. Julesuk

    Julesuk Registered Users

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    Hi
    I’m glad there was another post on this. We were doing well with our 13 weEk pup Until this week she has had diarrhoea so obviously have had to get up way more than normal (every hour the other night) The problem is now she is baking to waking up more and crying more :( we have tried to go back to the alarm system but we just can’t predict when it will be as it’s different every night.
    In the morning she just cries until we get up, any tips on how to teach them to self settle in the morning?
     
  10. Julesuk

    Julesuk Registered Users

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    Add to last post:
    Last night was awful! She went to bed at 10 and woke at 12 so went out to the toilet. Then awake again at 2 and then 4 but we could not get her back to sleep or settle since then. Normally she is whimpering but she was full on barking this morning. Was 25-30 minutes to start with.
    Really feel defeated and at the end of my tether this morning
     
  11. Christina2807

    Christina2807 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi Jules,

    Have you tried moving the crate back upstairs with you? If she hasn't been well she may be looking for comfort and reassurance, even if it is just for a couple of nights.

    Another thing is when did she get her second set of vaccinations? This can make puppies feel unwell and act differently.

    Finally she could be in the next stage of teething, this is painful and she might just need to know you are there.
     
  12. Julesuk

    Julesuk Registered Users

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    Hi Christina
    She had her 2nd vaccs 3 weeks ago tomorrow so she has been going out for walks etc.

    We contemplated moving her back upstairs (I think you replied to my thread a couple of weeks ago) but we thought that may be too many steps back especially as she was in a bedroom at the breeders until she came to us.

    I’m guessing she ‘caught us out’ whilst she was poorly and now thinks she can get us up whenever. When she was off colour we didn’t get up straight away and tried to go down in a break but obviously couldn’t leave her too long as she needed the toilet. Last night she was actually barking for 30 minutes, and I wasn’t sure she knew how to bark really! The last few nights it has just been whimpers and squeaks.


    My parents have offered to have her for a few nights. They are at least in a detached house so could let her cry more and we are both exhausted.
     
  13. Christina2807

    Christina2807 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Has anything changed in her routine? Has she had any bad experiences? Is the room her crate in dark and quiet?

    Luna was 14 weeks when she started playing up really bad all of a sudden, we were on the floor playing with her and noticed that her front canine had broken down to the nerve so was causing her so much pain. Maybe if you can do a check over of your pup (teeth, paws, ears etc) to make sure there is nothing there.

    Unfortunately she may have just 'caught you out' and you will need to start the process again or she will continue to bark to get out and for attention.

    If she goes to your parents and they are different with her, routine etc then she might come back worse because she will quickly learn theirs so be careful.
     
  14. TheLabInBlack

    TheLabInBlack Registered Users

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    Sorry you’ve been such a difficult time! Sounds like your puppy is finding things too difficult at the moment. I’d recommend to do what Christina recommends and start back from the beginning and have puppy in your room again and make tiny steps forward like you did before. You will get there again to her sleeping more

    I can understand how frustrating and worrying it is. We had our puppy up to 1 hour alone and then all of a sudden he was crying and shrieking all the time even after 30 seconds when left alone. I think this also started after a day when he had diarrhoea and needed to go out a lot more often. I spent a week struggling on with him shrieking in his crate when left alone and he got worse and worse until I decided enough was enough and I should start from the beginning. I didn’t want to as I panicked about how much he needs to be able to be on his own. But remembered a line from one of Pippa’s books ‘Train the dog in front of you, not the one you wish you had’. I started with him having 10 seconds alone and have now built up to 7 minutes several times a day. I hope my experience can help you see how five steps back sometimes is the only way forward, but you will make progress again! It feels like failure, but it really isn’t.

    I hope things start to settle down again, once you feel like you are making little bits of progress, no matter how tiny, then it will help you feel in control again and so much better!
     
  15. Julesuk

    Julesuk Registered Users

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    Hi both

    Sorry I missed your reply yesterday Christina. Last night was just as bad. I don’t think it’s a separation problem as after 1 hour of barking I let her out in a split second of quiet and she didn’t want to go. I set up camp in the utility with my quilt but she still didn’t settle. It was more like she was awake than she was worried. This is why I’m hesitant to move her back up and because she is 14 weeks now I’m worried she will have spent way too long in a bedroom and we will continue to struggle after.

    I can’t think of anything that has happened or changed in her routine apart from we changed her meals to 3 a day and the 4th meal is used for training throughout the day.
    She didn’t sleep much yesterday and we didn’t let her sleep between 6,30 and 10 last night so she must have been tired.
     
  16. Christina2807

    Christina2807 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    It could be that she is hungry, are you increasing her food each week as she grows?

    If she isn't settling when she is tired then something is bothering her. She could be over tired, not stimulated enough physically or mentally, hungry, bored, teething. Try a little training session before bed time to see if it helps tire her out ready for bed.
     
  17. Julesuk

    Julesuk Registered Users

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    Hi Christina
    We have had to change to slightly different diet this week due to the diarrhoea so that is maybe making her more hungry? Also feeding at 7 instead of 8pm and she was waking us at 5 before but would always settle.
    We did a late walk last night and then a kong when we got home at 9pm and she was super tired before bed, I had to carry her outside for a wee as she just wanted to curl up so getting her to bed isn’t a problem.
    We put her in her crate this afternoon and she had her kong, barked a couple of times and then settled so we know she can do it.
     
  18. Christina2807

    Christina2807 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Any small change will make a bit difference to her just now and an hour difference for food doesn't seem a lot but will be for her.

    In the afternoon there will still be the 'noise' of the house running so to speak and she will hear you talking, moving around etc so won't feel alone.

    How did she get on last night?
     
  19. Julesuk

    Julesuk Registered Users

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    Hi Christina
    Last night was much better thank you. Our utility door is half window so We put cardboard up to block out the sun.
    We also fed at 8pm again and I took her to my parents to play in their garden in the afternoon now lockdown is easing here and she was shattered!
    She slept 10-5.30 pretty much. I still woke her at 12 for last wee but she refused to go. My husband went down at 5.30 and waited until she settled but she barked as soon as he left. She only barked for 5 minutes though and went quiet until 6.30.
    Just need to keep at it now and continue to leave her in the day etc to get her used to the fact barking won’t always make us come to her
     
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  20. Christina2807

    Christina2807 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Thats great sounds like you now have a routine that works and just need to stick with it!
     
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