My Cocker Spaniel Isn't Sleeping!
My 6 month old working cocker spaniel bitch has recently started to wake up very early in the mornings, around 5-ish.
She sleeps in her crate in my bedroom. We go to bed at the same time of night, around 11-ish and our routine has always been the same.
She has never slept in very late, around 6.30am since she was 8 weeks old, which is fine and acceptable, but I would appreciate some help.
Why is she waking so early now?
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
If you're sure your Cocker Spaniel isn't having bladder or bowel problems, you might like to try placing a dark coloured blanket over her crate. If she wakes early, she may think it's still night-time and, with a bit of luck, she may lie quietly a little longer.
Do you close the curtains at night? That may help too.
Is there anything in the room, or around the house that could be waking her? Open window, the sound of cars, birds chirping, ticking clock, etc?
Or could it be the fact that it's that time of year when the clocks go back and her body clock is still on the old time? I know it happens to me every year until my body clock adjusts!
There are a few things you can do to help her sleep a little longer each morning.
For example, make sure she's tired out before she goes to bed at night, take her for a walk or play with her, - tire her out and she may sleep longer.
If she's waking early because she wants to do her toilet, let her out at night (as late as possible) just before you go to bed.
You could also consider removing her access to water at around 9:00pm to help her to 'go all night'.
I am assuming that you're not feeding her after 6:00pm at night, otherwise this may be contributing to her waking early to go to the toilet.
Dogs learn behaviour. When your cocker spaniel wakes early, what do you do? Do you immediately see to her needs, ie., feed her, make a fuss of her, let her out etc.
If you give her attention when she 'demands' it she will learn to do it all the more to get what she wants. It will only take a few instances for her to learn that you will respond to her.
You can learn more about attention seeking behaviour here.
Well, that's about it - I can't think of anything else to suggest. Perhaps our visitors can - come on girls and guys, what do you think?
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