Apparently, dogs do not come standard with a snooze button installed. I’m not even sure if that’s an available option in the upgrade package. In any event, if you know how to install an after-market snooze button on my dogs, you might be my hero. I tried to install my own. However, as you can see, the results were not encouraging:
Oh, well. Back to the drawing board.
Seriously, though… Bella and Tavish have recently taken the idea of the Early Bird Special to a whole new level.
The Good Ol’ Days…
I admit… I was spoiled for ten years. Bella used to be like a teenager – she loved to sleep in and very rarely woke me up. Sometimes I’d even have to wake her up instead. Our morning routine was relaxed and pleasant. For years, when we lived in an apartment, I’d get up around 6am on a work day, take a shower, get dressed, and then I (or the hub) would take Bella on her morning walk before feeding her breakfast. On weekends, she would sometimes sleep until well past 9am without waking us up. When we moved into our house a few years ago, that routine remained pretty much the same, although the morning walk was replaced by a morning jaunt in the yard.
However, last summer we discovered that Bella was having some kidney problems, which meant a change to a prescription diet. It’s become clear that the new food is not as filling as the old – my once lazy pup has become a renegade alarm clock that I am unable to program.
Feed me, Seymour…
Instead of sleeping in, Bella now wakes me up at crazy hours, demanding breakfast. (It’s become clear that it’s the breakfast, not going out, that she cares about – sometimes she even refuses to leave the porch to do her business until she’s eaten.)
It started innocently enough, but we’ve fallen down a slippery slope. Towards the end of last summer, she was waking me up at 7am on the weekends. Then 6 am. Then… the horror increased as we were forced to set our clocks back an hour. Six o’clock turned into five. Sometimes even four-thirty. Her schedule had overtaken my normal work day wake-up time.
The weekends are the worst. When she starts agitating for food at 4am, I have two choices, both of which have significant drawbacks. I can immediately get up, feed her, and return to bed – the benefit being that I can get some sleep, and the drawback being that doing so just seems to encourage her to wake up even earlier the next day. Alternatively, I can try to stay in bed until a more reasonable time – the hoped-for benefit being that she will learn to be patient, and the drawback being that I will lose hours of sleep while she continues to agitate for breakfast.
Enlisting the little guy to do her dirty work…
When we first got Tavish, he seemed content to sleep in. However, as Bella’s morning protests have increased in volume and frequency, I’ve noticed that he’s been recruited to fight the good fight.
When Bella wants me to get out of bed, she starts slowly – rolling around, breathing loudly, and the like. If that doesn’t work, she ramps things up a bit. She’ll hit the floor with her paws, run around, etc. If I still haven’t dragged my sleepy butt out of bed, she gets out the big guns – pounding on the side of the bed with her paws until I can’t ignore her any longer. (Thank goodness she’s too short to dive bomb the bed.)
Somewhere along the way, she decided that Tavish should join her in this endeavor. I’d hear her pad across the room and stick her nose in Tavish’s bed until he reluctantly woke up. Over time, Bella has reeducated him – the reluctance has been replaced with eagerness. He hops right out of bed at Bella’s prompting, and joins the campaign for breakfast at 3:30am.
In addition to Bella’s patented wake-up methods, Tavish has added a few personal touches (chewing a squeaky toy, wrestling with Bella at full volume). I truly realized the extent of Bella’s evil genius, however, when I awoke to find Tavish pounding his paws on the side of the bed while Bella watched from a few feet away. She taught him her tricks and then let him do the dirty work.
We’ve been trying a few different ways to teach the dogs to sleep in, inspired by our pals over at Kol’s Notes. (I really should have joined Jodi for the Something Wagging Train Your Dog Month Challenge.) For example, we’ve started feeding them dinner later. (Unfortunately, we can’t really feed them any more or they’ll start turning into blimps.)
On work days, I’ve been forcing myself to stay in bed until my alarm goes off, instead of acquiescing to their culinary demands. (Sometimes I would just go ahead and get up so that the hub could at least continue to sleep… he’s agreed that the crazy has gotten out of hand and that we both have to be strong.)
So far, the results have been mixed. This Saturday, the dogs didn’t wake me up until almost 9am. I was shocked. It was a total fluke, however… yesterday they were up before five.
I’ll keep trying to reset the dogs’ internal alarms as best I can, to develop our own version of the snooze button. Honestly, though – I’m just praying for spring forward, when at least I can set the clocks ahead one hour.
Do your dogs have a snooze button, or do you wish they had one? Tell me all about it in the comments!
(Want to check out some real mischief? Swing by the Monday Mischief blog hop!)