Why don’t dogs come with a snooze button?

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:

After-market snooze button for your dog

My husband asked why I didn’t just Photoshop the post-it onto Bella’s head… I’m sure Bella would like to ask the same question.

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.

Small victories…

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!)

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21 thoughts on “Why don’t dogs come with a snooze button?

  1. Emmett and Lucas used to always get me up at the crack of dawn for breakfast. The big problem we had is that when Lucas gets an empty belly, he throws up a big pile of stomach acid (gross, I know). I started giving him a biscuit at night when I sent him to his bed to go to sleep. It kept him from getting sick, and – as a result – he started sleeping a little later. Maybe a biscuit before bed would help keep Bella feeling full longer?
    Maggie recently posted..My shame: My dog bit someone

    • You know, Maggie. Bella will sometimes do the same thing in the evening (stomach acid) if her dinner is too delayed. Luckily, it hasn’t happened in the mornings (knock on wood). We’ve been trying a treat in the evening – maybe I’ll try it closer to bed to see if that helps.

  2. Can you give a little food before bed? Maybe a quarter or eighth cup of kibble?

    How about adding canned green beans (I like cut, no-salt added) to help fill up the pups.

    Both have helped me learn the joy of sleeping through the sunrise. 🙂

    • I was thinking about splitting dinner. Unfortunately, Bella can’t have kibble any more and I’d have to check with the vet about green beans – she’s on a diet of pretty gross (at least in my opinion) canned food. I may check into it though!

      • Thanks for the shout out! It’s SO SO HARD, but here at our house, IT’S WORKING! We’ve gotten to a comfortable 6:45 wake up on the week days. We’re having a bit of trouble moving past that on the weekends, so I’m SO OPEN to ideas.

        For us, I think the key was setting the bell to go off before their stomachs did, then slowly moving it back. Not going to lie, I still hate that darn bell, but it’s been a life saver.

        Say? could you keep a small “snack” in the nightstand to pass out when Bella wakes up? You could take it out of her daily kibble allowance. We couldn’t do it, since we feed raw and a nightstand full of chicken thighs sounds incredibly disgusting, but it might work for kibble??
        Kolchak, Felix & Jodi recently posted..Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Training Treats for Dogs with Allergies

        • You guys are making great progress – definitely my inspiration to try to get this all under control! I’m working on linking it to my alarm, so that at least they will wait until then to get me up on the weekdays. Thank you for the great ideas – I really need to sit down and make a plan of attack!

  3. LOL I just wrote about this. Sampson (when he was on kibble) was always the stay in bed dog. I would literally drag him out before work just to be sure he pottied before I left. He ate his kibble when the mood struck and was very easy going.

    Delilah demands her food every twelve hours. Hubby and I switch off on the weekends so at least one of us has the opportunity to sleep in on a particular day.

    Here’s my suggestion. (If you’re asking.) 🙂 Choose a particular time. Our guys eat 7 at night, 7 in the morning. They also get a snack about 9 pm (bone filled with pumpkin (very filling) and yogurt or applesauce.) You could try feeding half their evening meal at the allotted time and the other half just before bed. That might hold them. But then the snack at night might do the trick as well.

    There are many weekend mornings when they have me up at 5:30 or 6:00 but I absolutely DO NOT give in and feed them before 7. I call it tough love. :0 Good luck!
    Jodi recently posted..Delilah-2, Misto Can-0

    • Yeah, the hub and I have done the alternating thing too – unfortunately, I’m the light sleeper and I keep waking up first no matter what.

      And thank you for the suggestion – I was definitely asking! 🙂 I think you’re right about the schedule. Dinner used to be at 6, but we’ve moved it back to 7. Waiting until 7 in the morning is the hard part I think. I need to get myself psyched up to give the pups some tough love, I guess!

  4. Add my vote to the “give a little snack” crowd. Either before bed or keep something low cal in your bedside table. I know you’d rather sleep uninterrupted but a second choice could be getting up, giving a small snack, and going back to bed.

    As our dogs age, it’s a balancing act to decide whether to train or manage a behavior (or some mix of both).

    I hope you can figure it out. I know you must be exhausted.
    Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes recently posted..Know Your Limits – Good for the Dog; Good for You

    • Pamela, you’re so right. Honestly, last spring/summer when Bella was having kidney problems, she wouldn’t eat and it was so upsetting. (She may have always been a bit lazy in the past, but she would always gobble up her kibble at meal times.) So, a large part of me is just so happy that she’s feeling better and feeling hungry that I think I didn’t try to address the waking up early thing sooner, you know?

  5. I SO wish Riley had a snooze button!! She was born on a farm and spent her first 7 weeks of life there…they used to get up at like 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning and eat while the breeder fed all the animals and then got ready for work. So she came pre-programmed to want to get up EARLY. We would ignore her (sometimes sleeping with ear plugs in), but it was hard. Finally she’s at the point where she’ll sleep til 6:30 or 7:30. I’m NOT a morning person, so I get up with her and feed her and let her out, then go back to bed for an hour or so.
    Elyse and Riley recently posted..Creeper

  6. The before-bed snack sounds like a good option. Why, I myself need a snack at night or I wake up starving in the night and can’t sleep. 🙂 I feel Bella’s pain. But then – I feel yours too!
    This is concerning since I thought we had it made in the shade with Rita. She LOVES to sleep in and she too will often let us sleep (well, the hubs sleeps – I lay in bed w/ my iPad) until 9 on the weekends. We are always the ones to get her out of bed (even at only 7 mo old when we first got her) and never the other way around. I thought we were so lucky… but now I am learning with this post that all that could some day change… Hopefully if/when that time comes, I’ll remember these tips from folks!
    Good luck! I’m a light sleeper too and I’d be exhausted. And being exhausted is no fun for anybody.
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted..Monday Mischief: Caught Cheating!

    • Yeah, I really thought we were so lucky… and then things changed. It really does remind me of how older people sometimes wake up really early and hit up the Early Bird Special… Bella’s totally doing a canine version of that.

  7. Pingback: The adjustment period: What to expect on your first night with your adult dog | (wagging) tales from a rookie

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