By Courtney Emken
co-written by Jen Larson, KPA-CTP, and Bart Emken, CPTD-KA
Some people are able to snooze through nearly anything, but the vast majority of us need peace and quiet to ensure a restful night. Unfortunately, dogs can often act like canine alarm clocks, barking and causing similar ruckus that disturbs you in the wee hours of the morning.
In this article we’ll explore the most likely causes behind your dog’s night time disturbances. After you’ve identified the underlying issue, saving your sleep is a simple matter of adjusting your dog’s lifestyle, routine, and diet. Here’s how.
How To Optimize Your Dog’s Lifestyle For Quieter Nights
Dogs often use vocalizations like barking, whimpering, and whining to communicate that they need something. When your dog vocalizes at night to wake you up, they’re trying to tell you what they want, like:
- A potty break
Take a close look at your dog’s schedule and evaluate any deficiencies or timing issues. Ask yourself key questions like:
- Is my dog getting enough exercise during the day?
- Does my dog have opportunities for enrichment?
- Do I feed my dog right before bedtime?
Understimulation is the enemy of good sleep. If your dog has nothing to do during the day, then they’ll bother you all night looking for play and attention. To avoid this, tire your dog out with effective walks, fun exercises, and mentally enriching toys.
If you’re gone the majority of the day, or just don’t have the time on your hands- then we’d highly recommend boarding your dog to ensure adequate daily stimulation. Our doggie daycare experience focuses on maximizing playtime and socializing to ensure a happy, tired dog.
If nightly potty breaks are the cause of your woes, there’s an even simpler solution. Try limiting your dog’s food/water intake before bedtime. Couple this with increased bathroom trips during the day and your dog should be able to make it through the night (be prepared to let them out first thing in the morning though!).
Be careful of what kinds of food you feed your dog before bed as well. Lower quality foods often include ingredients like:
These compounds act as diuretics and will increase the frequency of your dog’s urination. At DogBoy’s we like to use Pulsar, but there’s tons of information out there about which high-quality brand is right for you and your dog.
If you have the means and own your own home, then we’d highly recommend installing a doggy door. We’ve had one for years and it allows our dogs to relieve themselves during the night without asking us for help. These doors are tremendously helpful if your dog has incontinence issues or a similar condition that causes frequent bathroom visits.
How To Use Crate Training To Stop Losing Sleep
One of the first questions we ask when dealing with this issue is: “where is the dog sleeping?” If it’s in your bed or bedroom, then you’re asking for trouble. Not that this is inherently bad, but if you’re already having issues getting a full night’s rest because of your dog then you need to move them to their own sleeping space.
The best way to accomplish this is through crate training. If you properly reinforce their crate then you’ll give them a comfortable, safe, and quiet place of their own. Eventually, your dog will come to prefer their “comfy cave” over any other resting spot in the house.
If you’re still having difficulty keeping your dog quiet at night or have a dog whose separation anxiety makes crating difficult, then please contact us today. Our expert trainers can give you more detailed and personalized advice to help both of you sleep soundly through the night.