How to keep dog from waking me up all hours of morning?
June 22, 2005 8:12 PM   Subscribe

I have a 2 1/2 year old Silky terrier (Yorkie & Australian terrier mix) which has the typical terrier characteristics. The dog is pretty great. Just one problem...

The problem is, he wakes me us up at all hours of the morning (usually 3 and 5 am) even if he is let out quite late (midnight or 1 am). This also happens even though the room is dark.

This is, in a word, tiring. Any tips on how to keep the dog from waking us up?
posted by gnash to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
Are you talking bathroom or excitedness and attention-seeking? (I suspect bathroom, since you're talking about him being let out)

Most sites on the subject suggest water restriction, and feeding not too late in the evening. Personally, we give our terrier water 24/7, because it's damn hot here right now and we don't take chances with dehydration. But if that isn't as big a concern where you are, or at least overnight, you might want to consider not allowing your little chum water past, say, 9 o'clock.

If I'm wrong and it's excitedness, then time for a late-night run.

post script: well, your question IS how to keep him from waking you. If he isn't sleeping in your bed, or if he can get on/off well enough, you may want to consider paper training for the night. We use a boot tray as a trough (with newspaper) so there's little mess.
posted by dreamsign at 8:28 PM on June 22, 2005

Yep. He either needs exercise, or he needs to learn to not have to pee. Why not try both?
posted by Kwantsar at 8:37 PM on June 22, 2005

Mmm, good thought, re: "learning" not to pee.

Cage training does that, if you have a mind to do it. But someone has to be home in order to handle it properly. A little fellow can't keep it in for more than a few hours at a time, but forcing him to stay confined to the place where he sleeps encourages him to hold it in -- just don't do it too long -- and this trains him to improve his bladder control, which puppies just do not start off with naturally.

(Unfortunately, we're a working couple, so this was not an option for us.)
posted by dreamsign at 8:46 PM on June 22, 2005

I had the same problem with my lab cross. He would wake me at least once a night to go out, sometimes twice. He always went for exercise before bed, and was let out around midnight to pee. There was no reason for him not to make it through the night -- he would go 8 or 9 hours during the day without needing to go out, and I couldn't figure out the problem. I talked to my vet who suggested it was a learned behaviour. He was used to me waking up and letting him out, so he continued to wake me every night. I eventually broke him of the habit by NOT letting him out. When he whine or pace the room, I would tell him "NO" in a stern voice. I would have to tell him a couple times, but he would eventually stop whining and pacing. It took a little over a week before he finally figured out that We Do Not Go Outside At Night Unless It Is An Emergency.

If your dog can make it through the day without needing to go out, try this. It's probably just a habit that needs to be broken.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 8:53 PM on June 22, 2005

Exercise works wonders. Good vigorous walks help. Training sessions also help -- exercising the old noggin burns off energy too.

Our silly wee pup (who's not a terrierist) sleeps in the room with us, and there's no water dish in the room. If he's acting thirsty or is panty, we'll let him out for a drink. He's usually fine, but if he hasn't gotten much exercise lately (if it's been too gross'n'rainy or hot for real walks), he'll wake us up in the middle of the night because he's bored and wants it to be playtime (I think).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:37 PM on June 22, 2005

There's no reason that a healthy dog of this age can't hold it all night, regardless of breed or size. However, the first thing is to make sure he IS a healthy dog, go to the vet and make sure he doesn't have a bladder problem, trying to treat a physiological problem like a behaviour problem is not only doomed to failure and unfair, it will also undo your housetraining and make it much harder to retrain - in addition to an infection, there could be a physical problem with his urinary system, especially if he was neutered early in life. Second, assuming your house is air conditioned, I'd take up his water about three hours before bedtime, take him for a good walk just before bed (in addition to the other exercise he's getting, which is likely not enough, since very few dogs get as much exercise as they really should have (just like us) - terriers need a LOT of exercise, even the small ones), give him something to do with himself if he can't sleep (a Kong toy stuffed with some of his daily food ration mixed with some goodies and sealed with canned food or peanut butter or whatever he likes, but not too much food, since this can trigger the need to relieve himself), and then absolutely do not let him out when he complains, ignore him completely, ANY response is reinforcing the behaviour. Crate training is a definite plus, but do it properly (any good puppy book which uses positive, modern methods should have a good description of proper crate training). Good luck, I suspect that the problem is rooted in a lack of adequate exercise more than anything else (a tired dog is a good and happy dog). Also, good, solid, fun for both, obedience training on a regular basis (if not daily, then every other day, with at least one class a week) will do wonders to improve your communication skills and help your dog learn to live well with you (well-trained dogs are much easier to live with and have an easier time understanding what you expect of them in all kinds of ways you might not think of). Good luck.
posted by biscotti at 10:19 PM on June 22, 2005

My guys have a dog door, so they can go out anytime, but if there's a reason I don't want them going out at night (there's a deluge or we're camping), they get a urinary acidifier pill. Reduces the urge, they stay in, all is good.
posted by sageleaf at 3:30 AM on June 23, 2005

Thanks to everyone for the responses. As always, they were all excellent. We will be taking some of the excellent advice!
posted by gnash at 12:35 AM on June 26, 2005

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