Why Does My Dog Wake Up So Early

morning dog walk

There is nothing worse than being woken up by the thumping of a waggy tail on the side of your bed. If you have an early-rising dog you will understand what this means. In this article we look at why dogs wake up so early and what you can do to prevent it from ruining those lazy Sundays.

The most common reason why dogs wake up so early is down to a routine. During the working week, you most likely wake up at a certain time every morning, and because your dog doesn’t know the concept of a day off they will make this a consistent habit.  

You may also find that even during the working week your dog wakes up earlier than you. This could be down to a number of reasons which we will discuss in this article.


Why Do Dogs Wake Up So Early

As highlighted previously dogs are creatures of habit and will quickly learn the many norms associated with day-to-day activities, this includes going to bed and waking up. Although this is a learned behavior it is often accompanied by other factors which are highlighted below.

Dogs Wake Up For Bathroom Breaks

Bathroom breaks are certainly a top priority when it comes to caring for your dog. From an early age, they will hopefully learn that the outside is where they should pee. Unfortunately, training a dog to unlock and open a door is harder than you might expect, therefore they need the help of a human.

Owners will let their dogs in and out of the house all day long, instilling in them the thought process of…I need a pee…..wheres the human. If your dog needs the toilet you obviously don’t want them going in the house and therefore will have to accept that when they’ve gotta go there gotta go.

It’s also good to keep in mind that some clever dogs may learn that pretending to need a pee can get them outside even if they don’t need the toilet. You should notice this as you will be aware of when they last went to the toilet and as soon as you let them out do they go for a pee or just stare at the backyard. A reluctance to come back into the house can also indicate that your dog is up to his old tricks.

If your dog is going to the toilet more than you think it should be, there is no harm in taking them to the vet to have a check-up.

Dogs Wake Up Early Because They are Hungry

This is most likely the first thought on your dog’s mind in the morning. As soon as they wake up they will question what the next move is. Routine helps them fulfill this thought process and if you generally feed them as soon as you get up they will learn that waking you up gets them food.

Don’t be fooled I consistently have this battle with my dog, unfortunately for him, I’m usually too busy attempting to make a poor cup of tea. The reason the habit doesn’t go away is that on a weekend I wake up later, by this time it’s well past feeding the dog so I instantly give him breakfast. The most interesting part of this is that he has stopped waking me up on weekdays, perhaps learning the days of the week.

Dogs are always going to want their breakfast as soon as they can get it and so keeping a strong distance between waking up and feeding the dog is important. Try not to associate the two actions together otherwise, your dog will cotton on to this and always wake up early.

Dogs Wake Up Early Because Of Noise

You have probably noticed that dogs have a great sense of smell but they also have pretty good hearing. A noisy street can certainly wake you up, but as windows have become better in the quality you most likely don’t hear the things that go on in the morning.

A possible reason for your dog waking up early is due to their incredible hearing. As people wake up and start the day, your dog might hear them moving around outside. Being protective animals they will most likely get up and start wandering around.

You may not think there are many people up and about at that time, but you would be surprised. We don’t usually notice our neighbors sneaking off to work in the early hours and some people start work really early. Locals farms deliver milk and eggs early in the morning, usually before anyone is about. This is because they have to keep stopping the van on the road and during busier times this would cause problems.

Dogs Wake Up Early Because Of Light

Light is something that we all react to, it’s a natural alarm clock for our brains. Without getting bogged down in science, the light activates certain areas of the brain and causes them to produce chemicals that kick starts our body.

Dogs have the same system inside their brains. As dogs are not nocturnal creatures they will react to any light coming into their eyes even through their eyelids. The summer months may be a time when you notice your dog getting up early. I know that during the summer I wake up and it’s already light outside, which is great…although I still need an alarm clock.

Your dog’s natural response to this is to get up and start the day. Anything that is next on the list of daily tasks such as food or a walk will be their next act.

why does my dog wake up early

What Time Should A Dog Wake Up

So what time should dogs wake up? Well as you have seen above this can depend on many factors that affect your dog’s instincts.

If you are creating a routine for them by waking up and feeding them or walking them straightway, then they will learn this as the correct thing to do.

There isn’t really a given time for dogs to sleep. As they are daytime creatures the nighttime is the most convenient time for them to sleep. However, dogs tend to sleep all day long at different intervals. Think about their entire day, if you go to work and leave them in the house they will most likely sleep all day. So considering this why would your dog want to sleep all night too.

We all have busy lives and our dogs will sometimes be left at home for long periods of time. Because of this, it’s important to ensure they get the best exercise they can before going to sleep. This means that when you get home from work take them for a walk. if you can let them off the lead for a free run then this is even better, additionally letting them play with other dogs can burn even more energy. If you want to learn more about burning your dogs energy levels with walking then check out this other article I wrote – “Does Walking Your Dog Make Them Tired”

What Time Do Most Dogs Wake Up

It tends to appear that dogs wake up early in the morning, but in most cases, this isn’t the whole story. Dogs will spend most of their day sleeping and waking up and this is the same for during the night. A dog’s sleep cycles can vary with, breed, age, and activity level. As an example, a worn-out dog will sleep longer than one that has spent the day roaming the house.

Because your dog has noted the time of day that you get up and they also wake up more than humans, it will appear that your dog is waking you up at the same time they get up. Therefore most dogs wake up early because they wake up frequently. 

Why Does My Dog Only Wake Me Up

This is an interesting topic as most couples will find that their pooch gravitates towards one of them more often. The same situation can be said in the mornings. There can be a few reasons why your dog may choose a particular person to wake up, here are some ideas below.

  • Your dog has better access to a certain side of the bed or room and therefore decides that the person on that side is easiest to wake up.
  • Your dog has got used to a certain person letting them out or feeding them and therefore chooses that person over the other.
  • Similar to above your dog has chosen a specific person they have learned they get what they want most of the time from that person.
  • If your first person up in the morning then even when your having a lie in your dog will think it’s time for you to get up.
  • Your dog sees the person they wake up first as the pack leader, someone they need to ask in order to get food.

Do Dogs Mind Being Woken Up

As a general rule, you shouldn’t really wake a sleeping dog, as you don’t know what their first reaction could be. If they are dreaming about a fight then they may wake up in an attack mode. Of course, this is rare and dogs will usually know as soon as they wake up who is in the room.

If you really need to wake your dog up you, just be wary of their reaction. Dogs don’t tend to hold a grudge and so they will soon forget you woke them from the beautiful slumber.

sleeping dog

How Do I Stop My Dog From Waking Up During The Night?

It’s one thing getting woken up early but as we have learned so far dogs wake up multiple times during the night. It may be the case that on certain occasions your dog might unintentionally wake you up…or on purpose. So how do you stop your dog from waking up during the night?

A dog’s sleep habits are a natural thing and most of the time they happen to all dogs. waking up multiple times during the night presents you with an issue. Here are some solutions that could help you get that rest.

  • The best option is to sleep with your dog in another room. You may feel this is a bit unfair on your dog, but remember dogs are versatile creatures and will get used to a certain routine. Your dog will be even more pleased to see you in the morning. Here’s an article on some of the reasons why your dog might choose to sleep in another room.
  • Check to make sure your dog’s bed is comfortable. A restless dog is usually due to an uncomfortable bed. Memory foam beds are expensive but can be well worth it in the long run as your dog’s joints will heal properly when given the correct support.
  • Ensure the room is at the correct temperature. Dogs have an excellent sense of their environment and keeping a room mild will stop them from getting up and down as often.
  • Ensuring your dog has burnt enough energy during the day will help with their sleep at night. Off lead, walking can help give them both physical and mental stimulation helping them to sleep more soundly.
  • Try not to feed your dog too close to bedtime, as this could cause them to be restless. As food is digested in their stomachs during the night they will end up feeling these sensations and get up and down from their bed.

Trying a few of these tricks on a test basis will help you establish which is the best option.


Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why your dog wakes up so early and give you some tips on how to combat this habit. If you did enjoy this article there is more content available on our homepage.

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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