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Welcome to yesterday morning at Casa de Kolchak.
The birds chirp. The sun slowly rises over the horizon. Kolchak is ready for breakfast. He’s wide awake, sitting at the foot of the bed, whining like a dolphin. A quick glance at the clock tells me that it’s 6:15 and I grin from ear to ear. He let me sleep in.
|Is it time for breakfast yet?!|
Most people would be horrified, but to us? 6:15 is like a gift from the Heavens.
You see, just four short weeks ago, the Koly alarm clock went off around 4:45. In the morning. Did he wake us up by whining or barking? Oh woof no! That boy woke us up my turning into a full barrel of monkeys. Jumping on the bed. Bouncing on my stomach. Digging a hole to China by way of my spinal column.
No wonder I jumped at the chance to join in the Something Wagging Train Your Dog Month Challenge.
Training the Dog to Sleep In
We decided our focus this month would be teaching the dog to sleep in. While we’re not there yet (I really don’t want to get up at 6:15 forever), I think we’re well on our way. Considering how many pups said they had the exact same issue at home, I’m still a little surprised that some really knowledgeable trainer hasn’t written about this. Since they haven’t, you were forced to bumble along with me figuring it out as we went.
As promised, here’s rundown of what I think helped us teach our dogs to sleep in and what wasn’t so effective.
- Meal Splitting – We decided to break Kol’s daily meal into 3 meals, to help avoid early morning hunger. This would have made perfect sense except that it had literally no impact. It doesn’t matter if hes last meal was 10 minutes ago. The puggle is hungry. Feed. Him. More.
- Black Out Curtains – My new black out curtains are gorgeous and match the bedroom perfectly. They do absolutely nothing to address Kolchak’s problem, but if the Daddy asks, those curtains are single handedly responsible for all progress we’ve made this month. A matching floor rug just might solve the problem.
- Varying our routine – This one is hard. Ohhhh, it’s sooooo hard. You see, the routines that trigger his bad behavior are very closely associated to leaving for and returning home to work.Getting up even earlier defeats the purpose and getting up later sure displeases that Job fellow. We’ve had to work on varying routines in other ways, but I’d still say this was only semi-successful.
- Wait for the bell – That bell and I have a love/hate relationship. The first few time it went off at 4:30, I cursed it (and myself for using it). The bell does work though. Kol does whine a bit before the bell, but he doesn’t go into full “my dog is insane because it’s Suppertime” mode until he hears that bell.
- Resetting his biological clock – Bingo! This has been incredibly successful. It makes for a slow, tedious change, but it really is working. We’ve moved breakfast from 4:45 to 6:15, most days. We’re going to keep inching ourselves forward until I reach my weekend dream of sleeping in until 8 am.
- Teaching him a better way – Kol now snuggles on command. Basically, my dog has a snooze button. I try not to use it too often, since consistency is the key to this, but if at any time I want 15 more minutes in bed, I can tell Kolchak to snuggle and he’ll curl up with me. Not ordering him to snuggle me all the time has been a challenge.
Plus, we’ve been working on making him sit to “ask” for things.
If there’s someone at the door and he wants to be pet, he needs to sit before anyone will pay attention to him. He has to sit to get fed. Sit to go for a walk. He’s sitting (and whining a bit, which we’ll work on) to ask us to get up which is a HUGE improvement over the old way.
Did you work on anything for Train Your Dog Month? How did it go? Will you be continuing the training beyond the month?
A whole hearted WOOF and Thank You to Pamela and Honey at Something Wagging for hosting the challenge. Like every year, we enjoyed it, learned something and most importantly, Kolchak and I are closer than ever