Our charming rockaway wolf is about 9 months old and is turning out to be a great alarm clock. He is up at 5:55 am every morning trying to nose us out of bed. If nudging and blanket yanking and elbow nibbling and face licking don't work, he starts barking. It doesn't matter how late his last walk was, he is up and he wants us to get up.

When I do take him out he doesn't seem to have to pee urgently -- he waits until we get three blocks away to the park and then sometimes longer yet.

It seems like the same bark that he uses with dogs in the park that won't play with him. It's his "hey guys! Guys! Get up and play with me!" bark.

We can tell him to get down, which lasts a few minutes, but he will not just let us go back to sleep. I really need him not to wake the neighbors up. I know they rise much later than us and I'd be pretty annoyed if I was hearing him hours before I had to wake.

Any suggestions for reigning this in?

  • PS. I read through pets.stackexchange.com/questions/3103/… but that seems to be a different issue.
    – Amanda
    Jul 16, 2014 at 13:07
  • I agree with jeffaudio that only playing with him when he's not barking is a good idea. Additionally, have you tried annoying him (hey, it might take well over an hour) until he stops barking? Then immediately when he's done barking for a few minutes, start playing with him?
    – jeremy
    Jul 17, 2014 at 5:21
  • @Jeremy "annoying" or "ignoring"? I'm wary of ignoring him, b/c I don't want him to get used to barking. But also at that hour I'm really worried about disturbing my neighbors. They're very nice people.
    – Amanda
    Jul 17, 2014 at 11:41
  • Ignoring -- sorry. Ignoring doesn't get him used to it. Saying "shush" and trying to get him to step gets him used to it. It rewards the behavior. Any type of attention is good to your dog, he doesn't care if you're berating him. I'd suggest apologizing to your neighbors preemptively, saying that you're trying to train the dog, and that if they could endure non-stop barking for a few days that'd be good.
    – jeremy
    Jul 17, 2014 at 17:19
  • I would just ignore the barking altogether and don't give him access to yourself in the morning. If he barks and you respond to it, that only encourages the behaviour since he knows if he barks you will do something
    – Huangism
    Mar 2, 2015 at 17:45

3 Answers 3


I got my black lab puppy at 8 weeks old. I immediately created a routine with him for bedtime or for when I leave the house and also immediately crate trained him.

The easiest way to do this is to feed him his meals in his crate. This makes him go into the crate on his own. I put the bowl in said 'go to your crate' and when he was inside I closed and locked the crate while he ate. Once he was done I would wait for him to turn around and patiently sit to be let out and I would immediately unlock the crate and let him out with praise. We did this for two weeks every meal time.

He sleeps in the living room away from me, in his crate. This creates a space for him to sleep (and I) peacefully. I know that sleeping time is a bonding experience but he's going to get much bigger and there's simply no room. I am also a light sleeper and he gets up and repositions himself 300 times a night so... He's crated. I did not miss out on my 'bonding' experience my dog loves me and is very loyal to me.

Our routine is that when it's time for bed I grab three small treats out of the cubbord and point to the crate. I turn off the TV and day 'okay babe time for bed' he knows to go in and he gets the treat. He knows that going in is a positive experience. I give him treats and lock up the house and we go to bed.

Unfortunately for me he wakes me up everyday at 7am. By this time his bladder is full and I walk him and out him back in his crate.

All I'm saying is create a routine at night. My dog is fed twice a day on a routine, walked on a routine and sleeps on a routine and he is very happy.


We've been through the doggy alarm clock (barking and screaming) so we know how frustrating it is. Here are a few things that have helped us.

Crate Training

Spend some time training your dog to love the crate and then have him sleep there. I highly recommend Crate Games by Susan Garrett to help with this. Since you already have your dog in the room with you, it's likely that he'll be fine in his crate next to you, but if not continue to build value for the crate until he is. You can also try feeding meals in his crate. Of course, this will only help prevent him from jumping up on you, not stop him from barking in the morning.

Early Riser

It can be very hard for a dog to break a habit, and your dog has settled into a routine. At 5:55 AM he gets up, barks, and jumps on your bed. It's time to play! You want to stop this routine from happening by beating him to the punch. Wake up at 5:45 AM when he's not barking or jumping and have a good time. This not only stops his pattern but shows that he doesn't need to loud or boisterous to get your attention in the morning. You can then slowly move the wake-up time later and later by a couple minutes until you've got a pup who will happily wait until you wake up on your own. If he does start barking or jumping on you, wait until he's quiet to engage to help him understand he only gets what he wants if he's quiet and calm.

  • Good lord. You are suggesting that I have to get up before 5:55? I'll try anything at this point, but ... shudder. (He is actually crate trained. We let him in our bed at night because he needed to be bonding with us--he's a feral rescue and was really aloof and fearful when he came to our home.)
    – Amanda
    Jul 16, 2014 at 15:42
  • Yes it sucks (we know, we've been there) but if he really is that punctual even a few minutes should be enough to throw off his routine. Once he understands that being quiet and calm still gets you awake, you can work on patience and shift his wake up time to something more reasonable. Hopefully you'll only be waking up before 5:55 for a couple days. Good luck!
    – Jeff
    Jul 16, 2014 at 19:21
  • Crated him last night. Imma give this a few days before I accept an answer but ... seems like we're onto something.
    – Amanda
    Jul 17, 2014 at 11:43

FWIW, what finally worked was ignoring him. And time. Getting up before him didn't help (and we couldn't sustain it for long), but we did just get up and ignore him.

Three years later, he is still pretty assertive about telling us when he thinks it is time to get up, but he's not nearly as annoying about it.

  • (This whole answer is a total lie. He is just as annoying, but I'm acclimated to the annoyance. I get up before he starts pulling blankets off of me.)
    – Amanda
    Jul 10, 2017 at 22:16

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