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Coyotes In The Surburbs – How to avoid conflicts with your new neighbors

Coyotes, once limited to the prairies of central north America, are now common in suburban and urban areas across the country. neighborhood and city residents not used to being around these animals often have questions about how to deal with them. A basic understanding of the behavior of Coyotes and following some simple guidelines can help reduce conflicts with these wild animals.

Coyote sightings increase during certain times of the year. They roam more as breeding season begins in January and February. Their visibility continues into July as they care for their new pups. Sightings pick up again in the fall, when juveniles disperse to find their own territories.

Coyotes may be less tolerant of people around their dens while they are raising pups, especially when someone gets too close.

Total eradication of Coyotes is not possible. Trapping and removing them will only result in new Coyotes moving in to occupy empty territories. Efforts to eradicate Coyotes can actually increase their numbers as females may breed at younger ages and give birth to larger litters. Fortunately, Coyotes typically avoid humans unless people create situations that attract animals to their homes. Communities must work together to maintain the natural fear that Coyotes have of humans and create an environment where Coyotes and humans can better co-exist.

The number one rule for dealing with Coyotes is not to feed them or provide them with a food source. Discourage your neighbors from feeding Coyotes or leaving food out for feral cats or other wildlife.

Coyotes fed by people may lose their natural fear of humans and become aggressive. Nature already provides plenty of food for these omnivorous animals. A Coyote’s buffet may include mice, rabbits, frogs, insects, carrion, goose eggs and fruit. A Coyote in search of an easy meal may also take advantage of dog food left on the porch, unsecured garbage and garden fruits such as watermelon and strawberries.

If you encounter a Coyote try to scare it away immediately. Don’t stand and watch it. Shout, whistle, clap your hands, stomp your feet and make some loud noise. Wave your arms, widen your stance or wave a walking stick, anything to make you look bigger.

Establish dominance by taking a step or lunge toward the Coyote. Throw a rock or stick in its direction, but not directly at it. Pick up small dogs and children. Keep scaring the Coyote until it’s out of sight.

Coyotes will protect their pups, so stay away from dens. If you suspect a den is nearby, slowly back away from the area.

Share these solutions with neighbors so everyone works together.

Additional tips to avoid problems with Coyotes include:

  • Do not leave pet food outside. If you have to feed your pet outside only give them the amount of food they can eat in one sitting.
  • Bring bird feeders inside at night and remove the seed that falls on the ground. Bird feeders attract squirrels, mice, raccoons and opossums, which in turn attracts Coyotes. Don’t hang any feeders when Coyotes are in the area.
  • Secure garbage containers and compost bins.
  • Fence gardens and compost piles.
  • Keep BBQ grills clean, including the grease trap.
  • Supervise pets while they are in the yard as Coyotes can climb over or dig beneath most fencing. Consider kenneling unattended dogs.
  • Plug holes under fences and block access to crawlspaces under sheds, out buildings, porches and houses.
  • Keep cats inside.
  • Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house, or turn on outside lighting and check the yard for unwanted animals before letting a dog outside at night. Consider leashing your dog if Coyotes are roaming the area. Clean up dog droppings, as they will attract Coyotes.
  • Walk your dog on a short, non- retractable leash that is highly visible;
    a Coyote is less likely to attack a dog if they see it as part of you. Avoid walking your dog at the same time or on the same route every day, as Coyotes learn patterns.
  • Don’t leave small children unattended. Show kids pictures of Coyotes then instruct them to never approach a Coyote or run from one. Children should also learn how to scare away Coyotes.
  • Do not let your dog chase or “play” with a Coyote; the Coyote will defend itself and your dog may be injured.
  • Educate your neighbors about these guidelines. Keeping Coyotes wild and wary of humans is a community effort. Go online to www.urbanCoyoteresearch.com to learn more.

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How to Keep Your Dog out of the Litter Box

It’s totally gross for us to imagine why our dog would want to sneak into the cat’s litter box and steal a few “munchies” but it happens in homes all around the world. A lot dogs just love to eat cat poop!

Understanding the Behavior

Coprophaghia, or the eating of feces, is a common behavior in many dogs. It’s seen more in puppies but some dogs never grow out of it.  There have been many theories why dogs do this this and the reasons can include compulsive behavior, boredom or they may be getting some nutritive value from it. This article isn’t to get involved into dog behavior, but to help you create a litter box set-up that makes it difficult for your dog to access the box while still making ita convenient place for your cat.

If your dog does this, see your veterinarian to make sure there isn’t a nutritional issue going on and also to discuss the possibility of any behavior problem being the underlying cause, especially if your dog is eating his own feces or the feces of other dogs as well. Your veterinarian may give you a taste deterrent product or offer some dog training advice. You may also be referred to a dog behavior expert.

Create a Dog-Free Litter Box

If the dog can’t get to the cat’s poop, then he can’t eat it. Simple as that. The key though, is to make sure the box is convenient for the cat but inconvenient for the dog.

The easiest way to keep your dog out of the box is to place the litter box in an area where she can’t gain access. If the dog is bigger than the cat, place a hinged baby gate in the doorway to a room but raise it up a few inches from the floor so the cat can easily go underneath.

If the dog is small and could fit under the gate, then put the baby gate at normal height but place a box, stool or other object just inside the room, on the other side of the gate, so the cat can get over but will have something to land on.

What NOT to Do

Don’t resort to using a covered litter box or stick the box in a closet with a pet door. Cats do like some privacy but not covered boxes or ones hidden in closets. They types of boxes limit escape potential. When your cat only has one way in and out of the box, it can set her up for an ambush by another companion animal. Many covered boxes also can make cats feel cramped in there when taking care of personal business.

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5 Steps To Cleaning Dog Teeth Naturally

Just as we worry about our dog’s general health and wellbeing, most of us also want to ensure we are taking the very best care of her teeth. While veterinary dentists can help deal with serious tartar build up, extractions, and oral injuries, dental problems in our dogs are entirely preventable. It may surprise you to know that the secrets to good dental health is in the food bowl rather than at the vet. It’s a lot easier and cheaper than you think to keep your dog teeth in top shape.

By paying attention to your dog’s diet and limiting carbohydrate rich foods such as commercial dry foods and cans, we can reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar and prevent gingivitis in our dog. One of the most common myths I like to dispel is that feeding dry food prevents dental problems and keeps teeth healthy.  Actually, the exact opposite is true.

Bad teeth and gums in our dog is the result of an inappropriate diet. The negative effects of gum disease are very serious. Along with tooth loss, discomfort and infection, gum disease can also lead to heart disease and organ dysfunction. The good news is that preventing tooth troubles is not only easy, it can be fun as well by following these surprising steps:

Pookie and Pepper

1. Chew, gnaw, tear

A natural, fresh, raw food diet will maintain a healthy and balanced oral environment and prevent plaque formation. The chewing, tearing, ripping and puncturing action associated with eating as nature intended massages gums and scales the teeth clean of tartar and build up. Soft, edible bones such as raw poultry carcasses, necks and other non-weight bearing bones are ideal for this purpose.  My two Pomeranians, Pookie and Pepper specially love their raw chicken necks.

I know this may bother some people, as we are aware of the risks of tooth damage and oral injury. But the pros of giving suitable bones outweigh the cons in significantly, and it’s about knowing your bones and what can and can’t be safely fed. If you are still worried about bones, try raw, stringy muscle meats like beef tongue or green tripe, that are chewy and tough.

2. Brush, brush, brush

If you have the time, discipline, and a cooperative pooch, nothing beats a daily routine of brushing. Doggy toothbrushes and toothpastes are readily available from pet shops but do your research and steer clear of nasty additives and ingredients such as artificial colourings, flavourings, preservatives, fillers, fluoride, parabens and sugar.

My Homemade Chicken Jerky

3. Chew, chew, chew

Hard, natural chews such as Kangaroo Tendons, Deer Antlers and Dehydrated Jerkies can really get in between the gaps in teeth and

massage and floss away plaque build up, as well as giving your dog something stimulating to do. But avoid rawhides and preservative and chemical-laden dental chews – contrary to their marketing, these are not healthy choices.  I bought an inexpensive food dehydrator and make my dog’s chicken jerky.  I stock up on chicken breasts when they are on sale at Publix.

4. Pull, tug, rip

Playing with your dog can play an important role in their dental hygiene. Watch the way your dog chews on her favorite fleecy, rope or rubber toy. It may surprise you to know that toys are a great way of wiping teeth clean after meals and massaging the gums. The next time you play tug of war, you know you are also giving your dog’s teeth a great floss.

5. Feed seaweed

A simple bit of seaweed can act as a powerful dental hygiene agent.   Atlantic Kelp is a very special type of seaweed powder that is not only amazing for the skin, digestion and joints, but has proven positive effects on teeth. Incorporating Atlantic Kelp in the food bowl is proven to reduce dental plaque and tartar and improve your dog’s breath. But, if your dog has thyroid problems or is pregnant or lactating, Atlantic Kelp is not advised.

If your dog has extreme tartar build up or infection, you’ll need to consult your vet. But with regular maintenance using these 5 simple steps, you can be sure that scaling and scraping under general anesthetic is a rare occurrence, and your dog’s stay healthy, white and clean.

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The Sleep Dogs Need

Ever been dog-tired? If so, you must have been pretty pooped. Dogs require on average six to eight more hours of sleep than we do. In addition to sleeping core hours through the night, they also nap on and off during the day.
 
Dogs sleep more than people, but they do experience it in a similar way. Dogs achieve lighter sleep known as slow-wave sleep, in addition to REM sleep, while cats only experience the former. The REM or rapid eye movement phase of sleep is much deeper than slow-wave, the kind that both dogs and cats can easily be roused from.
 
Though dogs can be highly active, they are only as wakeful as they are stimulated. Dogs are fairly receptive to new activities and situations. They often have a high capacity for training, as exhibited in the use of some breeds as service, rescue, or police dogs, and many are great in high volume households with children. In the absence of these, dogs do get stuck in the same routines, and even may become bored barring adequate stimulation.
 
Getting your dog to sleep through the night isn’t solely reliant on exercise, however. Experts suggest that designating a set spot for your dog to bed down in is just as important as playtime and walking.
 
There are several options for both the location for your dog’s sleeping quarters as well as the bed itself. Some owners have their dog sleep with them, but many prefer their dog to sleep on its own bed either in the same room or in another room in the house. For new puppies, it may be a good idea to crate your pet during the nighttime hours in order to both get the dog used to resting quietly through the night as well as preventing any accidents from occurring during a training period.
 
Many dog owners do keep their dog’s sleeping areas either in an entryway to the house, such as the garage, mud room, or sunroom, while more owners still opt to keep their dog outside of the house altogether. In the latter instance, it’s important to be sure your pet has adequate shelter from the elements during both summer and winter.  I want to interject here and say that Coddled Critters Pet Services does not recommend or condone dogs staying outside either overnight or in the daytime.
 
Dog beds are important wherever your pet is sleeping. Whether it’s a bed purchased from the pet store or a set of blankets, your dog needs a comfortable spot to relax in.
 
Be cognizant of your pet’s reception to any sleeping arrangement. Some dogs and cats do have allergies to different materials,so if your dog seems to be scratching his face more than usual in the morning or sneezing when he lies in bed, he may be allergic. Check your pet for pinkish bumps around the eyes and snout for evidence of irritation. Many dog beds come in a variety of cloth upholstery, from canvas to corduroy to sheepskin, so if any texture or cloth appears to aggravate your dog, don’t be hesitant in finding a replacement.

 

Fun Ways To Celebrate “Love Your Pet” Day

My Pomeranians, Pookie and Pepper

Pookie and Pepper Celebrate “Love Your Pet Day”

For many of us, an official “Love Your Pet Day” might seem a little unnecessary. We love our pets every day! But every year on February 20th, Love Your Pet Day serves as a little reminder to give our beloved pets some special attention. Here are a few fun ways to celebrate Love Your Pet Day this year.

1. Try something new! Do you always walk your dog on the same route every day? Do you usually just play fetch in the yard? Try a different activity and shake up your usual routine!

  • Dogs love to smell and explore new places, so try walking along a different route, or maybe take your dog for a hike on a new trail.
  • After your walk, play fetch in the backyard.

2.  Try a DIY pet project. DIY pet projects can be incredibly fun for both you and your pet. You can find all kinds of fun ideas online, and many of them won’t cost you a penny.

3.  Have a playdate. If your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, a playdate is an easy, low-stress way to let your dog burn off energy and get some valuable social time with other dogs.

  • You can often find meet-up groups online of people looking to get together for a dog park play date or group hikes.
  • It’s important to note that not all dogs enjoy the chaotic environment of the dog park. If your otherwise friendly dog can get snappy or uncomfortable at the dog park, opt for a smaller playdate with just one or two dogs.

    This is the food dehydrator I bought.

4,  Make homemade dog treats. Making dog treats at home is another fun project that your dog will definitely love!

  • You can’t go wrong with healthy, homemade treats. I recently purchased a food dehydrator and I’ve had lots of fun making chicken jerky treats, sweet potato treats and even dehydrated some chicken necks.  Pookie and Pepper LOVE them and I know exactly what’s in them.

5.  Love a shelter dog! While loving your own pet is great, loving a shelter dog is a great way to give back in honor of Love Your Pet Day.

  • Shelters always need donations like towels, dog food, and treats. Reach out to your local shelter and see how you can help.

 

How To Deal With Out-Of-Control Barking

I get asked this question a lot….  

My dog’s barking is driving me crazy. She’s a healthy Pomeranian, and I’ve been told that it’s impossible to train her not to bark. Please tell me there’s a way to teach my dog to control herself.

I usually tell them this….

Dogs who bark excessively can cause big problems for owners, but even though it may seem completely out of control, this behavior can be modified to a manageable level.  I recommend that you take your dog to the veterinarian for a thorough medical check up, since any extreme behavior can be exacerbated by a medical condition. 

Pomeranians and other toy breeds are known to be vocal.  Increased exercise and mental stimulation will refocus your dog’s mind onto something more positive and help tire her out.

Dogs bark for many reasons—to get attention, as a warning, in response to other barking dogs, out of anxiety or when excited—and it is important to identify the triggers before training.

If your dog barks to get attention, don’t reward her demands. Telling your dog off is inadvertently rewarding her for barking even if the communication is negative. In this case, it is best to ignore the barking, wait for five seconds of quiet and then reward her with attention. This way, the dog learns that she gets nothing from you when she barks but gets everything when she’s quiet.

A dog who barks when excited, like before going for a walk or being fed, is harder to work with because the owner’s pre-departure or pre-food cues are usually highly ritualized. Again, do not reward your dog with the things she wants until she is calm. For example, if the barking happens as soon as you go for the leash, drop it and sit down. Keep repeating this until your dog is quiet. If you successfully attach the leash but she barks as soon as she gets outside, immediately go back inside. This technique requires lots of patience, but if you’re diligent, your dog will quickly learn that quiet equals a walk.  Dogs who suffer anxiety when left alone will often bark a lot during the first 30 minutes after departure, while others continue until their person comes home. If this is the case, you must get a professional trainer in to help, as separation anxiety can be a very difficult behavior to modify.

Dogs tend to be particularly sound-sensitive, responding to noises that the human ear cannot hear. If your dog barks excitedly in the back yard, for example, immediately take her back in the house and only allow her out again when she is quiet. Keep repeating and never leave her in the back yard unattended. If she reacts and barks at other dogs or people in or outside of the home, it might be because she hasn’t received adequate socialization and feels uncomfortable. In this case, she needs to go on a desensitization program so she can gain the confidence she needs to cope in a social situation.

As you can see, there are many reasons why dogs bark, but please don’t listen to those who say that extreme barking can’t be modified, because there are lots of ways to reduce what is a very normal but sometimes annoying behavior.

 

9 Natural Flea Remedies For Dogs That Really Work

Anyone who loves dogs puts a lot of effort into keeping them happy and healthy. Despite all our best efforts, pests and diseases have a way of getting to them, especially fleas. You hate to see them scratching away in irritation, but you may be wary of using commercial flea repellants because of the health risks.

Fleas are a year round problem here in Florida. Even when you keep your house and surroundings clean, an outing with your dog or your neighborhood feline’s casual visit can bring in these creatures. They multiply at a fast rate with every female adult flea laying about 50 eggs at a time for 3 months or more. It doesn’t take long for a few fleas to contaminate a dog’s bedding, sofas, and beds along with almost every inch of your home and surroundings with eggs and larvae at different stages of development.

There’s a number of flea collars, flea combs, and flea powders promising to make short work of these pests, but they are full of harmful chemicals that can harm your dog. If you have young children freely interacting with your dog, that’s an additional worry. Fortunately, there are some natural flea remedies that can help keep fleas under control.

1. Dust with diatomaceous earth (DE).  A natural substance is made up of the exoskeletons of microscopic diatoms that lived in lakes and oceans thousands of years ago. Mined from large deposits found in the lake beds and ocean floors, this relatively inert material has tiny, razor sharp particles that can abrade the tough exoskeletons of fleas, causing them to get dehydrated and eventually die. However, it does not harm the dog or people in any way. In fact, many people take DE as a food supplement.  Apply food grade DE liberally on the dog, her bedding, the carpet, and any place frequented by her. You may not see any instant action, but the effectiveness of DE lasts as long as the powder remains on the dogs and other surfaces. You need to repeat the application routinely even if you don’t see any adult fleas. The eggs and the pupae can stay dormant for quite some time, so you want to be ready when they hatch. One risk of DE is that inhaling the dust can cause respiratory tract irritation, so care should be taken during its application.  

2. Give a dry shampoo treatment.  Give your dog an all-natural dry shampoo treatment with common kitchen staples to get rid of fleas. You can give her a nice bath afterwards. A dry shampoo will relieve itching due to other skin problems too.  Mix a cup of plain, unflavored oatmeal with half a cup of baking soda. Run it through the blender to break up the larger pieces of oatmeal. Work the mixture into the dog’s coat with your hands. Try to get it into every part of the body by brushing the coat. Shampoo in an outdoor setting so that you can allow it to remain on the dog until the dehydrating effect has a chance to destroy the fleas and their larvae.

3. Essential oil flea collar.  Similar to the commercially available flea collars, you can impregnate a bandana with a flea repellant, but you’ll be using safer alternatives like essential oils of lavender or cedar.  Mix 5-10 drops of the essential oil with 3-tablespoon of olive oil and store in a glass bottle. Use an eyedropper to add just a few drops of the diluted oil to the bandana and tie it around your dog’s neck. Make sure the smell is not overpowering. When it wears off, repeat the application. 

4. Drive them out from the inside.  When you’re sticking with natural methods of flea control, a multi-pronged strategy works best. Giving dogs a drink of diluted vinegar has been found to be effective in keeping the bugs off their coat. It has some skincare benefits as well, so there’s an additional incentive to use this remedy.  Use vinegar at the rate of one teaspoon per one quart of water per 40 pounds of dog. Mix it into drinking water. Apple cider vinegar is the best, but white vinegar works just as well.

5. Use a flea repellent spray.  Combine the effect of vinegar and essential oils to make this potent repellent. Mix 1 cup vinegar in a quart of water and add 3-5 drops of citronella oil or geranium oil. Fill it in spray bottles. Use the spray on your dog and in the areas frequented by her.

6. Comb them out.  You can make a repellant solution with lemon peels and the juice of a lemon and use it to comb your dog’s fur. After extracting the juice of 6 lemons, keep the peels in a bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them. Let it steep for 6 hours or overnight. Strain the liquid and mix in the lemon juice. Dip the comb in the solution and groom the dog with it.

7. Use a flea trap.  Adult fleas are attracted to light and warmth, making it easier for us to set a trap for them at night. Mix Dawn dish soap in warm water and place it in shallow containers in such a way that a night lamp is reflected in the water. Fleas jumping towards the light will land in the soapy water and drown.

8. Vacuum them off.  This simple method may not completely wipe out the fleas but can help keep the population down on its own, and works well with other remedies too. Vacuum your dog’s bed, upholstered surfaces, carpet and all places the dog has access to. The larvae have a tendency to crawl to dark areas, so give special attention to the space under the furniture, behind doors, between floorboards and all nooks and crannies. If the dog is not troubled by the sound of the vacuum cleaner, you can give him a run over too.

9. Use neem oil.  Neem oil is obtained from the leaves and fruits of the Azadirachta indica tree, has insecticidal properties that work in an interesting way. It disrupts the hormones that control the feeding and metamorphic changes of insects. In other words, it kills them by making them starve to death or trapping them within their own exoskeletons. Neem oil has been used for thousands of years to treat skin infections in cattle and other domesticated animals as well as in people, including children, so it is considered safe to use.  Neem oil is not a contact poison, so don’t expect to see immediate results. But a routine application will give you excellent results. Apply it once every two or three weeks because fleas complete their lifecycle in 12-22 days when conditions are favorable.

Be consistent with your natural flea control methods to keep your dog happy and safe.

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9 Expert Tips for Walking Your Own Dogs

Here are my top tips for walking your own dogs.  

My 9 top tips for walking your dogs

1. No. Headphones. Ever. A dog walker’s attention should always be on the dog and the surroundings.

2. No talking on cell phones ever, except in an emergency.

3. Practice makes perfect. Ask for (and reinforce) your dog for loose-leash walking, and polite sits at street corners and when you stop to talk to someone.

4. Use good equipment that is appropriate for your dog.  For example, if you have a not so well trained dog that is a heavy puller, I suggest using a head collar.  And retractable leashes are not considered safe, ever. Inspect the fit and condition of all your equipment frequently. Make sure that your dog is wearing a tag with current information.

5. Pay attention to your dog’s body language. Chances are she will alert you about anything amiss on the street or trail long before you become aware of it. Whether that’s another dog walker approaching, a mountain biker flying down the trail toward you, or a loose dog trailing you, an early warning can help you manage the situation, but if only you are paying attention.

6. Carry really good treats. Professionally trained dog walkers know that good training is built with top-shelf tasty reinforcements.

7. Make sure your dog is healthy before starting any exercise program.

8. Do not let your dog run off-leash – ever. The only exception would be in a fenced dog park, during off-peak hours, so you could work on your dog’s recall!

9. Manage your dog’s behavior! Don’t assume that it’s okay for your dog to interact with every dog and every human you come across. Not only is it rude, but it can also trigger unexpected, and maybe unwanted, reactions.

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Why Does My Cat Knead With Her Paws?

There’s a behavior a lot of cats exhibit that their owners find endearing and fascinating. If your kitty’s nails haven’t been trimmed lately though, the behavior can also be a little on the painful side. The behavior I’m referring to is called kneading.

The behavior looks like the cat stands or sits on a soft surface and alternates flexing and stretching his front paws in a steady pattern.

Where Does Kneading Behavior in Cats Come From?

It’s a holdover from when cats were kittens. It originates when kittens are nursing on the mother. During nursing, kittens instinctively flex and relax their paws to stimulate lactation and release the milk flow. Even after kittens have been weaned and have grown to adults, it’s common for them to continue the kneading behavior.

Kneading is often triggered when a cat is on a soft surface such as a bed or blanket or on the lap of a familiar human. Being on that soft surface can put the cat in the same emotional state as when she was nursing from her mother.

Cats have many unique and amusing behavioral traits, and kneading is just one of them. So even though these are some of the more popular ideas for why cats are thought to knead, it certainly doesn’t provide all of the possible reasons. For example, some cats knead just before they are about to take a nap. Whatever reason your cat kneads, the one thing all these ideas have in common is that kneading is natural, instinctual, and common cat behavior.

The Cat’s Expression During Kneading

While the cat is engaged in kneading behavior she’ll often have her eyes half-way closed and have an almost dreamy expression on her face. Many cats also purr while kneading. In some cases, cats even start drooling as they allow their jaws to become so relaxed.

Cats show contentment and affection in many different ways and kneading is just one of those expressions. Just remember to keep your cat’s nails trimmed and the kneading behavior will be pleasant for everyone. 

Cats have many unique and amusing behavioral traits, and kneading is just one of them. So even though these are some of the more popular ideas for why cats are thought to knead, it certainly doesn’t provide all of the possible reasons. For example, some cats knead just before they are about to take a nap. Whatever reason your cat kneads, the one thing all these ideas have in common is that kneading is natural, instinctual, and common cat behavior.

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5 things to do when your dog wakes you up before you need to be up

Those last few minutes of sleep before the alarm goes off are a treasured sanctuary where we hide before the reality of the world intrudes. Few dog owners appreciate their dog robbing them of those moments. But some dogs seem to have an uncanny knack for anticipating the alarm by 15 or 20 minutes, and manage to routinely do just that.

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Of course, puppy owners expect to be awakened by their pups. It’s unreasonable to think a youngster can make it through the night without a potty break. Crated or otherwise appropriately confined, even an eight-week-old puppy will normally cry when his bowels and bladder need emptying, rather than soil his own bed. When this happens you must get up and take her out to poop and pee, and then immediately return her to her crate so she doesn’t learn to wake you up for a wee-hours play or cuddle session.

Adult dogs, however, barring a health issue, should wait for you to get up rather than pushing back your wake-up time in eager anticipation of breakfast. If your grown-up dog has made it her mission to make sure you’re never late for work by waking you up every morning before your alarm does, try this:

1) Rule out medical conditions.

Make sure your dog doesn’t have a legitimate reason for getting up early. If she has a urinary tract infection or digestive upset, or some other medical issue that affects her elimination habits or otherwise makes her uncomfortable, she may have to go out 30 minutes before you normally get up to let her out.

2) Tire her out the night before.

A tired dog is a well-behaved happy dog, and a late sleeper. Exercise uses up much of the energy that she presently can’t wait to wake you up with and also releases endorphins, which regulate mood, producing a feeling of well-being. Tiredness promotes sleeping in, and endorphins help reduce anxieties that may play a role in her early-bird activities.

3) Feed her earlier.

Increase the time between your dog’s last meal and her last bathroom opportunity to minimize the chance that she’s waking you up because she really has to go. It only takes a few “I really have to go” mornings to set an early-riser routine.

4) Reduce stimuli in the bedroom.

The less there is to awaken your dog, the less likely she is to awaken you. Close the drapes. Turn off the television. Turn on a white noise machine or soft classical music.

5) Train her to sleep in.

If these solutions alone don’t work, you may be able to train her to sleep later. If your normal wake up time is 6:30 am and she consistently wakes you at 6:15, for one week set your alarm for 6:05. For the second week, set it for 6:10. Do not get up before the alarm goes off. This will condition her to the sound of the alarm as her cue to wake up.

Each week set the alarm forward five more minutes, until you’re at your desired wake-up time. It might take you a few weeks to get there, but it’s simple, and it works.

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