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My Pet World: How do we stop our dogs from waking us up at night?

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

My boyfriend has two two-year-old brother-and-sister "pomapoos." They sleep with him every night. He walks them sometimes in the middle of the night when one of the dogs scratches at him to go out. His sleep is, therefore, interrupted regularly. Is there anything he can do to train them to be on a more regular schedule and sleep in a different place than on his bed?

— Rena, Durham, North Carolina

Dear Rena,

Make sure your boyfriend is not feeding them too close to bedtime. Feed them early in the evening so there is time for them to relieve themselves before bed. Also, please do not give them any long-lasting chew treats within two hours of bedtime, as some of these treats can make a dog very thirsty, forcing them to drink more right before bedtime. At bedtime, stay outside with them for an extra five minutes. Often, we rush dogs inside once we see them pee, but dogs sometimes pee several times in different locations before they are done.

Your boyfriend should also teach the dogs to "wait." During the day, when the dogs signal they need to go out to relieve themselves, he should tell them to "wait" and then wait a few seconds or minutes before letting them out. At night, when he is awakened, he can now tell them to wait. The dogs are likely woken up when he moves around, and if he asks them to wait just a few minutes, they may settle down and go back to sleep. If they continue to wake him, though, he will have to get up and take them outside.


Teaching the dogs to sleep in another spot on the bed involves moving them to that spot until they get the hint. It might be easier to get some plush dog beds and train them to sleep on them instead. These beds can be moved to different rooms in the house during training and will ensure that no one wakes the other at night.

Dear Cathy,

Can you explain why our two two-year-old "Shitz Poo" littermates, while on a leash walking through our neighborhood and upon seeing a rabbit and making a quick lunge toward the rabbit, immediately turn to fight each other? I'm puzzled!

— Jan, West Hartford, Connecticut


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