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Hey PF,

Basil's been settling down for bed sooner around sunset... like right now at 6:50pm. She's asleep-asleep. The "problem" is that she wakes up at 4:00am, and plays with toys or chews for about 30-45 minutes before falling back to sleep until I get up around 6:30-7:00am. At 4:00am my reaction is typically "whyyyyyyyyyy" before rolling back asleep.

She's my first dog and this is our first fall. I figure this is a natural animal pattern so I haven't tried to alter her sleep to sync with mine. I'm not sure if I should do my best to keep her entertained later in the evening to keep her awake or just let her body go to sleep when she wants and deal with her morning noise.

She's been napping harder and getting more total hours of sleep per day, so that's a plus.

Is my poodle the only one doing this? Should I keep try to keep her up or just let it be?
 

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I’ve never had that happen with any dog. She might just be more sensitive to the decrease of sunlight. I think dogs need to adjust to our schedules or their lives and ours will be disrupted. If it was my dog I would rearrange her schedule. One question though : how old is she and does she get to nap during the day ? If she’s a puppy, she should have one or more naps during the day, depending on how old she is.

So the first thing is to make sure her nap is at the right time. If she only needs one, make it a strategic time so she can last late enough before wanting to go to bed. If it’s at the right time, maybe she needs two. Make sure it’s not too close to her bedtime.

Then, arrange her routine so that her free time falls when she needs to sleep. For example, if she’s had enough sleep during the day and she still wants to sleep at 7pm, then maybe have a play session 45 minutes after supper (so she doesn’t get sick) or go on a walk. Then come back, give a small treat and let her cool down and play on her own.

You get the picture. Basil needs to follow you, not the opposite. :)
 

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Hmm. Interesting. In the evenings I'm usually on reading on my desktop which next to my TV which I can watch Netflix movies at the same time. I keep a few squeaky balls on my desk, and do backhand tosses. The bring it back, I toss again, rarely needing to look up from what I'm doing. It keeps them happy and awake.
 

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Where does Basil sleep? I would try to work on making mornings BORING. No toys, no chews at 4 am, just BORING until a more reasonable time. I would also work on forcing her to be awake in the evening. Maybe a 7 pm walk? 8 pm walk? At that age, Annie got walked 3-4 times a day, tiny short 5-10 min walks.

One thing I learned from Annie as a puppy is that dog sleep patterns are very flexible based on what waking up gets them. Annie got taken out at 11 pm, and then woke me at around 5 every morning. She didn't whine or cry, just shifted and kind of bumped around in her crate until I got up (light sleeper). I took her out, then stuck her back in her crate until 8 ish, second pee, short cuddle, walk, off to work. When she was about 5 months ish, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep on my bed with her one night. Woke up at about 8, and got my puppy up for a walk. She wasn't lonely, she knew that if she woke me up, it was back in the crate for her after the potty break, and she decided to snuggle instead. I was so exhausted at that point, and she has slept in my bed every night since then :) This is definitely an example of dog training human, and I have zero regrets, the extra sleep was more than worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I’ve never had that happen with any dog. She might just be more sensitive to the decrease of sunlight. I think dogs need to adjust to our schedules or their lives and ours will be disrupted. If it was my dog I would rearrange her schedule. One question though : how old is she and does she get to nap during the day ? If she’s a puppy, she should have one or more naps during the day, depending on how old she is.

So the first thing is to make sure her nap is at the right time. If she only needs one, make it a strategic time so she can last late enough before wanting to go to bed. If it’s at the right time, maybe she needs two. Make sure it’s not too close to her bedtime.

Then, arrange her routine so that her free time falls when she needs to sleep. For example, if she’s had enough sleep during the day and she still wants to sleep at 7pm, then maybe have a play session 45 minutes after supper (so she doesn’t get sick) or go on a walk. Then come back, give a small treat and let her cool down and play on her own.

You get the picture. Basil needs to follow you, not the opposite. :)
Yeaaah, your right, I think I need more strategic structure her day more. She's 6-3/4 months old.. very much a "play play play" mentality in a big girl body and she's starting to get the hang of being a dog. She sleeps for an additional hour between 9-10am (I go to gym, she sleeps on my bed), and 12:30-1:00pm (our daily lunch foodcoma). Then we'll go on another exercise-focused walk for a about hour while the suns up and then lounge around or play inside and only go outside for potty breaks after.

I'm furloughed for about a month so far so it's been her and I all day. Our day is structured around her potty schedule, but she's been leveling up in the being-able-to-hold-it department and had some record breaking 3.5-4 hour stretches (we're in an apt).

Tomorrow, I will try pushing back our afternoon excerise-focused walk to the evening when it's dark and just have a slow paced sniff-stuff walk in the afternoon instead.

Yeah, you're right, she needs to follow me

Hmm. Interesting. In the evenings I'm usually on reading on my desktop which next to my TV which I can watch Netflix movies at the same time. I keep a few squeaky balls on my desk, and do backhand tosses. The bring it back, I toss again, rarely needing to look up from what I'm doing. It keeps them happy and awake.
Her drive to play is endless, her grandpa tried this during the seahawks game last Sunday at my parents and it was more tug and more fetch for over 2 hours - (sometimes "play" is more for the human then dog). Maybe there's a limit. Normally I'm on my bed in the evenings which is ideal for cuddle-and-scratch sessions, but not play. I'll try setting my laptop up on the ground and rotate toys once they get slobbery.
 

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Where does Basil sleep? I would try to work on making mornings BORING. No toys, no chews at 4 am, just BORING until a more reasonable time. I would also work on forcing her to be awake in the evening. Maybe a 7 pm walk? 8 pm walk? At that age, Annie got walked 3-4 times a day, tiny short 5-10 min walks.

One thing I learned from Annie as a puppy is that dog sleep patterns are very flexible based on what waking up gets them. Annie got taken out at 11 pm, and then woke me at around 5 every morning. She didn't whine or cry, just shifted and kind of bumped around in her crate until I got up (light sleeper). I took her out, then stuck her back in her crate until 8 ish, second pee, short cuddle, walk, off to work. When she was about 5 months ish, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep on my bed with her one night. Woke up at about 8, and got my puppy up for a walk. She wasn't lonely, she knew that if she woke me up, it was back in the crate for her after the potty break, and she decided to snuggle instead. I was so exhausted at that point, and she has slept in my bed every night since then :) This is definitely an example of dog training human, and I have zero regrets, the extra sleep was more than worth it.
Basil sleeps in her crate with the door open or at the base of my bed on the ground. She goes back and fourth every 1 to 2 or to 3 hours on her own, then from ~3am-7am she'll be in her bed most mornings. I attempted to crate train her a a puppy for like a day or two, but the screaming was too intense.

I just took away her animal friends and chews for the evening (9:40pm). She gave me a "what are you doing?" look. We'll try this for a few nights and see what happens.

Check, good idea, push back evening walk time. I don't enjoy long walks in the dark, but it sounds like I'll have to. We have a safe neighborhood.

Our current general walk schedule looks like this:
6:45/7:00-~7:30 - sniff, pee, and poop around the neighborhood
10:10-10:30 - quick pee walk
Lunch & foodcoma nap
1:30-2:30 - exercise focused walk in residential. Sometimes a little longer, sometimes a little less
6:00-6:45 - leash manners/city manners focused walk
9:30-9:40 - last evening pee walk around the block

Obviously somedays time varries, but that's in general what is looks like most days on a regular basis this last month.
 

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I'm actually quite impressed she plays quietly by herself in the morning. Assuming she doesn't disturb you, I wouldn't personally discourage that. It sounds like a form of self-soothing, which is what I want my dogs to be able to do. So good job, Basil!

I will say that it looks like she's walking an awful lot for her age, especially if that's sustained walking on pavement. Are you familiar with the Puppy Culture exercise guidelines?

Here's a link to the chart: Exercise Guidelines for Puppies (By Puppy Culture) – Inugami – Finnish Spitz
 

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I'm furloughed for about a month so far so it's been her and I all day.
This caught my attention. If you haven’t started, you need to get her ready for when you will get back to work. She has you 24/7 at the moment and you can’t expect her to be okay with being left alone many hours or even most of the day soon.

If you don’t prepare her, you might end up with a dog who displays separation anxiety and/or starts having destroying behaviors in the house. This is a reality that will hit many, many « COVID » dogs but it is also something that can be prevented.

Start leaving her alone for short periods of time, then slowly increase. Try to mimic the routine she will have when you return to work. Do this over a long period, like 6-8 weeks, so it goes smoothly. At the end of this adaptation period, your dog should be able to stay home alone as long as it would if you were back to work.
 

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It appears the real issue is Basil disturbing you sleep cycle. Other than that, I'm with PtP in being impressed with Basil's ability to entertain herself. I think your scheduled activities are spot on and are the reason you have well grounded puppy. My personal take is lack of physical and mental stimulation is more detrimental than a more active daily routine - but what do I know. Happy would be relentless if she didn't get an appropriate amount of stimulation. I 've noticed if we engage in vigorous play too late in the evening (after 8pm), she has a hard time settling down. Luckily for us, Happy is pretty good sleeper and has sync'd her sleep schedule to mine.

My only suggestion is to possibly separate Basil's sleep area from yours and add some activity during the early evening to keep her awake. What were the result of removing her chews and friends? Good luck. BTW, Basil is among the most beautiful dogs on this forum. - B
 

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I'm actually quite impressed she plays quietly by herself in the morning. Assuming she doesn't disturb you, I wouldn't personally discourage that. It sounds like a form of self-soothing, which is what I want my dogs to be able to do. So good job, Basil!

I will say that it looks like she's walking an awful lot for her age, especially if that's sustained walking on pavement. Are you familiar with the Puppy Culture exercise guidelines?

Here's a link to the chart: Exercise Guidelines for Puppies (By Puppy Culture) – Inugami – Finnish Spitz
It's quiet except for the squeakers ugh. She does an A+ in some areas like self-soothing, it sounds like Peggy is a doll in places like a public market. Basil is an overstimulated anxiety enducing jumpy crazy child in public.. but we're trying to take baby steps.

I was not, thank you for pointing that out. Basil's breeder had her on the Puppy Culture program from 0-8 weeks. I'll shorten our sustained walks radius so we come in a sooner.

Update: Basil got up by ~5am, which would have been 6am before daylight savings time. Success. Looks like I'll be picking up her toys now in the evening. I'll need to get some illuminescent light gear now.
 

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It appears the real issue is Basil disturbing you sleep cycle. Other than that, I'm with PtP in being impressed with Basil's ability to entertain herself. I think your scheduled activities are spot on and are the reason you have well grounded puppy. My personal take is lack of physical and mental stimulation is more detrimental than a more active daily routine - but what do I know. Happy would be relentless if she didn't get an appropriate amount of stimulation. I 've noticed if we engage in vigorous play too late in the evening (after 8pm), she has a hard time settling down. Luckily for us, Happy is pretty good sleeper and has sync'd her sleep schedule to mine.

My only suggestion is to possibly separate Basil's sleep area from yours and add some activity during the early evening to keep her awake. What were the result of removing her chews and friends? Good luck. BTW, Basil is among the most beautiful dogs on this forum. - B
Mental stimulation..... We don't do much if any. I definitely need to level up here and make it a part of everyday life for her. Great mention.

That's nice that she's a heavy sleeper, sometimes it seems like Basil gets up more at night to switch sleeping places then an old man with an enlarged prostate.

My apt is as big as an average hotel room (275 ft^2), so her cage can only fit in one spot. Otherwise, maneuvering in the bathroom would be impossible or it would block the exit. I like your thinking!

Removing of the chews and stuffed toy friends was a step in the right direction. I'll do it again tonight to see if the result is the same or different again.

Thank you, I'll give her a nose boop from you.
 

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You've gotten good advice above, so I'll just chime in to say that I think changes in circadian rhythms are completely normal in the shift to winter and again six months from now. Mia rises and falls with the sun - as do I, frankly, though clocks necessarily prevail in my case.
 

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You'll find mental activities are excellent at draining poodle energy! At Basil's age, we were still doing just 30 seconds at a time, multiple times a day. Just cycle through her commands, play "find it" with treats or toys, etc.

Also helps to mix in some grassy sniff & romp type exercise with your walking routine. Or at least find a natural surface to stroll on. The Puppy Culture exercise guidelines permit loads of that after 6 months. It's the repetitive, forward-focused sidewalk-walking (or worse, jogging) that's still to be avoided or at least significantly limited.

Glad to hear Basil let you sleep last night. :)
 
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