Hello. I have 2 chocolate labs that are just over a year old. Some people say to cut them down to one feeding per day and some say to keep them at twice a day. For now, they are fed twice a day. They wake up between 5 & 6am every morning just to eat then go back to sleep for several hours. Then I feed them at 5pm. I am basically trying to get them to sleep in a little longer than 5 or 6am, any suggestions? They will cry and then bark a little in the am and If I yell to them to be quiet and no bark, they stop for a few minutes but then start up again crying and barking.
So 2 issues:
1) How many times is best to feed a 14 month lab daily? They are 70 & 85 Lbs each and only get one walk a day exercise (we don't have a fenced in yard so they don't get to "RUN" every day)?
2) How do I get them on a later am feeding schedule??
Thanks for any help with this!!! Hope you all are doing well.
Twice is perfect if you ask me
I have to ask, have you ever toughed it out and NOT fed them at 5am for a few days? Sounds like they have you trained quite well
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Yes THEY DO have ME trained!!! But I HAVE toughed it out for a few days and they were doing well for a while (not waking up until 7 or 8am, but then SUDDENLY (for no reason I knwo of) they were waking up at 6am, then 5:30am and now sometimes 5:15am!!! So I can't quite figure out why they are awaking earlier? I am strict with their 5PM eating time so it is not because their 2nd feeding is fluctuating?
I feed both of mine twice daily as well.
I would switch up the routine a little bit. For example, we wake up, I feed the cats. When the cats are done eating, the dogs and I go on our morning walk. When we get home, I have breakfast and make tea, and THEN I feed them. This way, they don't equate waking up with eating, and are more likely to sleep in until I get up, know what I mean?
I agree that they have you well trained. I think it sounds like they started to test you in a way, and you would wake up and feed them when they did, so they tested earlier and earlier....... Amazing how they can train us, eh? I am always amazed at the things they figure out.
Anyways, changing is not going to be easy, as they've been "winning" now. But, I think that the only way to break that habit is to change up the routine a little so waking is not equated with eating anymore, and ignoring them when they make a fuss.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
My chocolate also wakes up early, as soon as he hears the first birds chirping outside around 5:00 A.M. He isn't hungry, just wants a drink. My yellow sleeps until 6:30, she wakes up and has to go potty. They both eat twice a day, 7:30 A.M. and again at 6:00 P.M. My chocolate eats 6 cups, my yellow 3 cups. Both are two, both weigh 75 lbs.
I think there a lot of people who wish their dogs would sleep until owner wants to get up, but remember we are fighting animal, hunting instinct (hunt at dusk and dawn) here and can take time to retrain that.
I personally have the same issue, my guy was waking me anytime between 6 and 6:30. THe best advice I have is to take the dog out to go potty, no affection at all, come inside and either go back to bed or do anything that does not involve the dog. Then when you are ready, you feed them.
You could also use an alarm clock, the dog will quickly learn the sound of the alarm means it's time to wake up and go eat. Also, this can take a little time.
Another option, teach a place command
Another option, dog wakes up too early, dog is taken into crate in another room until your time to get up comes. THis one works well. No treats for going in the crate though....I know walking into a crate is a tough task for them - ha ha.
Last idea, do all the above.
Using all the techniques above, I got my dog to go from 6-6:30 to 6:45-7:00 in the past few weeks. My problem is 6:30 is great for the week, but 7:30-8 would be better for the weekend. Maybe I should just get myself a wife instead of a dog, OOPS, I have one of those too.
My dogs got a bit messed up with daylight savings...turning the clocks back.
They are good until my alarm goes off. Seems like my alarm is their "alarm" to eat.
I wonder if you could try getting them used to your alarm. Set it for 15 min later each day
until you're back up to 7am.
My 2 labs (chocolate 18mo. & black 15mo.) both eat 2x a day. But they do have
free run of their yard. I think if their weight is stable & you're feeding a high quality food you should be ok.
How about pushing that night time feeding back as well? 15-30 minutes a day on both feedings until you are where you want to be. Say 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Then 5:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m., etc. You will have to be tough and stick it out! I know it's hard to ignore those whines and whimpers! Jonah (almost 5 months) was waking up really early as well a few months ago, but we've got him pushed back until about 7-7:30 now (he goes in his kennel between 10 and 11). And even when he does get up in the morning, we don't feed him for another 30 minutes so he doesn't think "I get out and eat" and try to go back to getting up earlier. We just ignore those wimpers in the early morning. Although he sometimes does it still, the wimpers are not too loud anymore, and we usually sleep through them. Luckily, he doesn't bark yet. He does eat dinner later as well (closer to 6:30-7:00).
Thank you all for the great advice! I will try sticking it out and making the "getting up time" later and later. I will also try to change up the routine when we get up and won't feed them right away. I know this will work, instead of them training me, I will retrain them!!! They are such smart little buggers!!!
Try giving them a snack before bed. I give my two half a can of green beans apiece.
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy