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Hi Everyone,
Our 12 week old mini doxie puppy has been doing great with crate training thanks to someone's advice to get a Snuggle Puppy! We thought we had hit the lottery when she would sleep 8 hours and wake up at 6:30am with our alarm. However, that has been short lived and I know she's young so I shouldn't be surprised that now she is waking up at 4:45am each day this week. Since it's so close to our usual wake up time one of us lets her out to potty, chew on her toys and have some water for no more than 20 min and then she naps on the couch with us.

My question is, is she waking up early because she knows she'll get to cuddle with us? Or is it just a puppy thing to start waking up early randomly?

I have read that people say their wake up times can change and it will get better eventually, so I am not complaining about the time cause 6 hours of sleep is better than nothing! Just curious if we are reinforcing it by napping with her after?

We have gotten up with her for the 20 min and then put her bed in our room after she has peed and pooped and she eventually goes and lays on it and goes back to sleep after a little whining (which is better than the loud crying/barking when we try to put her back in her crate which is also in our room). Thinking that might be the way to go for us, but curious about puppies starting to wake up earlier out of the blue and if we are reinforcing it by cuddling after?
 

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Well; she may really need to go potty that early; my Molly still gets up at 3:00am for potty and she is 16mths old and has a dog door. I started that time because when I got her at 10weeks I had to get up to go to work at that time so she is just used to it. I did start feeding her dinner later in the day around 5:30pm to see if that helped but noooooooooooooooo, she still gets up at 3:00am; but now she does go back to bed on her own and sometimes in her crate!!
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She may need to go potty, or she may be waking up because she knows she will get attention.

In your situation, I would let her out to potty, on leash. She should get her reward and praise for going potty outside, but other than that, the potty trip should be boring. I would put her straight back in her crate. This helps teach her that when the humans are in bed, nothing happens, and night is for sleeping, not playing. If you continue to give her 20 minutes of attention, I guarantee you it will become a habit! 5 minutes tops!

My dog did this a few weeks after we got him at 5 months old. He liked to wake us up in the middle of the night, but he would just sit in the yard and stare at stuff. So he didn't get any late night potty trips anymore. We ignored him and he stopped.
 

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Dogs will learn your routine pretty quickly. If 4:45 is close to your usual wake-up time, she has probably figured that out and is waking up around that time. By then she probably also has to potty and is hungry.

My dogs will wake me up on the weekends at 6 a.m. because that's when I get up during the week.

Just curious if we are reinforcing it by napping with her after?
It's possible. But she has to be awake already for some other reason before thinking about cuddles/napping.
 

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Dogs can 'tell time' whether hormonal cycle, different smells, different light, hearing the sounds, whatever. They don't usually wake up at random. If you want, you can try to ignore her for 15 min. after she wakes up, just to try to extend her 'wake up' time. I also recommend putting her back in the crate after potty and feeding, and ignoring her complaints, if you want, to train her to adapt to your schedule.
 
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