Thursday, June 5, 2008


Yesterday morning Theo woke up at 4:45am. For me this is a totally ungodly hour in which my brain functions are barely up to snuff enough for me to walk without falling down (seriously, I had to hold onto a wall at one point). When Theo wakes up, I now wake up too. Why? Because, as I started earlier, he somehow learned that barking is a much more effective way of waking me up than crying. Damn. So yesterday morning at the aforementioned ungodly hour I stumbled downstairs with Theo to let him out to make him business. When we got back inside Theo ran, jumped up on the couch, and looked at me expectantly and adorably. Sound familiar? I was too tired to think much about anything, so I plopped down on the sofa and fell back asleep until about 40 minutes later than I should have gotten up.

When I told Husband about it later that morning he scolded me for rewarding Theo for waking me up early by sleeping on the couch with him. I hadn't thought of it that way. I hadn't thought of it at all. It was too early for that kind of brain power. I disagreed with him (usually a sure sign that I'm wrong) and said that it wasn't a reward and it was just a one time thing.

This morning Theo woke up at almost the exact same time and started in with the barking. I tried to ignore him, but after 5 minutes it was either do something to make him stop barking or suffocate myself with my pillow. I somehow convinced my body to get up and do the former. It's worth noting that before we got Theo I slept like a dead person and my husband was a very light sleeper. He claims that neither the barking this morning nor the barking yesterday woke him up, which is why, of course, he couldn't get up to deal with Theo himself. I think he's a big faker. Anyway, after he was done outside he bolted through the door, into the family room, and onto his favorite couch, yet again. This time it was accompanied by a "come and snuggle me" look like you wouldn't believe! It was almost too cute to resist, but I managed. I picked him up, put him down in his pen, and went back to bed, making sure to close the door to help with the barking that was sure to follow. And oh by the way, I ended up oversleeping by an hour and a half this time.

I'm hoping this morning reinforced that waking mommy up too early does not mean any kind of reward for Theo. And please, please, please, let him have gotten the message! I can't stand losing any more sleep this week than I already have, and I if I'm any later to work tomorrow, I'm going to end up working all weekend to make up my hours. I've been so completely agitated at work this week I haven't been able to actually get any work done.


Lynn said...

Oh man, I'm so sorry! I hate losing sleep! Lucy has recently been getting up around 5, and will jump on the bed to sleep with me. I think she just wants to make sure that she knows when I get up... I guess we'll see tomorrow if Theo gets the message!

Manda Girl said...

Man, can I relate! Meimei used to do the same thing, before Miko and before the big bed. Up at 4:30 am barking like mad. Now... when the girls get up early all I have to say is that I will put them "downstairs" (which means their pen where they are when we aren't home) and then they snuggle up with me for 20 or so more minutes. Sometimes though, it still doesn't work.

I feel ya.

The Senakams said...

Bryson started doing the same thing with us- jumping in bed and barking (with his hoarse de-barked bark) at us until someone get up and give him breakfast.

I always ignore him, while hubby usually would give in. So guess what, he doesn't bark at me at all now since he knows it's useless, he only does it to Jacques. Ha!

So I think you're right, you do train your dog in how they treat you. I'm sure with some consistent "re-conditioning", he'll get it, Theo's a smart boy :)

JuLo said...

I'm glad/sorry I'm not the only one losing sleep over this. ;)

Ivy, I've tried tuning Theo out and not giving in, and he just keeps going. Sometimes he'll take a break for 30 seconds, but he always starts back up again. I laid in bed for 10 minutes this morning before I got up to take him out. 10 minutes of constant ear-drum-shattering barking! It's more than I can take that's for sure.

My trainer loaned me her citronella collar in class this evening. She said to put it on him when I put him to bed, so if he tried barking in the middle of the night that should help train him out of it. I'm not a fan of the citronella collars in general, but I think temporarily for this specific thing it's ok. I've also taken away his water bowl way early so hopefully his bladder will be EMPTY tonight. Wish me luck!