When your “early bird” is actually a cat or dog that thinks 3 a.m. is a perfect feeding time or that 4 a.m. sounds like a great time for a walk, you need some pet training intervention. Sure, North Carolina’s scenery is pretty in the starlight, but you don’t have the luxury of anytime naps like cats and dogs. Getting your pet trained to let you sleep to a normal rising hour is easier than you think.

Get your pet on a schedule. Take your dog out at regular times during the day so she has enough potty times. You may need a drop-in pet sitter to ensure your dog can eliminate every four hours on schedule. Plan the last outing for just prior to bedtime. This helps reduce early a.m. potty emergencies.

Cats or dogs that think you should feed them before the sun rises can also benefit from scheduling. Ignore their pleas for food and feed them just before you leave in the morning. The first few mornings you try this will be awful for both of you (who can resist plaintive yowls and sad puppy dog eyes?), but stick with the program. Do not give in, no matter how bad the pleading becomes.

Eventually, your pet will learn that early morning racket doesn’t work. Only give in when you’re ready to feed that¬†healthy food for dogs and puppies to them, only do this when the pleading has stopped. This pet training reinforces that only silence gets rewarded with what pets want.

It also helps to make sure your pets get enough exercise during the day so they don’t seek early bird feeding or outings just for the attention it garners. A cat sitter or dog sitter visit can also help keep your pet entertained during the day and less likely to waken you early for human interaction. Pets that nap during your long workday and commute without the interaction of a pet sitter dropping by may be more prone to snatching attention whenever they can get it, regardless of what time it is.

Some dogs may suddenly demand early morning outings because of an illness. If you can’t find any reason for her additional potty outings, make a vet appointment.

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Fluffs of Luv Pet Care offers an array of customized pet care services, including in home pet sitting, dog walking, cat only pet sitting, overnight visits and cat and dog grooming and more. As the most reputable pet sitters and dog walkers in Charlotte and the surrounding area, Fluffs of Luv has put countless clients at ease by caring for their cherished companions while they were away.  Give Fluffs of Luv a call for a free in home consultation for pet care or to set up a grooming appointment 704-421-3492 or visit www.fluffsofluv.com.