Should you wake your dog when he’s dreaming away? As I write, my senior Doberman/Lab mix, Tula, sleeps peacefully on the couch, her head on the arm rest. Although I’ve never heard Tulaboops snore, her paws start to quiver and twitch, like she’s running. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, she’ll softly bark. And I wonder, is she chasing a squirrel around the backyard or is she running away from a buck deer? And if it’s the latter, should I wake her from her nightmare?
No. I shouldn’t. And neither should you. Dogs may sleep a lot (14 – 16 hours per day, on average), but their sleep patterns are similar to ours, meaning they need those deep REM cycles the same way we do. So while we don’t advise you to wake your dog from a nightmare, we also understand that sometimes you feel like you just can’t help yourself. So if you MUST wake your dog (maybe you’re heading off for work and you need to drop her off at daycare, for example), follow these three tips to wake your pup up in the safest way possible.
1. No touching. It’s almost impossible to resist touching and hugging your furry friend when he’s whimpering from (presumably) a bad dream. I mean, honestly, all I want to do is comfort my baby! But no matter how sweet, kind, or loyal your pooch is, you want to be careful when waking them from a dream. Dreams are reality for your dog when he’s in them, so pups can easily get confused when waking up. If woken by physical contact, there’s a chance your pooch may snarl or even bite.
2. Use a soft voice. Do you like getting woken up by screams from your mom, child, or husband? Absolutely not. It’s the quickest way to ruin your day! So why would your pup enjoy abruptly getting woken up by you? Use a soft, kind voice to wake your pooch, gently calling her name to bring her back to reality.
3. L-O-V-E. Once your doggy has woken fully from the land of dreams, lay on the love! Don’t be afraid to touch, hug, pet, or snuggle your pup to let them know that everything is ok, and that they’re in a safe place. (Plus, who doesn’t love doling out the snuggles?)