How to Wake Up a Dog Without Scaring Them

Need to get your four-legged friend up and moving but they get frightened when you do — or maybe even angry at you? Obviously, you don’t want to cause them to be scared or upset, but they have to get up!

So what do you do then? How can we get your dog to wake up without it being a huge ordeal for the both of you? Well, keep reading, because in this article “How to Wake Up a Dog Without Scaring Them” we’re going to fill you in on everything you need to know!

How Do You Wake Up a Sleeping Dog Without Scaring Them?

How to Wake Up a Dog Without Scaring Them

To wake up a sleeping dog without scaring them, just be slow and gentle with things. Start by softly petting them while quietly calling their name. Pet in a wider area and call their name a bit louder until they hear you and wake up, and they should do so without being scared.

If they’re easily frightened, however, then it’s likely popping up at other times too — which needs to be addressed. Failure to do so will only lead to their anxiety and stress issues growing, and could show itself with other unwanted behaviors like hiding out places, snapping at strangers or even you, and refusing to go outside.

Obviously, none of these are behaviors you want to be dealing with — but you especially do not want your beloved four-legged friend to be experiencing all of that worry in their life.

So let’s think about what’s causing them to feel that way. You’ve probably heard before that dogs are pack animals, and that in every pack there is a pack leader. Well, when your dog is experiencing stress like this they’re essentially telling you that they don’t view you as a capable pack leader.

If they did, they would trust you to be able to handle things. They wouldn’t be scared just by being woken up, they wouldn’t go crazy when you leave the house, they wouldn’t be terrified of strangers, and they wouldn’t experience all the other sorts of behavioral problems that are rooted in fear caused by the lack of an effective pack leader.

“Well, I would like to be that for them but I have no clue about any of this…”

That’s okay! It’s a very normal thing, but the good news is that this can all easily be learned just so long as you have the right instruction.

That’s why I’d recommend an excellent free video series on just this subject — how to be your dog’s pack leader — by a renowned trainer named Dan. In it, he’ll show you everything in ways that are very easy to follow and teach to your own dog, and he gets right to the point so that you’ll start seeing real progress in no time.

Start watching Dan’s free training series now by clicking here. And don’t stress about having to be mean because you won’t. Dan loves dogs just as much as we do, meaning you’ll never have to even raise your voice to your dog!

Is It Ok to Wake a Sleeping Dog?

It is ok to wake a sleeping dog — but you need to do it the right way. When we say “right” what we really mean is that if you want them not to be scared of being woken, then you need to do it in a way that they’re not startled so they won’t start making negative associations with you and waking up.

When your dog is sleeping make sure what you do wakes them up gently and that you’re not just getting them up forcefully and all of a sudden. Do so by gently but firmly tapping the dog’s paw or shoulder (just don’t startle them). Next, start calling their name in a soft voice while rubbing their back.

Getting your dog up the right way will put them in a better mood and you’ll avoid unwanted behaviors like early morning barking and other things you don’t want. Done the wrong way, they’ll be in a bad mood and you’ll feel like you’ve woken up a wolf and not your dog!

Should You Wake a Dog From a Nightmare?

It depends on the dog if you should wake your dog from a nigtmare. Some dogs absolutely hate being woken up from any kind of sleep, whether it’s a nightmare or not. Other dogs, however, might actually appreciate being woken up if they’re having a bad dream — as it’ll stop them from continuing to have the dream and will probably make them feel much better.

It really just depends on your individual dog and what you know about their personality. If you think waking them from a nightmare will make it worse, then don’t do it. But if you think they’ll be glad to have been woken up from the nightmare and that doing so might help ease their anxiety then go ahead and wake them!

If you’re unsure, just look to cues from their behavior from when they’re awake. If your dog is the timid type that likes to hide under your bed and those types of things, then you’ll probably want to wake them when they’re having a nightmare. Dogs that are more dominant and independent are probably fine to be left alone sleeping through bad dreams.

Do Dogs Hate When You Wake Them Up?

Some dogs do hate when you wake them up — just like people do! They all have their own personalities, particularly around sleep, just the same as humans. One thing is for certain though, no one whether they’re human or a dog enjoys being wakened up abruptly.

To gently wake up your dog, try gently rubbing their back and then begin softly calling their name. Increase the pressure of your rubbing and say their name louder if they don’t respond at first. Waking up calmly like this will create positive associations in their mind with you, and being woken.

I’m sure you’re eager to start using these tips so you can get rid of your dog’s fear and worries. I’ll let you get started now, but be sure to share this article in case anyone you know could use some tips on how to wake up a dog without scaring them. Thank you, and good luck with everything!

The Author



Hey there! I'm a dog behavior expert and lover of travel. Since 2016, I've been sharing my knowledge on dog training and behavior, while exploring the Pacific Northwest with my two rescues.