Lighter mornings = early wake up times

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We live in the UK and the mornings have started getting lighter. Our 1yo dog sleeps in the living room which has lots of natural light and is east facing which means his natural alarm clock is now getting earlier – for the past few months he’s been sleeping until 7.30/8am on a good day, then coming in our room for cuddles and to nap a bit more which we were fairly happy with.

But now he’s waking us at 6am and not going back to sleep until he we let him in our room (which we are trying to keep consistent at 7.30am). He will whine and peep outside our bedroom door hoping to come in. We say “no” and “go to bed” through the bedroom door but he will continue there or return to the living room or lie in the hallway and continue to whine and occasionally do a high pitched bark. This is how he lets us know he needs the toilet so he knows we respond to it – if we take him outside to the toilet it’s no fuss and then ignore him and we go back to bed. We’re not seeing any improvement, it’s getting worse as the days get lighter and the constant whining and barking will be upsetting our neighbours too.

It’s an open plan flat so hard to restrict his access, massive windows so curtains/blinds are not an option and he is not crate trained – we tried so hard with this when we first got him but he always hated it. We then used to gate him in the guest bathroom but he woke up early in there too – sleeping loose in the hall and living room was what made him sleep longest and through the night so we switched to that when he was about 6 months old. Night times and sleep have always been our trickiest area to manage…

I know if he slept in the room with us he would be fine but my partner is really against it… When we do eventually let him in he is super hyped and excited to see us then quickly settles down to sleep more. We know there is huge value for him in access to us and our room so not sure we should keep reinforcing this. Should we stop letting him in the bedroom completely? I would miss morning cuddles but I miss sleep more!

We could also try going back to gating him in the bathroom or lounge but am certain he would object to the change in routine and this would mean more noise, disruption, and complaints from neighbours who are pretty pissed right now.

Any other advice for two exhausted dog parents, feeling pretty stuck right now?

(As further context, he is fine being left alone when we go out but does have FOMO when separated from us in the house.)

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