Did you know that you can train your dog to stay asleep (or at least to leave you alone) until your alarm clock goes off? No matter what time you set it for?

It's true! Trust me. I do this for a living.

First, note what time your dog generally wakes up on a regular day. Probably something godawful like 6am. If that's the case, then for the first three to five days, set your alarm to go off at about 10 'til 6. (This is the part that hurts.) The point of the first step is to make sure you're actually interrupting your dog's sleepytime with the alarm. Take him outside immediately.

For the next three to five days, set your alarm for 6am. (Hitting 'snooz' is not allowed!) No matter what your dog is doing, be it breathing in your face or whimpering or poking you in the eye with his cold, wet nose, ignore him until that alarm goes off. Then take him outside immediately.

Note: To effectively ignore a dog, you must not speak to, touch, or look at him.

For the next three to five days, set your alarm for about a quarter past six. Remember, 'snooz' is cheating and it will mess things up. Ignore your dog's efforts to get your attention (even if he licks the inside of your nose!) until the alarm goes off, then take him out immediately.

Continue as above until you're setting your alarm for 9:30 or 10am. By this time, your dog (unless he's a bit of a slow learner) will have realized that no matter how hard he tries, nothing at all (good OR bad, that's very important) happens to him until he hears that goddamned alarm of yours. Therefore, attempting to wake you will no longer be worth the energy it requires. He will associate getting up, going outside, eating breakfast, etc. with the sound of your clock, and he will stop looking for those things in the absence of the sound.

Note: This really works. You can fix it so that your dog wakes up when you do, and not a minute earlier. But -- your snooz button will be a thing of the past.

Oh, and another note: Some of the steps may take a little longer than three to five days. It depends on your pooch. 3-5 is about average though. You don't want to progress to the next step (i.e. later alarm setting time) until your dog is staying calm and quiet until the alarm goes off.) Be patient!