Whether a dog should be allowed to sleep on your bed or not is entirely up to the owner. Some trainers are concerned that bed-accustomed dogs may develop behavioral problems, but that’s not backed up by facts. You can choose not sleep with your dog for several reasons (poor bladder control, fussy sleeper, can wake you up too early, is too big, etc.).
If, for whatever reason, you don’t want your dog in the bedroom, we’re going to show you how to stop your dog from sleeping in bed with you.
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What You’ll Need
Training your dog to stop jumping into your bed can be beneficial for you as an owner on so many levels. If you have several pets, you don’t want to take favorites and discriminate, so getting all of your dogs to sleep in their own beds is setting a good example for your other pets as well.
Also, when a dog gets sick, there are greater chances of you ending up with the same bacteria/virus if you guys share a bed. While the reasons for stopping the dog from sleeping in bed is the sole concern and decision of the owner, here are the things you’ll need to train your doggo:
- Measuring tape – Part of the process of teaching your dog to stay out of YOUR bed is to teach them to get used to their OWN bed. For buying a new bed, you will need to know your dog’s measurements, so measuring tape will come in handy.
- Dog bed – Buying a dog’s bed should only be done after having observed your dog’s favorite sleeping positions, and having taken their measurements. This will help you choose a dog bed that’s suitable in terms of size and shape. Also, keep in mind your dog’s special needs. Do they like to stretch? Do they like sleeping on fluff? Do they suffer from any medical condition that could require a very specific type of bed?
- Treats, treats, treats – There are owners who like to punish their dogs when they don’t obey. We’ve found positive reinforcement through yummy treats to be efficient and also healthy practice for your dog’s well-being. So, buy a bunch of your dog’s favorite treats and get ready to pamper them when they obey your commands!
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Now that you’ve decided it’s time to change some of your canine’s sleeping habits, let’s see what you specifically have to do in order to train your dog to avoid getting into your bed.
Related: Dog Beds for Dog Crates
Step 1: Placing the Bed
- Before purchasing a new bed for your dog, it’s important to analyze the way they sleep (pretty much as you have to do for yourself when you’re looking to buy a new mattress). Observe the dog as they’re sleeping, paying close attention to their favorite position. Dogs that like to stretch a lot will be more comfortable on a large rectangular bed. Oval beds are suited for dogs that like to curl up in a donut-like shape. If you have an older dog or one that has any type of limb/muscle pain, consider buying a memory foam bed.
- Naturally, you’ll have to measure your dog if you want to make sure you’re choosing the right-sized bed. Grab some tape and measure the distance between the tip of the dog’s nose and the base of its tail. To be safe, add six to twelve more inches to the final number, to give your dog some stretching space.
- Head down to a local pet store that has as many bed options as possible. quality is super important, and since most pet owners consider dogs to be part of the family, there’s really no point in compromising quality for family members, is there? You need a dog bed that’s not just suitable in size and shape for your dog, but also one that’s made with comfort and quality materials. That’s doesn’t mean that you have to bend over backward to buy the most expensive dog bed on the market, there are a lot of choices online and offline of good quality and affordable products.
- When you’ve finally brought the new bed home, it’s time to find a suitable spot for it. If you’ve ever noticed another spot, besides your bed, where the dog likes to sleep, consider placing it there, even if it means having to move a chair to another place to make room. The best advice would be to choose a shaded corner of the room, somewhere where there is no draft. The dog needs to be comfortable with that spot you’ve chosen, or else it becomes increasingly more difficult to get them used to their new bed.
- If you’ve chosen the perfect spot for placing the bed, it’s time to make the dog attracted to that spot. You can start by placing their favorite toys on top of the bed so that the dog can find interested in going there. Toys can also encourage the dog to lie down on the bed and start chewing on them.
Step 2: Methods of Training
- Now that you’ve set the bed in the right spot, it’s time to turn to tricks that can get your dog to actually sleep there. The first recommendation is to wear out the dog before bedtime. Play with the dog to get them tired, or take them out for a long walking/running session. This will make the dog tired and less like to fight you over where they have to sleep.
- When you bring the dog back into the house, don’t remove the leash. Instead, use it to guide the dog to their new bed.
- Using treats can be an efficient way to make the dog interested in their new bed. By placing treats on the bed, the dog will associate that spot with rewards, and be more likely to head over to the bed from now on.
NOTE: Avoid forcing your dog to stay in the new bed. If you do so, they will associate the bed with a negative experience and will be less likely to ever get used to that particular spot.
Step 3: Commands & Rewards
- In some cases, it’s best if you establish a voice command to train your dog for bedtime. Something as simple as “go to bed” should suffice.
- Teaching your dog how to obey this command is a process that takes time and patience. Whenever your dog lies on their new bed, rewards this behavior with their favorite treats. Again, this helps the dog associate the bed with a positive experience.
- Training a dog implies saying “no” quite a couple of time, and with bed training, you need to be prepared to do that as well. If you notice your dog getting out of the bed and trying to climb back into yours, give them a firm “no”. Tell them “go to your bed”, and reward them only if they lie down and get ready for bed.
- If the dog tends to leave their bed to climb back into yours, remember not to pick them up and place them in their bed. Instead, try to get them off your bed. Give them a gentle nudge or pick the dog up and place them on the floor. Just make sure you don’t put the dog in the bed yourself, to avoid any negative associations.
- Punishing your dog isn’t something we recommend, although there are owners that use a water spray bottle as punishment when the dog gets into their bed. If you want to use positive reinforcement, treats are the best option.
NOTE: There are high chances of your dog starting to cry as they’re getting used to the new bed. Yes, we are all familiar with how sad puppy eyes look. But your dog needs to understand that crying and/or moaning won’t get them very far. When they start crying, just ignore them, and keep in mind that:
- If you start yelling back at your dog, this will only make them whine harder and louder. Try to ignore your dog’s tantrums, as they’re mostly a way of getting your attention, in the hopes that they can come back to bed with you. If the whining persists, make sure it’s not just your dog’s way of telling you they need to go.
- You should avoid punishing their whining, no matter how annoying it gets. Your goal here is to show the dog that their cries for attention won’t be catered to.
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Sleeping with your dog is very rewarding on a psychological level. They aren’t called a man’s best friend for nothing. But there are situations where dogs and owners sharing a bed becomes impossible, for several reasons that each pet owner in such a situation can best understand. The important thing when trying to get your dog trained to sleep on a separate bed is to establish your dominance, without punishing the pup. Even if you two are friends, you are still the leader, so the dog must learn to obey (note that we don’t encourage any physical violence on the dog whatsoever). Dog and human can still be best buds even if they don’t share the same bed.