How to Train Your Dog to Jump onto the Bed

Easy
2-5 Days
General

Introduction

For most of us, teaching our dogs to jump on the bed means simply, not teaching your dog not to jump on the bed!  Our dogs want to be with us, beds are comfortable, and if you are on the bed for several hours each night, chances are your dog will be quite happy to join you there! Dogs are pack animals and your dog was probably born into a litter of several puppies, which meant that for the first several weeks of his life, he slept in a big pile, with his sibling and his mom. Dogs like to sleep with others; they like the body heat and the closeness. 

Usually, pet owners are focused on keeping their dog off the bed, especially if you have a large breed dog--what is cute as a puppy may not be cute when your dog weighs 100 pounds! But what if your dog won't get up on the bed, and you want him to join you there. Well then, you will need to teach him to jump on the bed and maybe provide a little aid, depending on what the issue is that is preventing your dog from joining you on his own.

Defining Tasks

For some dogs, jumping on the bed with their owners is not something that comes naturally. It may be that your dog has a physical limitation due to size or an orthopedic condition, in which case you will need to provide your dog with an aid to help him get up on the bed. Doggy stairs that allow your dog to reach and jump onto furniture can be homemade or purchased commercially through pet supply stores. Sometimes, the dog is just afraid to jump on the bed, and training is required to overcome this anxiety. If you have recently added a mature dog to your family that was taught not to jump on furniture in their previous home, and you want your dog to join you on the bed now, you will need to help your new dog understand that he is now welcome on the bed. This will require some patience and training so as not to confuse your dog.  Ideally, you will ask your dog to jump up on the bed by patting the bed and providing a verbal signal, such as 'come on up', or 'jump on the bed'. Your dog will then jump up and join you on the bed for cuddles, or to curl up and sleep. 

Many pet owners enjoy having their dogs sleep on the bed with them for company, or to keep their feet warm, and most dogs love to join their owners, so motivating your dog to jump on the bed is usually not hard, but a dog that has experienced pain when jumping on furniture due to a medical condition, is anxious about jumping, or was previously taught not to jump on furniture will require some assistance learning this behavior.

Getting Started

If your dog is resisting jumping onto the bed and needs training to accomplish this, your dog may also need physical assistance to jump on the bed.  If your dog's size or physical limitations are a factor you will need to provide a small set of steps or a box to help your dog jump on the bed. Steps can also be useful in helping train a dog that is anxious or otherwise resistant to jumping up on a bed. You will want to avoid any negative reinforcement or punishment while training your dog to jump on the bed, as you do not want to create a negative association in any way. Use treats as a reward for luring, or approximating behaviors towards jumping on the bed, and a clicker can be used to help shape jumping on the bed behavior.

The Lure Method

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Step
1
Put treat on edge of bed
Put a treat on the edge of the bed and ask your dog to get the treat. Let him take the treat without jumping on the bed, praise him, create a positive association
Step
2
Move treat back
Put the treat a little further back on the bed, but not so far that he can not reach it without jumping on the bed.
Step
3
Encourage paws up
Ask your dog to raise his paws up to the bed. Do not force him; encourage him, move the treat further forward if required. When your dog puts his front paws up on the bed to get the treat, let him have the treat and praise him.
Step
4
Encourage stretch onto bed
Continue to move the treat further back so your dog has to reach, putting his paws and upper body further onto the bed.
Step
5
Encourage jump on bed
Get on the bed. Move the treat far enough back so that your dog has to jump up onto the bed to get the treat. When your dog comes up, make a big deal, be excited for him, let him have the treat and lots of praise.
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The Shape with Assistance Method

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Step
1
Set up assistance
Put a set of stairs, a crate, or a box next to the bed that your dog can use as an aide to getting up on the bed. Make sure it is sturdy and safe.
Step
2
Teach dog to use assistance
Ask your dog to jump up on the first stair, or onto the crate. Pat the surface and say "jump up."
Step
3
Reward success
When your dog gets up on the crate or stair, give your dog a treat and lots of praise.
Step
4
Move to bed
When your dog is comfortable climb up on the box, crate, or stair, ask your dog to jump up onto the bed.
Step
5
Reward on the bed
When your dog jumps onto the bed, provide a treat and praise.
Step
6
Remove assistance
Practice using the assistance subject, box, or stairs. If your dog requires this help for physical reasons, leave it in place. If your dog should be able to jump to the bed without assistance, remove the box, and ask your dog to jump on the bed without it. If your dog is resistant, replace the assistance object and continue practice. Try removing it again at a later time.
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The Shape Method

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Step
1
Reinforce approach bed
Have a clicker available and wait for your dog to approach the bed. When your dog comes near the bed, click and treat. Repeat until your dog associates the bed with reinforcement.
Step
2
Reinforce head on bed
Sit on the edge of the bed and tap next to you. When the dog puts his head up on the bed next to you, click and treat.
Step
3
Reinforce paw on bed
Now encourage your dog to put a paw up, place your hand with the treat on the edge of the bed, when your dog paws your hand, click and treat.
Step
4
Reinforce paws on bed
Move your hand with the treat back, require your dog to put both paws up before you click and treat to mark the behavior.
Step
5
Reinforce jump on bed
Now get up on the bed with your clicker and a treat, ask your dog to jump up and join you. If he jumps up, click and treat. If not, move farther forward, requiring him to stretch up onto the bed to get a click and treat. Gradually move back until he jumps up to reach you and click and treat.
Step
6
Remove reinforcement
Start removing the click, just ask for jump up and give a treat. Eventually, you can stop providing the treat as your dog will jump up on the bed to be with you and receive praise and attention.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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