How to Train Your Dog to Jump onto the Bed

How to Train Your Dog to Jump onto the Bed
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon2-5 Days
General training category iconGeneral

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.

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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.

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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.

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The Lure Method

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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Shape with Assistance Method

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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.

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."

3

Reward success

When your dog gets up on the crate or stair, give your dog a treat and lots of praise.

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.

5

Reward on the bed

When your dog jumps onto the bed, provide a treat and praise.

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.

The Shape Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

By Laurie Haggart

Published: 10/20/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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tramp

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Miniature Schnauzer

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7 Months

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Tramp does not jump off or on the bed and will cry until someone helps him.

Jan. 31, 2021

tramp's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashley, First, because of his height you may want to consider adding an end of bed "bench" like the one in the link below. Just something that's easy to stand on and not slippery to give him a halfway point jumping up so it's not as far to go. https://www.stanleyfurniture.com/products/portico-bed-end-bench I would also work on pup's overall ability to jump, building his confidence and the muscles needed for the jump gradually. Start by creating a very low jump for pup, like an agility jump with a pole in the middle. You can even use a straight stick without branches for this. Place it on the ground and encourage pup to go over it. Reward when he does and give a command like "Up!" as he does so. When pup is happy to go over the "jump", lift it a couple inches off the ground and encourage pup to step or slightly jump over it, while saying Up!. Reward pup each time he does until he can do it easily and happily. Practice each step until pup is confidently able to do it each time. As pup masters the current low height, slowly raise the jump up another inch, only adding one more inch at a time. Practice until pup can jump about at least as high as he is tall. At that point, hold the jump in front of the bed bench and have pup jump over it onto the bed bench. Give pup a treat when he does and also when he goes from the bed bench to the top of the bed again. Once pup can get up easily, encourage pup down the bed bench using treats, then once pup is on the bed bench hold your "jump" between the bed bench and floor, encouraging pup to jump down onto the floor. Give pup a treat when he does. Be careful when practicing jumping, especially at heights taller than pup, before pup is over a year old because their bones have not finished developing and growth plates closing yet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Feb. 2, 2021

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Pamela

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Mutt

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17 Weeks

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So Pamela is from my mom's dog's litter so we have had her since birth. Her and I are pretty close and she does sleep with me. I am trying to get her to jump on my bed but I don't want to pressure her. I know she wants on the bed because if I don't put her up, she wines. I am worried that it may hurt her because she is so young and I am also worried that she is too overwhelmed. I do work with her on basic commands such as sit and lay down and she has got those down. I just don't know if she is too young to understand to jump. Is she too young? Should I be worried about her getting hurt? My bed is somewhere between 2 and 2.5 feet and Pam is a little under a foot.

Nov. 22, 2020

Pamela's Owner

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Alisha Smith - Alisha S., Dog Trainer

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257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! She isn't too young to start jumping up. You can put some treats on the edge of your bed, and start to move them farther from the edge every day until she finally has no choice to jump up to get the treats.

Nov. 24, 2020


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