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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Effective
0 Votes
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.
Recommend training method?

The Shape with Assistance Method

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Effective
0 Votes
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.
Recommend training method?

The Shape Method

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Effective
0 Votes
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.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Laurie Haggart

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

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
tramp
Miniature Schnauzer
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
tramp
Miniature Schnauzer
7 Months

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

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
944 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

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Question
Pamela
Mutt
17 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Pamela
Mutt
17 Weeks

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.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
239 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.

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Question
Biggs
Boxer
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Biggs
Boxer
2 Years

I adopted Biggs yesterday from a couple who could no longer provide what he needs. I do understand that there's an adjustment period. I wish for him to sleep with me but he seems afraid to get on the bed and actually runs and tries to hide. His previous owners said he always slept with them. Treats don't work, ive tried that and also even tried putting the little dogs on the bed with me to show him its okay, even though the little ones don't sleep with me, they're grumpy old men and like sleeping in the living room.
Biggs won't leave my side otherwise. What am I doing wrong?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
239 Dog owners recommended

Hello! It sounds like you are doing everything right. It can take dogs up to about 30 days to completely adjust. Sometimes a little reverse psychology works also. They often seem a little suspicious of us when we are trying to get them to do something when they don't trust us. So give him some space for a few days. Continue with the treats so he creates positive associations, but let him simply come to you. It is highly likely that over the next week or so, he will want to sleep with you.

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Question
blossom
Sheltie
11 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
blossom
Sheltie
11 Years

i want her to be able to jump on my bed instead of me lifting her up on my bed

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I think if Blossom is 11 years old and has never jumped on the bed on her own, she may not be able to now due to her age. Not because she cannot learn, but due to her flexibility and strength in the hind legs, needed to propel herself up. I would try the Shape With Assistance Method as described on the page here. I think due to her age, offering her a ramp or step is the best solution to prevent injury. If you have a problem teaching her, and are not able to lift her anymore, buy her a cozy soft bed for the floor to keep beside you and she should feel comfortable there. You can even put a piece of your clothing there to suit her until she gets used to it. All the best!

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Question
Stella
Goldendoodle
4 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Stella
Goldendoodle
4 Years

My dog seems confused. She used to jump on the bed and stay the whole night. Now she whines to get up onto the bed, and even though we 'invite' her by slapping our hand on the bed, she continues to whine and not jump up. Some times she will eventually jump up, then jumps off, roams a little and starts the process again. It's severely affecting our sleep and she seems stressed. Please help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
944 Dog owners recommended

Hello Barbara, It sounds like one of two or three things might be going on. If Stella was not allowed on the bed or thought she was in trouble for being on the bed at some point, then she wants to get on but is afraid she will get in trouble. If Stella has never gotten in trouble for being on the bed she was probably kicked or rolled onto during the night while you slept, so now she wants to be with you but is afraid that it will happen again. Lastly, if her legs or joints are sore for any reason, then she might be hesitant to jump because it hurts, which makes her feel upset. If she is being kicked during your sleep or is sore and it hurts for her to jump, then I would advise you to teach her a "Place", "Bed", or "Crate" command and have her sleep in her own bed in a designated area. If she is crate trained or you are willing to crate her, then I would recommend using the crate, at least at first, until she gets in the habit of sleeping in her own location so that you do not have to work on enforcing the command during the night while she is developing a new sleeping habit. If you want her to sleep on the bed with you and you think she is willing, then during the day teach her to stay on the bed when you give her a command like "Bed" or "Sleep". Teach her this during the day when you can enforce the command and prevent her from getting off. When it's time to get off the bed tell her another command like "Okay" or "Off". To teach her that do what you would do while teaching a "Place" command but simply substitute the. "Place" for the bed and tell her "Bed" or "Sleep" instead of "Place". This training will only work if she is not being kicked at night during your sleep. If she is being kicked, then she simply needs to learn to sleep in her own bed for the whining to stop. To teach her to be on her bed, attach a leash to her, quickly lead her over to your bed and use her momentum to get her to jump up on the bed. As soon as she jumps up place a treat on the bed and tell her "Bed". If she tries to jump off block her exit and calmly tell her no. When she stops trying to jump off or lays down, then place another treat on the bed. Give her another treat every ten minutes that she stays on the bed. Block her whenever she tries to jump off. When you are ready for her to get off, tell her "Off" or "Okay" and give a gentle tug on the leash and praise her when she gets off, but do not give her a treat for that part. Practice all of this until you can tell her to get on the bed and she will jump up on her own and stay there until she is told to get off. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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