How to Train Your Dog to Not Sleep on the Bed

How to Train Your Dog to Not Sleep on the Bed
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon1-2 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

It’s time to admit to a harsh truth. While we all love our dogs and enjoy spending time with them, there are some moments where it would be nice to get a little bit of peace and quiet. Sure, it’s nice waking up to Fido’s expectant face, but there are times when you want to sleep in instead, not to mention your pooch’s penchant for snoring, rustling around in the middle of the night or getting fur all over the nice clean sheets. If Fido has picked up the human bed sleeping habit, a lifelong sharing of the covers isn’t inevitable. It’s possible, and easier than you may think, to teach your dog to not sleep on the bed.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Defining Tasks

It may seem like a cute and cuddly behavior when your dog is a small puppy, but as your dog grows and ages his size and presence could prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Sleeping in your bed isn’t all that great for your pet either. Jumping up and down off the bed can cause hip or joint issues or potential injuries from slipping or impact. In short, there are plenty of reasons for your dog to have his own special spot to catch a few winks and you’ll both sleep better and be healthier as a result of teaching the dog not to sleep in your bed.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Getting Started

Before you begin on your journey towards teaching your dog not to sleep on the bed, you’re going to need a few supplies. Your dog will need an alternative place to sleep; someplace that feels comfortable and safe. You should choose a quality dog bed with plenty of padding and washable covering. Dog beds should be thick and durable enough that your dog’s joints or bones don’t touch the ground through the material when laying with his full weight. If your dog is a serial bed sleeping offender, he may also need a crate with a closeable door in order to help break the bed sleeping habit at night.

Finally, dog owners looking to untrain this habit should bring a hefty dose of patience and humor. You want training an alternative behavior to be a pawsitive experience for both you and your dog and yelling or anger can quickly undermine that approach. There are various ways to teach your dog to not sleep on the bed and owners should try out any and all to see which is just the right fit for their spoiled, bed-loving pooch.

arrow-up-icon

Top

The 'Off' Method

Most Recommended

2 Votes

Ribbon icon

Most Recommended

2 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Lookout

Teaching the 'off' command is another method for teaching your dog not to sleep on the bed. Start off by catching your dog in the act of sleeping on the bed. You should refrain from rewarding or petting him for this behavior, even if he looks darn cute snuggled up in your comforter.

2

Lure 'off'

Using a treat or tasty toy, lure your dog into following you off the bed (or couch or furniture) and onto the floor. Once he's got all four paws on the floor, praise and reward with treats.

3

Add a command

Once your pet is exiting the bed quickly with the lure, start adding in the cue of a hand gesture or verbal command such as “off”. Your dog will soon start connecting the lure and treat reward with the cue.

4

Lose the lure

Give your pet the “off” command without a lure. The first few times they perform the task you should praise and reward heavily.

5

Reduce rewards

Slowly taper off the rewards so that your pet doesn’t receive a cookie or treat every single time he performs the task. This will reinforce the behavior and have your dog looking to perform the command faster in order to potentially get a cookie or snack. Use the 'off' command liberally to get Fido off the bed and then keep him off for good!

The Less Attractive Bed Method

Effective

1 Vote

Ribbon icon

Effective

1 Vote

Ribbon icon
1

Brace yourself

Breaking the bed sleeping routine is the first step towards teaching your dog that human mattresses are off limits. Your pooch has most likely slept in your bed for some time so it may take a number of days or weeks until he learns that the rules have changed. If your dog whines or cries at night, try giving him a bedtime snack or toy to help establish comforting bedtime routines not associated with your bed.

2

Reduce appeal

Making the bed a place where your dog can’t or doesn’t want to be is one of the first methods frustrated owners should try when training their dog not to sleep on the bed. Start out by keeping your bedroom door closed so that your dog starts to break the habit of hopping up when the mood strikes him.

3

Limit access

Next, dog owners should attempt to make the bed inaccessible to their pet. Owners can raise the bed to a height that isn’t reachable by Fido. Placing a pen or barrier around the bed can also prevent unwanted canine visitors. Finally, leaving several upturned laundry baskets or other obstacles on the bed can also make the spot less roomy and therefore less attractive to your dog.

4

Improve the doggy zone

The next step in project human bed aversion should be making Fido’s personal sleeping space a much more comfortable prospect. Make sure your dog’s bed is extra thick and fluffy. While you may be tempted, move your dog’s bed out of your bedroom to avoid the temptation or association of your sleeping space with his own. You may want to also consider adding bolsters or other items for your dog to lean against for extra comfort.

5

Crate train

In order to thoroughly break the habit and get your dog used to not sleeping in your bed, you may need to crate him at night. To do this, place his new bed inside the doggy crate and shut the door firmly. You should give your dog calming treats or toys to help create a safe space and positive associations with his confines. Eventually, you may be able to leave the crate unlocked or remove it entirely and have your pooch returning willingly to his new favorite sleeping spot.

The Alternative Behavior Method

Least Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon

Least Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon
1

Sweet spot

Rewarding your dog for going to their place or sleeping on their own bed is a great method for training your pooch not to sleep on human beds. The first step should be in purchasing and setting up a comfortable spot for your dog to go. The bed should have plenty of toys and be free of crinkly fabrics that may be off-putting in sound or comfort.

2

Lure him in

Next you’ll want to lure the dog to his bed by throwing small treats onto the bed. Get your dog’s attention and toss a treat. Once he retrieves the treat, praise him as closely as possible to when he is gobbling up that cookie.

3

Add a cue

Once your dog is reliably running to the bed for his treat, start adding in a verbal command or cue. “Place” or “bed” are common commands to teach dogs to go to their spot. Continue using both treats and the cue so that your pooch word makes a connection between the word and the behavior.

4

Lose the lure

Next, remove the treat bribe and instead use the verbal cue. Your pet should run to his bed to sniff for a treat if you’ve properly reinforced the cue. Once your dog reaches the bed, immediately reward him with a treat.

5

Practice

Slowly increase the difficulty by requiring your dog to lay down, put all four feet on his bed or settle in place. Use the verbal cue without treating on every instance. Vary the reward levels of treats, mixing in things such as hot dogs or cheese with dried cookies to leave your dog guessing which time will result in bonus rewards. This type of training will have your dog reliably going to his bed in no time, which means he won’t be snuggling up in yours!

By Kimberly Maciejewski

Published: 01/29/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

Have a question?

Training Questions and Answers

Dog nametag icon

Lola

Dog breed icon

Cavoodle

Dog age icon

Six Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

We are trying to have our dog crate trained, or trained to sleep anywhere except our bed - but she cries and whines all night until we let her out/into our room. We live in an apartment so we can't ride it out because we have had complaints.

Nov. 14, 2023

Lola's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As she improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating her during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. Whenever she cries in the crate, tell her "Quiet". If she gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if she stays quiet. If she continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at her side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever she cries. Practice for a few days until she is doing well during the day. Continue what you are currently doing at night during this process. Once she is doing well during the day, crate her at night too. When she cries at night before it has been 6 hours, tell her Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if she doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Nov. 30, 2023

Dog nametag icon

alfie

Dog breed icon

Cocker Spaniel

Dog age icon

7 yrs

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

want to on the bed and franticly licks the covers

Aug. 11, 2023

alfie's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Are you wanting Alfie not to sleep on the bed? If so, there are a couple of ways to train that. First, I would teach an Off and Place command, and set up a dog bed where you want him to sleep instead. Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Periodically place treats on the dog bed when you are home and he isn't watching, for him to discover, so he starts to associate the bed with good things and want to go to it on his own. From here, you can consistently tell him to go to Place each night, use the Off command if he tries to get on the bed, and during the day reward him going to his dog bed. For some dogs a month of being consistent about this will train the dog to stay off your bed while you are sleeping. For especially pushy pups or dogs who jump up in the middle of the night and you sleep through it, I would crate train and have him sleep in a crate for at least three months, with the dog bed you taught as Place inside the crate. Once he is used to sleeping in the crate on the bed, he can either continue to sleep there long term, or you can open the door, and if he comes out to jump on the bed, put him back in the crate with the door closed this time to help him learn not to get on the bed. Some dogs after about six months then can also sleep with just the dog bed left in the spot the crate was on long term. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 25, 2023


Wag! Specialist
Need training help?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.


© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.