How to Train Your Dog to Not Sleep on the Bed

Easy
1-2 Weeks
Behavior

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.

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.

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.

The Less Attractive Bed Method

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Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The 'Off' Method

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Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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!
Recommend training method?

The Alternative Behavior Method

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Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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!
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Dennis
Terrier. Mongrel
Nine Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dennis
Terrier. Mongrel
Nine Years

Hiya. We have two dogs, Dennis and Daisy, who were rescued a year ago when their owner died. Initially we had them sleeping downstairs no problem after 2-3 nights. Everything changed however after new years when fireworks seemed to make Dennis agitated, anxious and difficult to settle. He would bark all night and will only settle upstairs in our room. We've been unable to break him out of this habit despite trying for weeks - he will bark all night and make himself hoarse. We've tried a routine, treats, getting him well settled and praised for using his bed during the day, and discouraging and ignoring him. Daisy sleeps wherever Dennis is with no complaints if she's up or downstairs. We really need to get this sorted before we go on holiday as we're worried they won't settle at my parents house either. They're both well exercised and given plenty of play and attention in the day and they eat a good evening meal. We're at our wits end! We even have a lamp on timer downstairs in case the dark unsettled him. Their bed is large enough, thick and comfy and is in a warm living room but we would be prepared to get another if it makes it more attractive. Help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
327 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lucille You have two options: 1. You can either reward quietness during the day and ignore the barking. 2. You can reward quietness during the day and gently discipline the barking. For the first option: First, I suggest leaving him in that area some during the day with a food stuffed chew toy, like a Kong stuffed with dog food that has been soaked in water and mixed with a little peanut butter. Ignore any barking, but when he gets quiet go to him and sprinkle a few tiny treats or pieces of dog food (if he loves his food) into the area where he is, then leave again. If he stays quiet for at least five minutes after that, then return again and repeat the treats and leave again. Practice this for a couple of hours every day. As he improves and stays quiet for longer, space your treat rewards out so that he has to stay quiet for longer and longer before earning a treat. At night you can either wait out the barking (Everytime you give in it rewards the barking and encourages it more), or put him to bed in your room while you practice during the day, then when he can handle being alone during the day start nighttime too...there will likely be barking when you first transition if you do it this way, but the barking at that point is probably just protesting the situation and not true anxiety or need and he should adjust if you ignore him for a couple of nights. Option 2. If you discipline it it's important for him to understand why he is being corrected and to practice rewarding him for doing the right thing (which is why I suggest doing the treats and practicing during the day below - you do not want to give food or attention at night because he needs to get into the habit of sleeping. There are a number of ways to discipline but I suggest trying a vibration collar first, or an electric collar, like E-Collar Technologies, that has a vibration option. A vibration or e-collar let's you correct without rewarding with any form of attention at the same time. First, work on teaching the Quiet command. Check out the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, during the day when you are practicing him being alone in his area like I suggested with option 1, tell him Quiet when you leave. If he barks, tell him "AhAh" then buzz the vibration collar. If he stays quiet for five minutes, reward with treats. While working on the training still you can either ignore any barking at night, or put him to bed in your room temporarily. Ignoring any barking is ideal training-wise but will mean lost sleep. The main goal at this point is not to give into the barking by freeing him when he barks though. Have him start where he is going to stay all night and keep him there all night right now. After you have practiced the training during the day and he can be quiet for the full two hours in his area when left alone, then have him sleep in that area at night (if you are not already doing so). If he barks, correct with the vibration collar but do not go to him or give treats at night. Because he has practiced this during the day he should be able to handle being alone at night and should understand why he is being corrected and have the skills to calm himself after being corrected. At this point stay consistent and don't give in so that he can practice a new habit of sleeping in his spot all night again. Corrections can feel harsh but as long as the dog clearly understands why they are being corrected and does have the skills to succeed because you have spent time teaching them to him, then corrections can actually be better for the dog than the anxious state they would otherwise stay in. The goal of a correction is to interrupt unwanted behavior long enough for the dog to learn how to do something better instead. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Storm
miniature dachshund
10 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Storm
miniature dachshund
10 Months

We have two miniature dachshunds, Sandy and Storm. Sandy is female and is nearly 2 years old, while Storm is male and 10 months. We love them both so much, and it's because of their cuteness they get away with so much (well mostly Storm's naughtiness). Sandy is very gentle and calm, and for the most part well trained. Storm on the other hand, has a number of issues that seem to just be getting worse and worse no matter our efforts and we don't know what to do. Firstly, from the time we got him as a little puppy he would freak out in his crate, and Sandy used to always sit at the front of the crate and look at him and whine, so we began crating them together as it seemed they were both happier this way. Before we got Storm, Sandy used to sleep in her crate at night for the most part, with occasionally crying to come in bed, which we'd usually let her when she asked which wasn't often. From the time we got Storm, he BARKS in his crate for hours upon hours until we let him into bed. When we go out during the day, we crate them together and we hear him barking in the garage when we leave, but when we get home he's usually sleeping. We had them both sleeping in the crate together for about a month after getting Storm (and he'd usually still wake up around 5 and want to come to bed), and then when Christmas holidays came around our schedule was off track and they ended up in the bed. After sleeping with us for a week, Storm refused to sleep in his own bed. He will bark for 2 hours straight full volume until we let him into bed. But we also partly do it because we feel bad that Sandy is in there with him while he's having a conniption fit. But if we take her out, he freaks out even MORE and she just sits outside the cage and cries and scratches at it. I should also add that I work from home full-time, and Storm is one of the neediest dogs I've ever met. He has to be touching one of us at all times, with Storm usually cuddled up beside me, or laying over my foot during the day. There are a number of other things that seem to be getting WORSE like him pooping and peeing in the house (we had a month when he was younger where we didn't find one poop or pee and now he seems to do it whenever he wants) and barking A LOT outside the window and at people and other dogs on walks. They are also both fixed. We love our dogs so much, but our sleep is majorly being affected by these sweet pups. Any clear advice would be appreciated!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
327 Dog owners recommended

Hello Madeleine, I highly suggest taking a firmer approach with Storm and the crate and pushiness. He sounds like he is demanding to get what he wants, and that's not good for his health, Sandy's, or yours! So don't feel bad being more firm with him for everyone's sake. For the crate, Sandy is likely crying because of how unstable he is, but I suspect would adjust to being crated alone if he calmed down. With that said I would suggest working on the Surprise method for crate training Sandy by herself. Her attitude is different than his and the Surprise method is gentler: Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate For Storm I would take a much firmer approach. To start, work on crate manners using the method in the video below: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Second, discipline the barking. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of his life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar should be low to medium, within the first forty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for her. If he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it and that will help him to enjoy the crate more. First, he needs her anxious state of mind interrupted so that he is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give him a food stuffed Kong in the crate for him to relieve his boredom instead, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. Practice all of this during the day at first. Once he has learned that e-collar corrections are for barking and is able to calm himself back down during the day, then you can transition the training to night time when he tries to bark then - if you are certain that he does not need to pee at that time. VERY IMPORTANT the dogs should NOT be in the same crate when you do this. Storm absolutely needs to be crated alone, especially for this protocol of he may take his frustrations out on Sandy or cause her a lot of emotional distress just having to listen to him. Crate her in another room while you work on this. For the pushy behavior/clinginess I highly suggest teaching a Place command and working up to him being on his Place while you for for 1-2 hours. This not only gives you a bit of space, but even more importantly helps him learn to be calmer, more submissive, less demanding, and less anxious. Expect an increase in anxiety while on Place at first - he will suddenly he expected to be calm and doesn't know how to in that way. That's just a sign that this exercise is really important for him. As he practices he should come up with ways to sooth himself and relax better. Correct any barking on Place with the collar like you did for the crate if needed. Teach the Quiet command from the article linked below so that you can tell him when to stop, and correct if he disobeys, and reward if he stays quiet for several minutes. Place means stay on that area, but he can stand, sit, or lie down - as long as he doesn't get off until told "Free" or "Okay". Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Quiet - Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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