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 '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!
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The Less Attractive Bed Method

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Effective
1 Vote
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.
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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!
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Written by Kimberly Maciejewski

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

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Lottie
French Mastiff
9 Months
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Question
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Lottie
French Mastiff
9 Months

Lottie is a rescue dog, approx 9 months old, very excitable and powerful. We have rehomed Lottie 2 weeks ago and found She is obviously used to sleeping on beds and sofas etc which in itself is not an issue, however at bedtime she becomes extremely aggressive and bites us through the duvet if we attempt to get into bed. I at first thought this was play but over the last couple of nights she has got worse and This will continue until we have managed to physically calm her down. Lottie is not spayed at the moment and has had 1 season allegedly.
Can you recommend what we do to stop this behaviour please

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
961 Dog owners recommended

Hello, There is actually a good chance that she was rehomed because of this type of behavior. It sounds like she is used to resource guarding those locations. I would first desensitize her to wearing a basket muzzle. To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle her meal kibble around it. Do this until she is comfortable eating around it. Next, when she is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward her with a piece of kibble every time she touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed her her whole meal this way. Practice this until she is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that she has to poke his face into it to get the kibble. As she gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that she has to poke his face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until she is comfortable having her face in it. Next, feed several treats in a row through the muzzle's holes while she holds his face in the muzzle for longer. Practice this until she can hold his face in it for at least ten seconds while being fed treats. Next, when she can hold her face in the muzzle for ten seconds while remaining calm, while her face is in the muzzle move the muzzle's buckles together briefly, then feed her a treat through the muzzle. Practice this until she is not bothered by the buckles moving back and forth. Next, while she is wearing the muzzle buckle it and unbuckle it briefly, then feed a treat. As she gets comfortable with this step, gradually keep the muzzle buckled for longer and longer while feeding treats through the muzzle occasionally. Next, gradually increase how long she wears the muzzle for and decrease how often you give her a treat, until she can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats more than two treats during that hour. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s I would then hire a professional trainer who is very experienced with remote collar training, aggression, and also uses positive reinforcement along with those things. This training will likely involve having her wear the muzzle routinely during the day to keep you safe, as well as a drag leash. With the trainer's help and the safety measures in place, I would then work on teaching her the Off command and Place command. Once she knows those, I would then use the remote training collar as a way to correct her for not obeying your Off command or Place command when given, so you do not have to get up close to correct and enforce your commands. I would reward whenever she willingly obeys and gets off or goes to place on command as well. Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s I would also crate train her and have her sleep in the crate at night, and during the day when you are away, either in the crate or in a room without access to the bed or couch - so she can't practice ownership over those things when you aren't there also. Once the aggression is being managed safely, then the new rule for pup long term should be no getting on couches or beds in the future. Keep an eye out for any other locations she starts to guard, like her own dog bed. She might be prone to attempts at guarding locations. Finally, with your trainer's help, I would work on your overall relationship with her, to help her learn what to expect out of living in your home. I would practice obedience commands and routines that help build respect and trust for your family. Some examples are: having her work for things she wants by obeying a command before you give it to her, regularly practicing obedience commands you would like her to learn (take 10-40 minutes every day that you can just to work on a bit of training where you are teaching new things or improving old skills, as a regular practice, like you would with a walk). Keep rules consistent and follow through on them - like no nudging to be petted or pushiness. Finally, keep boundaries a bit firmer for her then you might would with some other dogs - like not getting on the couch and being expected to go to Place and stay when told. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Charlie
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
1 Year
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Question
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Charlie
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
1 Year

Exists front door as soon as it opens

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
961 Dog owners recommended

Hello Roberta, First, start working on a reliable Come. Check out the Reel In method from the article linked below. Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall While working on Come also work on the door bolting itself. Attach a thirty or fifty foot leash to a padded back clip harness that he can't slip out of. Attach the other end of the leash to something sturdy like a stairway banister (the leash is a safety measure). With the leash slack and only there "just in case", act like you are going out the door. Start to open the door and whenever pup tries to go toward it quickly close it. Your goal isn't to hit him but he may get a slight bump if he is especially pushy. Practice opening and closing the door until you can open it and he will wait until it is open further. When he is waiting a bit, then get between him and the door and play goalie with the opening. Opening the door wide enough for you to get through, then whenever pup tries to get through firmly but calmly take several steps toward him to make him back up. By doing this you are communicating that you own that space and asking for his respect. Don't worry about bumping into him a bit if he won't move out of the way - your attitude needs to mean business without being angry at all. Once you can open the door and he will stay back and not try to rush through, then you can click and toss a treat. You will gradually practice opening the door more and more and blocking him from getting through and walking toward him to make him back up and wait. Take steps toward him until he is at least two feet from the door AND two feet away from you - those two distances often equal him giving you respect (and not simply waiting to get past you when you move), and waiting at the door (instead of trying to bolt). It will feel a lot like you are a soccer goalie, having to be quick and focused. When you can open the door completely and he will wait, take a step through the doorway. If he tries to follow, rush toward him, making him backup again quickly. This serves as a natural consequence and encourages him to stay back. If he waits patiently, then click and toss a treat as his paws. Practice at that distance until he will stay back. As he improves, take more and more steps, moving outside, onto your porch and into your yard eventually. Be ready to quickly rush toward him as soon as you see him start to move, to keep him from getting outside (this is why you back the long leash on him, just in case he gets past you, but for training purposes the goal is to keep him from getting out so he isn't rewarded for bolting). When he will stay inside while you stand in the yard, then recruit others to be distractions outside. Expect to stay a bit closer to him when you first add a hard distraction - like another dog walking past, a walker, kids playing in the yard, balls being tossed. Imagine what types of things he may one day see outside and choose distractions that are at least that difficult to practice this around. Expect to practice this as often as you can, along with Come for several weeks, not just a couple of sessions, until you get to where he is completely reliable with distractions like dogs and kids in your yard and the door completely open. A final activity you can practice is walking around places like your yard or a field and changing directions frequently without saying anything. Whenever he takes notice (at first because the leash finally tugs, but later just because you moved), then toss a treat at him for looking your way or coming over to you - without calling him; this encourages him to choose to pay attention to where you are and associate your presence with good things on his own, so he will want to be with you. The combination of practicing door manners, Come, and willing following works best. For many dogs practicing door manners with the long leash the was I described is sufficient but some dogs also need e-collar training not to bolt through doors to gain reliably. The training is done the same way with a long leash, but every time the dog crosses the thresh hold or tries to bolt, while you are rushing toward them to get them back you also stimulate the collar to give a well timed correction. In that scenario you would also use clicker training and rewards for staying inside to teach him what NOT to do (rush outside) and what he SHOULD do instead (stay inside). Anytime you want him to go outside with you, give him a command at the doorway that means it is okay to exit, like "Okay", "Free" "Outside", "Heel", or "Let's Go". Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Gus
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
11 Months
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Question
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Gus
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
11 Months

How do I train my dog to walk better on leash? He switches from side to side, pulls backward, and we live in Philly so he’s always stopping to sniff/lick something.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
961 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kait, Check out the Turns method from the article I have linked below. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Kash
Maltshi
1 Year
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Question
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Kash
Maltshi
1 Year

We are trying to get Kash to sleep in his bed all night so should we put his crate back up?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
961 Dog owners recommended

Hello, A crate is generally the easiest way to get pup used to that at this age. I would have pup sleep in the crate again at night - while you are sleeping and don't want to have to be getting up all night to train and enforce new rules. During the day, I would also teach a Place command though, in preparation for pup sleeping on a dog bed out of the crate once a little older and used to not sleeping with you anymore due to the crating. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittendne

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Question
Frank
dauchshund
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Frank
dauchshund
2 Years

Frank got run over as a puppy so now thinks he’s a human . He howls when we put him in his bed and even if we go and say no he still whines until he gets his own way

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
961 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alyson, First, I would work on teaching Place, with pup's Place being his bed. Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Second, I would also sprinkle treats on pup's bed. At first, lead him over to them to help him find them, then do it when pup isn't watching so pup find the treat surprises on his own, replacing often, so pup starts to want to go to the bed on his own in hopes of finding rewards. You can use pup's kibble also for this if they like their kibble and don't resource guard their food. Third, Teach pup the Quiet command. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Fourth, use the Place and Quiet commands to instruct pup to go to their bed, and to be quiet when they bark or whine. If they obey, great, reward if pup continues to stay there. If pup disobeys and won't go to place, use your body to calmly but firmly herd pup over to the dog bed, blocking their way until they stop trying to get off once pup has gotten good at Place, or by using a drag leash to lead pup over to Place. If pup continues whining or barking after being told Quiet, I would calmly spray a brief puff of air at pup's side (not face), with an unscented air Pet Convincer, to interrupt pup, rewarding the quietness and obedience, and interrupting pup's continued whining. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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