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How to Train Your Dog to Sleep in a Certain Room

How to Train Your Dog to Sleep in a Certain Room
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-4 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

You’ve always loved cuddling up with your dog when you sleep at night. You wanted the company and he gladly obliged. Now you have a new partner though, and a dog sleeping between you isn’t quite what your partner envisaged on moving in. Your dog is also quite defensive and protective about who sleeps in his bedroom, so you know it’s time to make a change. He’s not a puppy anymore either, so maybe some independence will do him good.

Training him to sleep in a certain room is good for both of you. He needs to be able to survive without you, at day and at night. It will make leaving him in kennels or at a friend's when you go on vacation easier, too.

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Defining Tasks

The training itself isn’t always a walk in the park. It depends largely on how long your dog has been used to sleeping wherever he likes. If he’s mature and you’re breaking a 10-year-old habit, then it may take a few weeks to get him truly settled into his new bedroom. If he’s just a puppy and new to having sleeping freedom, then taking it away could take just several days or a week. The biggest struggle comes with making his new sleeping area a comfy and desirable bedroom for him. Also, if you’ve spent years with him sleeping in your bed, then letting go of your cuddle buddy may prove challenging for you as well.

Succeed with this training and you’ll have a dog you can control and who won’t cause you any trouble at night time. 

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Getting Started

Before you start your new training regime you’ll need a few things. You’ll need a comfy bed and toys, plus treats to make your dog's new sleeping area nice and appealing. You’ll also need to set aside a few minutes each day for getting him familiar and excited for his new bedroom.

You’ll have to find all your patience and resilience to stick with the training campaign, so bring the right attitude. Once you’ve collected all of that, you can get to work!

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The ‘Bed’ Method

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1

Stand by his bed

Be right next to the bed in the room you want your dog to sleep in and then call him over. Make sure you’ve got a pocket full of treats with you.

2

‘Bed’

Issue the verbal command, then point at his bed and encourage him to head there. Once your dog has looked at you puzzled for a while, he’ll finally clock on and take a step onto the bed. As soon as he does that, give him a treat and shower him with praise.

3

Increase the distance

Repeat this again and again over the next few days. As you practice, slowly increase the distance you are from the bed when you send him there. The trick is to increase the distance gradually. Keep practicing until you can send your pooch to his bed when you aren’t even in the room. At this point, you can cut out the treats, he’ll no longer need them to follow your command.

4

Apply it at night

When the evening comes, send him to his new room/bed with the command. Be firm and clear so he knows you mean business. If he trots back out, send him straight back. If he comes into your room or another room at night again, give the command in a louder, clearer voice. You will need to be persistent. It will take him several days to a week before he finally realizes that he needs to stay in that room all night.

5

Water spray for the persistent ones

If he consistently comes back after you send him to bed, you may need to use a deterrent. A simple spray of water near his face will give him a little fright and help reinforce the point. Use this each time he comes back or into your bed, give him the ‘bed’ command. Once he gets the message, you can go back to drinking water instead of spraying it.

The Routine Method

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Follow a timeline

Each evening, try and be consistent. Give your dog his food, take him to go potty, and then put him to bed at the same time. It should never be a surprise when you want him to go to bed. Routine brings with it comfort, so take him to his new room at the same time each evening.

2

Leave a treat on the bed

An easy way to get him to go in there in the first place is to put a treat on his bed. Simply having something in there to look forward to will encourage him to head in there each evening.

3

Say ‘good night’

Spend a couple of minutes gently playing with him and stroking him. Get him comfortable and happy, then say good night and leave him. It’s important you follow this routine each day and then he won’t be surprised when you leave.

4

Go and get him in the morning

Having a routine in the morning is also important. If he’s not already up, go and say 'good morning' and stroke him. Doing this in the morning and evening will teach him that going to bed and where he goes to bed is on your terms. It will also comfort him to know you’ll be there when he goes to sleep and you’ll still be there first thing in the morning.

5

Be consistent

If you slip up every couple of evenings your dog won’t stick to his new room. You need to stick to your routine every evening or the process will take considerably longer. But be patient, be rigorous, and it will pay off.

The Gentle Cold Shoulder Method

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Make the new room all his

If you want your dog to sleep somewhere else, you need to make it feel like his own. Play with him there in the day. Allow him to have some space in there that is totally his. It will then start to feel like his territory, a safe place where he can escape to.

2

Add some home comforts

To start with, you may want to put some old clothes of yours into his new room and bed. The smell of you will help put him at ease. It will also help to leave his toys in there. All of this will make him feel more comfortable.

3

Leave the door open wide

To start with, you need to keep the door open so he can escape if he wants. This may not make sense now, but the idea is you show your dog gradually that he’s not missing out on anything. It also stops you cutting all ties in one go, which won’t be easy for him.

4

Gradually close the door

Each night, close the door a little bit more, until it is only just ajar and then finally completely shut it. This will allow your dog to slowly get used to not having his own freedom anymore.

5

Put him to bed

Each night, take him to his new room and slowly stroke him for a few minutes until he gets sleepy. Think of it like taking a child to bed at night and reading them a bed time story. Keep doing this and all of the above steps until he’s comfortable in there. Then you can slowly stop taking him to bed each night.

By James Barra

Published: 10/24/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Gracey

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Labrador Husky

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10 Weeks

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He has to sleep in a room now butt before at 8 weeks when we got him he slept in the living room in his create so now at 10 weeks it is time to take him from there to a room because of the space is limited in the living area

March 21, 2022

Gracey's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shay, At this age, pup will still need to sleep in a crate regardless of which room it's in, for the sake of potty training and keeping pup safe while still in a destructive chewing age. To move the crate to the new new, I would practice the Surprise method from the article I have linked below to help pup get comfortable with the crate being in the new space. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

March 21, 2022

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Luna

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Cockalier

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5 Months

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hello, my dog had a mind of her own at night time… some nights she will start barking anytime throughout the night and continuously bark for at least 30 minutes if we try and ignore her!! she also gets up each morning anytime between 4:50-5:20! barking constantly until someone comes out! if we let her bark she gets significantly distressed along with waking up the whole neighbourhood

March 1, 2022

Luna's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Abbey, First, at this age pup likely really does need to go potty at that time if it's been at least six hours, once pup is awake. I suggest taking pup potty on leash when they wake then if it's been at least six hours since they last went potty outside. Keep the trip calm and boring - no play or treats, then right back to the crate after they go. When you return them to the crate, you have three options at this age. 1. You can either ignore pup barking until 7/8/9 (whenever you normally want to get up). This is the route most often tried that works for some pups, but since it sounds like your pup is one of the more persistent ones, I recommend one of the below options instead. 2. Another option is to stuff 1 or 2 kongs with puppy food and freeze the night before, and give pup that in the crate for a few weeks, until they are old enough to not need the early morning potty trip, then you will need to ignore/correct the crying later, once pup is older and can be expected to sleep through that wake up in a month or two. For this option, you will still have to ignore the middle of the night barking, not giving a kong until it's at least 5. To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. 3. The third option is to correct the crying once you return pup to the crate after the potty trip. 5 months is usually the earliest I would recommend doing this, so it can be done now or once pup is a bit older if you use the Kong solution for a bit. Personally, it sounds like you are at the point of needing to do this if you have neighbors who will complain about so can't ignore. To correct pup, 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. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. 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. When she cries at night or early morning, after you take pup potty and return them to the crate, or pup cries before 5-6 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell her Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if she doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Don't give treats at night/morning though - practice during the day proactively to help pup learn that quiet is good, since you don't want to encourage pup to stay awake in the early morning with food, but to go back to sleep instead. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

March 2, 2022


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