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.
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.
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!
Olly is a rescue dog that has continually barked from Day one and showed some aggression issues, last few months he has actually attacked me when I am trying to do something for him, he slept on bed from day one but now when we move he again attacks and acts like a German Shepard really nasty looking and barring teeth, same thing when he is on floor and we need to get around or over him, if we tell him to move he just ignores us completely then we when go near him he is in attack mode. I have tried isolating him in another room but he continually cries barks, whinges and makes a noise my husband is suffering from cancer so getting optimum sleep for me is a necessity but atm no sleep very tired do I continue to persist with dog in another room and will he eventually learn that he is not to sleep in bed, saying no does not seem to compute with him
Hello Yvonne, It sounds like Olly needs an entire shift in the way he views you and your husband. By increasing his respect for you, you should have more success with the nighttime training, but unfortunately ignoring his cries will still be needed. I would advise getting him used to wearing a basket muzzle first. Introduce the muzzle with lots of treats, giving him treats for sniffing the muzzle, touching it, letting you put it on, and letting you take it off. Practice that until he can tolerate wearing the muzzle. After he is used to wearing the muzzle then you can use a straw dipped in peanut butter or spray food, like the ones sold to stuff Kongs with from your local pet store. You can poke the straw dipped in food through the muzzle to let him lick it off when he is behaving well. Once he is used to wearing the muzzle, then it is time to implement a lot of new rules around the house. He should no longer be allowed on the bed or furniture, so long as he is acting aggressively when told to get off and not obeying your commands. He needs to work for everything he gets by doing a command for you first. Things that he should work for can include: attention, meals, walks, games, and anything else that he asks for. This process is called "No Free Lunch". Do not pet him unless you have called him over or have had him do something first. The idea is for him to learn that he can no longer get his way by acting aggressively and that you own everything in the home, and he does not. This might sound harsh but right now his behavior is dangerous and causing stress for you and your husband, and this process is a safe way to teach him differently. Have him wear the muzzle when you are home as a normal part of his life until is attitude completely changes, like wearing a collar, so that when he tries to control the situation by acting aggressively, he will not be able to, and will learn that aggression does not work. While doing this, work on crate training with him during the day, leave him in the crate during the day for gradually longer and longer periods of time, rewarding him with treats when he is quiet. Start with only a few minutes in the crate and work up to one hour as he improves. Only let him out when he is quiet. You can give him a Kong stuffed with food in the crate with him, or another favorite, safe toy. This should help him get used to being alone, without having to practice just at night when you are tired. It is vital when you lock him out of your room at night, that you do not give in by letting him back in. Every time that you give him, he will just learn that if he persists long enough he gets what he wants. He is being demanding and insecure, and needs to learn how to be independent and respectful. You can help him learn by working on the crate training during the day and the respect training all the time. Those should help not only his nighttime behavior but his general behavior as well hopefully. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I recently rescued Archie, a brindle two year old french Bulldog. We have a two story house where upstairs is much warmer than our tiled lower level. At first I slept with him downstairs and for a few nights have had him in my room upstairs but come nighttime and he’s upstairs he paces, he chews, he’s destructive and pants excessively. Sometimes I can have the air conditioning on and he’s not so bad but cost wise that isn’t a option for every night so most of the time we end up back downstairs where in minutes he’s relaxed, not panting and asleep. This works for him but me, not so much. I haven’t had a decent night sleep since we got him. If he’s alone downstairs he’ll bark and cry but I don’t like risking having him upstairs where I know it’s harder for him and potentially cause him harm. How am I best to train him so he can sleep by himself downstairs and I can sleep upstairs without being anxious or upset that we are separated?
Hello Anneliese, First, I suggest creating an area where Archie has to stay put and can't wander around at night or try to come upstairs. If he is crate trained, the crate is a good place to start out in. If not, an exercise pen with his dog bed and a couple of durable chew toys will work. During the day get him used to spending time in that area while you are out of sight. Purchase some hollow chew toys, such as Kongs, if he likes food. Stuff a couple of the toys with his own dog food and a bit of peanut butter (Avoid xylitol sweetener - It's TOXIC). You can soak the food in water ahead of time to make it soft before mixing it with peanut butter also. If you soak the food you can also freeze the Kongs if he gets the food out too quickly. Confine him in the area for an hour during the day with the food stuffed chew toys. Ignore any crying. When he has been quiet for at least five minutes or stayed quiet for at least five minutes, return to him and sprinkle a few treats into the pen or crate, then leave again. You want to ignore crying and reward quiet and give him time to work through being alone and learn to relax. At first he may not chew on the food stuffed toys. Once he gets used to the area he will become more likely to eat the food and enjoy the toys - which will help him learn to enjoy being in the area and relax more. After he is used to being in the area during the day, start putting him in there at night for bed. Ignore any crying. You have spent time getting him used to the area so he should be able to adjust at night to being alone..Give him the opportunity to work through it and accept the new arrangement. The crying is probably just protesting something new and not anxiety at that point - since he is already used to being alone in that area and it isn't that new. If you cannot let him cry for some reason, like neighbors, you can also correct the barking and teach him faster. This way can feel harsher but it also helps the dog adjust more quickly. You can purchase a small pressurized canister of air called a Pet Convincer. Practice the confinement in the area during the day, but when he cries return to him and spray a small puff of air at his side while telling him "Ah Ah", then leave again. Also, reward him with the treats for staying quiet for five minutes. You want to reinforce being quiet also. Once he has learned to be quiet during the day in the area, then transition him to the area at night. If he cries at night, go to him and correct the crying, then return to bed. Don't give treats during the night though because you don't want him to learn to cry then get quiet just to get treats at night. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog recently started jumping into my room around 6 to 7am, while I'm still sleeping. He does this when he is playing or when he is energetic, not when he is tired or willing to rest with me.
I want him to sleep with me, but since he always comes to my bed energetic and hyper, he usually will lick me a whole lot, and sometimes bite my fingers when I try to push him off.
How do I train him to sleep with me but not play in my bed? I don't want him to jump in my bed, just hop up and lay down and rest.
Hello Kien, You will need to teach Lucky a Down-Stay and practice that command on your bed during the day. Work on him Staying for up to two-hours. Once he understands what the Down-Stay means, then you can practice long Down-Stays while you are doing something sitting down, like watching TV or doing homework. Your goal should be a one-to-two-hour Down-Stay for him to be able to be still in your bed with you during the morning for that long. After he has learned the command and you have practiced it on your bed and he can do it for long periods of time, then you can simply tell him to Down-Stay when he gets in your bed and is too excited. You will probably need to tell him to Down-Stay on the far end of your bed and not right by your face (to remove the temptation to lick you), until he develops a habit of being calm on your bed. Doing this sets an expectation for being calm while in your bed, helping him transition to sleeping with you without bothering you later on. Be patient with him. He is still an energetic puppy and this will take him time to learn, but it is also a very good exercise to practice with him because it helps him develop self-control and learn how to calm himself down. It is also alright to give him a rubber chew toy to chew on while he is in your bed -- as long as he has been been possessive or aggressive about toys, giving him a chew toy might keep him from chewing your blankets -- which you need to be aware of at his age. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We rescued Mabel when she was about 4mo old. She is a Corgi/Eskimo mix. She was very difficult to potty train because she does not let us know when she has to go out. We crate trained her for up to 8-9 hrs either for work or at night. She has terrible separation anxiety with mainly me who is her primary caretaker. She would do ok in her crate at night and then after a few weeks she would bark uncontrollably, all night long. We moved her crate around to numerous different places the last one being in our 11 y/o room. She does ok but as soon as anyone makes any sort of peep, she is barking like crazy. We have treats that she only gets in her crate but just never has become accustomed to it. As soon as we let her out she grabs all her toys out and runs away. I was at a loss so I made the "mistake" of letting her sleep with us and she sleeps all night long without a peep. This is great except for the fact that my husband is not thrilled it is every night. I would like to get her to sleep in one of my boys beds and she will lay down with them but as soon as I am out of sight she comes to find me. I have also tried crating her at night again and she wants no part in it. Any suggestions?
Hello Jessica, There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. The first is to initially start by simply working on building her independence. Generally build her confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into her routine. Things such as making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate when the door is open too. Changing the routines so that she does not anticipate alone time and build up her anxiety before you leave - which is hard for her to deescalate from. Being sure to give her something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on), and ignoring her crying at night until she eventually learns to go back to sleep. This is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable in e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building her independence and structure in her life will still be an important part of this protocol. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating crate 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 her 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 collar) 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). Because of your dog's strong reaction, it is unlikely that the vibration or spray collars will work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar at 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 her. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with her end on mute, so that you can see and hear her but she 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 Mabel while she is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on her, 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 she responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning her head, moving her ears, biting her fur, moving away from where she was, or changing her expression. If she does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when she 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 her reaction at that level until she indicates a little bit that she 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 her and have it correctly fitted on her, have her wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on her while she is in the crate. Put her into the crate while she is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on her from the other room or outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear her barking or see her start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time she barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate her again. If she does not decrease her 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. She 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 she has not learned what she is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on her 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 she 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 her or pay attention to her for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When she is being calm, then you can let her out of the crate. When you let her 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 her to be calm when she comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore her 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 her. Once she is less anxious she will likely enjoy it and that will help her to enjoy the crate more. First, she needs her anxious state of mind interrupted so that she is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give her a food stuffed Kong in the crate for her to relieve her boredom instead, since she will need something other than barking to do at that point. Don't give her the food at night though - just an empty chew toy, or she might have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Practice all of this during the day at first. Once she has learned that e-collar corrections are for barking and is able to calm herself back down during the day, then you can transition the training to night time when she tries to bark then - if you are certain that she does not need to pee at that time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Bo is house trained, however, we have experienced some changes in our family (both parents working full time and son leaving for college), that I feel are upsetting him. He is peeing in the house now, and barking non stop if we try to put him in a room by himself. So to get any sleep at all, he rotates sleeping with different people. He has never been crate trained and allowed to roam freely, but he has destroyed our floors and furniture. Should we put him in a room by himself now during the day, and keep him there when we go to sleep at night? We are at our wits end with him, please help us!
Hello Ashley, I suggest crate training him and hiring a balanced trainer to help you work through his separation anxiety. He would probably benefit from extra structure and boundaries to help him feel more secure so working on things like Place, distance Stay, working for pets and food and other things he loves by doing a command first, having to heel by your side during walks, learning to stay in a crate while the door is open while you are home, and other things that develope self-control, independence, and help him learn to cope with anxiety and pent up energy and learn to be calm instead. Separation Anxiety is easier and safer to tackle through crate training - it gives the dog a safe place to be when he is destructive and forces him to have to calm down when you use an interrupter (like a vibration collar) to stop the franticness in the crate, then reward his calmness by returning to him and dropping treats into the crate - to show him that being relaxed equals your return and not him trying to escape. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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my son took the puppy to bed with him the first couple of weeks and we now want to switch him to sleeping in a small play pen area. how do we start this process. he is a very winey and needy little baby lol
Hello Shari, First have him spend time in the pen during the day for at least an hour each day. Give him a food stuffed Kong for him to focus on. Ignore any barking or crying while he is in there (take him potty beforehand so that you know he doesn't need to go potty). When he gets quiet, return to him, calmly sprinkle a few small treats or pieces of his puppy food in the pen, then leave again. As he improves, wait until he has been quiet for a bit longer than before before you return to sprinkle treats - so that you are rewarding him staying quiet. Stay firm and consistent and don't let him out when he cries. If you do this will take much longer to teach. Practice this until he can stay quiet in the pen. If you are willing to deal with some crying at night you can start putting him in the pen at night 3-5 days into the daytime training. Ignore any crying at night. Since he is young he should wear himself out within an hour in most cases and fall asleep. Plan your bedtime schedule accordingly. The pen area should be dark and quiet when you put him in there. Be sure to take him potty right before you put him to bed. Don't give any food at night - practice with the food only during the day. Simply ignore the barking at night. Working on this during the day at the same time should help him learn how to cope with nighttime. It is normal for the transition to take up to two weeks if you are consistent. Some puppies adjust with three nights, but don't give up if it takes a bit longer - just remember that you are trading a few nights of evening barking for 10+ years of good sleep habits. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Daytime crate training help Bruce barks in his crate and doesn't settle unless someone is in the room and even if he looks like he's in a deep sleep wakes up and barks if anyone dares to leave. I've tried all the stuff like making it a fun place. Feeding him in there. Not letting him out unless he's calm. Taking him out to pee then putting him right back in etc.
Hello Caroline, How long have you been working on crate training with him? Many puppies take up to two weeks to adjust if you are consistent about not letting them out when they cry while they are crying. If you let them out while crying it can take longer. Check out the surprise method from the article linked below. I also suggest giving him a food stuffed chew toy in the crate whenever you put him in there so that it takes him longer to get to eat and gives him something to do in the crate. To stuff a hollow chew toy, you can put his food into a bowl, cover it with water, let it sit out until it turns to mush, mix a bit of peanut butter (avoid Xylitol sweetener - it's toxic) or liver paste or cheese into it, place the whole thing into a zip-lock bag, and freeze overnight. To make it easier, purchase several Kongs and stuff them all at once so that you can just grab one out of the freezer as needed. He can even eat all of his entire meals this way, and as treats, without using a food bowl. Stuff the Kongs very loosely so that he can get the food out after it freezes. There are some quicker methods you can use also; pups just tend to like the cold while teething and the frozen acts like a time released treat so it lasts longer. surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Crate Training method, steps on introducing the crate: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If the barking continues after working on the Surprise method and past the two week point, you can correct it if needed. I typically recommend waiting things out with puppies because most do adjust if given time and consistency, but there are exceptions to that. If he doesn't adjust, purchase a Pet Convincer and teach the Quiet command from the article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once you have taught Bruce the Quiet command, when Bruce barks, tell him "Quiet" in a calm tone of voice. If he gets quiet and stays quiet for 2 minutes, give him a treat. As he improves wait until he is quiet for longer before you give the treat, working up to 10, 15, 30, and 60 minutes. If he doesn't get quiet or starts barking again before the 2 minutes, then spray a small puff of air at his side through the crate using the Pet Convincer while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then go back to ignoring him. When you do this do NOT spray it near his face. If he is pretty sensitive, then hold it further away from him when you do this so that he feels it less. You want to interrupt the barking but you don't want to punish him too harshly. Only use unscented air canisters. Do NOT use citronella. Even if you find that you need to use the Pet Convincer for the barking, continue to reward him when he stays quiet for longer periods of time and give him a food stuffed Kong in the crate so that he will learn what NOT to do and what TO do instead. It is important for him to understand what he should be doing in the crate besides barking to prevent separation anxiety - i.e. being quiet, chewing a chew toy, and resting. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I adopted Nellie Mae about 2 years ago from a rescue. She always slept with me, in my bed. When I said bedtime, she happily ran into my room and hopped up. A few months ago, she got very sick (liver failure). While she was sick, she was up and down all night, and got into the habit of sleeping in a different room. I let her because it was far more important that she sleep and heal than sleep with me. But now, she's better, and refuses to sleep with me. I tried closing her out of the room she likes to sleep in, but she then slept in the kitchen instead. I don't know why she has decided she doesn't want to sleep with me, but is this normal or is something wrong?
Hello Natalie, Because of her history of sickness she might associate your room with that experience. If so you can work on creating positive and relaxing experiences for her in that room to deal with any anxiety related to it. Work on this during the day, so that night is simply a time for sleeping. If she gets over her fears, then she may choose to sleep in your room again on her own. It might also simply be preferential. Dogs like people do have sleep preferences. She may have realized while sleeping elsewhere that she sleeps better in a room by herself, or she might like the cool floor of the kitchen or a certain rug. Pay attention to what is different about your room versus those rooms- if those rooms are cooler or there are rugs or other surfaces she might prefer. If you can figure out the difference and adjust those things in your room, she might want to sleep in your room again. You might also wake her when you sleep if you tend to toss and turn, snore, or sleep talk - if so she may simply sleep better by herself. If the issue seems anxiety related, then work on making that room pleasant again. If not, there is nothing wrong with her sleeping in another room - she might just sleep better by herself and have a preference, this is even more common for older dogs because sleep can be more difficult for some dogs as they age. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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