How to Train Your Dog to Sleep in a Certain Room

Medium
1-4 Weeks
General

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.

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. 

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!

The ‘Bed’ Method

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Step
1
Stand by his bed
Be right next to the bed in the room you want him to sleep in and then call him over. Make sure you’ve got a pocket full of treats with you.
Step
2
‘Bed’
Issue the verbal command, then point at his bed and encourage him to head there. Once he’s 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.
Step
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 him 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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
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The Gentle Cold Shoulder Method

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Step
1
Make the new room all his
If you want him 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.
Step
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.
Step
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 him 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.
Step
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 him to slowly get used to not having his own freedom anymore.
Step
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.
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The Routine Method

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Step
1
Follow a timeline
Each evening, try and be consistent. Give him his food, take him to go to the toilet, 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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
5
Be consistent
If you slip up every couple of evenings he 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.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Olly
Maltese/Poodle cross?
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Olly
Maltese/Poodle cross?
3 Years

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

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
32 Dog owners recommended

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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