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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