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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2 Votes
Step
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.
Step
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.
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 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.
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.
Recommend training method?

The Routine Method

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0 Votes
Step
1
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.
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 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.
Recommend training method?

The Gentle Cold Shoulder Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
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.
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 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.
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 your dog 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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Ace
AnimalBreed object
5 Months
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Question
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Ace
AnimalBreed object
5 Months

Ace is habitual of sleeping in the same room as me. H
I have been following the Routine method for 5 days to get him used to sleeping outside my room, it has been unsuccessful so far. He sleeps for about 2 hours, then he howls and cries again, for half an hour, then he'll be quite again for an hour or so before howling yet again.
It is difficult for me to ignore this because of the noises so I end up taking him inside my room after a couple of hours. This has left me exhausted! He does not like confined spaces so instead of crate training, he has been room trained and he sleeps through the night without any accidents when sleeping in the same room as me.
Please help! I want to train him to sleep outside my room.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
91 Dog owners recommended

Hello! That does sound exhausting. Unfortunately it can sometimes take dogs up to about 30 days to fully adjust to a routine change. They are just so hard wired by habit, that changing things up really disrupts them. One that has helped many pet parents is getting a fan or white noise machine. Dogs can hear us moving around in our sleep, and this often wakes them if they are a little anxious. The sound of the fan or machine will help to block out the noise.

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Question
Leo
AnimalBreed object
4 Months
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Leo
AnimalBreed object
4 Months

He refused to sleep where I want him to
Even though it's right by my bed in a baby-gated area where he has his bed and everything he needs

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
673 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dania, Puppies have to learn independence like any skill. Check out the article linked below. Practice pup staying in the gated area while you leave the room at times and while you stay in the room at times, to get pup used to being in there by themselves quietly. Know that it's normal for pup to cry while learning to be by themselves, whether that's in a crate or just their own bed. It takes most puppies two weeks to adjust fully. The article linked below mentions the crate, but you can use the same steps for the gated area. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Abbott
AnimalBreed object
2 Years
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Abbott
AnimalBreed object
2 Years

How do I make my dog be comfortable in my room and make him like my room

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
91 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Your best bet is to provide a bed or space large enough for him to turn around and lay down on. Also, plenty of toys or other items that he likes. Sometimes dogs do well when there is a fan or white noise machine on. They can hear everything and sometimes our movements keep them up at night. The sound of the fan or machine will block a lot of that out.

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Question
Hachiko
AnimalBreed object
3 Months
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Hachiko
AnimalBreed object
3 Months

He bites people by literally sinking his teeth and when i go to get him off then he bites me. I have tried everything starting from bite inhibition to distracting him with treats and toys but to no results. People are scared in my house and he knows that and goes about chasing and biting them. I am losing it. Pls help

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Hello, you really have no choice but to call in a trainer. Because he is biting so often, I am concerned that it may escalate to problematic levels if you don't. The older and bigger he gets, the harder it will be to handle him. A few sessions with a trainer who works with aggressive dogs will give you the tools and knowledge to be able to enjoy Hachiko and for him to be the best he can. It is worth the investment! You can also try group training lessons - they are helpful, too. But customized lessons for his problem is the answer. Right away, have Hachiko "sit" for everything. Make him sit before meals, before getting his leash on to go for a walk, before a treat, before a toy, etc. Work on his obedience commands every day for 20 minutes. Take a look here: https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-german-shepherd-puppy. When you are walking him, work on the Heel command so that he learns to listen and focus:wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel. Look here as well: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-rottweiler-puppy-to-not-be-aggressive. If you are not able to make excellent headway, call a private trainer right away. Good luck!

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Mis
AnimalBreed object
4 Months
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Mis
AnimalBreed object
4 Months

Hi I have a 4 month old shih tzu when we first brought her home she slept in my room in her bed but now we transitioned her to the family room in a play pen the play pen has toys and her bed I also put a blanket over it at night. She likes sleeping In the pen and she got used to going into it when i would say “in your bed” she sleeps through the night as long as I am in the room but if she sees me leave she cries all night I ignored her crying once the entire night and the next day she woudknt go into her play pen when I commanded her to now I’m back to sleeping on the couch while she sleeps in her play pen she also didn’t seem to want to eat the next day when I left her to cry all night she. Any idea on how to get her to be okay with being alone I always make sure to walk her and play and train before bed so that she’s tired. The same goes for staying home alone she’ll cry and bark the entire time even tho I leave a stuffed kong.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Hello, you seem to be taking all of the right steps so far. Sometimes dogs are extra clingy and take time to become independent. I can understand that Mis is whining at night - she is pretty young yet and probably feels quite vulnerable left alone, especially when she was used to your comfort at night, being in the same room. Rather than sleep on the couch, you could bring her back into your room. (By the way, you are very lucky that she sleeps through the night without needing a pee break at such a young age). Once she starts sleeping through the night again in your room, gradually move the play pen out of the room a little each night. This is done by moving it only INCHES per night - it will take weeks - until the play pen is back where you want it. If you don't want to try that, you can try dog appeasing pheromones emitted via a diffuser; they often work to calm a dog. You can try white noise in the room to soothe her to sleep and maybe keep her that way. As for the separation anxiety, there are a few tips here: https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-separation-anxiety. Practice leaving Mis in her crate and leave for 5 minutes, taking her out of the crate when you get back for a pee break or walk. Then extend it to 10 minutes, after a few days, taking her on a walk again afterward. Then 20 minutes, and so on. She should learn that you will be back and a fun walk will take place when you do - and keep giving her the stuffed kong. Try a smear of dog safe peanut butter on it (no xylitol as it is toxic to dogs!). That may make it more appealing and she may give into it eventually. Good luck!

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