How to Train Your Dog to Sleep on His Bed

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Having your dog pace all night looking for a place to sleep isn’t very fun. You could lose sleep trying to get your dog to lie down and relax if he doesn't know exactly where he should go each night. Most family dogs will attach themselves to at least one member of the family. Your dog may want to sleep with your or with this chosen family member. But that doesn’t mean the dog has to be in your bed. Just in your bedroom. Or even in the hallway just outside your bedroom. 

Wherever you place his bed is where he should stay each night. You can teach him where his bed is and to go to bed when it is time to settle down for the night. Once your dog understands where his bed is and that he is supposed to stay in at all night, you both should be getting a full night's sleep.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog to go to bed--in his bed--is a matter of repetition and comfort. There is a fine balance between finding the correct bed for your dog's needs and putting it in the correct spot to ease any fears or separation anxieties he may have. It may take a few weeks to train your dog to sleep in his own bed, but if it does, it's probably because you need to find a different spot for the bed. Many dog owners don't want their dog in bed with them but don't mind a dog bed in their bedroom. If your dog's bed is already in your bedroom, consider placing it closer to your bed so your dog can look up and see you at night and hear you breathing. He's going to feel safe knowing you or at least another family member is nearby.

Getting Started

Make sure before you get started training your dog to sleep in his bed you know how your dog sleeps. If you have a small dog who sleeps in a little round ball, he may be more comfortable in a small bed with raised sides he can snuggle into. If you have a larger dog who spreads out once he's in a deep sleep or lies on his back with his feet straight up in the air, you may need a larger bed. If your dog is older, memory foam mattresses provide great support for achy bones. Be sure you have the proper bed for your dog's size, breed, and needs. You will also want some extra treats on hand, possibly even in the sleeping space, to reward your dog for a job well done. Have some patience with this and be open to change. Your dog may not be happy sleeping in the dining room if you're upstairs on the opposite side of the house.

The Perfect Place Method

ribbon-method-1
Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Show bed
Choose a bed your dog will want to sleep in. If your dog is a puppy, he may want a small bed with raised sides for comfort. If he is a larger dog who sleeps stretched out, he may like a large bed without raised sides. To keep your dog in his bed, it will need to be comfortable for him.
Step
2
Pick a spot
Choose the perfect place for your dog’s bed. This should be a place he will want to sleep. If he is very close to you, he may want to sleep in your room or he may prefer the living room to keep an eye on the house while he sleeps. Some dogs may prefer, or you may prefer, sleeping in a child’s room. Make sure the spot you pick for his bed is a place you can keep his bed permanently.
Step
3
Command
Use a command you will use each night with your dog to signify bedtime. Use the command and encourage him to get onto his bed. Once he does, give him a treat.
Step
4
Practice
Continue to practice the 'go to bed' command each time you want your dog to lie on his bed. Giving the command during the day will help him remember the command at night as well.
Step
5
Bedtime
When it is time for bed, use the command. If your dog does not automatically get into his bed, walk him to it. Be sure to give him a treat. It will take several nights for him to be able to go on his own, but over time he will put himself to bed.
Step
6
Redirection
If your dog leaves his bed during the night, redirect him by taking him back. You can offer him a treat for going back to bed but only do so once. If he wakes again, he does not get a treat. If you continue to treat him, he’ll continue to wake you for that midnight snack. If he goes potty in the middle of the night, a treat is a good idea once he’s back in bed. Once your dog is about a year old, he should make it through the night without going potty.
Recommend training method?

The Clicker Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Introduce bed
Show your dog his bed and where he is expected to sleep. Be sure this is a place and a bed where he will be comfortable and most likely to stay.
Step
2
Pat bed
With your dog, pat the bed and encourage your dog to get on it. Click and give him a treat and lots of verbal praise and excitement over the bed. He will feel your enthusiasm and begin to feel the same about his bed.
Step
3
Command
Talk up his bed with a command. “This is where you will go to bed.’” Say the key phrase often so your dog associates the phrase ‘go to bed,’ or whichever phrase you choose, with the bed.
Step
4
Nap time
During the day, encourage your dog to sleep on his bed by using the command and taking him to his bed. You may need to wake him from a nap and walk with him to his bed. If he’s sleepy, he may stay longer. Be sure to click and reward him with a treat and use the command even for daytime naps.
Step
5
Bedtime
Use the command again and walk your dog to his bed. Give him a treat and tell him good night.
Step
6
Redirect
If your dog leaves the bed, you can use the command and walk him back to his bed. Be sure to use the same command every time. If your dog does not stay, you may need to reconsider the placement of the bed. For instance, does he want his bed in your bedroom at night?
Recommend training method?

The Bedtime Method

ribbon-method-3
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Command
Pick a command you will use at night for bedtime. You could say ‘go to bed’ or ‘it’s bedtime.’
Step
2
Place bed
Pick the perfect place for your dog’s bed. Think about where your dog usually sleeps or would like to sleep. Would you both be more comfortable in your bedroom, or do you want him away from your room at night?
Step
3
Walk to the bed
Take your dog to his bed by walking him to it. Avoid carrying him to bed as he will grow expecting that treatment each time he needs to sleep in his bed.
Step
4
Treat
Once your dog steps onto his bed, give him a treat.
Step
5
Sleep
Anytime your dog is sleepy, walk with him to his bed and give him a treat once he’s on the bed. Use your command to 'go to bed'.
Step
6
Bedtime
Repeat the steps above at bedtime. It may take a couple of weeks using his bed each night to get him to stay in his bed all night. If he leaves the bed at night and you’d like him to stay, simply redirect him by walking him back and giving him the command to go to bed. Keep practicing, he’ll get it with time and practice.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Stephanie Plummer

Published: 11/07/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Lala
Pekingese
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Lala
Pekingese
8 Weeks

She always want to get onto my bed, if I leave her on ground she cries even though her bed is on the ground

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
961 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, I recommend crate training pup at night if you plan to train pup to go potty outside. If you are teaching pup to use an indoor potty, then I recommend setting up an exercise pen with a doggie litter box, grass pad, or pee pad in the exercise pen for them to use. Pup should sleep in the crate or pen at night. Use a bed that's absorbent in there to avoid any accidents on the dog bed as well. Practice getting pup used to being in that confined area during the day when you aren't so tired to speed the training up, even if that just means 40 minutes in the early evening after work, and more often on the weekends. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below and practice crate training with that method. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate At night, ignore any crying unless it has been at least 2 hours since pup last went potty. When it has been at least 2 hours and pup wakes up crying (if in the crate, otherwise ignore if pup has indoor potty access), take pup potty on a leash and keep the trip super boring - no treats, talking, or play, and return them immediately to the crate after they go, ignoring any crying that happens when you return them. Keeping trips boring helps pup learn to only wake at night for potty needs and not play or food, to begin sleeping longer sooner. Pup will need to go potty 1-2 times at night right now at this age, even when fully crate trained, but being consistent, practicing crating during the day, and keeping trips outside boring, can help pup wake less at night, cry less when first crated, and start sleeping through the night sooner as their bladder capacity increases with age. Know that its normal for pup to cry in the first two weeks. The first 3-5 nights tend to be the worse, with pup gradually getting better and better after that. If you give in and take pup into your bed or get down on the floor with them consistently the process will take a lot longer. If you can be consistent and practice the Surprise method during the day too, most puppies adjust within two weeks, and in the long run the puppies who learn how to sleep by themselves in a crate or pen are often the puppies who later have less issues with potty training, destructive chewing, and separation anxiety. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Scooby
Retriever , Labrador mixed breed
3 Years
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Question
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Scooby
Retriever , Labrador mixed breed
3 Years

He's on and off my bed. I don't want him to sleep on my bed. I would like for him to sleep in his own bed.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
961 Dog owners recommended

Hello Allison, I recommend practicing one or two things - dependent on how consistent you can be when tired. Typically the easiest option that requires less consistency when tired, would be crate training pup, crating pup for several months, then if you want to give pup more freedom, opening the door to pup's crate or leaving just the dog bed that was previously inside the crate sitting where the crate used to be, once pup has a habit of sleeping there instead of the bed. This option is often easier because you don't be dealing with pup trying to sneak onto the bed once you are asleep; however if pup isn't already crate trained you will need to crate train pup. To crate train pup, I would start by also practicing the Surprise method from the article I have linked below during the day, to help pup learn when you aren't as tired how to be quiet and calm in the crate. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If he is not already used to a crate, expect crying at first. When he cries and you know he doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying at night, and follow the Surprise method during the day. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. If he continues protesting for long periods of time past 3-5 days of ignoring and practicing the Surprise method, you can use a Pet Convincer in combination with the surprise method. Work on teaching "Quiet" by using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. During daytime practice, if he gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If he disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at his side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If he stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. At night, only ignore and correct the barking in the crate, don't give treats at night. The second option is to teach pup a Place command, while also periodically sprinkling treats onto pup's bed during the day, for pup to find, so pup will start to go to their dog bed on their own more often, in hopes of finding treats during the day. This helps pup like their bed better. In addition to Place and the treats, I would also teach pup the Off command. Whenever pup tries to get on the bed uninvited, tell pup Off. If pup doesn't obey, use a pet convincer or a drag leash kept on pup when you are supervising pup, to enforce pup having to get off, calmly but meaning business. If pup jumps right back up after being made to get off, tell pup "Ah Ah" and spray a brief puff of air at pup's side using the pet convincer, for disobedience. Place - in this case "Place" will be pup's dog bed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ If pup has ever shown any form of aggression toward you or is possessive of the bed at all, I would crate train pup and use the crate rather than trying to enforce pup staying off without the crate. The use of the crate is a safer option generally when dealing with a dog who may protest the new rules in any way, especially when it comes to aggressive tendencies. It's always a good idea to work with a professional trainer or behaviorist when dealing with any form of aggression to ensure the aggression is being addressed appropriately and there are safety measures in place to keep everyone safe. Don't take unnecessary risks by training by yourself if aggression is present. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Hephaestus
Labrador Retriever
13 Months
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Question
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Hephaestus
Labrador Retriever
13 Months

Never sleeps on his bed. Infact eats/bites into all his beds, like it's a toy. And recently he has started peeing on the sofas in the night. Though for the last 12 months he has never done it even once.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
961 Dog owners recommended

Hello Vamshikaruia, First, how well can pup hold their bladder during the day? If pup is also having frequent accidents during the day, I would contact your vet to make sure there isn't something causing urinary incontinence, like an infection. I am not a vet though. If the issue isn't medical, then pup probably had an accident on the couch once, found that it absorbed the accident well and no one was there to tell pup not to do so, the couch began to smell like urine because it's hard to clean something like that well enough to fully remove that pee smell, so the smell left there encouraged pup to keep doing it until it's become a bad habit now. At this point, pup needs to sleep in a crate for a few months to stop the cycle of unwanted behaviors. I would not give pup a soft bed since they destroy them, and pup getting into the habit of tearing apart can actually encourage pup to destroy similar items like couch cushions and comforters. Instead I would set up a crate and put something like www.primopads.com in the crate, using the included zipties to tie the edges of the bad to the crate wire so pup can't pull it up to destroy. This is they type of bed I generally use for destructive puppies and chewers. If pup hasn't been crate trained yet, there will be an adjustment period and some barking likely involved. I would start the process by doing what I outline below, in anticipation of barking. 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 he 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 him 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 he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his 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 he cries. Practice for a few days until he is doing well during the day. You can either continue what you are currently doing at night during this process, with the addition of blocking off access to the couch, or go ahead and jump into what I explain below for night time training - waiting until the day is good before starting the night or starting the night and day both at the same time. When he cries at night (in the crate - where he needs to be sleeping for now) before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Since it also sounds like you want to keep pup off the couch in general, check out the article I have linked below on that topic. I would still crate at night though since you won't be able to monitor pup at night, and to address night time accidents that have started and might turn into accidents in other locations in your home. Teach a dog to Stay Off the Couch article: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ If pup also has an accident in the crate without a soft bed being in there, I would start by going with pup at night when they go potty to ensure they are really going potty fully and not just getting distracted. If that doesn't help, then I recommend a trip to your vet to find out why pup physically can't hold it overnight even when their natural desire to keep a confined space clean should encourage them to hold their bladder in the crate overnight. I am not a vet and this would be a Vet's domain at that point. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Marley
French Bulldog
4 Years
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Question
0 found helpful
Marley
French Bulldog
4 Years

He will not sleep in his own bed. He cries when I go up and the husband is up at 3am for work so he is in bed before 9pm most nights. So I sleep with Marley in the spare room. I miss my husband at night time.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
961 Dog owners recommended

Hello Angela, 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 or room where he will be sleeping at night for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate/room without opening it/letting pup out, then leave the room again. As he 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 confining him 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 he cries in the crate/room alone, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in through a cracked door or crate wires after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate/cracked door 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 If pup is sleeping out of a crate but will also be destructive without you in the room, go ahead and do all of the above in a crate to get pup used to sleeping in a crate as well. Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. If pup doesn't bark when crated during the day, only at night, then just work on the Quiet method and skip the Surprise method practice during the day, then address nights the way I outline below either way. When he cries at night (in the crate or room alone - where he needs to be sleeping for now) before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. If pup has an accident before 8 hours when on crated while alone, pup also needs to be crated instead of left free in that room, to encourage him to hold it overnight. If you go straight to nights and days like this you will probably have about 3 rough nights, with lots of correcting before he gets quiet - don't give in and let him out or this will take much longer! But the overall process will go faster if you can stay strong. You will need to stay very consistent for this to work - expect pup to protest and for you to have to correct a lot the first couple nights. You may want to pretend like you are all going to bed two hours early and read in bed with the lights off or start on a weekend when you are off work - anticipating having to get up a lot the first couple of hours to correct - so that you don't loose as much sleep. If pup is protesting the crate during the day too, don't skip practicing the Surprise method when you are home also, but don't give food at night. Ultimately, every ones relationships being healthy and rested is better for pup too. Your relationship with your husband is more important than pup wanting you to sleep in the room with them. Pup can adapt if you are consistent, so don't feel bad about doing what's best for the whole family - which in the end is best for pup too. It may also be worth listening out for any noises that are happening in the middle of the night - like an appliance beeping or making a high pitched hum, or neighbor coming and going/dogs barking or howling, ect... that could be bothering pup. If you find that's the case, practice Quiet around that noise often to help desensitize pup to the noise and condition being quiet when they hear it, if it's not something you can simply turn off . Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bleu
French Bulldog
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bleu
French Bulldog
6 Months

Since having our first dog we have tried to train her as best as we could, and we thought we were doing really well with her.

We trained her to go toilet on her mat in her room, she was great with that until recently she now poo’s and wee’s anywhere she feels like in her bedroom. She is 6 months so may be due to heat, could this be a reason?

More about Bleu:
She eats 3 meals per day, with water left to the side for her to drink throughout the day.
Final feed/water is at 7pm, then we take her outside for a toilet and put her down at 8pm and then she wakes up around 8am.

What can we do to stop her going toilet wherever she likes?

Thank you,
James

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

Hello. It sounded like something disrupted her bathroom habits. External as well as internal factors can affect this. Her first heat cycle could be the case here. So essentially you will want to start completely over with potty training as if she were a brand new puppy. Treats for going potty in the appropriate area, not letting her free roam until she goes to the bathroom where you want, and not giving her unlimited access to water. You can also reduce her meal times to twice a day if that is something that works for you. Dogs typically need to eliminate within about 20 minutes of eating, so that will cut down on one more potty break during the day.

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