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

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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

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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

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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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Jax
Pit bull
2 Years
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Question
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Jax
Pit bull
2 Years

Won't listen

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

Hello, I suggest taking Jax to obedience training classes. Dogs really do love to train and it's a great opportunity for socialization as well! I've seen dogs that were out of control become very well behaved. Training with Jax will also cement the bond that you are building into a great relationship. In the meantime, here is a guide to read that has very good tips for helping Jax learn to listen: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you and https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-rottweiler-to-be-obedient. Read these guides through and use the tips for training. Work 10 minutes a day and always end on a positive note with lots of praise. Good luck and happy training!

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Question
Bruno
chug
10 Months
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Question
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Bruno
chug
10 Months

How do we train our dog to not jump on us while we are eating a meal?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amanda, First, I recommend teaching Place and Out - which means leave the area. Create a new rule that pup lies on their Place bed at the far end of the dinning room (or wherever you eat), or in the next room. Reward pup for staying there until the end of the meal. Practice Place ahead of time proactively so that pup knows how to lie down on Place and Stay when its needed - until pup knows that command I recommend crating pup temporarily at mealtimes with a chew toy. I also recommend teaching out and using the section on How to Use Out to Deal with Pushy Behaviors to enforce that command once pup knows it, whenever they are being pushy in general. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Finally, for jumping in general, check out the Step Toward and Leash method from the article linked below. I recommend the Step Toward method for pup daily with those they know, and you can use the leash method for those who could be knocked off balance or who you don't want to have to be the ones training your dog like guests and kids. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump

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Question
Leia
English Cocker Spaniel
8 Weeks
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Question
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Leia
English Cocker Spaniel
8 Weeks

Hi,

We (my girlfriend and I) just got a new puppy (our second one, we also have a yorkie mini toy) and we are struggling a bit with a few situations:

1) we have two weeks since we are potty training but we have, let’s Say, 50% accuracy on the puppy pad (since we didn’t complete the vaccine scheme);

2) other than that, we try also for two weeks now to redirect her whenever she chews somethings she is not supposed to (that happens all the time during the day;

3) also, she haș moments when she plays a little too agresively with the yorkie and we don’t really know how to properly control that;

4) the yorkie sleeps in our bed and for a while, Leia cries cause she also wants in bed with us but she happens to have little accidents during the night - we would like to get her to sleep in her bed near our bed;

5) finally and the most important, we would like to comfort her on being alone(only with our yorkie) in the house since there will come the Time when we will leave for work for around 8 hours and we would like to avoid crate training her - the yorkie always hâd Access in the entire apartament and never distroied anything.

Hope to hear back from you on at least a few of our concerns!

Best regards!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Claudiu, Congratulations on your new puppy. 1. For potty training indoors, I suggest using the exercise pen method from the article linked below. Instead of a pee pad, I suggest switching to a disposable real grass pad if your end goal is outside potty training once pup is older, to avoid the confusion of rugs and carpets which are also made out of fabric and pup may start pottying on once a pee pad is removed. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Disposable real grass pad brands: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Most also on amazon 2. The chewing will take time - it's often something you have to manage until almost a year - but teaching good manners now, preventing uninterrupted chewing episodes, and teaching pup to chew on their own toys can prevent the chewing from turning into a life long problem, instead of something pup will outgrow once teeth and jaws have developed and the urge decreases with age. Check out the article linked below. The exercise pen will also be important here when you can't supervise pup and they are not safe to be left alone yet. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Check out the Leave It method and teaching the Out command for managing the dog's play. Give breaks when one gets too rough, and let the tired pup go first to see if they still want to play before releasing the other one. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ 4. Pup definitely needs to sleep on their own bed with potty access or in a crate at this age. There will be crying but you can help pup adjust by practicing the steps from the Surprise method from the article linked below during the day, ahead of time, to help pup adjust to being in that space in general - which should also help with nights. Right now, set up an exercise pen in your room, with a disposable real grass pad on one end and a non-absorbent bed on the other end of the exercise pen. Pup needs to get used to being in that area, have that set up to help with potty training, and prevent dangerous chewing while you are sleeping. The pen is important at this age because you won't be able to enforce pup staying on their bed while you are asleep. Practice rewarding pup for being there during the day, but keep the pen door closed to also ensure pup stays there at night. Pup should develop a habit of sleeping there and you be able to phase out the pen later once pup is fully potty trained and not chewing anymore. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Non-absorbent bed examples: cot type beds, www.primopads.com, https://k9ballistics.com/collections/chew-proof 5. Finally, the Surprise method can help pup get used to being alone too. Giving pup a dog food stuffed durable hollow toy whenever you leave can help. Providing pup with a dog food stuffed durable puzzle toy once older can also help. Know that confinement at appropriate times during the first year of life, combined with teaching things like Leave It and obedience training when home, is what usually leads to a dog who can be trusted unsupervised in the home after a year. The confinement keeps potty training puppies on track - avoiding long term potty issues, prevents dangerous destructive chewing and that chewing from becoming a long term habit, actually helps the dog learn how to self-entertain and be a bit more independent - preventing separation anxiety - especially when durable toys like stuffed kong are given, and helps pup develop appropriate chewing habits - like chewing their own toys. For dogs who are being trained to go potty on an indoor pad - like the grass pad or pee pad, an exercise pen can be used. For outside potty training dogs, it will need to be a crate until pup is potty trained, then an exercise pen or small dog-proofed room can be used. Once pup is fully potty training - with zero accidents in the past three months, and has gone at least 3 months since trying to chew anything other than their own toys, you can test whether pup is ready for more freedom by giving unsupervised freedom while away from home in ten minute increments - 10 minutes, 20, 30, 40 ect...until you have worked up the amount of time you will be away during work. If pup goes potty or chews, wait another 1-2 months before trying again. Most dogs aren't ready until between 1-2 years of age, but some mature sooner. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Buddy
Mastiff cross rottweiler
10 Weeks
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Buddy
Mastiff cross rottweiler
10 Weeks

Hi I’m back at work tomorrow and trying to crate train my puppy to be used to being alone. He is fine at night time in his crate but cries when I leave him during the day and tips his water bowl all over. I’ve tried the command bed and when he sleepy I put him in his crate to sleep. But he still cries.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Vicki, Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. Work on that command on weekends and for at least an hour when you are home after work each day. Also know that it is normal for a puppy to cry in the crate for the first two weeks of crate training. Stay consistent and give pup a dog food stuffed chew toy to focus on in the crate during the day. Because you are already back at work and not able to ease into crate training as much, there will be more crying, stay consistent and pup should adjust after a few days though. Follow the Surprise method when home to help pup learn how to calm themselves in the crate. For the water, look for a bowl made for crates that will clip onto the crate door - check Amazon. Instead of giving pup a whole bowl full of water, fill that small bowl up at potty trip times with smaller amounts more frequently. This will also help more with potty training so pup doesn't get too much water at once. Be aware that at this age, pup will still have to be taken potty at least every 3 hours during the day. If you are gone longer than that, I suggest hiring a dog walker to take pup at least that often. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate In general a puppy can hold their bladder for a maximum of the number of months they are in age plus one, meaning 3 hours for a 2 month old puppy, 4 hours for a 3 month old puppy, 5 for a 4 month old puppy, ect... Until the maximum time of 8 hours for an adult dog. Those times are maximums though. When home take pup out at least twice as often as their maximum time -which would be every 1.5 hours for you right now. If pup is still able to spill the door bowl, you can purchase a few door bowls and freeze the water in each on ahead of time - giving pup a small continuous amount of water to drink and not a full bowl to be spilled. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Brandy
Labrador Retriever
2 Years
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Question
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Brandy
Labrador Retriever
2 Years

Our dog is crate trained and generally sleeps through the night without issue until the early morning. She was sleeping in until about 5:30 or 6, but we recently moved to a new house and now she is whining/barking to get out as early as 4:30. It is not a potty issue. It seems to be wanting to be near us at that time and/or wanting to eat. We don’t let her out of the crate unless she’s quiet (which she will be if we start moving around) and we don’t feed her before 6am. Her crate is currently in the living room outside her door. We’ve tried in the past putting her in our room in the crate but this doesn’t stop her from wanting to be out when it hits a certain time. The sleep deprivation is really challenging! Suggestions?

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

Hello, there are a few things you can try. Make sure that you exercise Brandy well in the evenings and if you are able to, take her for a long walk in the evening. Make sure that she goes out for a pee break the last thing before bedtime. Sometimes white noise will help a dog to sleep better - this can be in the form of a fan (pointed away from her). Make sure that the room has room-darkening curtains, too. There are a few more tips here: https://wagwalking.com/training/sleep-all-night. I will suggest using an alarm clock to your advantage. This will take a few weeks, but is effective. Set the alarm for approximately the time that she is typically waking, for about a week. The next week, you move the time 15 minutes later, and keep it there for a week. The following week, set it another 15-30 minutes later, and keep doing this until you reach the desired time that you want to get up. By then, Brandy should be conditioned to waking up when the alarm goes off. Good luck!

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