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?
author-img

Written by Stephanie Plummer

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

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Brownie
Dashalier
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Brownie
Dashalier
1 Year

Excessive barking, wnt listen to any words, shld do hand feeding always, no proper socialisation, scared off easily for small sound aswell. Looking for a gud trainer to make my dog to overcome from all this problems

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1101 Dog owners recommended

Hello Radha, I answered part of your message in my previous reply just now, but as far as hand feeding, you don't need to always hand feed. I would transition to things like kongs and kong wobbles and pup's food bowl, or having pup earn the food by obeying commands once pup is more comfortable with you. As far as finding a good trainer, that depends a lot on where you live. Wag offers training in some locations but not all. I would good things like "behavior issue dog trainer near me", "fear dog trainer near me", "counter conditioning dog training near me", ect...or substitute the near me for the name of your city. Once you find some trainers in your area, go to each ones' websites or reviews and see if they seem to have experience with things like fearfulness and whether their previous clients found help with that specific issue from that trainer. When you find some that may be a good fit, call and ask how they train and what their experience is with the needs your dog has specifically. You should feel comfortable with the person and almost like what they have to say is common sense and down to earth, and not worried about their methods or like they are someone you can't work with or who can't teach you (most of the training will be them teaching you). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Brownie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Brownie
Dashalier
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Brownie
Dashalier
1 Year

Excessive barking, not sleeping on her bed, wnt listen to a words, scared of vehicles sounds or any other sounds , no proper socialisation

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1101 Dog owners recommended

Hello Radha, Hello Jillian, Check out this youtube series on barking. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a I would also teach the Quiet command method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark For the bed sleeping, check out the Surprise method from the article I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate As well as teaching Place. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s For socialization, check out this article: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ If there is aggression present with the lack of socialization, I would hire a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like fear and aggression and works with a team of trainers, so you have the resources to desensitize her to a lot of different people who know how to interact with her, one at a time. Ask questions to be sure that would be an option with the trainer you choose. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Brownie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Bella Cotton and Max
terrier
2 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Bella Cotton and Max
terrier
2 Months

Getting my dogs to sleep in their beds instead of sleeping with me.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1101 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katrina, Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below and practice crate training with that method often for 30 minute -1 hour periods during the day to help pup adjust to being alone more quickly. 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, 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 three nights tend to be the worse, with pup gradually getting better and better after that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Bella Cotton and Max's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Max
King Charles Cavaliere
3 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Max
King Charles Cavaliere
3 Years

He's been sleeping in his bed and had no issues until last week, he's refusing to stay in his bed and will not go if we ask him to. I tell him it's time for bed and he has to stay and we give him a treat but leaves afterwards. As a result, i've told my kids that he's no longer allowed on their beds during the day. just don't know what to do to keep him in his bed. What can i try?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1101 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rose, First, I would actually consider whether he needs more joint support. Some of the really plushy dog beds don't are so soft they don't offer much support. A firmer dog bed more like your mattress might be more comfortable for pup. Something like this, with or without the sides. https://www.chewy.com/serta-quilted-orthopedic-pillowtop/dp/162502?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=Serta&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQiAkNiMBhCxARIsAIDDKNV4IFjNjgTYve03Y-DCOFcHvKuI00TxtQKNR70q_kprFTiT0sVgDTcaAodmEALw_wcB Second, I recommend teaching Place formally, and having Place be pup's bed: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s I also agree with limiting access to other beds if you prefer pup stay off those. The training for staying off a couch and bed should be almost identical. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Max's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
calvin & leo
Golden Retriever
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
calvin & leo
Golden Retriever
6 Years

2 dogs - calvin / golden retriever &
leo / australian shepherd mix

each have own dog bed in opposite corners of our bedroom. australian shepherd insists on wanting both beds leaving the passive golden upset & befuddled.

what to do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1101 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rene, You have a couple of options here. First, I would start by teaching the Aussie Place, and working them up to a 2 hour Place command on that same bed (it can be moved out into the day during part of the daytime practice too. Work on also teaching the Aussie Out, which means leave the area, and be persistent in not allowing the Aussie onto the Golden's bed at anytime - treat it like you would a dog not being allowed on someone's couch at all times. At night, since it will be hard to enforce the commands while sleeping, until the Aussie is consistently only going to their bed, can stay on their bed/place when told for a long time, and is leaving the Golden's bed alone during the day, I would crate the Aussie at night, so you are consistent about them not being allowed on the Golden's bed even while you are sleeping, until they can be trusted out of the crate to not be pushy anymore. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s If Leo 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. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. Practice the Surprise method from the article I have linked below during the day to help him adjust sooner. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If he continues protesting for long periods of time past 3-5 days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. During the day, 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. Practice proactively during the day. At night don't give treats or he can learn to stay awake waiting for them. At night ignore or correct barking. 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. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to calvin & leo's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd