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

Question
Mitch
Beagle
8 Years
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Question
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Mitch
Beagle
8 Years

He was used to sleeping in bed with previous owner. So we let him fall asleep on couch with us. Then when we went to our bed, he'd cry all night if we didn't let him in our bed. Now my husband sleeps on couch with dog! How do we get him to sleep in his own dog bed???

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
491 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michele, 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 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. 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. If you practice the daytime routine first while your husband sleeps on the couch for a few more days, then start the nighttime routine once pup understands the new rules, the night should go easier when you do make the transition. Either way you need to stay very consistent for this to work - expect pup to protest and for you to have to correct a lot. You may want to pretend like you are all going to bed two hours early and read in bed with the lights off - anticipating having to get up a lot the first couple of hours to correct - so that you don't loose as much sleep. Choose whichever option seems less stressful for you ultimately and is something you can stick to. Don't worry about feeling bad for pup. I know it's hard but your husbands sleep and your relationship is most important. If this continues indefinitely a lot of people would re-home the dog - when the issue could have been resolved with a some fair but firm training for a few days. Ultimately, every ones relationships being healthy and rested is better for pup too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Alvin
Chorkie
10 Months
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Alvin
Chorkie
10 Months

Everything I try to get him off my bed or the sofa, he growl, then I try to pick him up he goes to bite me, I need him to stop as my adult daughter is nervous around dogs

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
491 Dog owners recommended

Hello Diane, You probably already know this but you are dealing with an underlying aggression and lack of respect issue. The bed is just the symptom. I would hire a professional trainer who specializes in aggression to help you safely build his respect for you and add structure to his life. He has learned that he can get his way by biting and using aggression. I would make pup work for everything they get in life for a while, by requiring him to do a command first, such as Sit before being petted, Down being feeding, ect...I would drill pup on some obedience that builds impulse control and calmness, such as the commands linked below. I would keep a drag leash on pup so that when you tell pup to do something you can follow through calmly by picking up the leash and leading him. Working and Consistency methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Once pup is being more respectful you can add in giving him treats for obeying the first time, but at first your attitude should be calm and firm, less rewards, and more matter-of-fact. He is in doggie bootcamp for a bit. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Farley
Corgi Schip
14 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Farley
Corgi Schip
14 Years

Farley is a rescue who has only been with us a short while. He needs to be close to us, but our bed is too high for him to get up or down. I would like him to sleep in his bed, beside ours. Also, Farley is deaf. Any advice on how to train him to sleep in his bed? I’ve been trying the treat method, but because he can’t hear the command it isn’t going very well.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
491 Dog owners recommended

Hello Caryn, Because Farley is deaf you will need to modify the method a bit. Instead of giving a command, get his attention by getting in his line of sight and waving your arms in the bedroom, a few feet from his dog bed. As soon as he is looking at you, toss a large treat onto the dog bed while at the same time pointing to the bed with the same hand, so that when you toss the treat your finger is pointed when you do it. Practice this until he will eagerly start toward the bed when you start to motion toward it - before the treat has left your hand. Use large enough treats for him to easily find the treat on the dog bed. When he starts to move toward the bed when you motion toward it - even before he sees the treat leave your hand, then put the treat in your other hand, behind you back, pretend like you are still holding the treat in the hand you will point with, and simply point toward the bed with your empty hand-making the same type of throwing motion that you did before with the treat. As soon as Farley takes a couple of steps toward the bed, then toss the treat on the bed in front of him. Practice this until he will go all the way to the bed when you point and not just a couple of steps toward it. When he will go all the way to the bed when you point to it, then toss the treat to him once he is on the bed and make your pointing gesture calmer and calmer over time, until you can simply point to the bed without pretending to throw anything also. Practice the training regularly during the day at non-sleeping times also so that he will learn to look to you when you enter the bedroom and then follow your point to his bed. If he forgets at any point, then after you point, remind him by walking him over to the bed. You can also sprinkle a bit of his dog food onto the bed randomly during the day for him to stumble across. The randomness of his bed producing dog food will help him want to go to it on his own after a while also. If he tries to get off the bed when you want him to stay on it, calmly but a bit firmly walk toward him so that he backs back up onto the dog bed. When he gets back on it and stays on it while you take a few steps away again, then give him a treat. Use a hand signal that means you can get off, like clapping, to let him know he can leave if you choose to practice him staying on the bed. You can also teach him to look at you whenever you buzz a soft vibration collar. You can do a similar method as clicker training: buzz the collar - give a treat, buzz the collar - give a treat. Practicing rewarding right after buzzing it over and over again during training sessions. Once he understands to anticipate a treat after a buzz, then randomly buzz the collar throughout the day and when he looks at you, toss him a treat, and if he comes over to you, give him three. Vibration collars in combination with hand signals can help you communicate with a deaf dog a lot better. Deaf dogs can be taught most commands using hand signals instead of words. You just need a way to get the dog to look at you first in real life, and having a dog wear a vibration collar that has been paired with positive reinforcement in the form of rewards can accomplish that. Look for a vibration collar that has different levels of vibration since some dogs are very sensitive to the sensation and some don't notice it on lighter levels and need stronger vibration to feel it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mila
Dachshund
7 Years
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Mila
Dachshund
7 Years

Hello!
Our dog is older and used to sleeping with my mom who sleeps by herself. We now have her and would prefer she sleep in her own bed vs with us. I am not sure how to begin training her to do so because it has been several years of her in bed with a person. I don’t want to feel like a bad dog mom because I tried to put her on a blanket (her bed arrives in 2 days) and she cried until I let her in. No one is getting sleep with her in bed. We really would like this to change! Help!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
491 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alyse, First of all, know that you are not being a bad dog mom by being firm about her sleeping in her own bed, both you and her will actually get more restful sleep according to studies, and anything that is better for your family is better for her also - being tired makes it harder to be patient and a good trainer during the day after all. Start by making the dog bed a desirable place for her to be. During the day sprinkle her dog food or small treats on and around the dog bed. Let her discover the treats on her own after showing her them the first couple of times. Periodically replace the treats after they get eaten when she is not looking - so that she begins to associate the bed with the "magically" appearing treats and chooses to visit that area on her own frequently to check for food. Next or at the same time, work on teaching a long Place command. Check out the video linked below for this. Start with shorter periods of time and progress to her staying on Place for at least an hour a day to get her used to being on there. https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ At bedtime tell her to go to Place (her bed) and anytime she tries to get off of it, calmly but firmly bring her back to the dog bed. When she whines you can either discipline the crying or ignore it. Disciplining will work much faster but ignoring normally works also with time if you stay consistent and don't give into it! - Remind yourself that sleeping on her own soft bed will not hurt her, she is either crying because she is adjusting (with means she just needs time to adjust) or because she is being demanding (which you don't want to give into because that's a respect issue) - either way she is totally fine sleeping on her own bed and enforcing the new rule from the beginning in your house will be much easier than trying to change it later when you are even more sleep deprived - the environment is new and you are semi-new to her so now is a good time to teach her your house rules. The above way typically equals the least amount of crying but there is another way you can also teach this that tends to work a lot faster but involves being a bit firmer. Sprinkle treats on the dog bed when she is not around and practice sending her to the bed and rewarding her when she gets on it during the day. Make the bed fun during the day. At night once she has the pleasant association with the bed either send her to the bed and enforce her staying on it whenever she tries to get off of it OR crate her with the bed. When she cries either ignore the crying (typically this takes about 5 days to work doing it this way), OR tell her "Ah Ah" and use a Pet Convincer to spray a small puff of air at her side (through the crate's wires if crated) - avoiding her face and only using unscented air - NOT citronella. The second method above can be used without a lot of prior training and tends to work quickly but there will be more crying typically and it can feel harsh for the owner - but it is still fairly gentle. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Deuce
Australian Shepherd
14 Years
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Question
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Deuce
Australian Shepherd
14 Years

Deuce has been a part of my family for 14 years, and is beginning to have a lot of trouble getting up and down. He use to sleep with us on the bed, but now cannot get up on his own or even using a ramp we bought. He likes to sleep next to the bed, but will not sleep on the dog bed we bought him or on blankets that we put out. Should we be worried that the temperature is too hot for him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
491 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ryan, Are you saying you feel like he may be avoiding the dog bed because the fabric is making him hot? If so, that is very possible. I wouldn't be worried necessarily but he may be more comfortable if the room was a bit cooler. It's common for dogs to want to sleep on cool, hard surfaces when it's hotter and sleep on things like dog beds more so in the winter when the house is cooler. You way want to check out something like www.primopads.com for hotter days and a bed that is a little firmer memory foam instead of super soft, plush bed for cooler weather - to help with sore joints. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Benji
Peekapoo
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Benji
Peekapoo
3 Months

Benji is a new puppy, he’s very small and both he and I enjoy having him sleep in my bed. It was going good at first, but now he pees at the edge of my bed. I was stern with him the first couple times and put him on his own bed as a consequence. However, every time I bring him back on my bed he’ll pee. I know that since he’s a puppy it is difficult for them to hold in their pee. But I let him pee before bed, and he licks my face to wake me up and let me know he needs to be pee, but lately it seems as if he is backtracking.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
491 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tatyana, Having a puppy sleep with you is super cute and fun - I remember when my own dog was that little. Unfortunately, allowing a puppy to sleep with you before they are past the destructive chewing phases (which have only started and may still get worse) and fully potty trained and can hold it overnight, can be dangerous and lead to life-long potty training issues that result in puppy never being able to sleep with you! I highly suggest crating puppy at night at this age. It's not fun, I know, but crating pup now until you have laid a solid foundation of training and pup is older, can mean 10+ years of freedom later. Not doing it now, can result in pup never becoming trustworthy inside and your relationship with each other being less enjoyable for years to come because you can't trust pup unsupervised due to bad habits formed as a puppy. Surprise method for crate training: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Gracie
Havanese
Nine Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Gracie
Havanese
Nine Months

Gracie is crate trained and sleeps in our family room at night. However we would like to start transitioning her sleeping in our room in her own bed or crate at night as well as slowly beginning to let her have day time freedom in areas in the house. Mainly this is because we have a second home and when we have guests there it is not easy for her to be sleeping n the main room when people come and go late at night. We think the continuity of "going to bed" with Mom and Dad would be easier when we travel. So essentially beginning to keep the crate door open and she has the option to use it or now. When is the right age to do this and how long should we plane for it to take to make the transition.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
491 Dog owners recommended

Hello Laurie, She is old enough you can begin the transition to your room now or wait until after 1 year. I would not transition to an open crate until 1.5 years old and she has gone 6 months without chewing anything she shouldn't when left alone for short periods, but she can begin being crated in your room with the door closed now - or you can wait until she is older without issue also. The transition to your room shouldn't take longer than 2 weeks if you are consistent. The transition to more freedom will probably not start until 1.5 years old, then once she is ready for it, you can expect about a month of gradually giving her more and more freedon and seeing how she does...such as 10 minutes alone, 15 minutes, 25 minutes, 40 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 2 hours 3 hours, 4 hours, 5 hours, 6 hours, then all day or night...without surpassing her potty needs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Tess
English Springer Spaniel
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Tess
English Springer Spaniel
3 Years

Tess is almost 3 years old and has slept on our bed for the passed year and a half. We have been trying to get her to sleep on her own bed in our room but haven't been successful.
We put her bed on my side as she loves to sleep 'on' me and I pat her and praise her quietly. After a while she then sneaks back up on to our bed,usually anytime between 1pm and 3pm. We're usually unaware of her hopping onto the bed until later on. Not sure what to do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
491 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lisa, Since she is getting onto the bed while you are sleeping so you can't effectively train at that time, you will need to crate pup - putting her bed into the crate in your room, until she gets into the habit of sleeping there on her own. During the day, practice the Surprise method from the article linked below to introduce the crate if she isn't already crate trained. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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