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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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!!
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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