Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."
Looking for Info on How to Stop a Dog From Sleeping on Your Bed?
If you're looking for info on how to stop a dog from sleeping on your bed, most likely, you have allowed your dog to snuggle and snooze in bed with you for some time, and now you believe it's time to foster some independence and encourage your dog to sleep on his new personal bed.
Perhaps you have recently rescued a dog with a history of being abused and who was acting very fearful. The first few days, letting him sleep in your bed was a no-brainer as he looked at you with those soulful, pleading eyes and he kept following you room-to-room.
Now, that several days have passed, you may be considering teaching your velcro-dog some independence so you have decided it's time to relinquish his pass for a bed share and try to encourage him to sleep in his new bed.
Not an Easy Process
It's important to emphasize this-the weaning-from-the-bed process won't be easy. Just like a child, who has been allowed too many times to sleep with mom and dad, struggles when it's time for him to go sleep in his bed alone, the process won't be with any objections. Your dog will likely whine, act frustrated and attempt to return to the bed.
It goes without saying that sometimes, life is much easier for these dogs if they weren't granted bed privileges from the get-go. Indeed, dogs struggle when they aren't provided with consistent guidelines.
Stick to Your Plan
Therefore, it is important doing some major decision-making. You will have to choose whether you will accept him always in your bed or provide him with his own sleeping area- stick to the plan.
If you are still debating on whether your dog should sleep on your bed or not, here's a read that offers some pros and cons so that you can make a more informed decision: should dogs be allowed to sleep on your bed? I tried my best to keep this as neutral and unbiased as possible.
Here's the thing: if we let our dogs sleep sometimes in bed, and other times we expect them not to, this only generates confusion. And of course, given the choice, most dogs will almost always pick sleeping in the bed with their owners rather than on their own beds! Nothing beats the reassuring presence, smell and warmth of their owners.
So if you have decided that your dog from now must sleep on his own bed, below are some tips to make the process a little smoother.
How to Stop Your Dog From Sleeping on Your Bed
Stopping your dog from sleeping on your bed isn't typically an easy process. However, you can ameliorate the situation by taking some baby steps to gradually wean him off.
You can accomplish this by taking a multi-tiered approach, in other words, tackling the issue from several angles. For instance, you can make gaining access to the bed difficult, while offering some amenities to make his new bed look wonderful in comparison. This multi-tiered approach can therefore help you succeed.
Shop for Beds With Perks
Provide amenities that can help your dog stay comfy and happy based on his personal preferences. For example, if he's after warmth, you can provide some bed warmers made for dogs, or pet beds with heating pads.
Do you own a cute Doxie? Many dachshunds love to burrow in their beds. If your dog loves likes to be under blankets, there are dog beds now that are shaped sort of like a cave and there are recently even hooded dog beds on the market.
Also, watch your dog's sleeping position. Dogs who love to sleep curled up may love a donut-shaped bed, dogs who like to stretch may appreciate more a rectangular bed. And don't forget about the season. In the winter your dog may prefer a certain style of dog bed and in the summer another type.
Create Positive Associations
During the day, keep your dog's new bed in the same room you are in and feed your dog treats on it; also, give him toys to enjoy there. Below is a guide on training a dog to lie on a mat. Notice how the dog is eager to go and stay on the mat because of all the great associations.
Drain Excess Energy
Make sure to provide play, exercise and mental stimulation so when night-time comes, your dog will be more likely to settle. Exercise isn't a cure-all but it can sometimes help lower your dog's threshold just enough to turn an otherwise potential fit into a less dramatic display.
Make Going on Your Bed Difficult
Block off access to your bed. You may have to get creative here. Put chairs, large boxes, furniture. This can be annoying, but this measure is fortunately temporary until your dog learns to enjoy his new bed and all the associated perks.
Alternatively, you can place your dog's bed within a dog exercise pen or behind an extendible pet gate so your dog stays confined to his area and away from your bed. A crate may also work well, especially with puppies in need of potty training.
Train an "Off" Cue
Blocking off access to the bed is the best option, but if that isn't feasible you can always train an "off" cue. The disadvantage with this though is that you may have to do this repeatedly, and when you're not around to train, you will have to do all you can to prevent access to your bedroom. To train the "positive off cue" follow these steps:
- Wait for your dog to jump on your bed. If your dog tends to jump on your bed at certain times of the day, schedule your training sessions around that specific time.
- Once your dog is on your bed, say your cue "off" and then toss a treat on your dog's bed with a downward motion of your hand. When your dog is off the bed, say "yes' just before he eats his treat.
- Rinse and repeat several times when the opportunity presents.
- At some point, say "off" when your dog is on the bed, but this time without actually tossing the treat on his bed. Just pretend to toss it. When your dog jumps down, say "yes!" and place a treat you had in your treat bag or pocket on his bed. Your goal is to say "off "and stop tossing the treat.
- Start gradually morphing the tossing treat hand movement with you just pointing at the floor as you say "off!" and then saying yes! as your dog jumps off and feed the treat on his mat.
- At some point, give a longer-lasting treat like a cookie or chew and give it on his bed so that your dog spends more time there.
Training a dog to get off the bed is fairly easy, but what if your dog keeps jumping up more and more on your bed because he has just realized that he gets a treat every time he's asked off? If so, congrats, you've got quite a bright fellow there! This is called a behavior chain.
To break the chain, when your dog jumps off the bed, don't immediately give a treat, instead, ask him to perform another behavior instead such as a sit or a down on the mat in hopes of breaking the association.
Create a Bedtime Routine
Dogs love routines. It gives them something to look forward to and they like to know what to expect as it's reassuring.
Make a bedtime routine of taking him to his bed, giving him something to enjoy on it that's long-lasting such as a stuffed Kong or a long-lasting edible chew (for example, bully stick, Himalayan Yak chews-ask your vet for suggestions based on your dog's individual health).
Add Some Amenities
Sometimes, adding some amenities to your dog's bed can provide some comfort. For example, with young puppies, I like to provide a Snuggle Pup Behavioral Aid. Young puppies are used to sleeping in piles with their littermates, and this stuffed animal that emits warmth and a beeping sound that mimics a mother dog's heartbeat can help pups adjust easier in their new homes.
Other amenities can include providing a shirt that has your smell, warm water bottles wrapped in a blanket for warmth, or spraying the bed with a pheromone-based calming spray for dogs.
Place Their Bed Near Yours
Nothing is worse for a dog than, going from sleeping on your bed to sleeping far away from you, or worse, in another room. To help your dog adjust to his new bed, it's important that he doesn't come to associate it with social isolation.
So place your dog's bed right next to yours, so that he can see you and hear you at night, and if needed, you can always dangle your hand down to pet him.
Do this at least initially, you can always then gradually move your dog's bed away if need be, but we have always loved having our Rottweilers sleep on their own beds in our bedroom and loved hearing their soft snoring.
A Tip for Difficult Cases
Finally, for rescue dogs or dogs struggling with the transition, it may help to place the dog bed on the human bed at night and always reward the dog for choosing to stay in his bed. Afterward, the dog bed may be gradually transitioned to the floor.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Adrienne Farricelli
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 25, 2021:
I find your hub useful, informative and dog owners who have this problem would appreciate it.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 23, 2021:
alexadry Dogs are such lovely and obedient pets if the owners trains them that way. Our fluffy pets love sleeping on the bed. Your ideas are useful and so well-written. Your vast knowledge about dogs is interesting and in detail.
Sp Greaney from Ireland on February 22, 2021:
This is brilliant advice. Some people I know who have dogs, love cuddling them in their bed in the morning. But the dog sleeps next to their bed at night in his bed. So I think that's a good tip about dog bed placement. It will just takes time. But dogs are smart and just want some extra love.
FlourishAnyway from USA on February 21, 2021:
Aww. They really are children. As a cat person who sleeps with one cat beside me all of the time (the others don’t like my movements and snoring), I guess it is easier to never invite them into the bed to begin with. We develop nighttime routines and everyone has their place. Your suggestions about heated individual beds and making them respites are good.
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on February 21, 2021:
This was a problem with my first golden girl. When she knew I was heading to bed, she would race me to take over my spot. Later, we taught them the off command. Our later pups haven't really been consistently interested in sleeping on the bed. They've claimed their own dog beds, although sometimes the dogs have issues with each other as to who gets what bed. But they switch places often and it's not a problem.
Hope you're staying safe and well. Take care!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 21, 2021:
We always allowed our dogs to sleep with us, so never had to wean them from stopping this behavior. Your suggestions do sound like good ones.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 21, 2021:
This is a great article, Adrienne. It makes sense to train the dog from the beginning not to be on your bed, but I know things don't always work that way. I think your gave us a great deal of good advice.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on February 21, 2021:
Nice tips. Though we only allow them on compasionate grounds one day!