There is nothing wrong with having your dog sleep in your bed. In fact, a majority of pet owners like having their pooch snuggle in bed with them. However, some owners complain that they don't sleep as well with their pup in their bed. If you fall into this second category, learning how to keep dog off bed is going to be necessary for you to get a good night's rest.
According to a recent Mayo Clinic study, 53% of pets owners were experiencing some kind of sleep disruption from sleeping with their pets every night. Likewise, 35% of them were explicitly bothered by their pup barking in his sleep. This common sleep disorder in animals occurs depending on the breed, the amount of activity they have during the day and the personality of the animal.
Like humans, dogs have their own unique sleeping habits. While some dogs enjoy sleeping on their side, others lie on their back with their paws stretched out. Some dogs like to “nest” or sleep underneath blankets.
If you've provided your dog with a high quality pet bed but he still jumps up to sleep with you, this habit can be changed. With a little time and patience (and a lot of praise and treats), your dog can be taught to sleep in his own bed. You may even be surprised to find that he enjoys having his own space more than he likes sleeping with you.
How to Keep Dog Off Bed
(in 10 simple steps)
First thing's first, your dog will need his own bed if you're not going to let him sleep in yours. Choose a dog bed that fits your dog's sleeping style. You'll also need to check the measurements to ensure the bed will be big enough for your dog to stretch out and relax.
You also need to give your dog time to get used to his new bed before expecting him to sleep on it all night. Dogs are suspicious of new things. New things smell different, and that means danger to your dog.
Dogs explore the world around them with their noses. Things that smell different cannot be trusted – at least not until Fido gets used to the new smell. If your dog doesn't trust his new bed, he isn't going to want to spend all night lying on it.
At first, put the bed in an area where your dog spends a lot of time. After a few days, the bed will start to absorb the smells of your home, your human family members and your pets. With time and patience, your dog will start spending more time on the bed. Eventually, he'll be comfortable taking naps or sleeping through the night on his comfy new resting spot.
If you'd like more information on getting your dog to sleep on his own bed, you can read our detailed guide on the subject here.
2. Start From the Beginning
Whether you're bringing home a new puppy or adopting an adult dog, you need to begin sleep training on the very first night. If you let your dog sleep in your bed for the first night or two, you're going to have a much harder time learning how to keep dog off bed.
3. Crate Train Puppies/Adult Dogs That Aren't Housebroken
If the dog or puppy is not 100% house trained, it is best to teach him to sleep in a crate. This will keep him safe while you're sleeping and ensure he doesn't go to the bathroom in your home or chew up your belongings.
4. Tire Him Out Before Bedtime
Can you fall asleep easily when you're full of energy? What about if your body feels tired, but your brain is still on hyperdrive? No, of course not!
The same is true for your dog. If Fido's mind and/or body are not tired, he's not going to want to settle down at bedtime. You need to be sure to burn off any extra mental or physical energy before tucking your dog in for the night.
Taking your dog for a walk around the yard may not provide enough mental stimulation to wear him out. You may need to play a game with him, do some nose work or give him a puzzle toy to work on before he's ready to hit the hay.
5. Teach Your Dog to “Go to Bed”
Using positive reinforcement, you will need to do some basic command training. Choose the command that you want to use, such as “go to bed”. When you want your dog to lie on his own bed, give the command and place him on his dog bed.
When he gets on his own bed, praise him and give him a treat. At first, he won't want to spend more than a minute or two on his own bed. As he gradually begins to spend more time on his bed, be sure to praise him for doing what you want him to do.
It's going to take a while, but as long as you use the same command and a firm voice, your pup will begin to understand what you want. Continue putting him on his bed each time he gets up to wander around. Eventually, he'll stay on his own bed and settle in.
6. Ignore Whining
Your dog may not be happy about having to sleep by himself. He may whine or howl in the beginning. Ignore this noise and continue with command training and positive reinforcement.
Sometimes, your dog will respond to any kind of attention that you give him – even negative attention. This means that scolding your dog or trying to talk to him to calm him down may actually be just what he wants. The best thing you can do when learning how to keep dog off bed is to ignore the whining and stick to your training method.
7. Consistency is KEY
Being consistent is the key to any type of dog training. Sleep training is especially difficult. No one likes staying up late to get their dog settled in on his own bed, and it stinks to wake up tired in the morning because you were up half the night with a whining pooch.
Just remember that it won't last forever. If you slip just once and allow your dog to sleep on the bed with you, you'll have to start your training all over again from the beginning. Inconsistency will only teach Fido that you may give in from time to time. If he learns that, it will be very difficult to get him to take you seriously.
8. Make His Bed Enticing
Placing a toy or chew on your dog's bed may give him a reason to stay there. The more enticing you can make his bed, the more likely it will be that he stays on it.
It may also help to place a blanket or shirt that smells like you on his dog bed. Like a human baby, your dog is comforted by your smell. He loves you, and having something that smells like you to snuggle with may calm him down and allow him to sleep more soundly on his own bed.
9. Get Everyone On the Same Page
With any type of training, including learning how to keep dog off bed, it's important that everyone in your home is on the same page. If your dog isn't allowed on your bed but your children will let him sleep on theirs, your dog will get mixed signals.
10. Keep Him Off All Furniture
Keeping your dog off of all furniture in your home will make it much easier when you're trying to teach him to stay off of your bed. If he's allowed on couches and chairs, it will be harder for him to distinguish which furniture is okay to sleep on and which is not.
If Fido isn't allowed on any furniture, he'll grasp the concept much faster. In order to keep him off of your furniture while you're away from home, close bedroom doors and block off your living room with a pet gate. Similarly, you should supervise your dog closely while you are at home until he has a firm understanding of keeping off the furniture.