Today I have a post for all you dog owners out there! (Or those of you that just want to see some cute puppy pictures) It’s how I got my dogs to sleep in their own beds every night. If you own a pup of your own, you know just how hard it can be to say, “no” to those sad little puppy-dog eyes begging to hop into bed with you at night. And if you’ve given in and let them crawl into bed with you, you probably know dogs tend to hog the bed. Mine sure do! Not too long ago, Tony and I were allowing two of our three dogs into bed with us every night. Needless to say, we weren’t sleeping very well. Not only are our dogs bed hogs, but Roo kicked and would not budge when we tried to move him, and Winnie snored and snuggled as close as possible. We were left with less than a foot of space to ourselves, sleeping at awkward angles (hello neck and back pain!). After lots of restless nights, we finally agreed we had to make a change if we ever wanted to see a healthy 8-hours of sleep again. Here are the steps I took to get our pups sleeping in their own beds just 72 hours later! (Note: I am not a professional dog trainer, but puppy school taught me a few tips that I believe helped me achieve this so quickly).
Get lots of dog treats (and a mean A LOT) … you’ll need them. Sometimes a little bribing can go a long way.
Place your dog’s bed in the corner of your bedroom. Bring one dog into the bedroom at a time (if you have multiple). Extra tip: you don’t have to wait until night time for this training. I started during the day because I would have been way too exhausted at night when it was actually bed time.
Start with your first pup. In my case, it was Roo. I started with him because he was the easier and less stubborn of the two. Roo is a people pleaser. He wants nothing more than to make you happy and he absolutely loves learning. When he came into the bedroom, out of habit, Roo would jump up onto the bed as soon as he entered the room. When he did, I would say, “No. Off.” And point to his dog bed. When he walked over to his dog bed and laid down, I would say, “Yes. Go to bed.” And give him A LOT of training treats.
Next, I would walk away. If he started to get up, I would say “No. Go to bed.” Then again when he laid down in his dog bed, I would give him verbal praise and A LOT of treats.
Again, I would walk away. If he stayed put, I would go back and tell him “Yes. Go to Bed” and give him A LOT of treats. (I told you treats were going to be key!) Eventually, he began to associate the dog bed and laying in it with getting A LOT of treats.
Next, I laid down in my bed for a few minutes. If he tried to jump up on the bed, I would say “No. Off.” and point to his dog bed. When he hopped down I would say, “Go to Bed.” and he would walk over and lay down. You guessed it, this means he got A LOT of treats.
Continue to praise your dog for good behavior and repeat the above steps with your second dog (if you have multiple).
Roo figured out his new sleeping arrangement during that one training session, which was maybe 15-20 minutes long. Like I said, he’s a total people pleaser. Winnie on the other hand is much more stubborn. So, when it was time for bed she tried coming back into our bed at least 6 or 7 times. Around the 7th time, I’d had enough and needed sleep. I ended up grabbing her dog crate and crating her for the rest of the night. While some dogs hate their crates Winnie love hers, so she went in willingly and fell right to sleep.
The next night, I tried again with Winnie. Every time she tried to jump up I told her “No. Off.” Once she hopped off the bed I would tell her “Go to bed.” and point to her dog bed. Each time she would lay down for about 10 seconds and pop back up again. Again, after 6 or 7 attempts, I put her in her crate, so everyone could get a good night’s rest.
Every dog is different. For Winnie, it took two nights in her crate to realize that she wasn’t allowed in our bed anymore and that her dog bed was a more comfortable option than her crate. She finally gave in and started to stay put when we told her to go to bed. We continued to leave her crate open, so that she would have the choice of her crate or her bed, but she quickly realized that her dog bed gave her more freedom. She could walk around the room and lay anywhere she wanted as long as it wasn’t our bed.
Relax and enjoy your bed and your space again! I now get a full 8+ hours of restful sleep a night. I no longer have to sleep in awkward positions with two dogs basically laying on top of me. My neck and back pain is completely gone!
A full night’s sleep could be in your future as well! Let me know if you use these steps to get your dogs to sleep in their own beds at night!