Usually a dog’s favorite resting place is our bed . Even though we have bought him a nice and soft mattress, he insists on continuing to sleep next to us. There are many reasons for this behavior: he likes it, he feels accompanied, we have allowed him several times … But how can we make the dog sleep in his own bed? The guidelines to apply are very simple, however, not all owners manage to maintain them throughout this educational process.
Remember that teaching a dog to sleep in its bed can take some time, but if we are patient and always maintain the same rules, it can be achieved. Next, we show you in this article how to teach your dog to sleep in his bed, keep reading!
The importance of choosing the right dog bed
Before explaining how to accustom a dog to sleep alone, it will be essential to mention what a dog’s bed should be like so that it feels safe in it. If not, it is likely that he does not want to sleep and opts for other more comfortable places for him, such as the sofa or your bed.
The bed should be thick enough to insulate you from the ground and therefore from the cold in winter. In this way, we recommend you discard mattresses that are too thin. It is also important to look for dog mattresses designed specifically for them, as in this way we make sure that it is adapted to their needs.
On the other hand, the material used must be harmless to the health of the dog and it must be easily covered with a blanket or cover, essential for sick puppies or dogs. And finally, we remind you that it is very important to choose the size correctly : the dog must be able to fully stretch once lying down and roll over without difficulty.
Why doesn’t my dog want to sleep in his bed?
There are different causes that can make the dog not want to sleep in your bed and it is important to evaluate them before starting work.
The cubs spend 24 hours a day with their mother and siblings. Apart from socializing and recognizing each other as a species, sleeping and being together is essential to maintain the heat that they cannot yet regulate by themselves. At the end of the socialization stage (around 2 months of age), the mother begins to progressively reject them, at which point they can learn to sleep alone. Before 8 weeks we should not let them sleep alone if it is not with the help of a well insulated thermal blanket or a hot water bottle.
It is also common for newly adopted puppy or adult dogs to seek companionship when feeling lonely and disoriented in a new home. In these cases it is important to wait a while for the dog to adapt to its new home, so we should never force it.
Finally, it is important to remember that in the hottest seasons, dogs only want to sleep on the ground, this is because they need to cool down so they do not suffer from heat stroke.
The importance of rules and routine
Before starting to teach your dog to sleep in his bed, it will be essential to mentalize ourselves. Therefore, when starting this learning, we must be aware that we will have to maintain fixed rules at all times, without exceptions, and that everyone in the household must comply with them.
Remember that if some members of the family allow things that others forbid, the dog will be confused and will have a greater difficulty learning what we want to teach him.
Associating the bed in a positive way
To make the dog sleep in his bed we must help him to associate the mattress in a positive way. We must never scold , scare or reprimand him when he is there: it should be an exclusive place for him, where he can take refuge whenever he wants.
The first thing is to help you recognize the word “bed . ” You can get treats or toys that you will leave on top for him to look for. Encourage him to find them by saying “look on the bed” or “go to bed”, an exercise that in addition to positively reinforcing it will help him feel more loved. Do it daily once or twice.
Also, every time you observe him approaching or lying down in his resting place, you should congratulate him with a “very good” , some caresses or a snack for dogs. All the options are valid during this process, you only need to know what motivates your dog. Of course, never force him to get on top or yell at him to stay in place, that will only generate distrust, fear and submission, inadequate techniques for the education of the dog.
One or more beds?
It can be interesting to buy two beds or move the bed to various places in the house during the day. Being sociable animals, it is understandable that they want to follow us around every corner of the home, therefore, if we move the bed or have several, we are more likely to lie down in its place and thus avoid the sofas or our own bed.
So that it is not a boring exercise and you obtain a higher success rate when teaching your dog to sleep in his bed, you can move the bed and place it in different places, paying attention at all times to congratulate him when he finishes lying down. These places do not necessarily have to be by your side, at least at the end of education, something that will help us to be independent in moments of rest.
How to accustom a dog to sleep in your bed?
The key to teaching a dog to sleep in his bed is positive reinforcement. This reward-based technique helps the dog learn more effectively. Even so, there are other tricks that you can use to encourage the dog to sleep in his own bed instead of using sofas and places that are not suitable for him:
- Teach your dog to lie down, in this way, you will be able to tell him what you expect of him, something that will greatly facilitate communication and avoid mistakes.
- Offer massages and other relaxation exercises on a regular basis when he is calm and relaxed in bed. This will not only favor the dog’s balance, it will also help him associate the place with caresses and good times.
- Do not forget the verbal reinforcement , it is as important as the treats. Always use a soft and high-pitched tone of voice, something that helps them understand better.
- Do not punish him if he gets out of his bed or if he tries to get into yours at night, get up and tell him to lie down on his bed and then congratulate him.
- Avoid placing the bed excessively far from your rest area, leaving it locked in or depriving it of access to certain places. You must allow the dog to experiment and make certain mistakes. These types of techniques can generate frustration, fear or stress.
If you find your dog in a place where he should not be, calm down, lower him with your voice or some treats and reward him only when he is in his bed again.
Remember that it is a process that requires calm, serenity and a lot of patience . Do not be nervous if your dog does not understand well what you are asking, some require up to 20 or 30 repetitions to understand a command. You must be aware that dogs have certain limitations.
Acting consistently and positively at all times will help you to relate better with your dog, in this way, your bond will be stronger.