Having a well-trained dog makes life much easier for both the dog, the dog owner and the family.
The dog knows the rules, so it doesn’t get in trouble and is much less likely to be hurt.
For dog owners, it means they have to spend much less time dealing with a disobedient dog and more time enjoying the more fun parts of having a dog in their life.
One great example of this is learning how to train your dog to lie and stay in its bed (or a similar place such as a crate or sleeping mat).
You might have visitors coming round to visit, you might be lifting a hot dish out of the oven, or your dog might have been naughty, and you want them to go and calm down.
For any situation like this, having a command cue that will send them to their bed and then keep them in that spot can be really useful for a dog owner.
So we created a step-by-step guide to answer this question and to help you to teach your dog to learn how to do this.
Training Your Dog to Stay in Their Dog Bed
As with always dog training, this will take some practice, some patience, and lots of repetition, over a few regular training sessions.
Also, for this and other times, you are training your dog; consistency and rewarding the correct behavior with both praise and treats are essential.
Here is the process of training a dog to stay in its bed:
- You need your dog, the dog’s bed, and some treats. The room should be quiet, with no other family members or pets. You should also get rid of your dog’s toys and any chews or bones they might have lying around. The bed should be in its usual place in the house.
- Call him or her onto the bed using treats.
- Tell the dog to lie down.
- Reward them for lying down with a treat. BUT place it on the bed for them to eat, don’t just pop it in their mouth.
- After a short pause, use a command to get off the bed “get up” or something similar. Encourage them to get off the dog bed as they won’t understand this command at first.
- Repeat this process a good few times until it feels really easy.
- The next step is to stand close to the bed the same way as before, but do not call them over.
- If the dog lies down on the bed, give them lots of praise and place another treat on the bed.
- If the dog doesn’t do this automatically, go back to step 2 and repeat a few more times.
- Once you can get the dog to lie down on their bed (in its usual place) without you needing to call them over, you can start using a command such as “get in your bed.”
- Say this every-time they lie on the bed, then repeat, giving them the treat on the bed as a reward.
- It would be best to do this step multiple times until it is really easy to get the dog to lie on their bed on command.
- You can try making it harder by starting further and further away from the dog bed. Please start at the far end of the room, then try doing it from outside the room, then from other rooms in the house.
- The final step is to train him or her to stay in their bed once they get there. Use your normal command to get the dog to lie down on their bed, then stand next to them. When they try to get up, repeat the command to use to get them on the bed. Or, if they are familiar with the “stay” command, you can use this.
- Again repeat this step with plenty of treats, do it until they realize that they are not going anywhere anytime soon, and relax into their bedding.
- Remember, the release word is there to let them up off the bed. It would help if you used it during the training process so that you can gain total control over when your dog gets on and off the bed.
Another thing to consider as part of your training is the resting process for dogs. This is actually a very interesting read!
What if You Struggle at Any Point in the Process?
It is to be expected that your dog may not understand this right away, and it will take time and patience for them to understand and accept what you want them to do.
Taking a break, giving them some playtime, some love, and attention before going back to the training can really help with sticking points.
Also, keep each training session short. Ten minutes every single day would be a lot more effective than one long session per week.
Remember, too, that the size of the bed might affect the dog’s ability to stay in it. Especially in the case of the bed being way too small for the dog. If you need an idea of measuring the right bed for the dog, the handy guide can be found here.
What About the Treats?
Once the dog is very easily getting on and then staying on their bed (or on their crate mat), you can slowly stop giving them treats every time.
Slowly wean them off the idea that they will get treats while reinforcing the commands and associated behavior patterns.
Some More Advice
A short video with more advice on how to get your dog to go to a place (such as a bed, crate, mat, or sleeping spot) and stay there:
After a few weeks or so of regular training, you should now be in a place where your dog will go to their bed, lie down and stay until told that they can get off—all without using any treats to make them do it.
You can now make things even harder by putting dog beds into different rooms and putting yourself in different rooms.
Anything (such as changing the place) that challenges the dog to work a bit harder is great and will help reinforce the habituation.
You can now enjoy the fact that you can command your dog to go to bed, making them much easier to live with and (easier to get the dog to sleep).
Note – You can also do this with clicker training, but that’s a whole different topic that we will cover in another post.
Thanks for reading. We hope this post helped answer your question that you now feel more confident as a dog trainer, and good luck with it!