The joy of a new puppy comes with a heavy responsibility to train him how to be a successful member of your family. Sleep training is just another part of becoming a member of your pack. A dog bed kept in your bedroom provides companionship for both of you but gives everyone the space they need for adequate sleep. Learning to sleep on a dog bed may take time, but it’s worth it for your pup have a place where he can get the rest he needs. Here are our top 7 tips for training your puppy to sleep in a dog bed that you can try right now!
1. Exercise and Feed Your Puppy
Puppies, like people, are far more likely to cooperate when they’re well fed and exercised. A wiggly puppy who wants to play will have a hard time concentrating, and you want to set your pup up for success. Take a walk, play fetch, and make sure his stomach isn’t growling before you start training.
2. Train Early in the Day
We all get a little tired and cranky by bedtime. A tired puppy will have a hard time learning just like an over-excited, hungry puppy. Rather than wait until bedtime, train early in the day after he’s been fed and exercised.
3. Know Your Puppy
If your pup is new to your family, you might want to wait a week or two before training until you get to know him better. For example, timid puppies may learn better with the dog bed in a room with which they’re already familiar like the living room or kitchen. It should be somewhere your puppy feels relaxed and safe. However, if your pup learns quickly and new rooms don’t over excite him, you can eliminate one step by training in the bedroom.
4. Start with Full Pockets and a Leash
Let’s face it, dogs think with their stomachs. Make sure you have plenty of treats to reward your puppy as you train. Once you’re ready to begin, put on the leash so your pup knows it’s time to work. Lead him to the dog bed and let him to take a look at it. Some puppies may not even notice the dog bed. In that case, your first task is to help him look, see, and get used to the dog bed.
5. Teach Him to Lay on the Dog Bed
After he’s had a good look at the bed, lead your puppy onto it with the leash. Tell him to “go to your bed” or whatever command you want to use. Then, put him into the lay position and treat him. (Make sure to treat him every time he lays on the bed.) Allow him to get off the bed and do it again. As your puppy progresses, you can leave him laying on the bed longer and longer before you give him a treat. This will slowly help him to learn to lay and stay.
6. Try It at Bedtime
After several successful training sessions, your pup is ready to try laying on the bed at night with the bed in the bedroom. He may not be ready to sleep on it all night, but training him to go there when he’s sleepy will help the process along. After putting on your favorite pajamas, follow all the steps in #5. If/when he tries to get off the bed, say no and “go to your bed.” Treat him accordingly. If he tries to sneak into bed with you, make sure to put him back on his dog bed every time.
7. Time and Patience
Like everything with your puppy, it will take time and patience before he successfully spends an entire night on the dog bed. But, with consistency and effort, you’ll all be sharing the bedroom before long. You’ll both have the space you need with the assurance that the pack is nearby. Make sure to celebrate the little things and award accomplishments!
Which of these top 7 tips for training your puppy to sleep in a dog bed will you try first?
Written by: Stacey L. Nash is a Seattle area writer for Tuck.com whose insomnia led her to research all aspects of sleep. With a degree in communications from the University of Puget Sound, she helps put sleep into the forefront of the health and wellness conversation. When not researching and writing about sleep, she spends time with her husband and four children on their heavily-wooded, twelve-acre piece of heaven.