It may seem like a good idea, particularly on a cold and lonely night, to let your dog sleep in your bed.
However, before you know it, you are ready to have your own bed back, but your dog doesn’t want to leave anymore. You may think that all you need is to offer the dog a comfortable alternative, but that’s not actually as easy as many people think. Furthermore, there are so many dog beds to choose from that simply picking a comfortable one can be quite overwhelming.
The Case Against Letting Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed
Most people see their dog as a member of their family and they believe their bed is a family bed. But as much as you may believe this, it is actually a much better idea to simply have a dog lie on its own bed in the same room. That way, you still have the closeness, but you also maintain your own personal space.
Hierarchy and Dogs
Dogs are pack animals. They have a natural sense of hierarchy within their pack.
“Like the wolf pack, each individual in the pack has its own place in that social order. Without a leader and parameters, a dog pack is confused, unstable and in constant conflict.”
One of the ways that dogs establish leadership is through physical height. The highest ranking animal in the wild will generally be positioned higher as well. Hence, if you allow your dog to sleep in bed with you, it will see itself as being on the same hierarchical position as you as well. You have to make sure that your dog knows that you are the pack leader. To do this with a puppy is easy enough and it will make sure that your dog does not get on any type of furniture, including your bed. However, if you have already let your dog on your bed, you will need to engage in a bit more training.
Step 1: Get the Dog Off the Bed
You need to make sure that you re-establish the hierarchical lines of command in your home, so you are once again pack leader. However, you also have to be a fair leader so that your dog never tries to rebel against you. Hence, make sure your dog has a comfortable alternative to choose from. To make sure that it always has its own bed, you might want to get a waterproof, washable dog bed cover or liner. This way, you only need to wash the cover every once in a while, rather than taking away the scent of your dog’s comfort altogether.
Step 2: “Go to Your Bed” Training
You also have to train your dog a new command that tells your pet to go to its own bed. Whenever it tries to get in your bed, give this command. If your pup refuses, gently push him or her off the bed with the word “no” and repeat the command. Make sure your command is simple to understand, like “bed” or “go to bed”. Very persistent dogs need more correction. Hence, you may want to have a small bottle of water next to you to squirt as a correction. If they do not respond to your command, you can give them a squirt or other correction.
Step 3: Get Your Dog to Sleep in Its Own Bed
To get this part right, you need to train your dog during a period of time that isn’t its usual sleep time. You also need to make sure that you are in a room other than your own.
Take the dog bed liner out of the packaging and sleep with it the night before so that it has your scent all over it. Set the bed up, with the waterproof washable liner, and place it in the room. Then, put a favorite toy on the bed and have treats at the ready. Put your dog on a leash and walk it to the new bed. Tell the dog “down” or “stay”, or whatever command you use to calm them down generally, and then say your new command for going to bed. As soon as the dog lies down in the bed, give them a treat. When the dog gets up, say “no” and return him to the bed, repeating the command. Wait until your dog has been in bed for a short while longer before giving the treat.
How to Choose the Right Dog Bed
In order for any of these efforts to be successful, you must have found a good bed.
“The way your dog sleeps could give you a hint as to the type of bed he prefers. For example, does your dog curl up or stretch out? Sleep on his back or on his tummy? Some dogs like to cuddle up in your recliner while others will sleep on your bed with their head on your pillow. Think of these as clues…find the beds that best match your dog’s sleeping habits.”
Dogs that like to be stretched out should have a rectangular mattress. Dogs that prefer to curl up tend to love oval or round beds. Older dogs, or dogs with arthritis, can benefit from mattresses with memory foam.
When you purchase a dog bed, you pay for quality. If something is very cheap, you can guarantee that it won’t last long. Although it may be cheap enough to purchase a new bed, that does also mean that your dog will have to get used to a new bed as well. Hence, it is better to pay a little bit more and to invest in a good dog bed cover instead.
A final few tips to remember is that you must convince your dog that its place is in its own bed. Make sure some of its favorite toys are in there. If it has slept in your bed most of its life, you may want to put in a shirt that you have worn in the bed, as this is very comforting. Finally, you may want to put its bed next to yours for a while, so you can stroke and reassure the dog that you are still there.
And, if you want to protect your expensive dog beds from the usual wear and tear they endure, you might want to invest in a 4Knines Dog Bed Liner! This bed liner is made out of durable soft waterproof material that will keep the interior of the bed clean and dry despite any accidents your dog may have.