Many of us are perfectly happy to sleep with our dogs in the bed with us, but for others, this is not deemed appropriate. While it can be warm, comforting and pleasant for both dog and person to share a bed space, it is not without its various risks as well. Having your dog in your bed with you can lead to the additional presence of fleas, bacteria, dirt, and various other bugs and nasties cuddling up with you as well, and also of course, you run the risk of a blurring of the lines between your position as alpha and your dog’s role in your pack.
Even if you like to share your own bed with your dog, it is strongly advised to never let your dog sleep in your children’s bed, however much both dog and child may wish to! However, if your dog has gotten used to sleeping on your bed or another bed in the house that you now do not wish them to be on, it can be tricky to teach them that they are no longer allowed on to some or all of the beds. But, if you go about things in the right way, it is entirely possible to teach even a dog that is set in their ways that they are not allowed onto the beds, or that certain beds are out of bounds to them!
Read on for our advice on training your dog out of sleeping on your bed.
First of all, if you want your dog to sleep away from your own bed, make sure he has a viable alternative! If your dog is not permitted to sleep on your bed, have you made provision for him to sleep somewhere else? You should provide a dedicated bed for your dog that is soft, well padded, comfortable, not too small and not too large, somewhere warm and away from drafts, and that is generally pleasant for your dog to use.
This bed can be placed in the bedroom that you are training your dog in, even if only while you are getting your dog used to not sleeping on your own beds while you ultimately wish to stop them from sleeping in the bedroom altogether.
Once your dog has got used to sleeping on your bed, it can be hard to know how to convey to them that the bed is now out of bounds without seeming harsh. It is important to be firm about removing your dog from the bed, and an important part of this is teaching your dog a command for “no” or “off,” and achieving their compliance with it. This command need not be specific to getting off the bed, and is a vital command that is useful in all manner of situations.
Command your dog off the bed, give them a treat, and then keep them off the bed by repeating the process until your dog stops trying to jump onto the bed and finds another place to sleep.
If your dog wants to rest and you keep commanding them off the bed, this might prove confusing to them until they make the associations in their heads between sleep and using their designated bed away from your own. Show your dog to their own bed if they do not seek it out on their own after a couple of attempts to get onto your bed, and settle them down in it, praising warmly and possibly offering a treat.
There is no way to allow your dog to sleep on your bed sometimes but not others, or at least, not without confusing your dog, which will cause them stress and upset. Do not let your dog sleep on your bed sometimes but not at others, and ensure that they cannot get onto your bed themselves when you are not there to supervise them. When you are out, close your dog out of the bedroom if they cannot be trusted to stay off your bed when your back is turned, and close your dog out of your room at night if they wait until you are asleep and then gradually creep into bed with you!
Make sure that your children are also aware of the new status quo and do not sabotage your training regime when you are not looking! Children and dogs do have a tendency to make excellent partners in crime when they have the same goal and both want to get their way, so it is important to explain to your child why allowing your dog into a bed at some times but not at others is ultimately unfair on the dog.