At first, it’s adorable when your dog has jumped up on the bed with you, snuggling in close for a good night’s sleep. After a while, there’s just not enough room on the bed for both of you; there’s dog hair everywhere, and your dog snores.
Finally, you’ve had enough and decide your pup can no longer get on the bed. If you’re having trouble keeping your dog off your bed, the tips below should help you teach them to sleep in their own bed or at least somewhere other than your pillow.
The 9 Tips to Keep Dogs Out of the Bed
1. Never Let Them On the Bed in the First Place
This is one area where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s much easier to never let your dog on the bed in the first place than it is to stop them once they’ve grown accustomed to sleeping next to you.
It’s difficult for your dog to understand that behavior that was okay yesterday is no longer acceptable today. As a result, you’ll have a much longer learning curve. Also, many dogs will feel like it creates a hole in their routine that they’ll try to fill with other activities. There’s no guarantee that you’ll like what those activities are, which brings us to our next point.
2. Give Them Something Else to Do
Having their own spot to sleep is essential. We recommend a crate, but it can be anywhere, as long as it’s comfortable and you’re consistent about putting them there.
You can make their new nap spot more enticing by giving them special toys they only get at bedtime; a peanut butter-filled KONG toy is excellent for this, as it is a high-value treat that will occupy them for a long time.
If your dog doesn’t already have a super-comfy dog bed, now’s the time to get one. You may want to stash a worn piece of clothing on the new bed so it smells like you for the first few days.
3. Keep Your Dog Close
Your bed’s appeal has little to do with your expensive luxury mattress or Egyptian cotton sheets. No, your dog wants to be in your bed because it keeps them close to you. Just because your pup isn’t allowed to co-sleep anymore doesn’t mean you should deprive them of your presence.
Try to keep them as close to you as possible. This may mean putting the crate or dog bed next to your nightstand or setting up a pillow at the foot of the bed. If your dog knows that you’re close by, they’ll find it reassuring, which will help them drift off to dreamland.
4. Teach the “Off” Command
If your plan for getting your pup off the covers involves shoving and pleading, you’re going to have a hard time. Instead, you should teach your dog the “off” command. Lure your dog onto the bed with a treat and tell them, “On.” When they hop up, don’t give them the treat; instead, lure them back down with the “off” command.
5. Keep the Entire Bedroom Off-Limits When You’re Not Around
Your dog wouldn’t want us to tell you this, but the truth is that they’re sneaky animals. They may learn that they’re not allowed on the bed when you’re around, and they’ll decide that means that it’s okay for them to climb up when you’re gone.
To prevent this from happening, you should keep the entire bedroom area off-limits until you’re confident that your dog has learned their lesson. Keep the door closed when you’re not home so your pup isn’t tempted to break the rules this one time.
Another option is to set up a pet camera that allows you to talk to your pup. If you see them on the bed, you can give them the “off” command; some pet cameras allow you to dispense treats when your command is followed.
Of course, many dogs will quickly learn that since you’re not there to enforce your orders, they don’t have to listen to your disembodied voice.
6. Don’t Give Them Any Positive Interaction If You Catch Them on the Bed
As tempting as it is to give them a few belly scratches before you kick them off, it’s important to never reward your dog for being on your bed. If you catch them up there, give them the “off” command, and don’t give them any praise, treats, or positive attention until they hop down. You can lavish them with love once they’re on the floor; show them that life is much more fun down there.
7. Ignore Whining or Other Attention-Seeking Behaviors
For the first few nights, your dog may guilt trip you from their new spot on the floor. Whining, barking, and grumbling are all common. It’s important not to give them any attention when they do that.
Even yelling or scolding them is giving them the reward of your attention, so neither strategy is likely to make the noise stop. Instead, stay quiet and ignore them. The attention-seeking will eventually stop, but be forewarned that it will likely worsen before it stops completely.
8. Tucker Them Out Before Bed
Giving your dog a long walk or a vigorous play session right before bed is a good idea. You want to leave them so exhausted that they immediately collapse on their new bed and curl up to sleep rather than fighting you for their old spot.
Once you’re done playing, lead your dog to their bed and give them a treat. This connects several good things—playtime, attention, and treats —to their new spot, encouraging them to return.
Another reason to take your dog for a walk right before bedtime is so you’ll know that any whining they do isn’t because they need to go outside for a potty break, allowing you to ignore it.
9. Most Importantly, Be Consistent
None of these strategies will work if you don’t do them consistently. If you decide to let your dog sleep on the bed now and then, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Your dog will never be able to tell which times are acceptable and which aren’t, so you’ll have an endless cycle of them jumping up and getting scolded, leaving them confused and resentful.
After a few days of reinforcing the idea that they’re not allowed on the bed, your dog will grasp the idea and stop trying. It’s not easy, especially when they hit you with those puppy dog eyes, but staying consistent is the key to success.
If you follow the strategies in this guide, you should have your bed all to yourself in just a few days. Your dog won’t be happy about leaving your bed, but they’ll eventually get used to their new spot. Even better, all these tips rely on positive reinforcement, so your dog should be as happy about the situation as you are.
- How to Get a Dog to Sleep in Their Own Bed
- Why Does Your Dog Sleep on Your Pillow? 6 Reasons & Tips to Stop It