Training your dog to go to bed is more useful than you think. A dog that understands how to “go to bed” and hang out in his place will stay out from underfoot when you have guests over. He won’t beg at the dinner table, and he’ll be ready to settle down at the end of the evening.
Training your dog to go to his place isn’t as complicated as you might think. Like any other command, it will take time and patience to get him to understand the trick, but once he gets the hang of it, he’ll happily go to his bed whenever you command.
- Dog bed
The best dog beds for training are ones that are comfortable and big enough for your pet. If your dog doesn’t like his current bed (i.e. he never uses it), it may be time to upgrade to a new one that he will use. Otherwise, it will be difficult to get him interested in learning this command.
In addition to treats and a dog bed, you may want to use a clicker. If you’ve been using clicker training for other commands, it makes sense to incorporate a clicker into this training as well.
Teaching Your Dog How to “Go to Bed”
While teaching this skill is relatively simple and straightforward, it will require some patience and practice.
1. Lure Your Dog to His Bed.
Start by luring your dog to his bed, and either telling him or luring him into a down position. At this stage, you don’t want to add any words to the behavior. Simply reward your dog by placing a treat between his paws whenever he lays down in his bed.
If he remains in the down position, continue rewarding him with treats.
After a few seconds, release him with the command of your choice, whether it’s “okay,” “free,” or whatever word you prefer.
2. Repeat 3-4 Times.
3. Stand Near the Bed.
Now, stand by your bed as you were when luring your dog to his bed. Don’t lure him. Just wait to see if he voluntarily goes into his bed. If so, reward him with a yummy treat. If he lays down in his bed without you having to prompt him, reward him heavily.
If your dog hasn’t made any movement after 30 seconds, go back to step two and try again.
4. Add a Command Word
At this point, you want to add a command word, like “bed” or “place.” When you’re standing near the bed and your dog offers to lay down in his bed without prompting, add a name to this behavior.
As your dog starts to lie down, use your command word and reward your dog when he lies down.
5. Add Distance and Time
Next, the goal is to add distance between you and the bed, and to increase the duration of the command.
You can only train one aspect at a time, so this step may take a bit more time than the others.
Gradually, work on sending your dog to his bed from the other side of the house. Increase the distance slowly each day. If you increase the distance too much too quickly, you will be setting your dog up for failure.
The same concept applies to the duration of the trick. Gradually increase the amount of time your dog stays in his “place” or “bed.”
Remember to be patient with your dog and reward him heavily when he makes the correct move.