There are multiple ways to teach a dog any concept. The following are my own ideas for teaching a dog to go to her bed. Please share your own tips in the comments.
Teaching a dog to go to her bed (or to her mat or to her kennel) is a very useful command because there are times when we don’t want our dogs invading our personal bubbles! The “go to your bed” command comes in handy in many situations such as:
- When you have visitors over
- When you’re eating dinner
- When you’re busy and don’t want to be pestered
- When you have multiple dogs and need them to “chill out”
- When you’re working on a project and need your dog out of the way
- To get your active dog to calm down
I chose to use the phrase “go to your bed” as a command that means “go to your bed and stay there until I release you.”
Another option is just encourage your dog to lie on her bed and then give the command “stay.” I just like to be able to send my dog to his bed so he will go there on his own and stay there.
How to teach a dog to go to her bed.
This is a very easy concept to teach a dog. It’s just a matter of consistency on the owner’s part.
Step #1: Give the command “go to your bed.”
If your dog actually does go to her bed, make sure to give her treats and praise. Most likely, she’ll need you to guide her. Once there, place her in a down position and give her treats and praise. Then release her. “Good girl!” Repeat that five times or so and quit.
At this point, the dog doesn’t stay on the bed for more than a second or so. You’re just encouraging her to go to her bed and giving her rewards for it. Remember to have some sort of word to release your dog from her bed such as “free!” or “ok!”
Step #2: Begin increasing the distance.
Increase the difficulty very gradually so the dog is successful. At this point you could tell your dog to go to her bed when she is about six feet away from it. Once she is successful from that distance, work from 10 feet away and then across the room.
You probably won’t need to make the distance any greater than that because you’ll typically be in the same room as your dog when you give the “go to your bed” command. It’s also not a huge deal if you have to guide her there every time. The point is to just make it a positive experience for your dog (lots of treats!) so she doesn’t try to sneak away and hide when you give the command.
Step #3: Increase the time.
You'll most likely be practicing this step along with step two. Basically you want to teach your dog that “go to your bed” means “go to your bed and stay there until I release you.” Ideally your dog would then stay on her bed for up to a half-hour or more while you’re doing something else but you need to gradually work up to that point.
If your dog knows the command “stay” then it’s OK to use that to encourage your dog to stay. Personally, I don’t like to use “go to your bed” and “stay” because “go to your bed” implies the dog should stay. But that’s also getting pretty technical. If it helps to add the “stay” command then go ahead and do that.
At first, you'll only expect your dog to remain on her bed for five seconds while you're sitting right next to her. Give her treats and praise. Then release her with – “free!”
If your dog doesn't listen and leaves her bed before you release her, just calmly say “no” and put her back on her bed. Wait a second or two, then release her. If she’s getting up, then you know you’re challenging her too much or maybe it's time to take a break from training. Also watch for signs of stress such as scratching around her collar.
Step #4: Increase the distance between you and your dog.
Now you can begin to walk away from the bed. At first, you might take a single step back. Then return to your dog and release her. Next, you would take two or three steps. Then four. Then maybe you can sit on the couch for 30 seconds. Then a minute. Every dog will be different.
Puppies will obviously have a harder time sitting still. Dogs that don’t have strong obedience skills will also struggle. Dogs that have a rock-solid down/stay command mastered will have no trouble with this.
Go at your own pace. Be positive. Use lots of praise and treats. Make sure your dog views her bed as a fun place to hang out.
Extra tips for teaching your dog to go to her bed:
– Give your dog a special treat when she’s lying on her bed such as a bone or a puzzle toy
– Give your dog the “go to your bed” command before you feed her
– Give the “go to your bed” command before heading out for a walk
– Keep your dog on a leash during training if it helps
How about you? Do you use the “go to your bed” command? How did you teach it?
Sign up to receive That Mutt's training tips & more in my (almost) daily newsletter: