How to Stop A Dog From Growling At You On The Bed – 9 Tips

If you don’t want your dog to growl at you on your own bed, I would simply remove the dog from your bed.

In some ways, growling is good because the dog is communicating his discomfort or disapproval. It’s a warning before a snap or a bite or more ferocious growling.

So it’s not that you want to “punish” the dog for growling. It’s more about preventing the situation where he feels the need to growl.

It’s pretty simple, really. If your dog growls at you on your own bed, stop allowing the dog on the bed.

Some people can’t imagine booting little “Angel” off the bed, and if that’s how you feel about it then maybe you don’t really have a problem. If you don’t mind the growling, then that’s up to you, but I personally will NOT have a dog growling at me in my own bed!

Either you want to stop your dog’s growling or you don’t really care. It’s your choice, but this post is about stopping the growling.

How to Stop a Dog From Growling on the Bed

1. Start a strict rule: Dogs on the bed by invitation only.

While I personally don’t want my dogs on the bed at all (they’re disgusting), I understand why people like having their dogs sleep with them. But if your dog is growling at you in your own bed, I suggest you temporarily enforce a “no dogs on the furniture” rule for a couple of weeks and at the very least start a strict “invitation only” rule.

What this means is YOU decide when the dog is allowed on the bed. The dog does not get to decide. Use a command such as “Up” and block or remove the dog in all other circumstances. You may need to use a kennel/crate or close your bedroom door at times.

2. Teach an off command.

It helps to teach an “off” command, and you can use treats and make a fun game out of “up” and “off.”

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3. Calmly block your dog if he jumps up without permission.

If your dog jumps up without permission, you would calmly block him or say “no” and remove him. Don’t show anger or frustration, and don’t laugh either if you want to be taken seriously!

Calmly say “no” and remove your dog with no emotion. Repeat five or six times if he tries to test you. Some dogs will not take their owners seriously at first. If he jumps up more than that, just put him in a crate, close the bedroom door or use a leash to tether him somewhere else with a dog bed.

Then, a few minutes later (not seconds), invite your dog up when he’s calm.

4. Create a small area for your dog on the bed.

Use a blanket or dog bed to create a spot for your dog on the bed where he is allowed only after given the “up” command to be allowed on the bed. It doesn’t matter where you want to have this area, but a good spot might be the foot of the bed.

See my post: Teach a dog to stay on her bed.

5. Remove your dog from the bed if he growls.

If your dog growls at you after you’ve given him permission to be on the bed, calmly remove him. Try not to scold him or show anger/frustration. Just calmly push him off or pick him up and set him on the ground with no emotion. Kind of like, “Oh, you’re growling? Too bad. Off you go.”

The reason it’s best not to get angry is that can cause more tension between you and your dog and we also don’t want to scold dogs for growling.

Block him if he tries to jump back up or put him in a crate or in another room.

6. Use a crate/kennel as needed.

If your dog has been growling on the bed, I would go back to putting him in a crate/kennel at night. You could have it in your bedroom, but he has lost bed privileges for the time being. Allow him up every now and then as a privilege.

7. Work on general obedience to build self-control.

Working on general training/obedience is good for building self-control for the dog AND I think the owner too! Some of us have a hard time telling our dogs to do something, and because of that some dogs take advantage of the situation. (Can’t blame them.)

A dog that will sit when told, come when called, stay when asked and respond to things like “wait” or “leave it” will show more self-control in general. She’ll be more likely to respond to commands such as “off” and less likely to guard the bed from her owner.

8. Don’t feel sorry for your dog.

She’s growling at YOU. Feel sorry for yourself.

9. Use the bed as a reward your dog must earn.

Most of us are familiar with the “Nothing In Life is Free” form of dog training. What this basically means is that things like treats, playtime and being on the furniture are earned, not given. 

While I don’t take this to an extreme (my dog gets treats all the time just because he’s cute), I would set some different standards for a dog that growls at me or shows any resource guarding in general such as growling over food or toys.

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Think about why your dog is growling in the first place

It helps to realize why your dog might be growling.

Some possibilities could be:

  • Possessiveness of the bed (dog views the bed as a resource or place of power)
  • Possessiveness of YOU
  • Possessiveness of your spouse
  • Guarding the space from other pets
  • Growling due to PAIN from being touched or bumped
  • Fear of being rolled on or sat on

In most cases, it’s a guarding/possessiveness issue, and that’s what this post is about. If you think your dog might be in pain, then you have a different issue entirely.

Some safety tips

  • Don’t reach for or push your dog if you think she might nip or bite. Instead, coax her off with food or a toy. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than getting bitten. Just learn from it and do what you can to prevent the situation again.
  • Quick tip: If you need to get a dog to move, ring the doorbell!
  • Keep a leash or harness on your dog if that makes it easier to control her.

Related posts:

How to stop my dog from guarding me

How to break my dog’s possessiveness

How much resource guarding to allow from my dog?

20 thoughts on “How to Stop A Dog From Growling At You On The Bed – 9 Tips”

  1. Usually this is guarding/possessive behavior.

    One thing I would add is that sometimes owners TEACH the dog to growl! This is especially true for little dogs. Dog gets on bed/sofa/furniture and growls (usually guarding-related). Owner gives positive attention (laughing, petting, praising by speaking “happy voice” to dog no matter what words are said, etc.) Dog learns “Good things happen when I growl on bed! Owner likes it!.” Dog learns to continue guarding bed and growling. Sometimes the sense of what is being protected against gets lost or redirected to cause assorted problems.

    Changing the behavior (which you should & this post is great!) can be confusing now for your dog who thinks they are doing what you liked or got praised for. It’s also a problem because of how dogs experience things (emotionally, sensory, etc.). You have been rewarding not just a behavior, but also inducing the “feeling” and emotional state of growling and guarding – and everything that comes along with for the dog.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thank you. Good points! It is “funny” when a small dog growls sometimes and I would agree people definitely do reward certain unwanted behaviors on accident.

  2. Yup! I had this issue big time when my husband and I got our dog. My husband wanted him on the bed, I thought he was a possessive little turd and didn’t. As soon as the dog started growling at me on the bed, my husband switched to my side and the dog was booted. After a few months of training and working on his possessiveness, I felt he’d “earned” a place on our bed and invited him back. We humans did have some confusion because our dog “smiles”, which looks like a snarl and at first we scolded him and kicked him off things for doing it. Then we realized it was more of a submissive, nervous gesture and we felt like tools. He also does this weird, contented groan when touched that we mistook for growling at first. Poor Hiccup is so misunderstood!

  3. LOL! I don’t go in mom’s bed ever, only Bailie sleeps there, but Mom tries to cuddle with me when I am in my bed and I lightly growl sometimes. I guess I should remove her from my bed and only allow her to come part way into it with me when I want her to? That is kind of the way we handle it. It’s usually when I just want to sleep, but she wants to cuddle with me, so I growl a little bit.

  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the very beginning of your post. If you don’t want your dog to growl at you when he’s on the bed, then don’t allow the dog on the bed. Simple! I don’t think I’ve ever had any of my dogs growl on the bed. But I think it’s because I tend to be the dominant figure in the house. I’m not dominant like the alpha training way. But I’m very strict about certain rules (albeit I can be very lax about other rules). Maya and Pierson are not allowed on the furniture, although I do give them permission once in a while. Maya gets very excited when I bring a bed sheet out to the living room because she knows I’m using it to cover the couch so she can get up and cuddle with me.

  5. What about just having the dog sleep in another part of the house. My dog just started this growling when my husband comes back from the bathroom at night it’s bad.

  6. My 14 week old rottweiler puppy sleeps in our bed.if we pet him he doesn’t growl, if we get in bed and lay down he doesn’t growl, the only time he growls is if we try to move him… Should I worry about this?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Hi Melissa, congrats on your puppy! Yes, I would be concerned about a puppy growling at me for not wanting to be moved. Probably not too serious yet, but I would work on some general obedience with him in a fun way (treats, etc) but with the point of reinforcing rules. I personally wouldn’t allow him to be on the furniture. At the very least, require that he waits for a command from you to hop onto the bed such as “up.” And, also train him a command to jump down from the bed such as “off” for a treat.

  7. My dog tends to growl at my dad when my dad goes to pet him and my dog is on my bed. When I’m away at college my dog tends to sleep on my bed at night. When I am home though, he only gets up on my bed when I invite him to but what should I do when he growls at my dad?

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