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

To stop a dog from growling at you on the 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 (for now).

Some people can’t imagine booting little “Angel” off the bed, and if that’s how you feel about it then that’s your choice. Maybe you don’t really have a problem. But if you’re here because you truly want to stop your dog from growling at you on the bed, I’m going to share some ideas for you to try.

Either you want to stop your dog’s growling at you or you don’t really care. It’s your choice, but I know personally I will NOT tolerate a dog growling at me in my own bed! Haha.

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 your dog 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 to stop a dog from growling at you on the bed.

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.

I really like the fold-up wire crates.

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 if he’s growling at you on the bed.

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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Why your dog is growling on the bed in the first place

It helps to realize why your dog might be growling.

Reasons a dog is growling on the bed could be:

  • Possessiveness of the bed (dog views the bed as a resource or place of power)
  • Possessiveness of YOU or 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.

Safety tips when you’re training your dog not to growl on the bed

  • 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.

*If your dog is showing aggression it’s always a good idea to consult with a local trainer who can observe your dog in person and offer some suggestions.

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Additional resources:

Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training, dog exercise and feeding a healthy raw diet.

Mary Lou Maples

Saturday 11th of September 2021

My puppy has started jumping full force on back of my knees

Cassidy Mason

Wednesday 25th of March 2020

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?

Barbara Rivers

Friday 14th of February 2020

Lol, I love the doorbell tip!! I can see that being very effective!

Melissa Yancy

Monday 29th of April 2019

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?

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 29th of April 2019

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.

Erin

Sunday 12th of August 2018

Are you a dog trainer?