"My dog won't sleep in his bed anymore — what gives?" you may wonder. Maybe you bought your dog a cushy, cozy bed all his own and he won't sleep in it. Or maybe he used to sleep in it but doesn't want to anymore. Whether your dog is partial to sleeping in your bed, on the floor by your bed, on the couch, or anywhere but his own bed, there are ways to get him to sleep in his own bed and even enjoy it.
Make your bed less attractive
If your dog has been sleeping in your bed with you, you'll need to be patient as you break this habit. Dogs are pack animals, and you are their pack. They don't like being alone, and being in your bed gives them warmth and comfort. So the first thing you need to do is to make your bed less desirable. When your dog climbs into your bed, don't shower them with the love and affection they expect. Tell them to go to their bed, crate, or whatever you call the spot you've set up for them. When they obey, that's when you bring on the praise, hugs, kisses, and affection. You will probably need to repeat this many times until they get the idea that jumping into your bed gives them no rewards while going to their own bed wins them the praise and affection they seek.
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Turn your dog's bed into the place to be
Now you need to make your dog's bed the best spot in the universe. Put his favorite toys in or next to the dog's bed. Add a dog bone, perhaps, or other treats he doesn't get on a regular basis. The idea is to make your dog's bed more desirable than your bed. It will help if your dog's bed is next to your bed, or at least in the same room. That way, your dog, who wants to be near you all the time, can see you, hear your voice, and be comforted by knowing you are close by. It could also help to put an article of your clothing in his bed, like a T-shirt you can part with, because it will have your scent on it.
Match the bed to your dog's sleeping style
When humans look for new beds for themselves, they go to mattress stores and try them out. Lay flat on their backs. Turn sideways if they're side-sleepers, or on their stomachs if that's how they slumber. Determining your preferences for soft or firm mattresses is the key to getting the bed you will want to sleep in every night.
It's the same goal for dogs; their beds need to fit their sleeping styles. If you've had your dog for a while, you likely know how she sleeps. Some dogs like to lean against something while they sleep. Some prefer soft and warm beds, while for others, a hard, cool surface does the trick. Take your cue from observing your dog. If you often see him sprawled on the tile floor, look for a hard, cool bed. If she burrows into any blankets she can find, be on the hunt for warm and cozy beds.
Beds are sized for small, medium, and large dogs and have small, medium, and larger prices. But it isn't only the dog's size that matters. A tiny chihuahua that sleeps with legs out in all directions might need a bigger bed than one intended for small dogs. On the other hand, a dog that is comforted by feeling the sides of the bed enveloping him all around might like a smaller bed than is customary for his size. And the dog that rolls from side to side in her sleep needs room to roll on both sides.
Understand the unique needs of senior dogs
As dogs get older, they tend to get the ailments that accompany age, such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, and more. Dogs that have sore joints or muscles may appreciate beds with orthopedic features that offer more support. Look into all that's available to find what's best for your dog. There are couch-type beds with high sides that dogs can lean their heads, legs, and back on; heated beds; memory foam surfaces; raised platform beds; and low-to-the-ground beds for dogs that have difficulty stepping up onto a higher bed. Be sure the bed you choose has a removable, washable cover to keep the bed clean and hygienic, especially since many senior dogs experience incontinence at least occasionally. There are also beds made of PVC plastic so the whole bed can be hosed down.
- American Kennel Club: How to Teach Your Dog to Go to Their Place
- Animal Wellness Magazine: How to Train Your Dog to Sleep in His Bed
- Cuteness: The 6 Best Beds for Senior Dogs
- Cuteness: 6 Major Benefits of Adopting a Senior Dog
- Cuteness: Is Your Dog a Picky Sleeper? The Best Beds for Dogs of Every Sleeping Style