You’ve spent hours upon hours researching the perfect dog bed and have finally found the one. It’s just the right size, it’s sumptuously soft—yet durable enough to withstand years of use—and it even matches your home decor. So, you purchase this new dog bed, confident your fur baby will instantly love it…only to find them completely ignoring it.
Many dog owners realize that buying a dog bed is one thing, and actually getting your dog to sleep on that bed is another. Rest assured, there’s no reason to stress out and your money has not gone to waste. There are many benefits of a dog sleeping in their own bed, for both the dog and the owner. Some dogs simply need a little encouragement and they’ll quickly grow to love their new bed. Whether your dog has been sleeping with you up until now, or they are simply attached to their tattered old cot, there are a few steps you can take to help your pooch transition to their new bed.
Step 1: Allow Them to Find Their Space
This is an important one: never try to force them onto the bed. If they’re resistant, you might be tempted to just pick them up, set them there and command them to stay. But by forcing them against their will, they may soon think of the bed as a place of punishment. Give them a little time to naturally find their own way. And by following our next steps, you can create an incredibly pawsitive experience for them.
Step 2: Get Your Dog Familiar with Their New Bed
Get them acquainted with their new bed by placing familiar items on it, such as a favorite toy. You can also make the bed feel like home by laying an old T-shirt or blanket on top of it. Anything with a familiar scent can help them get accustomed to their new digs.
Step 3: Give Positive Reinforcement and Rewards
If your dog is still having trouble acclimating to their new bed, consider positive reinforcement. You can lead them onto the bed with a treat and praise them once they’re on the bed. By doing this several times, they will associate the bed with a place where wonderful things happen, and eventually relax on their new favorite spot.
Step 4: Be Consistent With the Rules
Separation can be tough. There may be some nights your pup’s whining gets to you. There may be some nights you just want to give in and snuggle up with your pup. However, if you jump back and forth while trying to train your dog, they’re going to become very confused. The first few nights may be rough, but by being consistent they will quickly learn that this change isn’t a bad one. Eventually, you can invite your dog to sleep with you on occasional nights, but try to avoid confusing them for the first month or so. In fact, you’ll probably end up finding that they prefer sleeping in their own bed, and this little extra effort will have all been worth it.