Teaching Your Dog To Go To His Bed

AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainer Breanne Long tells owners how to teach your dog to go to his bed and stay there until released. A great way to get your dog out from underfoot when needed!

Teaching your dog to go to his bed, and stay there, on command can be a very useful skill. Pride underfoot while cooking? Spot begging at the table? Rover jumping on guests? Tell him "place" and watch as he goes to his bed, lies down, and stays there!

Teaching this skill is very simple but requires some time to practice. First, gather some yummy treats, your dog, and your dog’s bed.

  1. Lure him on to his bed and tell, or lure, him into a down position. At this stage of training don't add a word to the behavior. Reward him by dropping a treat between his paws on the bed. If he remains in a down position continue to drop treats between his paws. Release him with "ok" or "free" after a few seconds. Encourage him to get off the bed when you release him if he doesn't already know a release word.
  2. Repeat this 3-4 times.
  3. Next, stand near the bed just as you did when luring your dog. Don't lure your dog, wait to see if he offers getting on his bed, if so, reward! If he gets on and lies down without prompting, reward heavily!! If you wait more than 30 seconds and your dog hasn't made any movement to get on his bed, go back to luring a few more times and then try step #3 again.
  4. Add a name! You can call this "place" or "bed." When you stand near the bed and your dog gets on and lies down without prompting, you can add a name to the behavior. Stand near the bed, as your dog starts to get on and lie down, say your cue word. Reward your dog when he lies down!
  5. Add duration and distance. You can only increase one at a time. It doesn't matter which you start with as long as you take it slow. You want to set your dog up for success. If he successfully stayed in a down on his bed for 10 seconds yesterday, try 15 seconds today, not 30! If your dog gets up during this stage, either when adding duration or distance, simply go back to your dog, cue him to "place," and try again. Work up to being able to send your dog to his place from the other side of the house and having him stay while you eat dinner!

Troubleshooting:

If your dog fails three times in a row, you probably increased your distance or duration too quickly. Take a step back and try again at a level at which you know your dog can be successful. Build up the distance/duration again more slowly this time.

Tips:

Don't forget your release word! Any duration behavior (Place, Stay, etc.) must have an ending. Otherwise your dog will learn that he can move anytime he pleases.

Randomly reward! Once your dog understands this behavior you don't have to reward him every time. However, if you stop rewarding altogether your dog may decide it's no longer worth it for him to get on his bed when you ask.

Be patient! This behavior can be difficult for many high energy dogs. If you don't think your dog has a realistic chance of successfully remaining on his bed for the entire duration of your dinner, for example, plan to get up a few times during the meal to release him, let him stretch, and then reward him on his bed once you cue him to get back on. Set him up for success!

Enroll in the AKC GoodDog! Helpline and talk to our experienced dog trainers any time you have a question about training your dog. The helpline is a telephone support service open seven days a week, and a one-time enrollment fee gives you a lifetime of training for your dog: www.akcgooddoghelpline.org