dog on bed - photo
Shouldn’t you learn how to get your dog to sleep in his own bed? By: Nate Steiner

With the multitude of dog beds out there, it’s not only hard to guess what kind of bed your dog would prefer, but many challenges could present themselves when you’re encouraging the dog to actually sleep on it.

Most pet owners I know are comfortable with their dog sleeping next to them on the bed. Although this may be what you prefer, consider allowing the dog to sleep separate from you on a comfortable dog bed on the floor — especially if you are seeing behavior problems.

One of the ways dogs determine hierarchy is through physical height. Often, the higher-ranking animal will position himself higher than the lower-ranking one. When you allow a dog to sleep on the bed next to you and a clear hierarchy has not been set, he may infer that he is above or equal to you.


When you introduce a dog or puppy into your home, it’s important to make it clear to the dog that you are the boss. A good way to help the dog understand this is to keep him off the furniture and your bed.

First, Get Him Out of Your Bed

In a situation where you have owned the dog for years and he begins to be unruly or disobedient, you may need to re-establish yourself as leader. When you insist that your dog not be on the bed, offer a comfortable dog bed for him to sleep on.

If the dog continues to jump on your bed, train him to “Go to your bed,” and correct him for jumping onto yours. Every time the dog jumps up, either pick him up or gently push him off while saying, “No.”

If he is particularly persistent, you may need to add a correction such as a squirt of water in the face to help get the point across.

How to Get Your Dog to Sleep in His Own Bed

To train your dog to sleep in his own bed, choose a time that is not nighttime, and work in a room that is not your bedroom.

Place the bed in the room, possibly the living room, and drop a favorite toy onto it to make it more appealing. You should have treats available to reward good behavior.

With your dog on leash, walk him over to the bed and put him in a down/stay and say, “Go to your bed.” Treat him when he lies down. Every time he gets up just, say “Nope” and calmly walk him back to the bed and repeat the command. Increase the amount of time after you say the command and offer the reward.

The dog will learn the command and will understand it when you insist that he stay off the bed and “Go to your bed.”

Choosing the Perfect Dog Bed

Watch the way your pet sleeps, and consider his age.

  • If he likes to stretch out while sleeping, a comfortable rectangle mattress will probably be your best bet.
  • If he likes to curl up in a tight ball, an enclosed round or oval bed will be what he enjoys most.
  • Older or arthritic dogs may feel more comfortable with a memory foam mattress.

When buying dog beds, you really do get what you pay for. Flimsy pet beds will fall apart easily and will last only a couple of months. The better the quality, the longer it will last.

To further encourage your dog to sleep on his own bed, you can put a couple of favorite toys on or near it, or possibly a shirt that smells like you. If you are making a new rule where the dog is not allowed on your bed, position his own right next to yours so you can stroke him and encourage him to stay calm.

When your dog becomes comfortable with his bed, he will go to it on his own — and all your work with be well worth it!

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  • Lou

    After adopting my rat terrier/chihuahua mix, she slept in her own bed. Eventually she began sleeping in our bed and she’s been there ever since. We love having her close and she loves being with us. After about two years she began showing signs of aggression and even bit my husband during the night just for turning over and disturbing her. He never touched her, but she growled and bit. At first I wasn’t sure what to do, but then every time she growled, I just started growling back – loud and mean. After only two or three nights of growling back – she hasn’t done it since. I think she knows now that she’s not the “top” dog in the bed and she tolerates whatever movements happen.
    Pets have slept in people beds with their pet parents for ever and I think it’s good to have that closeness. I enjoy my girl in bed with me, I know where she is and if she were to get sick I would know right away, having her so close. We just had to establish the hierarchy and all is well. I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

  • Cari

    I would feel bad to undo my dog to sleep with me

  • cissy wray

    My Maltese is so small. I am worried I will roll over on her.She seems to love her crate. Goes in on her own & knows her toy is coming & a chewie :-) Sleeps 8 hours or so usually.

  • Penny

    I have a 5 year old Westie he started out sleeping in his kennel but eventually he started sleeping with me. He likes to stretch out so I had to go buy a queen size bed but even that is not big enough he starts out on his side but during the night he is either on top of me and up against my back. I do like him to sleep with me but my sleep is interrupted almost nightly and now I would like him to sleep in his own bed so for Christmas he is getting a nice memory foam bed and we will see how it goes.

  • jes

    I love snuggling with my Westie Maltese mix. He wakes me every morning to let him underneath the covers.

  • Laurie P

    You are all gonna love this one…. We have Queen Size bed and in it is not only me and my husband, but Chewie, our Cocker Spaniel/Dachshund mix, Maya, our Cairn Terrier and Lucky, our 12 year old diabetic cat. Our 16 year old female cat prefers to sleep in a box in the cabinet under the sink in the bathroom. I can’t remember when our bed wasn’t full of all that love!

    • David Deleon Baker

      You might want to consider upgrading to a King!

    • heatheroevering

      i know how you feel we just adopted an american staffordshire terrior and she feels she needs to be up in our bed when we are trying to sleep and we have a makeshift bed for her with blankets and old pillows but even with my fiance at work she is right up by us