How to help your dog love their new bed
Helping your dog love their new bed starts with picking out the right bed.Let’s be honest though we really aren’t the ones who will be sleeping in it. Except when I have taken naps on the floor with my dog – come on we all do it!
So, we first need to take a look at how your doggy friend sleeps. Have you ever been overwhelmed by all the pillow choices for people? There are pillows and mattresses for those who like soft fluffy vibes and firm options for those who are into that. There are even pillows made for side sleepers and tummy sleepers. Just like us humans dogs have their own individual sleeping styles and preferences.
My dog is a poodle mix and so true to his poodle heritage he loves to sleep with his chin on something, so I make sure his beds all have a bolster around them so he can do just that. Other dogs, notably terriers, from the tiny Jacks to the large pits love to snuggle and burrow. Make sure the dog has a soft fleece blanket or two on top of the bed to get under or better yet a bed with a built-in burrow area can be a great option for them. Some dogs like to sleep on top of a pile of soft stuff and for those dogs a big round pouf style bed that looks like bean bag can be a great option.Watch your dog and make a note of their choices. Look for a bed that offers those same comforts.
When setting up your dog’s new bed make sure to set the scene for relaxation. Place the bed in an area they might normally sleep or is close to where you will be.My dogs’ beds are next to the end of my couch and near the entrance to my kitchen. To promote relaxation, you can spray a bit of lavender scented oil on the bed and plug in a pheromone diffuser nearby. You can also add their favorite blanket or other “known” item to the bed to start with. All these things can work together to promote relaxation and comfort.
After you set the scene make sure and ‘seed’ the bed with a few yummy treats or a great chew like a hoof or an antler. For the first few days make sure you dog always has something to “discover” when they check out their new bed.
Don’t hover around or pressure them to use it.Hang back and watch with your mommy-eye-in-the-back-of-your-head while keeping a few treats near at hand in a cache. I keep mine in a small glass container on top of the refrigerator and the top of a bookshelf. Let’s be real I always keep a couple crunchies in the back pocket of my jeans.When your dog is near or on the bed super casually toss a treat their way. Aim for the bed itself, tossing it so they don’t even have to get up to enjoy it if they are laying down. Do this as randomly as you can throughout the day.Whenever you have a big-ticket item give it on the bed. I always give my dog a Kong by tossing it on his bed even if he is across the room, it’s just where the good stuff shows up.
Teaching your dog to go to their bed on cue is another topic all together. If you have set the scene well and gotten a bed that meets their sleep needs just be patient.
Celeste has worked as a professional dog trainer in Washington State for over the ten years. She is a graduate of the renown Academy for Dog Trainers at the SF SPCA and holds a CPDT-KA. She shares her home with Collie/Poodle cross whom she loves to train and walk with. You can find her blog at The Clever Canine