Training A Puppy To Sleep Alone In Bed - And Stay There…
Bed should be a comfy, happy place to be. So why do so many puppies and dogs refuse a purpose bought dog bed, preferring to rip them to shreds or if it is more durable (like vet bed) use them as a play toy?
Perhaps it is simply because they haven’t realised that they’re meant to
tay there, even whilst you move away
Sometimes, we presume that dogs or puppies should know things – but as this list shows, there are three principles that need to be learned here.
Dogs and puppies can only learn one thing at a time. So no matter what we’re teaching, it helps to break it down into small bits and teach one task at a time.
So here are 5 simple steps to training a puppy to sleep alone in bed or a dog.
Pop a small treat in your hand. Put that in-front of your dog’s nose. Guide them to their bed. When they put one paw on their bed, say ‘good’ and give them the treat. Repeat that a few times, gradually getting more paws on their dog bed.
Your dog or puppy probably already knows how to sit. So step 2 is to guide them to their dog bed and get them to sit, before saying ‘good’ and giving a treat.
Now we move onto getting your dog to lie down. Again, pop a treat in your hand and in-front of their nose and guide the nose down to the ground. Now, just work on lying down. Do this little steps at a time. If your dog just dips their head 1 or 2 cm, then reward that, and next time try for 3-4 cm. Gradually get their head close to the ground before rewarding.
Now you have your dog lying on their bed, withhold the treat for a few seconds before treating and then gradually, again, build up the time before treating. At this stage you should remain crouching down with your dog.
And finally, we need an extra little incentive. Get your dog’s favourite bone or a kong chew or nylabone with some yummy tasty food spread on it. Give your dog the chew toy whilst in their bed. Stand up and march on the spot. Take a step away, then try taking 2 steps away. Gradually move away a little bit further. Your dog should be so interested in their chew that they just don’t pay you any attention.
While using this method, and training a puppy to sleep alone, your puppy should learn:
that it’s really nice to be lying in their bed
that they don’t care that you move away.
Work on this for a couple of minutes a few times a day, using small treats (half the size of your pinky nail).
Unfortunately for some it’s not necessarily going to be that simple. Sometimes your dog or puppy just can’t cope with being a distance from you; or perhaps they haven’t learned to like tasty chews; or maybe actually lying down is a bit difficult. Simply break down each step of the process into one small bit and work on that, and then gradually put it all together.
Other issues that you might face when training a puppy to sleep alone in their dog bed and staying there:
your dog or puppy becoming (or already being) possessive over their chew toy,
your dog may whine or cry, especially at night,
they might bite your hand when there’s a treat in it,
or if you’ve already been sending your dog to their bed as a punishment, the connotations of this will need to be broken before being in bed can be seen as a treat.