Are you one of the millions of dog owners who share your bed with your furry friend? I use the term “share” loosely because 9 times out of 10 the dog ends up with more space in the bed than you do; they don’t make the best bed companions. Even the small dogs tend to stretch out and hog more space than you would think possible. But it is possible to train dogs to become better co-sleepers, you just have to follow a few simple techniques.
Start by placing a towel, blanket, or even a pet bed toward the bottom of your bed, designating it as his spot. Having a clearly marked area for just him will help to teach him he can’t just pick any spot on the bed he wants. Show him the area, then move the area to the floor and start the process of mat training.
Once your dog has become trained to use this towel, blanket, or pet bed as “his” spot, the next step is to move “his” spot to the foot of your bed where you’ll want him to sleep at night. Just like you trained your dog to use his mat, show him to use it on your bed. You can even toss a treat or two on the mat once it’s on your bed to get him to associate that action with the training you already did.
Always use positive reinforcement when training your dog to do something, as he will learn quicker and will want to accomplish the desired action. Once your dog is getting the idea that his mat on your bed is the place for him, you’ll want to start to increase the amount of time he spends on it. This is the transition into getting him to sleep there for the night.
This video will show you how to mat train your dog:
Each time the dog gets up and walks away from his mat, gently guide him back to the mat and when he lies down again, reward him with a training treat. The most important thing to remember when training your dog to become a great co-sleeper is to be consistent. If you start by placing his mat at the foot of the bed, continue the training that way. If he keeps wandering off of his mat, continue to guide him back to it instead of just letting him lie down elsewhere.
Once your dog is trained to have his own designated spot in bed, it will be much more comfortable for both of you; and safer too!