As social animals, dogs enjoy sleeping with their owners, working in extra bonding time after a long day often spent home alone. If you let your dog sleep with you, teach him the rules so you both enjoy sharing each other’s company when you sleep.
- Place a pet blanket or mat on the floor in the bedroom. Teach your dog to lie down on the pet blanket or mat using the “down” command. Practice with the blanket on the floor first then move it onto the bed when he seems comfortable.
- Choose the area where you want your dog to sleep, such as the foot of the bed. Place the pet blanket or mat there.
- Place the dog on the designated sleeping area by leading him, picking him up or guiding him with treats. Give him the “down” command to lie down. Reward him with treats and praise for staying there. Gradually increase the time you want him to stay there from a couple of minutes to at least half an hour until he is comfortable with the procedure. Repeat the training several times a day if you have the time. Stay beside him and use positive reinforcement so he regards this as a good place to be.
- Take him out for a toilet break before you go to bed. Place him in his sleeping area using encouragement and treats while you get ready for bed and give him treats for staying there, or simply use praise and pats. Guide him back if he moves from his sleeping area and have a command that he will associate with this, such as “Bedtime.”
- Turn the light out and get into bed when you are ready to sleep. Guide the dog back to his area if he moves from it and give him a treat. Consistently return him to his area if he moves.
- Ignore the dog if you get up during the night and let him sleep. Ignore him if he wakes up and follows you, but make sure he returns to his sleeping area when you get into bed. Associate bedtime with everyone going to sleep. Be consistent with using positive reinforcement.