How to train your dog to sleep in his bed

Many people don’t mind sleeping with their dogs. But if giving up half your mattress is impacting your slumber, it’s time to buy your dog his very own bed. Here’s how to train him to use it!

Whether you have a new puppy or a dog that’s accustomed to sleeping with you, it can be difficult to get dogs to sleep in their own beds. They may want to sleep with you for comfort, warmth, or just because your bed is bigger and more comfortable. But the truth is, you might sleep more soundly if your dog isn’t hogging all your space. Luckily, with some basic training and preparation, you can teach your dog how to sleep in his own bed without a fuss!

Making the transition

Encouraging your dog to sleep in his own bed will be much more challenging if he’s used to sleeping with you. Sharing a bed with you has become habit, and he’ll likely be reluctant to give up his “spot”. First and foremost, be sure to praise him and offer a healthy treat every time he approaches his own bed. It’s amazing what a little positive reinforcement can accomplish.

Next, try to make your bed a less attractive place to sleep. Your dog may crawl into your bed for attention, but if you’re trying to change his sleeping habits, don’t offer him any. Instead, insist that he gets on the floor – and ideally goes to his own bed – before you give him the attention he craves. He’ll soon learn that your bed is no longer a place where he’ll be petted and praised, and will be more motivated to move on.

Last but not least, be sure that all your dog’s needs are met before bedtime.  Feed him dinner, take him out to go to the bathroom, and give him plenty of love and attention. Make sure he’s gotten an appropriate amount of exercise, too! Just like you do with children, setting your dog up for a “good night’s sleep” is key to a long, uninterrupted slumber.

Making his bed comfortable

A major part of encouraging your dog to sleep in his own bed is making it a place where he wants to spend time. Choose a bed that is well suited for your dog’s needs. Be sure to consider his sleeping style, age and size, and look at a variety of styles before making a decision.

Once you’ve bought him a bed, set it up in an appropriate area. The basement, for instance, might be too secluded, whereas the hallway probably has too much traffic. Wherever you decide to place his bed, make sure his toys are nearby. That way, he can easily access the playthings that make him feel comfortable. You can even put one of your shirts in your dog’s bed so it will smell more like you – just make sure he’s not a chewer!

If your dog still wants to sleep next to you, you can put his bed next to your bed, in a crate if needed. This way, you can still be close-by without worrying about being disturbed every time he moves.

With any luck, these tips will help both of you get a better night’s sleep!


Amy Highland is a sleep expert at She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.