This useful “Dog, Go to Bed” command is convenient when traveling, around guests, during meals or anytime you need the dog out from underfoot but not necessarily out of the room. A raised dog bed is helpful for training this, since it gives a clearly defined edge to the place, but it is not a requirement.
Step 1 – Bed is Good
- Stand or sit near the dog bed. When your dog puts a paw on it, silently drop a treat onto the bed. When he steps off, ignore him. Anytime he steps back on the bed, drop a treat. Avoid making eye contact, as this is all about the bed, not you.
- Once the dog is reliably putting a paw on the bed to make treats appear, wait until he has two or more paws on it to drop a treat. Continue this until he is reliably getting all the way on the bed.
- Next, once your dog gotten on the bed, put your fist (with a treat inside) on the bed in front of him. This should silently lure him into a down (just hold your fist on the bed until he downs). When he lies down, open your hand and let him get the treat off the bed. If he digs at your hand or nibbles it you can gently guide him down or simply tell him down. Either way and, once down, open your fist and let him have the treat.
Step 2 – Staying on Bed is Good
- Once your dog is reliably downing on the bed, start saying “Place” as soon as he steps onto the bed, then reward him when he downs.
- Now start moving about slightly and rewarding him frequently if he stays on the bed.
- If he gets off the bed, ignore him but go toward the bed, then reward him when he lies back down on it.
Step 3 – Running to Bed is Good
- Have your dog sit or down and wait a short distance away, while you put a piece of kibble on the dog’s bed (with the dog watching). Not that controlled yet? No worries – have someone hold him or tether him to something sturdy. That’ll work just fine.
- Return to your dog and tell him, “Dog, Place!”
- When he runs to bed, follow him calmly and use another treat to lure him down, if necessary, and reward him.
- Gradually increase the distance until your dog is going to his bed from anywhere in the room.
- Then start from just outside the door of the room, then farther away. You’re your dog will happily running to his bed and down from various places in the house.
- Extra credit? Move the bed to different locations, so your dog learns that wherever the bed it, that is Place. When you move the bed, start close to it again until your dog understands what is wanted. Expect a bit of confusion at first, just help him through it.
Step 4 – Staying on the Bed for a Long Time is Good
- With your dog on leash, send her to her bed
- When she’s lying on her bed, deliver a treat onto the bed (we deliver it on the bed rather than feeding it from our hand, so the dog’s focus is on the bed).
- If she remains down, drop a treat again within a few seconds
- Keep dropping treats as long as your dog is lying down
- Release your dog with a clear release word (“Free,” “Get up,” “Okay”) and a light double tap on the shoulder.
- Ignore her once you’ve released her. We want her to think that her bed is the BEST place to be.
- Gradually decrease rate of treats as your dog gets better at remaining on her bed
- Problem? What if my dog gets up without being released:
- Not a big deal …. so relax.
- Calmly guide her back with the lead (you’re right there, so no need to rush back to her)
- Or… point to her bed and send her back
- Or… calmly body block her back to her bed
- Once she’s back on her bed, praise her
- Be calm— she’s not being stubborn; she just doesn’t understand yet
Step 5 – Staying on the Bed No Matter What
- Now it’s time to gradually add distractions while you’re standing right by your dog’s bed
- Use more treats when introducing distractions
- Praise your dog and deliver a treat to the bed right as a distraction occurs, if possible
- Start with mild distractions farther away, and gradually bring them closer or add higher level distractions
- Examples of distractions: walk in place, step from side to side, bounce a ball (start far away), eat something, squat down, drop a toy or food, someone walks by, someone stops and chats with you.
Step 6 – Staying on the Bed No Matter Where It Is
- Move your dog’s bed and practice in different location
- Different rooms
- Other places you take your dog
- When you move to a new location, start over with a higher rate of treats
Step 7 – Staying on the Bed No Matter Where YOU Are
- Only start moving away from your dog’s bed once she’s doing well with steps 4-6
- Add distance slowly and gradually
- Go back often at first to calmly praise her and drop a treat on the bed
- Calmly direct her back if she gets up
- Always return to your dog to release her
- Ignore her for a minute after you release her
- Have fun! Send us clips of your successes (or your challenges).
Originally posted on MySmartPuppy.com – Sarah Wilson’s dog training site at https://mysmartpuppy.com/obedience-commands/place-go-there-lay-there-and-stay-there