One common problem that most dog parents struggle with is bed manners. It seems like some of us try so hard to teach our dogs not to get on our beds but fail to reliably reach this goal. So I thought we could discuss some ways to help keep your dog off of your bed.
Get Everyone in Your Home on Board
The first thing that must be done is make sure everyone in the house is on board with the training. This means everyone must understand and follow these steps in order to be consistent. There must be a clear goal and clear guidelines put in place that everyone can follow. Once the plan has been made, it's much easier to implement.
Like any behavior that you want to change, there are a few things that must be addressed in order to have success. We will break these down into the categories of behavior management, good behavior rewards, and bad behavior punishments. As long as you address these 3 categories you can succeed.
Behavior management is very important when trying to fix problem behaviors. When working on bed manners, this means you must be able to set up scenarios to do the training. You'll also need to make sure your dog doesn't have free access to any bed but his own. Accomplishing this takes different methods that change if you're home or not.
Training When You're Home
- Close the doors to all bedrooms.
- Keep your dog on a leash inside so he cannot get to the bedrooms.
- Maintain close supervision of your dog and call him immediately if he's out of sight
Training When You're Not Home
- Keep your dog in a confined area away from the beds.
- Close off all bedrooms.
- Crate your dog while away.
These tips will help prevent your dog from getting on the bed when you're not expecting it. This is the most important part of behavior management.
With any training it's important to have a valuable reward. This lets you communicate to your dog that he has done what you wanted from him. Rewarding good behaviors will increase the frequency in which they happen. Rewards are also a great way to keep the training fun and productive.
The reward you choose can be anything from food treats to a great toy or even a great belly rub. The reward you should choose is the one that your dog likes the most. Once you have this figured out, you can use it to help with the bed manners. After you establish a valuable reward, you must decide what type of punishment you will use.
Using an appropriate punishment can speed up any training process. Appropriate punishments do not need to be harsh or painful, but they do need to be unpleasant for your dog in order to be effective. Appropriate punishments for your dog jumping on the bed can be a verbal correction like a loud "No," a squirt bottle with plain water, or even a loud annoying sound.
There are many types of punishment available and it is up to you to choose one that is acceptable. An appropriate punishment should be one that your dog dislikes enough to immediately stop the behavior but isn't so strong that your dog runs away in fear. This is supposed to be a way of communicating to him that you do not like that behavior.
Setting up training scenarios is also a key aspect of management. Making sure you set yourself and your dog up to succeed will make the process much faster. You can do this with the following tips.
- Choose 1 bed to work with at a time.
- Have valuable rewards handy at the bed.
- Have your appropriate punishment in mind.
- Keep the distractions to a minimum inside the room.
- Keep your dog on a leash if he will not let you grab his collar.
Once you have the training room set up, you should be able to control your dog the entire time he is around the bed. This brings us to the next phase of the training.
Once you have decided on a consequence and reward, you can bring everything together and start training.
- Bring your dog into the bedroom.
- Get your dog to jump up on the bed without inviting him, such as by sitting on it.
- Immediately use your chosen punishment until your dog gets off the bed.
- Immediately reward your dog the moment he jumps off the bed.
- Repeat these steps until he is no longer jumping on the bed.
Continue to follow these directions until your dog no longer attempts to jump on the bed. At that point you can reward him when he decides not to jump on the bed. At this point you will need to do the same thing in every room of the house with a bed in it. You should start to see a huge improvement over a few days or weeks.
Remember that consistency is very important. And you must always control your dog's access to the bedrooms. As long as you follow through with this, you'll be able to communicate to your dog that he is no longer allowed to be on the beds. Stay motivated and you'll be successful. Good luck!