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  • Kristen VanNess

Settle 101: Teaching Your Dog to Go To Her Bed

This is the first lesson in our Pup U series, Teaching Your Dog to Settle.

Your dog can learn to go to her bed and sit/lie down once there. While it looks cool, your dog doesn’t have to be sent to her bed from far away. An introduction to this concept may make other steps of settle training easier for your dog. In this activity, she will learn that going onto the bed is fun and getting off of the bed is boring.

Learning “Go to Bed”

There are many different ways we can teach a dog to go to her bed. One way is to guide her there with treats, and then reward her for being on the bed. When she steps on the bed, give her multiple treats, one at a time. Feeding multiple treats makes the reward event last longer than eating one treat and it builds up the habit of staying on the bed.

She doesn't need to sit or lie down yet, but some dogs will give it to us for free- if so, reward! To get her off, we can use an empty hand, body language, or even toss one low value treat away to get her off. This gives her a chance to go back on again. Most dogs begin to go on all by themselves because they figured out that's where all the treats happen!

Repeat this lesson for 2-3 minutes. You can then work on it later in the day or on another day. We’ll know she understands when she leaps up before you can even guide her on.

In the video example you can also see what the final performance can look like. She can go there from a distance, and sit or lie down on her own and then she then comes off when we invite her.

No cues or commands are needed at this stage, we want to wait until she’s more confident and understands the task.

Types of beds or mats

Sometimes a bed with raised edges or a bed with more height can be helpful. This can give more contrast than a towel flat on the ground. Some dogs will find a cushioned bed to be physically harder to move on and off of. Try a few different items to see if something is better for your dog.

If you will be traveling, something small and portable can be helpful. It doesn’t have to be a bed big enough for your dog to lay on - unless your dog has strong preferences or finds the ground to be uncomfortable.

Ready for the next step? Check out Settle 201: Settle and Stay or get personalized help today!

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