Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."
Looking for Info on How to Stop a Dog From Sleeping on Your Bed?
If you're looking for info on how to stop a dog from sleeping on your bed, most likely, you have allowed your dog to snuggle and snooze in bed with you for some time, and now you believe it's time to foster some independence and encourage your dog to sleep on his new personal bed.
Perhaps you have recently rescued a dog with a history of being abused and who was acting very fearful. The first few days, letting him sleep in your bed was a no-brainer as he looked at you with those soulful, pleading eyes and he kept following you room-to-room.
Now, that several days have passed, you may be considering teaching your velcro-dog some independence so you have decided it's time to relinquish his pass for a bed share and try to encourage him to sleep in his new bed.
Not an Easy Process
It's important to emphasize this-the weaning-from-the-bed process won't be easy. Just like a child, who has been allowed too many times to sleep with mom and dad, struggles when it's time for him to go sleep in his bed alone, the process won't be with any objections. Your dog will likely whine, act frustrated and attempt to return to the bed.
It goes without saying that sometimes, life is much easier for these dogs if they weren't granted bed privileges from the get-go. Indeed, dogs struggle when they aren't provided with consistent guidelines.
Stick to Your Plan
Therefore, it is important doing some major decision-making. You will have to choose whether you will accept him always in your bed or provide him with his own sleeping area- stick to the plan.
If you are still debating on whether your dog should sleep on your bed or not, here's a read that offers some pros and cons so that you can make a more informed decision: should dogs be allowed to sleep on your bed? I tried my best to keep this as neutral and unbiased as possible.
Here's the thing: if we let our dogs sleep sometimes in bed, and other times we expect them not to, this only generates confusion. And of course, given the choice, most dogs will almost always pick sleeping in the bed with their owners rather than on their own beds! Nothing beats the reassuring presence, smell and warmth of their owners.
So if you have decided that your dog from now must sleep on his own bed, below are some tips to make the process a little smoother.
How to Stop Your Dog From Sleeping on Your Bed
Stopping your dog from sleeping on your bed isn't typically an easy process. However, you can ameliorate the situation by taking some baby steps to gradually wean him off.
You can accomplish this by taking a multi-tiered approach, in other words, tackling the issue from several angles. For instance, you can make gaining access to the bed difficult, while offering some amenities to make his new bed look wonderful in comparison. This multi-tiered approach can therefore help you succeed.
Shop for Beds With Perks
Provide amenities that can help your dog stay comfy and happy based on his personal preferences. For example, if he's after warmth, you can provide some bed warmers made for dogs, or pet beds with heating pads.
Do you own a cute Doxie? Many dachshunds love to burrow in their beds. If your dog loves likes to be under blankets, there are dog beds now that are shaped sort of like a cave and there are recently even hooded dog beds on the market.
Also, watch your dog's sleeping position. Dogs who love to sleep curled up may love a donut-shaped bed, dogs who like to stretch may appreciate more a rectangular bed. And don't forget about the season. In the winter your dog may prefer a certain style of dog bed and in the summer another type.
Create Positive Associations
During the day, keep your dog's new bed in the same room you are in and feed your dog treats on it; also, give him toys to enjoy there. Below is a guide on training a dog to lie on a mat. Notice how the dog is eager to go and stay on the mat because of all the great associations.
Drain Excess Energy
Make sure to provide play, exercise and mental stimulation so when night-time comes, your dog will be more likely to settle. Exercise isn't a cure-all but it can sometimes help lower your dog's threshold just enough to turn an otherwise potential fit into a less dramatic display.
Make Going on Your Bed Difficult
Block off access to your bed. You may have to get creative here. Put chairs, large boxes, furniture. This can be annoying, but this measure is fortunately temporary until your dog learns to enjoy his new bed and all the associated perks.
Alternatively, you can place your dog's bed within a dog exercise pen or behind an extendible pet gate so your dog stays confined to his area and away from your bed. A crate may also work well, especially with puppies in need of potty training.
Train an "Off" Cue
Blocking off access to the bed is the best option, but if that isn't feasible you can always train an "off" cue. The disadvantage with this though is that you may have to do this repeatedly, and when you're not around to train, you will have to do all you can to prevent access to your bedroom. To train the "positive off cue" follow these steps:
- Wait for your dog to jump on your bed. If your dog tends to jump on your bed at certain times of the day, schedule your training sessions around that specific time.
- Once your dog is on your bed, say your cue "off" and then toss a treat on your dog's bed with a downward motion of your hand. When your dog is off the bed, say "yes' just before he eats his treat.
- Rinse and repeat several times when the opportunity presents.
- At some point, say "off" when your dog is on the bed, but this time without actually tossing the treat on his bed. Just pretend to toss it. When your dog jumps down, say "yes!" and place a treat you had in your treat bag or pocket on his bed. Your goal is to say "off "and stop tossing the treat.
- Start gradually morphing the tossing treat hand movement with you just pointing at the floor as you say "off!" and then saying yes! as your dog jumps off and feed the treat on his mat.
- At some point, give a longer-lasting treat like a cookie or chew and give it on his bed so that your dog spends more time there.
Training a dog to get off the bed is fairly easy, but what if your dog keeps jumping up more and more on your bed because he has just realized that he gets a treat every time he's asked off? If so, congrats, you've got quite a bright fellow there! This is called a behavior chain.
To break the chain, when your dog jumps off the bed, don't immediately give a treat, instead, ask him to perform another behavior instead such as a sit or a down on the mat in hopes of breaking the association.
Create a Bedtime Routine
Dogs love routines. It gives them something to look forward to and they like to know what to expect as it's reassuring.
Make a bedtime routine of taking him to his bed, giving him something to enjoy on it that's long-lasting such as a stuffed Kong or a long-lasting edible chew (for example, bully stick, Himalayan Yak chews-ask your vet for suggestions based on your dog's individual health).
Add Some Amenities
Sometimes, adding some amenities to your dog's bed can provide some comfort. For example, with young puppies, I like to provide a Snuggle Pup Behavioral Aid. Young puppies are used to sleeping in piles with their littermates, and this stuffed animal that emits warmth and a beeping sound that mimics a mother dog's heartbeat can help pups adjust easier in their new homes.
Other amenities can include providing a shirt that has your smell, warm water bottles wrapped in a blanket for warmth, or spraying the bed with a pheromone-based calming spray for dogs.
Place Their Bed Near Yours
Nothing is worse for a dog than, going from sleeping on your bed to sleeping far away from you, or worse, in another room. To help your dog adjust to his new bed, it's important that he doesn't come to associate it with social isolation.
So place your dog's bed right next to yours, so that he can see you and hear you at night, and if needed, you can always dangle your hand down to pet him.
Do this at least initially, you can always then gradually move your dog's bed away if need be, but we have always loved having our Rottweilers sleep on their own beds in our bedroom and loved hearing their soft snoring.
A Tip for Difficult Cases
Finally, for rescue dogs or dogs struggling with the transition, it may help to place the dog bed on the human bed at night and always reward the dog for choosing to stay in his bed. Afterward, the dog bed may be gradually transitioned to the floor.
© 2021 Adrienne Farricelli
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 25, 2021:
I find your hub useful, informative and dog owners who have this problem would appreciate it.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 23, 2021:
alexadry Dogs are such lovely and obedient pets if the owners trains them that way. Our fluffy pets love sleeping on the bed. Your ideas are useful and so well-written. Your vast knowledge about dogs is interesting and in detail.
Sp Greaney from Ireland on February 22, 2021:
This is brilliant advice. Some people I know who have dogs, love cuddling them in their bed in the morning. But the dog sleeps next to their bed at night in his bed. So I think that's a good tip about dog bed placement. It will just takes time. But dogs are smart and just want some extra love.
FlourishAnyway from USA on February 21, 2021:
Aww. They really are children. As a cat person who sleeps with one cat beside me all of the time (the others don’t like my movements and snoring), I guess it is easier to never invite them into the bed to begin with. We develop nighttime routines and everyone has their place. Your suggestions about heated individual beds and making them respites are good.
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on February 21, 2021:
This was a problem with my first golden girl. When she knew I was heading to bed, she would race me to take over my spot. Later, we taught them the off command. Our later pups haven't really been consistently interested in sleeping on the bed. They've claimed their own dog beds, although sometimes the dogs have issues with each other as to who gets what bed. But they switch places often and it's not a problem.
Hope you're staying safe and well. Take care!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 21, 2021:
We always allowed our dogs to sleep with us, so never had to wean them from stopping this behavior. Your suggestions do sound like good ones.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 21, 2021:
This is a great article, Adrienne. It makes sense to train the dog from the beginning not to be on your bed, but I know things don't always work that way. I think your gave us a great deal of good advice.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on February 21, 2021:
Nice tips. Though we only allow them on compasionate grounds one day!
How to Stop Your Dog from Sleeping in Your Bed
A dog sleeping in bed with you puts you at risk for developing health problems, makes your bed a dirtier place, and puts both you and the dog at risk for injury. If your dog is already used to sleeping with you, it can be difficult to break her habit. To stop your dog from getting on the bed, try the following:
Shut the Door/Put Up a Gate
The first step to putting the dog sleeping in bed with you situation behind you is to cut off your dog’s access to your bedroom. This can be as simple as keeping the door shut at all times when you’re not entering or exiting. If you want more air flow in your room or your bed is in an open environment, block off the doorway or surround the bed with a dog gate instead.
You’ll Need to Use Training Techniques
Your dog likely won’t give up her role as the dog sleeping in bed with you without a fight. She may stand outside a closed door or a gate and whine, bark and scratch—which can cause damage to the door or gate. She may even block access so that you can’t pass into the bedroom without having to fight with her so that she won’t barge in with you, jumping straight for the bed before you can stop her. Because of this, you’ll have to follow a few training techniques to get her uninterested in going into the bed zone. If successful, you may eventually be able to trust her near an open door or ungated bed area.
Provide a Comfortable Sleeping Area
First, provide your dog with an alternative sleeping area that’s exclusively her space. It should be in a quiet, comfortable area of the apartment. The center of this area should be a comfortable dog bed or pillow. If you have success with your training techniques, you may eventually be able to put this area near your own bed and trust your dog to remain on the ground.
Reinforce Positive Behavior and Discourage Negative Behavior
The first few days and weeks after you attempt to stop the dog sleeping in bed behavior, you should reward your dog for good behavior. Every time you see her approach her new sleeping area, give her a treat, rub her head and say “good girl” in a sweet tone. Every time she backs up from the door or gate, allowing you to enter without her, throw her a treat and say “good girl” again.
Since your dog will be confused about the new arrangement, don’t allow yourself to get frustrated if she doesn’t respond right away. When she nears your bed or barks, whines or scratches at the door or gate, clearly state “no” in a low tone. Do not proceed until she has stopped the bad behavior. When she moves away, reward her for her good response.
It may take some time, but if you follow these tips, your dog sleeping in bed with you (or without you) will be a worry of the past. Remember that you won’t be showing your dog any less affection instead, you’ll be taking control of the situation and providing an environment that’s healthier for both of you.
Pets in Your Bed
WebMD discusses the health implications of your pets sleeping in bed with you and how you can keep the bedroom healthy.
When Ingrid and Shea Armour brought their new Weimaraner puppy, Cooper, home, they were determined to keep him off their bed. So they bought a dog crate, with a bed and fluffy blankets to ensure he had a warm, comfy place to sleep.
Cooper, however, had other ideas.
The first night he whined, yelped, howled, and cried. The Armours made it six hours before their resolve broke and little Cooper was out of the crate and in their bed, where he remained for the next two years.
"He’d sleep between us, under the covers, with his head on the pillow," Ingrid Armour says. "He thought he was human."
Who’s Sleeping With Their Pets?
Sleeping with pets isn’t unusual in this country. According to a recent survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of dogs sleep in their owner’s beds. The survey found that 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs and 32% of large dogs sleep with their owners.
The survey also found that 62% of cats sleep with their adult owners, and another 13% of cats sleep with children.
Is It Healthy to Sleep with Pets?
So is it healthy to have your dog sleeping in your bed? Derek Damin of Kentuckiana Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Louisville, Ky., says people who suffer from pet allergies or asthma should not sleep with their dog or cat or even allow them in the bedroom.
"Use a HEPA filter and keep them out of the bedroom to give your nose a few hours a day to recover," Damin says.
But Damin says most pet lovers won’t kick Fido out of bed, even if they discover their pets are causing allergy problems. For those people he recommends allergy shots to build up a tolerance to the pet dander that causes allergic reactions.
"But if you’re not allergic, there’s really no big issue with having a dog in the bed," says Damin, who for years shared his bed with his miniature dachshund. "It’s fine as long as it doesn’t disturb your sleep."
Snoring, Kicking, Cover-Hogging Pets
Which brings up another problem with sharing the bed with a pet -- they can disturb your sleep. A study released by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that about half the patients in the study had a dog or cat, and 53% of those pet owners said their pets disturbed their sleep in some way nightly.
"I’ve had patients that I’ve spent visit after visit going over their insomnia problems, trying to figure out what’s happening, then I find out they have a dog that’s scratching all night," says Lisa Shives, MD, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine, a sleep center outside Chicago,
Shives recommends that people who have difficulty sleeping consider keeping pets out of the bedroom.
But for people with no problem falling or staying asleep, Shives says it’s fine to allow a dog or cat in the bed.
"There are all kinds of medical benefits to having a pet," says Shives, who sleeps with her 45-pound dog. "And some people might feel safer or calmer with a dog in their bed."
Candace Hunziker of Kennesaw, Ga, says that’s exactly why she sleeps with her Labrador retriever mix, P.
"She sleeps against me and she has very rhythmic breathing and it just puts me out," Hunziker says. "I have insomnia, my whole family does, and we all sleep with dogs. She puts me to sleep better than an Ambien."
And then there’s the whole matter of intimacy, with a pet in the bed. Can it interfere with your sex life? That depends, say Elizabeth and Charles Schmitz, love and marriage experts who wrote "Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage."
"Many, many of our successful couples have pets and many sleep with them," Elizabeth Schmitz says.
But how they deal with the issue of intimacy varies, she says.
"Some put them outside the bedroom because they don’t want them to watch," she says. "Some give them a treat to distract them. Some don’t mind if the pet stays on the bed."
Charles Schmitz says the biggest issue is how both people feel about the pet being there.
"If one person is fine with the dog, but the other isn’t, then you’ve got a problem," he says. "You absolutely have to talk about it and make sure both people are comfortable with the situation."
And it’s also important that pets don’t physically come between a couple at night, they say.
"The snuggling and the holding and the touching is critical," Elizabeth Schmitz says. "It’s one of the seven secrets of a successful marriage. It’s more important than sex."
Getting a Cat Out of Your Bed
And even when people finally make the hard decision to eject their pet from the bed, most find it’s not an easy task.
Ingrid Johnson, a veterinary technician and consultant on feline behavior at a clinic in Marietta, Ga., says she advises clients to never let their cat in their bedroom if they don’t want to sleep with the cat. She says for cats it’s all or nothing, so the door must always be open to them, or never open to them.
"If you suddenly shut a cat out of the bedroom, they can get very frustrated and start displaying destructive behavior," Johnson says. "Cats don’t react well if you take away territory."
But if a cat that sleeps with its owner must suddenly be banned, Johnson recommends giving the cat something else to do at night. Try giving kitty foraging toys to play with that feed their kibble, or put a cat condo by a window with a light outside.
"All the moths and bugs flying around the light right outside that window is like reality TV for cats," she says.
Getting a Dog Out of Your Bed
Internationally known dog trainer Victoria Stilwell says if your dog has no behavioral problems then it’s OK to let them sleep in your bed. In fact, from the dog’s standpoint, it’s a compliment.
"Dogs only sleep with people or dogs they trust," says Stilwell, star of the TV show "It’s Me or the Dog."
But, she says, aggressive or dominant dogs should not be allowed on beds. And if pets become a problem, they have to get off the bed.
That was the case with a couple that Stillwell worked with who slept with three giant, male mastiffs. One of the dogs started lunging at their toddler when they approached the bed, so Stilwell bought three extra large dog beds and taught the dogs to get off the bed on command.
"Make it a game to get off the bed, using lots of praise and petting," Stilwell says. "They get no attention on the bed. Only on the floor."
After a while, when the dogs were ordered off the bed, they got down, although Stilwell says it was at least two weeks before the dogs didn’t attempt to get back on the bed.
"You’re going to have a few sleepless nights," she says, "but you’ve got to stick with it."
Cooper and Otis
That was the case with the Armours, whose dog, Cooper, had slept with them since he was eight weeks old. When Cooper was two, they adopted Otis, another Weimaraner. Ingrid Armour said two 90-pound dogs just weren’t going to work in their bed. So they placed two dog beds on the floor at the foot of their bed and put the dogs in them.
For Otis, it was fine, Ingrid Armour said. Not so with Cooper.
"The first night, he just sat in his bed and gave us the evil eye," Armour says.
For the first three nights, Cooper tried to get into their bed every 10 minutes. After that, for at least a month, he’d wait until they fell asleep, then climb into bed with them.
"We finally got a water bottle and squirted him when he tried to get into bed with us," Ingrid says. "It was a three-month process to get them to sleep in their own beds, but we’re worthless unless we get eight hours sleep, so we had to get this under control. Now we all get a good night’s sleep."
Ingrid and Shea Armour, owners of Weimaraners Otis and Cooper, Panama City Beach, Fla.
Ingrid Johnson, veterinary technician and consultant on feline behavior, Marietta, Ga.
American Pet Products Association, a not-for-profit trade association of pet product manufacturers and importers, 2009/2010 National Pet Owners Survey.
Derek Damin, MD, allergist at Kentuckiana Allergy, Asthma & Immunology assistant clinical professor of medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Ky.
Lisa Shives, MD, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine, Evanston, Ill.
Candace Hunziker, owner of P, a Labrador Retriever mix, Kennesaw, Ga.
Elizabeth Schmitz, PhD, president of Successful Marriage Reflections, LLC co-author of Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage and Building A Love That Lasts.
Charles Schmitz, PhD, dean and professor of counseling and family therapy, University of Missouri-St. Louis co-author of Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage and Building A Love That Lasts.
Victoria Stilwell, dog trainer, star of the television show “It’s Me or the Dog” and author of It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet.
9 gross reasons you shouldn’t bring your pet to bed with you
It catches most people off guard to hear that sleeping with your pet may not be the greatest idea. After all, isn’t companionship the reason you got your furry friend in the first place?
But when it comes to your health, think twice before you let your pet snuggle up beneath the sheets with you. It may be bringing along more than warmth and love — your cute and cuddly cat or dog probably harbors some germs, bacteria and bugs. If you do let your pet sleep with you at night, here’s what you may be inviting into your bed with you.
1. Bubonic plague
Yep, you read that right. The bubonic plague is no longer sweeping the streets of Europe, but it’s still out there, and you can catch it from your pet. In fact, between 1977 and 1998, 23 documented human cases of the bubonic plague were attributed to family cats. And it’s not just the feline that puts us at risk. Dogs can carry plague-infested fleas without showing signs of the disease themselves.
Can we all just share a collective “eww!”? Parasites, most commonly roundworms and hookworms (but there are lots of other equally nasty offenders out there, too), are common in dogs and cats according to the CDC. Mostly, these parasites lay their eggs in your pet’s hair, where they can easily be shed onto your sheets. Who wants to sleep with those eggs getting ready to hatch right next to you?
3. Staph infections
We all know what these are, right? Infections caused by the staphylococcus bacteria — including the well-known antibiotic-resistant MRSA — can be transferred to humans through their pets.
4. Other bacterial infections
That whole rumor about your pets’ mouths being super-clean is nothing more than an old wives’ tale according to WebMD. In fact, the mouths of dogs and cats — and other carnivorous animals — are full of bacteria-laden saliva that can lead to extreme sickness in humans, including meningitis and pasteurellosis.
5. Cat-scratch disease
Cat Scratch Fever is not just a song by Ted Nugent. It’s a real disease carried by cats that often show no signs of infection. It’s most often transmitted to humans through bites, scratches and licks from a cat, and according to WebMD, you’re more likely to get it if your cat sleeps in your bed.
6. Fecal matter
It’s time to face the facts. If your dog is like most dogs, it either steps in, plays with or eats (yuck!) poop. And when your dog comes into your house, and your bed, it tracks the poop right along with it. Not only is this gross, but it’s an easy way to transmit parasites and bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. Veterinarian Dr. Carol Osborne recommends spritzing off your dog’s feet with a 50/50 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water when it comes inside to help decontaminate its paws.
You know you can get a tick from a walk in the woods, but did you know you can also get one from your dog? If it has one in its fur and comes to bed with you, the tick might just latch onto you instead of your dog. “Ticks carry many diseases contagious to people, a few of the more notable being Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Anaplasmosis,” said Osborne. “Ticks are especially common in Great Lakes Regions where they are endemic.”
These tiny little bugs are no fun for dogs or humans, and you could be sharing them if you share a bed. “The most common is the mange mite, causing human scabies, which as the name implies is very contagious to people,” said Osborne.
You sleep with a dog, you get fleas. We’ve all heard this before, and right now, I mean it in the most literal sense. Once upon a time, a flea-infested bed was probably your worst nightmare as a pet owner. Seems kind of like small stuff now, doesn’t it?
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.
Image: Eugenio Marongiu/Getty Images
Originally published Nov. 2015. Updated Sept. 2016.
Will It Impact the Quality of Your Sleep?
There is no denying that sharing a bed with any species can disrupt your sleep. Any bed partner is likely to move and make noises that could wake you up, and Dogs' sleeping patterns are different from ours. It is not unusual for a dog to wake you up at the crack of dawn because they are ready to start their day.
But there are benefits to cosleeping with a dog. In 2018, a study was published in the Anthrozoos Journal. The results suggested that women generally slept better and felt greater security and comfort sharing a bed with a dog than they did with a human partner!
If you have a new puppy or rescue dog, sometimes allowing them to sleep in your bedroom will cause less disruption as they are more likely to settle being in your company.
Be aware though, if you do let them sleep in your room at first, making a transition to another arrangement later will be more of a challenge. It is best to start as you mean to go on.