Train Your Dog To Go To Bed (Place Command)

It can be very helpful to teach your dog to “go to bed” or to learn the “placecommand.  Many times a dog may hang around the door when you have visitors going in and out, or he may be under foot in the kitchen or when you’re doing something else.  Being able to send your dog to “his place” is a good way to handle these situations.  Here are a couple of ways to train this command.

There are at least two ways to approach training the “go to bed” command.  For either method you’ll need a good bed or mat for your dog.  With the first method, your dog needs to know the down-stay before you start teaching “go to bed.”

Working near the mat, put your dog in a down-stay on the mat.  If your dog already knows this command, this should be easy.  You simply need to work at keeping him in the down-stay for a few seconds and gradually ask him to stay for longer periods of time with you in the room with him.  Once your dog can stay in this position for a couple of minutes (without whining or fidgeting) then you are ready to try leaving the room for a short time.  Once you can do this successfully, start adding the command “go to bed” when you put your dog in the down-stay on the mat.  Then start sending your dog to bed from a short distance away.  Gradually increase the distance away — try sending your dog to bed from the next room, and so on.  Your dog should be “going to bed” on command in just a few days.

Of course, you should use lots of positive reinforcement to teach your dog using this method.  Treats or encouragement will go a long way with most dogs.

The other method for teaching “go to bed” uses a clicker and treats.  You can start with a dog that already knows the down-stay or you can teach a dog that doesn’t know it.  If your dog doesn’t know the down-stay, you should toss a treat on the dog bed to get your dog to touch the bed.  Click and treat when he touches the bed.  Repeat this at least 20 times until your dog knows that he’s supposed to touch the bed.  You will gradually be shaping his behavior until he actually lies down on the bed.  You can do this in increments:  click and treat (with repeats) as your dog puts a paw on the bed; click and treat (with repeats) as your dog puts all four paws on the bed; click and treat (with repeats) as your dog lies down on the bed.  Then you will need to add the phrase “go to bed.”

You can gradually move the bed farther away from you to make sure that your dog understands that you don’t have to be near the bed for him to comply.  Eventually you will need to give the command “go to bed” from another room.

Naturally you will need to do this training over sessions in different days.  Don’t be afraid to back up to something your dog already understands if he’s having trouble with something new.

As you can see, it’s not hard to teach your dog to “go to bed.”  But it does take some practice with your dog.  If you work on one of these methods with your dog he should be able to do this exercise in just a few days.

My Labrador is very good at “go to bed” or “on your mat” while you were around up stairs with her but when you put her to bed at night she would find a cooler or warmer spot once you were back upstairs.  She doesn’t misbehave at night at all and she has slept  through a very loud thunder-storm on her mat and was getting wet, so I pulled her and the mat out of the door way to close it.  She just looked up and went back to sleep.

Sally sleeping through a storm

Mark Mansfield
 

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