So far your part-of-the-family pooch has been snuggling in bed with you, but now you’re ready for him to sleep elsewhere. Maybe your short-snouted dog’s snoring has gotten out of control, or perhaps you’ve got a baby on the way, whatever the reason, moving Fido from your bed to the floor or from your room to the living room isn’t always easy. We asked Joan Hunter Mayer, Santa Barbara-based certified professional dog trainer and owner of The Inquisitive Canine for advice on making it a smooth transition. 

Buy a New Dog Bed

One way to encourage your dog to sleep somewhere other than your bed is to make being on the floor enticing. Mayer suggests taking your dog to the pet store to pick out a big comfy dog bed, trying a few before you buy. Then, train your dog to sleep there throughout the day. “You always want to do some dress rehearsals with your dog before you need the behavior,” says Mayer. “Don’t wait until you’re tired and want to go to sleep to introduce the new bed.” When it’s time to go to bed, instruct your dog to go to his bed.

Clue Your Dog in With a Blanket

If your dog has been sleeping on your bed, and you want him to sleep on the floor at least some of the time, you could try a blanket or towel as a cue. Train your dog to snooze wherever you place the blanket, suggests Mayer. When he’s invited to sleep on the bed or hang out with you on the couch, place the blanket there. If you want alone time on the bed, put the blanket on the floor or in your dog’s bed.

Create a Comfy Crate

If your dog is big enough to jump on your bed on his own (rather than having to be picked up and placed on top), you might find he helps himself to his preferred sleeping spot in the middle of the night. You can try placing his bed in another room and closing the door. But if that simply results in a dog whining at your bedroom door, train him to sleep in a crate. Fill it with lots of toys and comfy blankets to make it a nice spot to sleep.

Relocate the Dog Bed

If your dog already sleeps happily in his own bed and you simply want to switch the spot your dog is sleeping in, from say your bedroom floor to your living room floor, it’s as easy as moving the bed. To help ensure your dog will stick with the plan of sleeping in his bed in a different location, try moving it to the new desired sleeping spot during the day as a dress rehearsal and stock the bed with bully sticks and toys, says Mayer.

by Julie Seguss

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