Battersea Q&A: How do I get my dog to go to his bed?
(Q) I love cuddling up to my dog on the sofa but not all my friends like him sprawling on top of them. How do I get him to go on his bed instead?
(A) Battersea canine welfare trainer Nathalie Ingham says: Nothing beats a good movie and puppy cuddles, but it's not uncommon to have friends who don't appreciate the coating of dog hair and slobbery kisses in their ears.
It's worth teaching your dog to go to his bed or a mat when you ask him to. This is a fun little exercise which dogs can pick up quite quickly and which is bound to wow and impress your visitors. You will require a mat/bed, a pot of tasty treats, your dog, and a good throwing arm.
Stand near to your dog's bed, say ‘Bed' and throw a treat on the bed. Your dog should run over to the bed to gobble up the treat. Encourage him away from the bed and then repeat.
Start to move the bed around the room while you position yourself further away, still saying ‘Bed', and then throwing the treat on the bed. Your dog should now be starting to make the association between you saying ‘Bed', and a treat miraculously landing in it.
You can test out how well he's associated this by saying ‘Bed', waiting a second or two, and seeing if he looks or moves towards the bed in anticipation of the treat landing there. Whether he does move over or not, ensure you follow through by throwing that treat over to the bed.
Eventually you're aiming for him to hear the word ‘Bed', move on to his bed, and then the treat lands there. Once you've got to this stage you can then start to reward him once he's been on the bed for a few seconds, then a few minutes, and eventually reward intermittently to ensure he stays on the bed.
In no time you should have a dog who impresses all your visitors and friends.