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Dog Training: Teaching The Go To Bed Command

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Dog in pain

It can be very helpful to teach your dog to ‘go to bed’ or to learn the ‘place’ command. Your dog may hang around the door when you have visitors going in and out, or be under foot in the kitchen or when you’re doing something else. Sending your dog to his place is a good way to handle these situations. Here are a couple of ways to train this 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. Keep 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. 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, sending your dog to bed from the next room, and so on.

Use positive reinforcement to teach your dog using this method. Treats go a long way with most dogs.

The other method for teaching ‘go to bed’ uses a clicker and treats. If your dog doesn’t know the down-stay, 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 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 add the phrase ‘go to bed.’

Gradually move the bed farther away from you to make sure that your dog understands you don’t have to be near the bed for him to comply. Eventually give the command ‘go to bed’ from another room.

Conduct this training over sessions in different days. Back up to something your dog already understands if he’s having trouble with something new.

Teaching this command takes some practice with your dog, but if you work with your dog he should be able to do this exercise in just a few days.



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