Lots of dogs love it when their bed is in the middle of the action, like in the family room or the kitchen. That means that when you, say, come in with an armful of groceries, or open that box of delivery pizza in front of the TV, you’re probably not far from the dog bed. In those moments, it can be really helpful for your dog to know the command, “Go to bed.” You can use whatever phrase you like, as long as it’s short and easy for both of you to remember.
It’s generally not difficult to teach a dog to go to a place, as long as you are clear and consistent. Here are some easy steps to try:
- Start by getting your dog’s attention. Pretend that the dog bed is really fascinating, and then put it down on the floor. If your dog thinks that the bed is an exciting object to you, he will naturally be interested in it as well.
- Lure your dog to his bed with a treat. As he’s already going to
the bed, say “Go to bed” and give him the treat once he’s
on it. This will help him connect the phrase to the bed.
Remember to give him a release cue, such as “Okay” or “All done,” so he knows when he’s allowed to get off the bed. You shouldn’t force him off it, though – if he’s comfortable, by all means let him hang out!
- Once your dog has made this connection, practice giving the command when he is close to the bed. Give him a treat and/ or lots of praise when he goes to his bed. If you prefer that he lie down rather than sit on the bed, you don’t necessarily have to add the command “down” – just give him extra-delicious treats for lying down. Dogs understand the difference between a regular treat and a bite of cheese, for example, and are usually happy to do whatever gets them the cheese.
- When he’s gotten the hang of it, gradually increase the distance and/ or the duration until your dog will reliably “Go to bed” (without a treat) and stay there until you release him.
You’ll find “place” training is useful in all kinds of situations. After all, a dog chilling out on his bed is a dog that isn’t bothering you while you’re trying to eat, jumping on visitors, or running out of open doors! Just remember to keep all associations with the bed positive. Your dog should think of his bed as his sanctuary, and a place where he sometimes gets awesome things like treats and petting. If he gets the idea that “go to place” is a form of banishment when the people are angry at him, “place” training will be much less effective. As long as you keep it happy, your dog will love “going to bed” as much as you love having him out of your way! Many of Kuranda's customers are pet professionals who use Kuranda dog beds as their preferred place training bed and recommend the same to their customers.
How has “place” training come in handy with your dog? Let us know in the comments!