My dog Ace has an annoying habit of sitting right next to me while I’m eating.
I honestly have not found a way to stop my dog from begging completely, but I’ve found a way to manage his behavior by giving him a command “go to your bed.”
From his bed across the room, he can stare at me all he wants, but at least he’s out of my way and not bothering anyone.
Below are some of my tips on how to teach a dog to stay on their dog bed, blanket or mat.
How to Teach a Dog to Stay on Their Bed:
1. Review the “stay” command with your dog.
Many dogs already know how to stay on command, but others need some work. There are all kinds of resources out there on how to teach a dog to stay, but here is the basic idea:
Make it as easy as possible so your dog is successful. Then very slowly add challenges.
For example, when you are first teaching your dog to stay, you would ask her to sit or lie down. Then, give the stay command without actually leaving. The point is to teach your dog to lie down and remain lying down rather than popping back up immediately.
So, tell your dog “stay.” wait a few seconds, and then release her with a word like “free!” or “OK!” Easy.
Then, slowly make it more difficult for your dog by making her wait for 20 seconds, 45 seconds and so on before releasing her. Once she is OK staying for a minute or two while you are right there next to her, try taking a step back. Then two steps.
If your dog gets up before you release her, just gently put her back. This is also a sign that you are increasing the challenge too quickly.
2. Use a command like “go to your bed.”
You can use a command to tell your dog to go to their bed, or you can simply guide your dog to her bed and tell her “down” and “stay.”
I chose to use the command “go to your bed” and while my dog was still learning, I would lure him to his bed with treats and then reward him.
3. Slowly increase the time and distance.
When your dog is staying on her bed, slowly increase the length of time you ask her to stay as well as the distance between you and your dog. Don’t make it too difficult; you want your dog to be successful.
Slowly work to the point where you can have your dog on her bed on one side of the room while you sit down at a table on the other side of the room.
4. Give your dog a special chew toy.
When your dog is staying on her bed, it can help to give her something “special” to chew on like a puzzle-toy filled with jerky treats, a rawhide or other chew. This comes in handy when you are eating dinner or just can’t be distracted by your dog.
Remember to start out slowly, reward your dog often and don’t set your expectations too high at first.
What tips do the rest of you have for stopping a dog from begging?
Lindsay Stordahl is the blogger for ThatMutt.com where she writes about topics related to dog training, dog walking, raw dog food and more. She has a 9-year-old black Lab mix named Ace. You can learn more about Lindsay and her blog here.