By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
A friend of mine recently purchased a dog bed. It matches the décor in her bedroom. Her dog, however, refuses to use it because he has been sleeping on my friend’s bed for the past five years.
Why the Change?
My friend’s boyfriend just moved in, and they thought the dog would like an oversized bed of his own.
Can You Teach a Middle Aged Dog a New Trick?
You can’t expect your dog to take to the new bed instantly—especially if he has been sleeping on your bed or on the sofa for a number of months or years. It’s easier if you get the dog bed before you get the dog. This way you could train him to use the bed from the start.
If you decide to get a doggy bed and want your dog to use it, make sure the bed is in a quiet spot that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic. It could be in a corner in your bedroom, so he can see you when he settles down. Or it can be in a home office near your desk. Put your dog’s favorite chew toy in the bed. Then place your dog in the bed. If your dog is too big to carry, lead him to the bed. You can point and say, “your bed,” a few times, and each time he goes in his bed, reward him with a “good dog” and a treat. Then tell him to “stay,” and walk away.
He will probably follow you. Each time, bring him back to the bed; say “good boy,” give him a small treat, and then walk away. Expect to do this a number of times. Repetition works well.
Cats like to sleep up high. They love sunlight and warm spaces. So position your cat bed in a warm sunny spot. You can place it on a sofa, so it is up off the floor.
Personally, my cat, Earl Gray, sleeps on an old easy chair in the living room when we are in there with him. He also sleeps on the heating grate (we have forced air), and my husband always says that Earl is “sucking up the heat.”
He uses his cat bed, which is in our bedroom, whenever we are in there or when my son has a play date. Small kids can be noisy, and Earl’s bed, which rests on a chest under a window, is in a sunny quiet spot.
Before You Get a Pet Bed
Make sure the bed is large enough for your cat or dog to stretch out in. The cushion should be plump and comfortable.
I’m curious, where does your cat or dog sleep?