According to Everyday Health, nearly half of all dog owners allow their pups to sleep in bed with them.
If this describes you, you already well know the joys of having your snuggly, cuddly pooch nearby all night long.
But then what happens in the morning when it is time to get up? Letting your dog jump off the bed may not seem problematic if you have a large, athletic dog breed.
However, this can still send the wrong message about whether jumping is permissible or not. And if your dog is a small or toy-sized dog breed or a senior dog with joint issues, there is also a serious health risk to consider.
In this article, we talk about safety tips you need to know to keep your dog from jumping off the bed.
How to Keep Dog From Jumping Off Bed?
Keeping a dog from jumping off the bed – or anything else – begins and ends with YOU. Your dog looks to you for information about what is and is not acceptable.
In other words, you have to teach your dog what the rules of engagement are – the boundaries of family life.
This is a complicated topic, especially for first-time dog owners. In the remainder of this article, we talk about strategies to train your dog that jumping off the bed is never acceptable.
Training a Dog Not to Jump
Training a dog not to jump – up or down – starts with understanding why dogs tend to jump in the first place.
In this YouTube video, a professional dog trainer decodes myths and explains facts about why dogs jump. Then the trainer outlines different training methods to stop dogs from jumping.
The Importance of Teaching Your Dog Good Bed Manners
Just like your dog will look to you for training to learn how to navigate potty breaks, meal times, playtime, meeting new people, and more, you need to teach your dog what PetSafe calls “bed manners.”
Believe it or not, bed manners training doesn’t start when you and your dog are already in the bed together. It starts with allowing your dog any access to the bed at all!
First, restrict access to the bed
When you are at home with your dog, the best way to keep your dog away from the bed is to simply close the door to the bedroom. (If you live in a small space and there is no door, you will need to use a gate or some other way of keeping your dog out.)
When you are not at home, you can either use the door or gate method or consider crating your dog or confining them to another room to keep them off the bed.
Of course, if you have multiple beds in your home, the challenge may appear insurmountable at first. Here, expert dog trainers recommending that you just pick one bed to start with and use that as the model for teaching your dog good bed manners.
Next, move the training into the bedroom
Assuming that you have successfully trained your dog in other areas, you already know what your pup finds most motivational – praise, treats, pats, playtime, or something else.
So now you need to move the training ground into the bedroom itself and use those positive rewards to communicate about what behavior you want your dog to do (or stop doing).
By rewarding your dog for desirable behavior and withholding the reward for undesirable behavior, you can teach your pup what is and is not acceptable behavior when entering and exiting the bed.
Health and Safety Risks When Dogs Jump Off the Bed
As VCA Animal Hospitals explains, dogs of any size can easily be injured when jumping or falling from any height.
This is particularly the case when the dog in question jumps because they are startled, excited, or anxious. But any jump (or fall) can cause mild to severe injuries.
This is especially true for small and toy-sized dog breeds. A jump or fall that might produce a mild sprain in a large dog could cause a break in a small dog.
Possible injuries from a dog jumping off the bed
These are the most commonly reported canine injuries that are linked to a jump or fall off the bed.
- Trauma to the chest.
- Tracheal injury or collapse.
- Broken bone.
- Abdominal trauma.
- Injury to the back or spine.
Signs your dog has been injured due to a jump or fall
It is important to know the signs and symptoms that your dog may have suffered an injury or trauma from jumping or falling off the bed – or any height.
The most commonly reported warning signs that your dog needs veterinary attention include these symptoms.
- Reluctance or inability to get up or move around.
- Whining or whimpering.
- Licking or biting at a certain area.
- Stiffness when walking.
- Obvious signs of pain when getting up or sitting down.
- Increased lethargy.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nausea or dizziness.
- Loss of consciousness.
Keep Your Dog From Jumping Off Any Furniture
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) points out, you can’t rely on your dog to understand the difference between jumping down from your bed and jumping down from another piece of furniture, like the couch or a chair.
You will have to teach your dog exactly which areas in the house are “their” places to sit or sleep.
The AKC also explains that when bed jumping is no longer acceptable, your dog may find another behavior to do to replace that – and it may be an equally unwelcome one. So be sure to offer a replacement such as an interesting new toy as a distraction at bedtime.
How to Prevent Your Dog From Jumping Off the Bed
Training your dog not to jump off the bed doesn’t have to be complicated.
However, the longer you let the behavior continue, the more danger there is of injury and the more difficult the habit will be to break.
These tips will help you think through the best method to train or otherwise prevent your dog from jumping off the bed.
Set up one (and only one) exit from the bed
As this dog owner Reddit thread highlights, sometimes the simplest explanation is also the right one when it comes to keeping your dog from jumping off the bed.
For example, if you block all other exits off the bed and then set up a dog ramp that offers a gentle decline down to the ground, your dog will quickly learn to use that method to exit the bed.
You can help the process along by offering up tasty treats and praise when your dog uses the ramp.
Teach your dog to use pet stairs
Another alternative to a dog ramp is pet stairs. Some dogs may have an aversion to one or the other, either because of past trauma or for some other reason only your dog knows.
But pet stairs can be a great alternative to a dog ramp and can also slow down your dog’s descent from the bed.
Install a small pet bed in your bedroom
Some dogs just want to be near their people – they don’t have to be in the same bed to feel content. For dogs that tend to be hot-natured, it can actually get too warm sleeping in the bed, especially in summer.
Here, another great alternative is to either bring your dog’s existing crate or bed into the bedroom or set up a slightly elevated dog bed right next to your bed.
An easy way to elevate is to use a Coolaroo and place a pad on top of that.
Crate train your dog in another area of the house
It is important to decide the very day you bring a new puppy or rescue dog home with you whether you want to crate train your dog.
When done well, most dogs respond quite well to crate training and get used to it quickly. But not all dogs can adapt, especially if the crate has been misused by a previous owner.
If you do decide to crate train your dog, you must be prepared to stay firm and not cave into the first whimper you hear.
Lower your bed
Some people really want their dogs to sleep with them. This is absolutely fine if this describes you! There is nothing that says allowing dogs to sleep with people is inherently bad.
But you also don’t want to put your dog in a dangerous situation just because you both want to sleep in bed at night.
Some owners have gone so far as to remove the box spring to their bed or even invest in a low-profile mattress so their dog can easily get up and down from the bed without injury.
This is an especially good solution if you have a small or toy-sized dog breed that can’t safely jump down even a few inches without the risk of serious injury.
Train your dog in specific commands
This is a vital step to keep your dog from jumping up onto or off of the bed when you are not around to stop them.
You need your dog to understand that the bed is always off-limits unless you are already in it!
Training your dog with commands like “stop,” “up,” “down,” “wait,” “place” and “out.” Here is a little primer to understand each command:
- Stop: to prevent your dog from doing something you don’t want them to do.
- Up: to invite your dog to sit or sleep with you.
- Down: to tell your dog it is time to get down from the couch or bed (or to keep your dog from jumping up).
- Wait: to tell your dog to wait on the bed until you come and get them and lift them down to the ground.
- Place: to tell your dog where to go instead of to your bed.
- Out: to tell your dog to leave the area and stay a specific distance away.
When your dog has learned each of these five commands, you now have a framework of communication to use to clearly tell your dog what not to do, what to do instead, and where to go to do it (or wait for you to help them).
Install or use some type of canine deterrent
There are a variety of canine deterrents on the market today to make jumping up onto the bed an undesirable behavior for your dog.
Of course, in this article, we are talking about how to keep your dog from jumping off the bed. But the absolute best way to accomplish this is actually to keep your dog from ever jumping onto the bed in the first place!
Deterrents range from sprays to noises to textures to structures to shocks. But since this is your bed we are talking about here, you want to pick a deterrent you can live with.
There is no one-dog-fits-all deterrent on the market today, unfortunately. Some dogs hate the bitter sprays and other dogs actually seem to like the taste of them. You will have to experiment with different ones to find something your dog truly dislikes.
Remember to Be Very Consistent With Your Dog
Your dog looks to you as the ultimate authority when it comes to what is and isn’t permitted inside the house.
If you are consistent with your training (or retraining) efforts, your dog will quickly learn what rules they are to follow to get the rewards they crave.