Training Series: How to Acclimate Your Dog to a New (LAY LO) Bed

dog sleeping in lay lo bed

You might be all too excited about your new dog bed, yet, your dog couldn’t be less interested. Somehow you feel almost betrayed. After all, you’re the one that spent hours browsing for the best dog bed out there that matches your dog’s and your home’s style. But, no, your dog still prefers to sleep on that old, stinky, chewed-up bed that’s covered in far too many stains. 

But it gets even worse. After you finally decide to say so long to their old bed, they dare to ignore their new modern dog bed in favor of a slice of the cold, flat, but convenient floor. Sometimes even right next to their new bed, but not quite on their bed! 

Don’t worry. You’re not alone in this fight. We’ve been there – and many LAY LO dog bed owners too. Teaching your dog how to acclimate to a new bed is an easy training journey that takes about two to four weeks to master. 

To help you get started, we asked Ayumi from Paw by Paw Dog Training & Behavior--and a LAY LO dog owner, a few tips on how to get your dog acclimated to their new bed. 

1. Let Go of the Old Bed (Or Hide It)

The first thing you need to do when bringing home your new dog bed is to get rid of the old one. It seems too obvious, but unless the old bed is absolutely destroyed, most pet parents leave them around, you know, just in case. 

The reason is straightforward: this is their bed. Don’t expect your dog to jump with excitement when they see their new bed. After all, they don’t realize the concept behind a new bed. 

2. Use the Scent Method

As pet owners, we don’t blame our dogs, but on the bed itself, as if there was something wrong with it. Well, it is not their bed. Keep this in mind, their bed smells like them, and they associate this with their safe place, much like your bed smells like you. 

The scent method taps into your pup’s olfactive skills to make them love their new bed. Use old t-shirts and lay them over or inside the bed to impregnate your scent on the new bed. This is why investing in a dog bed with a removable cover can be worth it. For example, all LAY LO dog beds have removable covers with a zipper that you can easily swap and clean. 

Stuffing the bed with your laundry can also work well. Hopefully, the smell will draw your dog onto the new bed. If it does, praise them and give them a treat, so they know this is the behavior you want to reinforce. The removable cover of our modern dog beds makes it super easy to clean, thanks to the machine washable covers. 

3. Try the Swapping Method

If your scent isn’t enough to convince your dog to test out the new bed, you might have to improvise. This tip is a bit tricky, and it will depend on your dog’s old bed. The idea is to trick your dog into loving their new bed while they believe they’re still using their old one. 

Okay, to start, use your dog’s old bed cover and swap the bed out, so the new bed is covered and not noticeable. Your dog will go to the new bed thinking it’s their old one because the smell is still there. Slowly work the old cover off the new bed once you notice they’re comfortable.

4. Use the Association Method

Another way to train your dog to use their new bed is by using the positive association method. You already use this training method to reinforce other behavior. It might take a bit more time than other methods, but it’s crazy effective when done correctly. 

The idea of this method is to associate their bed with something that they love. Some dogs will respond to playtime on the bed. Others will prefer getting treats while on the bed, or maybe the bed becomes the spot where they keep their toys. It depends on your pup. 

To practice this training method, you have to lure your dog to the new bed. Once they touch it, reward this behavior. This will slowly build into them, associating the bed with good things. Eventually, they’ll turn to their bed to rest and sleep. 

Keep in mind. There’s one downside to this method. If you choose to associate the bed with positive reinforcement, you cannot send your dog to the new bed for “time out” or punishment. This will have the opposite effect on their new bed. 

Reasons Why Your Dog May Doesn’t Use Their New Bed

There are so many factors that play a role in how your dog responds to a new bed. These factors can honestly apply to everything they get, even toys. The biggest reason your dog may not use their new bed has to do with scent, and many of their habits are based on smell. 

It takes them time to recognize new items in the house, like their beds. You have to be patient and try different methods before giving up. The good thing about LAY LO dog beds is that they all have a removable cover with a zipper. So whether you’re getting a second bed or a new one, you can easily swap the covers and make the acclimation process that much faster and easier for them.