By the Pets for Homes Team, in collaboration with Snooza
Written by Karen Lee
It can take a lot of time and effort to choose a new bed for your dog. Not only do most pet parents spend hours, if not days on the internet searching for the best dog bed, but they’ll often even check out dog beds in person. Whether you’re a prospective pet owner looking at sales for dogs in Melbourne, or an experienced dog trainer looking for something new for a senior dog, you only want the best for your pooch. When the day comes that your dog’s new bed arrives, then surely they’re going to love it immediately, right?
Sadly, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes your dog will sleep anywhere but their fancy new dog bed, or they’ll just keep going back to their old, chewed up, stained and manky bed. Don’t worry – you didn’t make the wrong choice in buying a new, more comfortable bed for your pup.
Their reluctance to start using their new dog bed has more to do with how dogs view territory and scents, rather than any mistake on your part. They may also prefer to sleep with you. Thankfully, there are a couple of clever tricks to get your dog to use their new bed. Given a little bit of time, your dog should be sleeping soundly in their new bed, just like you’d envisioned.
First, we should understand why our dogs don’t use their beds right away.
Why Does My Dog Not Sleep on Her New Bed?
One of the main reasons your dog may not take to their new bed immediately is that dogs are creatures of habit. Most dogs have a very set schedule for their day-to-day lives. They eat the same food each day, walk the same routes, and sleep in the same place.
While this is actually a good thing – it helps provide structure, especially for dogs that are sensitive to disruptions in their routine – it can cause a dog to take some time before they’re used to changes.
The second big reason is that the new bed just plain smells weird to them, and they don’t view it as part of their territory. Their old bed is familiar to them and has all their smells. It’s their safe place where they can rest comfortably without having to think about threats. They haven’t made that association with their new bed.
How Do I Get My Dog To Use Their New Bed?
Now that you know why dogs don’t immediately love their new bed, there are a couple of approaches you can take to get your dog to use their new bed.
1. Get rid of the old bed entirely
This is the approach we would take if their old bed simply isn’t fit for use anymore. Maybe they’ve torn a hole in the bed that’s simply too big to be patched, or the stuffing is coming out and your dog might eat it. In these cases it’s a better idea to simply put the bed out of sight, so your dog isn’t tempted to go back to it.
2. Swap scents
To your dog, their old bed is their safe place. Their new bed just smells like the packaging it came in, or maybe even the factory where it was made. There’s nothing wrong with the bed, it just doesn’t smell right – yet. You can speed up this process with a few simple steps:
- Get an old t-shirt or blanket that you’re okay with giving to your dog
- Place this item in the old dog bed
- Let your dog use the old dog bed for a couple of days or even weeks – this can be done before the new dog bed even arrives
- Transfer the item to the new dog bed when you want to get them to use it
The idea here is that the t-shirt or blanket will take on the smells of the old dog bed, and will carry these scents over to the new dog bed. While this is usually pretty effective, it may not be able to overpower the scent of the new dog bed entirely, and it may still take a couple of days before your dog starts using it.
3. Slow transfer
This is a variation of swapping scents, but may work better to dogs that are even
more picky about where they sleep. It’ll take a little more time, but can be effective when your dog is very reluctant to let go of the old bed.
- Get a large towel or blanket that is big enough to cover both beds at the same time
- Completely cover the old bed with the towel or blanket, tuck away any excess material
- Let your dog use the bed for a couple of days or weeks so they get used to it
- Put the new bed beside the old bed and cover it with the towel or blanket as well
- Let your dog use the beds, and every day slowly transfer the towel or blanket cover over to the new bed a little more
- Take away the old bed once it is about to be exposed
With this technique, the smells of the old bed are also transferred to the new bed. Your dog also gets to try out the new bed while still having the comfort of the old bed right beside it.
4. Positive association
With the positive association technique, you’ll be trying to get your dog to associate the new bed with positive, fun experiences so they choose to use it. One of the simplest ways to do this is similar to how you’d normally train a dog – when your dog approaches the bed, give them praise and a treat, or some other reward that they love. The more they interact with the bed, the more you reward them.
Once you’ve lured your dog to the bed and are actually on it, you can also have playtime while they’re on the bed. Place their favourite toys in the bed and give them time to play around. They may also play games or do tricks as they’re on the bed, which will also earn them rewards and praise. The key is to have your dog make the connection that the new bed means fun. Soon enough, they’ll love their new bed just as much as their old one.
What’s the Best New Bed I Can Get for My Dog?
Snooza makes pet beds that are meant to last, with durable, repairable, and luxurious materials. All Snooza beds are proudly Australian made, so quality is at the heart of every product.
Depending on their breed, size and life stage, Snooza offers a bed that best supports your pet’s needs.
Puppies & smaller pets
For new puppy and small pet owners, Snooza’s range of Soothing & Calming dog beds and accessories are great to calm and relax anxious pups. For puppies that like to chew, the Snooza TUFF Snuggler is extremely strong and durable, made from high density performance, scratch and chew resistant fabric. If your puppy likes to curl up and snuggle, the Calming Cuddler and Blanket act as a big hug for your pup, with long-pile plush and soft raised walls providing them with a sense of comfort and security.
Larger & senior dogs
Larger, senior or more heavy dogs require extra special care, as they are more prone to ailments such as joint pain and stiffness. Supporting your pet as they get older is crucial - and so it is important to invest in supportive bedding. The Snooza Ortho Dream Sofa is especially designed to support larger and more senior dogs, with a spacious sleeping area and orthopaedic foam base to support their joints. The Big Dog Bed is great for larger or giant dog breeds, with memory foam support, helping disperse the weight of your pet and moulding the bed to their body, ensuring an all over, even support. For larger dogs that are more anxious, the Calming Ortho Bed is a mattress-like bed with an orthopaedic foam base for added support, with a super soft faux-fur cover helping to calm and soothe their anxiety.
Timid & anxious breeds
For dog breeds that are more timid and like to burrow deep into their bed, the cave-style design of the Snooza Hoodie Cuddler paired with soft faux-fur provides them with a cosy, calming safe place to retreat to. If you like to travel or move your pet’s bed around the house, the lightweight and luxurious Calming Futon can help provide your pet with a familiar, safe place wherever they are. Offering ultimate versatility with a reversible cover, you can choose between short-pile Latte plush or long-pile Mink shag, depending on what your pet prefers.
With so many options out there, choosing a new bed for your dog can be tricky and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. The easiest way to find the pawfect bed for your pet is to visit Snooza’s factory store in Cheltenham, Victoria! There you can see the full product range on display and touch and feel fabrics. Remember to bring your pup so they can try out their new favourite bed! Don’t forget to reach out to the Snooza customer service team if you need more help choosing the right bed for your pet, or for more help with making the transition from their old bed to their new bed.