This blog was published in Fast Friends two years ago but it is one of my favourite things to teach a hound so I thought it worth sharing again.

Your hounds bed needs to be his temple. His place to rest, escape and relax. No bad things happen when he is 'on his bed'. This can be challenging with hoarders. But if some thing is taken to the bed that is undesirable, remove the item with no engagement. No engagement means no muttering, telling off, yelling, sighing or eye contact. Just take the item in a calm no nonsense manner and carry on with what you were doing or even better, if it is not going to cause damage to your hound (or property) just ignore him.

To start when you see him laying quietly on his bed walk past and place a treat in front of his nose so he doesn't need do get up. Chances are the first few times you do this the treat will be gobbled up and your hound will race after you wanting more. Just carry on with what you were doing and ignore him. He will eventually go back to his bed and lay down. Leave him a few minutes and again walk past and drop a treat. Repeat. The key moment, in my experience, is when you see your hound gobble the treat and look at you intently - Your hound is now thinking, rather than just following the food.

Next get your hound's attention while you are beside his bed and he is not on it. As he comes to you throw a treat on his bed. He will get on his bed and gobble it up and probably then stare at you. Wait quietly and don't look at him. He will eventually lie down. This will take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. If he walks away you have moved too quickly to this step, go back to random treats on bed when he's already lying down. As soon as he lies down reward with a treat and 'good dog'. If he stays lying down on his bed reward again, this may be with pats, if your dog is into pats, treats and/or kind words.

Repeat this step as much as you can and always walk away in a calm positive manner and ignore your hound if he follows you. If he follows you for a bit then goes back to his bed and lies down, walk past, drop a treat and 'good dog' on your way past and carry on as normal.

Move on to getting your dog to come to you and his bed but wait on giving the treat till he has laid down, as soon as he's laid down on his bed treat him. Move away from the bed, if he stays there go back and treat him.

Next add a hand signal, I point at the bed, wait till he has laid down. As soon as he does, treat him. Keep doing this until your hound is jumping on his bed and downing right away. Once he will jump onto and down on his bed immediately with your hand signal add your cue of spoken 'bed' with the hand signal. Say 'bed' as soon as he starts to lie down and is committed to the down.

Once you hound is consistently downing on his bed with your hand signal and 'bed' (& rewards for a job well done) with you beside the bed move away a step from thebed and repeat. Then move further away and repeat, and then move further away and repeat, then move to another room and repeat. Then add distractions like while you're on the phone, sitting on the couch, visitors are there etc.

Slowly remove the treats, so to one in three 'bed's randomly to one in four randomly. It's also an excellent reinforcement to occasionally give him a treat when he's already on his bed just because he's being a good dog and you love him.

A tip with treats. They need to be GOOD treats especially if you are starting something new. Something that your dog likes and gets excited about. Also mix them up and try new things, some of my (hounds) favourites are: Possyum Dog roll cut into small cubes, steak cut into small cubes (I now this sounds excessive but if you buy a piece of steak for around $6 cook it or leave it raw, cut it up into small cubes you have the equivalent or more than what you would get from a bag of pre-made dog treats), chicken nuggets cut up, cheese (edam, brie - try different ones), kransky's cut into small cubes and roast chicken (it's amazing how much meat is left on a carcass after human's have consumed it. It is five minutes well spent to scavenge this meat - your hound will adore it but be vigilant about no bones).

Treats and rewards can be all sorts of things. For example wait for your dog to lay on his bed to get his collar/lead on for walkies. It can take a bit of time to start with but if you are consistent and patient your hound will soon be running for his bed as soon as he hears the clink of the leash!

Happy Training,

Bec, Priceless, Blondie & Lola (for a few more days)

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