By Kathy Santo | Updated: April 26 2018
“My dog weighs 75lbs and has a beautiful, spacious dog bed in the kitchen. Instead of using that, she’ll lay under the glass top coffee table in the living room when we’re watching TV. or under the computer desk when I’m working in my office. The glass on the coffee table is full of dog fur and nose prints, and my legs cramp up at my desk because there’s no place to put them! What can I do to make her love her bed?“
It seems as if your dog is giving you lessons in Canine Behavior 101. First lesson: most dogs retain a den instinct from their ancestors. Simply put, it means that they derive comfort and security from being in a place that approximates a den, and a large, fluffy dog bed in the middle of a kitchen doesn’t meet the criteria. A snug, cave-like location does, hence her preference for the coffee table and computer desk. In this case, I think she’s also seeking out your companionship, which is your second lesson: Dogs want to be with their pack.
Since you’ve expressed that you’re not in love with her choice of resting places, consider buying her inexpensive airline crates, removing the doors (needing to confine her isn’t your issue), and placing each of them in the rooms that she prefers. You’ll be meeting her need to be with you, and to be in an enclosed area all at the same time! Plus, you’ll also have legroom at your desk. As for the beautiful dog bed, if it won’t fit in the crates, consider retiring it for a while and trying it again later, or donating it to a local animal shelter. Because beauty truly is in the eye of the (canine) beholder!
Kathy Santo has spent her entire career as a dog trainer and handler, training dogs and winning over 500 obedience, agility and Canine Good Citizenship titles. Working with her own dogs, she has achieved every competitive obedience title the American Kennel Club (AKC) has offered and earned the prestigious AKC “Obedience Trial Champion” title (OTCh) multiple times.
In Ramsey, Kathy teaches classes, private lessons, and oversees the training of her student’s dogs using her extensive knowledge, experience and intuition to handle problems from the benign to the serious. Her engaging personality has won her the respect and friendship of her many students, who now consider themselves part of her extended family.