“Go to Bed”
In the Canine Good Citizen Gold test, the handler has to demonstrate that he has control over his dog that might be required in the home. This is done by sending the dog to “go to bed” and stay there till given a release command.
What the rule book says
The handler will stand approximately ten paces away from the bed. On the instruction of the evaluator, the handler should send the dog to go to the item of bedding. The dog should remain there until the Evaluator is satisfied that the dog is settled. Note: The dog is not being sent to bed in disgrace. The item of bedding used should be suitable for the dog being tested and no enticement using toys or food should be used.
First choose a command such as “Go to bed” or “Place” etc. For best results you need to stick with the same command from here on out and the same bedding so as not to confuse the dog.
Sit on a low stool or kneel right next to the bedding you will use in the test. Make sure that you can easily reach it with an outstretched arm. Have the dog sitting in front of you before starting the exercise.
Using a tasty treat or toy that the dog likes, say “Go to bed” and lead the dog – by the nose – with a sweep of the arm to the centre of the bedding next to you. Hold the lure/treat on the bedding until the dog settles in the middle of the bed before saying, “Yes” and reward. Repeat over and over until the dog starts rushing to bed ahead of the reward he is going to get.
At this point, the dog does not stay on the bed for more than a second or so. You’re just encouraging him to go to bed. Remember to release your dog from the bed such as “Ok” or “Free.”
It is important to note that the “Yes” means that what you have done is right and that you will be rewarded. However, the reward does not have to be given immediately and can be delayed. At least 20 repetitions are called for.
Increase the difficulty gradually. Instead of guiding your dog to bed, ask for him to “Go to bed” from a short distance away (3-6 feet). Once he is successful at 3 feet, increase it to 6 feet, and then increase the distance again. Eventually you’ll be able to ask him to “go to your bed” from across the room. Use a leash to guide him if needed.
Your dog must learn that sent to “go to your bed” means to go and stay there until released. A half-hour stay while you are busy and want the dog out of the way is an ideal way to train him.
Going too fast will cause stress and make your dog associate his bed with a negative experience.
Next logical step is to begin to repeat the exercise outdoors in a quiet place while repeating the same sequence as was done indoors. The handler will now begin to stand and the dog can sit next to him as both face the bedding. Gradually increase the distance away from the bedding.
Continue stepping further away each time, then coming back to the bed and rewarding your dog. This way your dog knows the need to stay on the bed.
You will want to continue to practice on a regular basis. Ask him to “go to bed” before a walk or before you leave the house etc. Remember to go at your own pace, stay positive and use lots of praise and treats.
If after some time and regular practice you are still having problems then you likely have a leadership issue. If your dog does not want to go to bed he may see himself as in charge and you are in need of protection.