Beans hasn’t been taking well to his new dog bed. In fact, he’s been avoiding it altogether in favor of Lulu’s bed or the couch. When it first arrived, I coaxed him up onto it and he reluctantly posed for some photos, but on a day-to-day basis he’s practically ignored it. Dogs use their sense of smell not only to communicate but to mark their territory, and Beans, being a master marker of territory, took one sniff of this new bed and said “No thanks, lady. This ain’t my bed.”

So I needed to think of a way to 1) help him understand that this bed is for him and the big bed is for Lulu, and 2) train him to like it just as much as he likes the other spots in the house where he sleeps. I want him to use the bed, but I also want to make sure he wants to use it and is comfortable with it. But dogs aren’t like people — they don’t force themselves to spend time in a new pair of jeans knowing that they’ll eventually break them in…they are much more creatures of habit, resistant to change.

I started brainstorming… Beans likes to be close to me (sometimes I call him “Static Beans” because he’s like static cling) and snuggle up with blankets, towels and other soft things…Eureeka!

I took an old sweater that I had planned on giving to Goodwill and laid it on top of the bed. Because it had my familiar scent on it, Beans had no problem getting right up on that bed and snuggling into the warm folds of the sweater. Not only was it nice and soft, but it made him feel comforted, as though I was near. I certainly wasn’t going to wear it anymore, so at least it ended up being put to good use.

How do you make your dogs feel more comfortable and receptive to change?