One of the best commands I’ve ever taught my four dogs is "go to your bed." This command tells a hound to stop whatever he or she is doing, run off to the bedroom, and jump into his or her appointed bed. We have dog beds that we made that are essentially a wood bed frame with a washable pillow laid in it for canine snoozing comfort.
The "go to your bed" command is useful for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it establishes me as the pack leader. As I’ve written before, in the canine world, someone is going to be leader of the pack and everyone is a lot better off if that leader is you. Some experts claim that letting a dog sleep on the bed is not a good idea because the dog gets the idea he’s at the top of the pack hierarchy. Others don’t buy into that. I’m not sure, but I avoided the whole problem by making beds for the dogs. (As the one who washes the canines, I know when they had their last bath and how they smell, so I don’t want them snoozing quite that close to me anyway.)
Another nifty element of the "go to your bed command" is that the dogs aren’t allowed to leave their beds until we say so. If we have guests and the dogs are being completely obnoxious, with the "go to your bed command," we can get all four dogs out of the way with one quick, simple command.
From the dog’s perspective, having a place that is definitely his or hers is important. Like people, it’s good for a dog to have a space where he won’t be disturbed and can completely relax. Because our dogs each have their own beds and can’t leave them once ensconced, there is no stressful canine jockeying for position to get the perceived "best" bed. This lack of conflict is good for everybody.
Although we have the wooden beds now, we taught some of the dogs about their place when we were housebreaking them. Because we used a crate for housebreaking, the original "bed" was the crate. Once the dog was reliable overnight, we swapped the dog bed into the spot where the crate was. Because each dog goes to a particular place in the bedroom, the association was already made.
An alternative to teaching the dog to go to a particular place in the house is to use a moveable bed and to teach the dog that "go to your bed" means to go to wherever the bed is located. Some people use a blanket that the dog knows is his "place." This approach is great for those who travel because you can put the blanket in a corner, say "go to your bed," and the dog is settled in for the evening.
The key to training is to always make sure the bed is a safe place and associate it with good things whether it’s a treat or a favorite toy. Avoid using the "go to your bed" command as punishment. Then the dog will eagerly and happily run off to his bed.