What is a safe spot?

A safe spot is a place where your dog feels secure. It can be the dog’s bed, a blanket, a den, the couch or any other place. Safe spots are spots around the home where your dog knows to go if they feel overstimulated by their surroundings. It is also a place where everyone in the home leaves the dog alone.

You can also think of it as your dog’s resting or quiet place, where they can feel secure that no one will come and suddenly pet them while they are sleeping. Think of it as your dog’s own downtime.

This is also a place your dog can go to show you that they are done with an activity. Say you are brushing your dog, and your dog walks over to their safe spot. This is your dog’s way of communicating with you – “ok human, I need a break – I’ll come back when I am ready for more brushing.”


Rules for the safe spot

Safe spots have rules that everyone must follow in order for them to work.

  1. The dog is always left alone in their safe spots.
  2. The dog is never told to go to their safe spot (have another bed or mat if you want to teach your dog to go to a specific place in your home).
  3. The safe spot should be comfy (Let your dog decide what they need for them to be comfy – sometimes a blanket is welcome, sometimes the spot is just fine as it is).
  4. The safe spot is only for the dog and not for sharing with humans or other pets. This is especially important if you have children (Read more about children and dogs here).

Why should I give my dog safe spots?

The reason we create safe spots for our dogs is to give them a chance to digest their experiences and get rid of potential stress by being able to completely relax.


By being able to have a place where your dog can properly rest, they get a chance to move their experiences and their learning from the short term memory into their long term memory storage. This means that next time you are training the same thing with your dog, they will be able to remember it better, and you are able to progress with your training faster (Read about how to train your dog here).

Whether you are dealing with a young puppy who is just getting to know and learn about the world, or a dog that has developed a problem behaviour due to an underlying emotion they don’t know how to cope with (Read more about a dog’s emotions here) or simply just have a dog, safe spots are important.

How to create a safe spot?

Notice where your dog likes to lie and rest, and then set up his bed, basket or blanket there. Be aware if your dog likes an open or a closed space, high or low. Some dogs feel safer and more relaxed when in a closed off space like a den, where as others don’t mind being in the open. Just like some dogs like to sleep up high, as that makes them feel safer. This is normal if you have a more nervous dog.

You can have several safe spots around the house, and if you have more than one floor in your home at least 1 safe spot on each floor should be set up. Don’t forget to let your dog choose the spots. Sometimes they would like a blanket or a comfy basket there, but sometimes that spot is chosen for other reasons – maybe there is a nice draft to keep your dog cool, or maybe it’s a spot with just the right support for the head or maybe it is just a quiet nice spot.

The same goes if you bring your dog with you to work. Your workplace should also have a safe spot for your dog.

Safe spots are important for your dog’s overall wellbeing and welfare. It helps your dog destress, process experiences and improves learning.

Have fun creating safe spots for your dog!

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