sleeping with dogs

Sleeping with dogs is a controversial topic.  Some of the harsh conventional trainers out there will tell you that it is a big no no.  Even people who are not trainers will say that a dog should never sleep with you.  What do I think?  You should sleep with your dog, at least have them in the same room with you.  I don't think that they need to be in the bed with you but if you want them there, fine.  Fine, IF and only IF they go up when invited, they will get off if asked and do not do any growling while on the bed.  Of course if one person in the bed doesn't want the dog on the bed then they should not be on the bed.  It needs to work for everyone.

Dogs are pack animals and as such they sleep together, they do everything together.  Some dogs are more concerned with proximity than others.  Many of them are fine as long as they are around you while others (like Elsa) need to be touching.  Elsa not only likes to touch she likes a lot of touch.  So she is not allowed to sleep with us at night.  She wraps herself around me and pushes, the weight of her makes you think that you are sleeping with an elephant and there is just no moving her.  She doesn't get grumpy about it, you just can't move her.  She is like a lead weight.  So she has to wait until the alarm goes off or I tell her that she can come up.  The bed that she sleeps on at night is right beside me on the floor but she tends to move around here and there.

Luke sleeps the whole night with us.  He gets up when we go to bed.  He has a spot at the end of the bed and is normally not in the way.  Although there are quite a few times when he sleeps too close to my side and my legs are mashed in one spot.  He will get off when asked and has never had an issue with the bed.  There should be strict rules that go along with sleeping in the bed.  After all it is the primo real estate spot of the house.  You own it, not your dog.  That means that you say whether or not they are welcome there.

Sleeping with your dogs is a great bonding time.  Packs sleep together, it is this quiet time that much connecting happens even when you aren't doing anything.  I feel strongly that dogs belong in the same room where you sleep but often it just cannot be.  Take our little Jack Russell (who is now gone) who was stricken with dementia.  She circled all night and paced unbelievably.  She went from sleeping in my bed, to a dog bed in the room, then to her crate and finally her crate was removed when she was keeping us awake with her constant pacing.   It was extremely sad to us when she had to be removed from our room but it was necessary for us to sleep.

Everyone needs sleep and as wonderful as it is to have your dogs sleep with you it has to work for everyone involved.  I've worked with many clients who just cannot have the dog in the room, they can't sleep.  So we create a plan that works so that everyone is happy.  With Elsa, the 500 lb. standard poodle, I cannot sleep with that kind of weight slung across me so we adjust.  In the morning when she is allowed up I put up with the heavy beast across me so that she has the close bonding time with us.