Do you sleep with your dog?

Do you sleep with your dog/dogs?  I do and I'm proud of it.  I cannot tell you how many times my new clients have lowered their head in shame stating "yes they sleep on the bed;" when asked where their dog sleeps.  Once they have confessed the horrible truth to me; that they indeed sleep with their dog, we discuss their relationship.  That is once I tell them that I too sleep with my dogs and love it.

Sleeping with your dog is a great thing if your relationship is a healthy one.  With that I mean that you are the boss and your dog understands and respects that.  If the bond with your dog is skewed in some way then sleeping together may just be fueling a growing problem.  There are clear and concise rules to sleeping together in the same bed and they are:

-  Your dog will get off immediately when asked and will not balk at the request.
-  No growl is uttered if you need to push them over while sleeping.
-  You can keep your dog off the bed with verbal commands.
-  Your dog listens to you well outside of the bedroom.

Sleeping with your dog is great; if everything is great within your relationship that is.  But, if your relationship is not a healthy, well structured one; sleeping in the same bed can be a battle ground.  I cannot believe how many people think that their dog growling at them is okay.  "Oh ya, he thinks he owns the bed," they tell me.  Well, in his head he does own the bed if he is growling at you.  A growl is a communication of warning; it holds within it, some extremely important information.  The growl itself should never be extinguished; but the meaning behind the growl examined.  A dog that growls over bed privileges has somehow misunderstood the human/canine relationship caused by a lack of human guidance.

The bed, the human's bed is a big piece of status.  It is the place to be and dogs know it.  Most dogs want to sleep on the bed but many use it to obtain status.   It is after all the prime chunk of real estate in your home.  If a dog claims the bed as theirs then there is a problem within the pack.  Things have gone wrong somewhere and typically it is that there is not a clear understanding of who runs the place.

If your dog displays even the smallest complaint about being moved during the night, being asked to get off or will not stay off then they need to be off until your relationship is made right.  Like any other negative communication from a dog it starts with a very small; a signal that you might miss if you are not paying attention.  Maybe getting your dog off the bed has become a physical battle.  Do you literally have to push them off if you want them off?  If so, not good.

Your bed is just that, yours.  Bed sleeping privileges are earned not taken.  When things are as they should be within your pack; then sleeping together is wonderful.  Being the pack animals that they are; dogs love to lay with the pack.  It is as simple as that.  But sleeping with the pack leaders on the most sought after piece of real estate comes with rules.  Rules that must be followed or the privilege is revoked or at least it should be.