Sleeping with dogs

Elsa's new bed in the office/spare room.  :)  She approves.

Sleeping with dogs is very controversial.  There are those who say that you should never; others who say you should always and everything in between.  I love sleeping with my dogs (when I'm not being crushed that is) but, there are rules and there should be for you as well.  

1.  Your dog must get off of the bed quickly and promptly when asked.

The bed belongs to you, not your dog.  One thing that dogs will guard is prime real estate and the bed is just that.  So getting off when asked is essential.  If you cannot get them off then they should not be getting on.

It is easy to teach your dog to get off the bed when asked by rewarding the behavior.  If they do not want to get off of your bed; rewarding them for doing so will create a more positive association to the act.  More training in general will probably also be required.  

2.  If you move around at night and are dealt some punishing growls; then your dog should not be on the bed.  That's right, no bed for growlers.  

3.  If you ask your dog to move over at night, they should not growl or grumble about it.  Remember who the bed belongs to.  Sleeping in your bed is a privilege not a right.

4.  They should ask before leaping.  Having your dog wait for the "okay" to get on the bed is an excellent way to instill who's bed it is.  Funny all my dogs have known that they can get up on the bed throughout the day without asking; but at night they have to wait until I say they can get up.  

Teaching your dog to ask simply requires them to stay off until told that they can get on.  Sitting on the floor staring at the bed is their way of asking. 

These few essential rules are very important when sleeping with your dog.  The other issues will be if you want your dog in your bed.  Dogs should at least sleep in the same room with you (their pack) but they do not have to be in your bed.  I have had clients over the years state that they simply cannot sleep with a dog in the bed.  Then the dog should not be in the bed. Sleep is VERY important for everyone.  

One couple who was struggling with the yes/no in the bed thing came to a very simple solution.  She wanted the dog in the bed, he did not.  He said he could not sleep with yet another body in the bed.  He also didn't want the dog in the room; the noise of the collar would awaken him and then he couldn't get back to sleep.  My solution was a simple one - take collar off, buy big comfy bed for the dog.  :)  He now sleeps blissfully by his Mom's side of the bed on his beautiful and very comfortable bed. 

Sleep is important.  A pack sleeps together but they don't have to be on top of one another.  It is very important that everyone have a good night sleep; but if everyone is going to be in the bed, there must be rules.