Sunday, June 9, 2013

Should the dog sleep in the bed with me?

There is really no consensus among trainers about the subject of dogs on the bed. There are varying opinions and pros and cons on both sides of the issue. However, in my opinion, it ultimately is about two things: Do you want the dog on the bed and is the dog well suited to be on the bed.

If you do not want the dog on the bed, that is the end of the story. It is your bed. It is your resource to control. If you never allow your little buddy on the bed, he will not expect it.

The lovely Shane and I allow Cuddles and Copper on the bed with certain limitations. As long as they behave they can stay. If they start moving around too much, barking at each other, etc. it is time for them to get down.

Some dogs do not enjoy sleeping all night on the bed. Copper, for example will nap on the bed as he is doing after a long day of work in the picture on the left.  However, at night, he sometimes will jump on the bed to get petted, then lay on the foot of the bed for a few minutes, then he will make his way to his bed on the floor.

Cuddles, on the other hand, will sleep, most of the night, on the bed with us.

There are trainers who are concerned that the dogs see sleeping on the bed as a sign of the dog being dominant over the people. My thought is that if you have a dog who is aggressive or is guarding the bed then, obviously, it is time for the dog to get off the bed. However, from a training/behavioral perspective I do not see a need to ban dogs from the bed across the board.

There are also health concerns. I am not a doctor. I do not even play one on TV :). That being said, if you have allergies or medical issues that are impacted negatively by the dog sleeping with you, I think that is a so-called, "no-brainer" decision.  In that case I would not let the dog sleep with me.  I think what it all comes down to is that it is your bed so you decide if the dog can sleep with you.

I really like having the dogs close by when I sleep. If I did not allow them in the bed with me, I would want them at least in the bedroom. My reasoning is that if they need to go out to potty in the middle of the night they can (and do) bark to wake me.

Now , what I have written about thus far is adult dogs. If you have a puppy, I think you should seriously consider keeping the little guy in a crate at night. This will keep him from getting into trouble while you are sleeping (chewing up things, etc,) and will aide with housebreaking. It will also be safer for him. As a little guy, it would be easy for you to accidentally hurt him by rolling over on him in your sleep.

However, once the puppy is housebroken and has gotten a little older and bigger, if you are comfortable that he will not get into trouble, I see no issue with allowing him to sleep with you on the bed. He has to also be obedient enough to get down when you  give the command.

Well, I hope this has been helpful to you. Remember, the bottom line is that it is your bed if the dog is well behaved and you want him there it is fine, if he misbehaves or you don't want him there, that is fine too.

Remember if you have any questions about your dog's behavior or about training, please feel free to contact me at any time!

Till next time


William Moore
William Moore Canine Training

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