Should my dog sleep on my bed?
The million dollar question! Whether a dog should sleep in one’s bed or not has been an on-going debate within the dog-community for a long time now. Personally, I don’t think this is a matter of ‘’should he’’ or ‘’should he not’’; it’s more of a ‘’do I want it?’’ type of situation.
Let me explain!
Maybe you think that you might be giving your dog ‘’too much freedom’’ or/and that he might think he has control, but this is not the case. A dog can perfectly sit on the couch or on a chair under complete knowledge that these are your places to be. As long as he listens and goes away when you want him to, it’s okay, and so it happens with the bed as well.
The reality is, your dog doesn’t want to sleep in your bed because he wants to own you, but because your bed is so much more comfortable than his!
Now, let’s dive into some facts that will help you decide what’s the best for you and your pooch.
Does my dog affect my sleep?
Of course, light sleepers might get awakened by their dogs if they move too much, scratch or snore in the night, but the truth is, sleeping with your dog can actually be very beneficial for your sleep!
Studies have revealed that sleeping with your dog can potentially help with insomnia by lowering anxiety. When we sense our friend on our side, we unconsciously leave behind our hypervigilant and aroused state, being able to improve our sleeping patterns. Oxytocin, a hormone that eases tension and improves happiness, is released when you cuddle with your pet, lowering your heart rate and reducing stress.
Strengthen that bond!
Did you know that Native Americans would often sleep with their dogs to keep each other warm on chilly nights? This was known as the "three dog night." The dogs would share the humans' beds, huddling around the campfire. This probably contributed to the early link between humans and dogs; some vets believe it can still help in the socialization process today. Dogs who sleep with their owners often feel more as a part of the pack and, according to many, are then easier to train. However, don't forget the guidelines, restrictions, and limits; it's your bed, not your dog's.
Before thinking about letting your dog sleep with you, you must properly build your "pack" bond. This entails teaching your pet that sharing your bed with you is a privilege rather than a right.
Basically, if you decide to let your pooch sleep with you:
Set limits: Make sure it’s clear for your dog where his part of the bed is, where he’s permitted and where not.
Don't tolerate aggression: It will be challenging to sleep with your doggie if he shows aggression against you or another person with whom you share a bed. This behavior shouldn't be accepted in the sleeping area.
Keep it clean: Sleeping with a dog means more dirt in your bed. You might think about teaching your dog to sleep at your feet or/and above the covers.
Bathing your pet regularly is also recommended, to keep allergies, germs and unwanted smells away.
Using an additional cover can help protect your mattress against those little accidents that could happen.
When to leave it be
The reality is, there might as well be times where you shouldn’t share your bed with your dog, at least not yet.
For example if you realize your dog might start showing signs of territorialism, it could mean that you’re both not ready to start sharing the bed. Guarding resources is quite a natural activity in the canine world. Dogs have a natural desire to feed, sleep, and reproduce, therefore guarding behavior is tied to survival.
When it comes to guarding a resting place, dogs might be actually guarding their ‘’right’’ to sleep in peace. Before barking or growling, dogs usually signal through body language that they want to be left alone. The dog might have tensed his body, licked his lips, or turned his head away; pay attention to these signs!
Our advice is to let it happen naturally. Prepare a safe, comfortable space only for your dog. This way he will always have the opportunity to decide if he wants to lay alone or with you.
To avoid disturbing your sleep, you'll want your dog to understand what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior, so we also recommend establishing some ground rules first.
Here our simple guidelines:
If they aren't potty trained: It's preferable to train your dog first before letting them sleep in your bed if they are too young and are still having accidents.
When allergies or some diseases are present: It's recommended to avoid sharing a bed to avoid spreading additional germs.
If you are a light sleeper: Dogs frequently wiggle about, play out their dreams, and even snore while they sleep! Consider letting your dog sleep in his own bed.
If you recently got a dog: It could take him some time to get used to you before he’s ready to sleep in your bed. At first you could put his bed next to yours, so that he still has the feeling of belonging. You can always let him on the bed later if they show an interest in dozing with you and behave well.
So, as you see, this million dollar question is actually easier to answer than we all thought. Once more it’s about getting to know your pet, noticing those little signs when he tries to communicate with you, and then adapting your teaching or training along the way, so that you can find a common ground.
Feel free to leave us a comment, tell us how your pet-training is going, share your thoughts. We’re happy to receive questions or subjects you’d want to know more about!
For now Stay Fluffy,
Your MrFluffyFriend Team