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
Love the blog. Brings back memories of 1993 when I had three rescued greyhounds sharing my king size bed husband clinging to edge on the right and me on the left. They didn’t leave much room as they didn’t curl up. they spread out . LOL I’ve always had a dog to sleep with. 74 now living with family not having that privilege so sad. Missing my furry babies. have a stuffed bear to take their place now.
Flo is a SFT bitch, now just 11 years old. She has shared my bed since i rescued her at 10 weeks old.
She had been snatched from the litter nest at about 10 days by another jealous dog, then was in the middle of a serious bitch fight. Later on it was found she was stone deaf due to shaking and other injuries. Her breeders wanted to put her down but i intervened and bought her. Lucky me!, She is the best dog i have ever owned. I bonded her by keeping her with me for the next three months. I taught her simple hand signals, she is so clever she learned very quickly. At three she realised somrthing was wrong with my husband, he was diabetic, and she learned to react to his illness and give an alarm if he
had an event. Now i am 74 and she checks me out daily. I am also diabetic. Her nose is still so sharp
that she can smell her doggy pals a half km away and tells me about it. I ride a mobility scooter and she rides with me. We live on a golf course on Tenerife. Her puppy injuries have resulted in arthrosis in
later life, but she is stilla happy comic character.
I have slept with our four legged family members all my life. We have three now sharing our king size bed. Each has her favorite Fluffy Friend bed—they love them—but they don’t mind switching places during the night. Wouldn’t have it any other way.
Little Jessie, now 5 years old has been sleeping in my bed since i got her home at 8 weeks. I made a cozy little bed at the corner of my bed and she would sleep there but when she needed to go to the toilet she would wake me and i took her into my bathroom on her artificial grass mat. She then went back onto her little bed but very often came into my bed for warmth. She would put her back against mine and fell asleep for hours and now at the age of 5 she is in a similar routine but does not need to go to the toilet until the morning. Her name is Jessie, she also likes to sleep on my husbands chair where i put her fluffy friends bed on at night, so she makes her own decisions where she sleeps. She is a chihuahua cross pug and my special friend.
As long as the hound is cleanish and doesn’t snore, I can think of nothing better than having your “ chum “ sharing the duvet.