Should I Let My Dog Sleep in Bed With Me?
Few canines would balk at the opportunity to join their owners for a bit of cuddle time on the bed. But deciding whether to share the bed with the furball has been one of the great conundrums for dog owners. There's no right or wrong answer, unless you have a puppy or a misbehaving canine. Your bed is off-limits for those two groups.
Probably Not As a Puppy
If you're dealing with a canine stuck in the crazy stage known as puppyhood, it's probably best that this hyper ball of fur remain in a crate next to your bed. Youngsters need structure and a list of house rules they must respect. After they earn your trust, you can begin relaxing those rules, but for the first few months, you've got to lay down the law. Beyond that reason, puppies also have accidents occasionally, even those that are housetrained but still in that stage where they can't hold their bladder for long periods of time. Also, at around 3 or 4 months of age, his adult teeth start moving in, which turns him into a biting and chewing fiend. Toys and playtime can discourage destructive biting, but it's better to play it safe and keep that gnawing mouth of his off your bed.
Make Sure He Minds His Manners
If your pup is an adolescent, adult or senior who's well-behaved, you can offer your bed to him if you'd like, but keep an eye on him. He shouldn't be digging at your sheets, chewing pillows or anything like that. If he does, he's lost his bed privileges. If your pup is a new addition to the house, give it a few weeks before you start letting him on the bed, even if he seems well-behaved. Dogs who are brought into new situations need the same type of structure a puppy needs. They can exhibit a sudden shift in behavior when introduced to a new environment.
He Must Obey the Down Command
Even if you've got the friendliest and best mannered four-legged friend taking up residence in your house, he needs to understand the "down" command. There are going to be times when you want or need him to jump off the bed, and he might not understand your snapping fingers or a head nod toward the floor. Call your pup onto the bed. Grab a handful of treats and hold one out in your hand. Say, "Down," and slowly walk away from the bed, with the treat in clear view. As soon as your pal jumps down, praise him and give him the treat. Keep doing this a few times a day until he immediately jumps off when you say, "Down," even without a treat. If you say "Down" for another command, such as to make him lie down, come up with a different word when you want him to jump off the bed, such as "Off."
Allowing your pooch to sleep in your bed can lead to a few issues. If your little guy jumps up into bed and sleeps with you every night, he thinks that's his spot for rest. It can lead to confusion if you want him to sleep elsewhere at any other time. He can act stubborn and continue jumping onto the bed or protest with lots of barks and cries, especially if you shuffle him into his crate. On the aggression side of things, some dogs claim the bed as their territory. Your pup might respect you laying down for a nap, but other animals and people -- including your significant other -- can be subject to an unwelcoming growl or snap. If your pup is small, you risk rolling on top of him at night and hurting him, and if he's big and moves around a lot, you may not get the best sleep of your life. If you have asthma or are allergic to dog dander, you might also want to think twice before snuggling with your pup, because he will hair up your blankets and pillows.
By Chris Miksen
About the Author
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.