When it comes to my two beloved dogs Narla and Saffron I guess you could say I’m a big softie I might give them treats at the table, they lay all over the couches I have at home with a couple of starfish and modelling moves.
I have probably got more toys for them than toy world.
To be honest I’m hopeless when it comes to spoiling my dogs until it comes to bedtime of course then I become like Canine Hitler.
I always send them straight off to their own beds, which are their Big Barker beds, no passing go, and those beds are never in the bedroom, the bedroom is my one place of solitude.
Narla above sleeping on her Big Barker Bed.
To me this seemed quite normal.
Most training manuals I have read and things that I’ve seen on the Internet say that dogs are happier sleeping in their own beds and look every time I’ve had a dog it has only taken them maybe 2-3 nights to get used to sleeping in their own beds.
However I’ve recently just read a report that I think was done in 2020 and it says and I’m just trying to remember the figures, I think it was eight out of 10 dog owners will compromise their own sleep so as the dogs are comfortable in their beds, and I think 50% let their dogs steal their dooners and 10% even had their partners sleep somewhere else so is their dogs could sleep on the bed.
My two dogs, as soon as they hear my alarm go off or know that I’m awake, are allowed to come into the room and onto the bed to say good morning a time that they love, and I also enjoy.
The photo above Is my 2 year old Mastiff Saffron getting a little extra time on the bed after greeting me in the morning!
My sister on the other hand has a 3-year-old Beagle, now she has got into the habit of letting her dog sleep on the bed and has told me that it is quite normal to be woken two or three times a night because the queen (That’s my nickname for her dog) wants to go out for a wee or sometimes just bark at a tree or a shadow.
My sister and her husband are now used to getting up 2-3 times a night.
More and more it is becoming acceptable to sleep with your dogs this is probably because this is what we did a long, long time ago around The Cave fire.
It also seems very important for some of us pet parents to get that close bond that we get when sleeping with our dogs.
This may also have a very positive effect on the quality of sleep for both you and your dog and talking to many vets it is no longer considered to lead to behavioural issues that was thought in the past.
Why Should I Not Let My Dog Sleep On My Bed?
There are a few reasons why you should not let your dog’s sleep on your bed.
The first reason especially if you have a smaller dog could be they end up falling off the bed or even worse you roll over onto them while you are sleeping.
Second reason is that your sleep could be dramatically affected due to the fact your best mate has taken 3/4 of the bed and in my case a 2-year-old English mastiff would make that very uncomfortable.
Another reason especially in the cases of older dogs is that as they age the bladder becomes increasingly weaker, and if they have been sleeping on the bed for many years, trying to change this habit so late in their life will be very challenging and you may find yourself falling asleep in some wet spots, not a great feeling.
If you own a breed that is susceptible to joint or hip issues, jumping up and down from a bed could exacerbate those issues.
If your dog currently suffers from any hip and joint conditions you may want to look at a supplement called Dasuquin.
There is also the consistency issue.
If your dog is used to sleeping on your bed this could become a problem when you are staying somewhere else, and they do not want your dog on the bed.
So, your dog is used to sleeping on the bed at home and then when it can’t you may find that it becomes anxious and confused as to why its normal sleeping habits have been disrupted.
For me personally I have always had my dogs sleep in their own beds have to avoid any bad habits and possible incidents such as behavioural issues being heightened.
A dog that has its sleeping boundaries set from the beginning, to feel comfortable and confident in their own beds, will never feel the stress and anxiety if there is a change in their sleeping routine as a result over either growing older or sleeping somewhere else as they will continue to sleep in the way that they do at home normally.
Remember we need to think long term for our dog’s overall health and wellbeing, setting boundaries early means a happy dog and a happy life, something we all want as loving dog parents.
Saffron and Narla on what has become known as OUR couch!
In the end it really is a matter of personal preference there is no wrong or right and if you and your dogs are happy sleeping in the same bed that’s fine.
As an owner of a giant breed this option of my dog sleeping on my bed is not quite so appealing.
Even though I have a king size bed and I am the only one sleeping in it the idea of Saffron my 2-year-old English mastiff sprawling out on the bed disrupting my sleep isn’t that appealing, add to that my 11-year-old black Labrador and you can see that my sleeping space would be more and more cramped. And I don’t know about you, but I love my sleep!
Is It OK For My Dog To Sleep On My Bed?
Other than the reasons I mentioned before there is no wrong or right when it comes to allowing your dog to sleep on your bed. It really comes down to your own preference.
I have had many people say that allowing your dog to sleep on your bed is unhygienic but as pet owners we know that you come to accept that owning a dog is going to be at times a messy but fun time. Saying this everything is washable and easily cleaned.
And let’s face it, when they do finally go to doggie heaven won’t it have been awesome to have all those great memories of them snuggling and possibly snoring next to you as they dream the night away.
I remember reading an article by Doctor Rory Cowlam probably better known as Rory the vet saying that although sleeping with your dogs is thought to be good for mental health it could actually increase anxiety.
He went on to say I am a total dogs do not belong in bed kind of person I don’t even allow my dogs on the sofa.
Rory then goes on to say, he suspects the majority of people who do sleep with their dogs have much higher levels of separation anxiety from their pets as well as general anxiety.
Particularly during Covid, owners are spending 100% of their time with their dogs and if we don’t even have a break from them overnight it can exacerbate the problem he shares.
The vet and pet expert goes on to say that people really pander to their pets and that crate training or knowing that they have their own place to sleep at night is key.
If crate training is something you have been thinking about I have detailed my experience with Crate Training and I can gaurantee, reading this will not only show you the great benefits, but also how easy it is to train.
Saffron during the early stages of her crate training. As you can tell by this picture the cage door is open during the day, however she still goes here to rest and relax. I started her with crate training at 8 weeks.
Train Your Dog Not To Sleep On Your Bed – How To By Rory
OK if you are now thinking that I would like more room in my bed and it is time to train my dog to sleep in their own bed, below are some tips directly from Rory himself.
Make Them Sleep Separately from The Start
– If you are starting with a puppy make them sleep separately from the start, ideally, I would recommend crate training and you can read my article on crate training your puppy here.
Introduce New Rules With Baby Steps – If you have gone down that line get them to learn the new rules of the house slowly, start off by putting their own bed in your bedroom says Rory this will bond them to their own bed, and then you can slowly move it away from your bed and then eventually outside of the door in the hallway lounge or anywhere where you would like them to sleep.
Offer Treats as Positive Reinforcements –
As with any training treats can be a great method. Rory also suggests using treats as you’re training your dog to not sleep on your bed. Rory goes on to say that if your dog voluntarily goes to sit or lie on their own bed give them a treat or make a fuss of them, so they know that they have done the right thing. As I have always said repetition in any form of training is so important, and if there are many people in the household everyone needs to be on board with this.
Crate Train Your Dog from The Beginning –
I have used crate training for as long as I can remember, and all my dogs have been trained to sleep this way. I have covered this in more detail in an article around puppies and crate training which I encourage you to read as it relates to both puppies and older dogs. If you train your dogs like this from the beginning not only, will they sleep the rest of the night, but they will learn to do this as they naturally grow older.
Your Dog Senses Your Mood – Dogs are a very smart animal and they will feed from your anxiety, so if you’re concerned about not letting your dog sleep in your bed, they will pick up on this and match your emotions, be strong and eventually overtime it will happen.
Saffron having some Sofa time!
Conclusion – Should I Let My Dog Sleep With Me?
Just because I choose not to let my dogs sleep in my bed that doesn’t make it wrong or right when it comes to what you want to do for your dog.
It really is a personal preference, for a well-adjusted and well-behaved dog sleeping in your bed will probably do no more than excite your dog, possibly comfort you and overall enhance the bond between you and your dog.
In some cases, it has been noted that a dog that sleeps in your bed can become somewhat aggressive to your partner, if this becomes the case my recommendation would be to provide your dog with their own sleeping area or space until you can consult with either a professional trainer vet or behaviour consultant to find out how this can be fixed.
Even with the drawbacks that I have highlighted regarding Co sleeping with your dog many researchers have said owners do like the benefits because in most cases it heavily outweighs the disadvantages.
I also understand especially when it comes to living by yourself that having your canine friend sleeping next to you provides that extra feeling of safety and security.
Dogs are known to be light sleepers so you can rest easy throughout the night knowing that your dog will alert you to anything that is not normal.
So, in finishing, I really do understand that those of us who like to share our beds or bedrooms with their dogs already know that any disturbances, inconveniences, and lack of sleep is well worth a night time of snuggles and great memories.
Always remember this, “May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair”
Founder of Our Dogs World 101.