Sleeping with dogs ;)
As I lay here in bed; the sun is not yet up. There is a chill in the air; but I am cozy with my very own Jack Russell foot warmer. She's snoring; she is snoring loudy under her down comforter and not far from her is Luke; silently keeping the left lower quadrant of the bed warm. Dogs in bed; the statement alone is controversial. Many guardians love nothing more than sharing their bed with their dog; but is that where dogs should be? There is a great divide on the subject and some of the biggest opponents are the dog trainers. So here's what I think about the subject.
My opinion on dogs sleeping in bed with you is clear cut; black and white. If you would like your dogs to sleep in your bed with you and your dog shows no signs of grumblings, complaining about being moved or ousted then that is where they should be. Enjoying the company of your dog in bed is one of the great joys we have with our dogs. Snuggling with your dog is wonderful; listening to sleep can be a huge stress reliever. But what if everytime you move; your growls. Or when asked to get off the bed; your dog objects, offering the "just try to move me," look? Let's face it; your bed is the prime piece of real estate in your home and in a pack the leader gets it.
Often a guardian will toss some information my way as a side note. "Oh ya; he growls everytime I move in bed." This is the line; the line I have drawn for dogs in bed................off they go. But this is not a life sentence; they can earn a spot back on the bed but "earn" is the important word here. Back when Luke was a young'n we had an incident with him growling at my son for couch rights. Luke is the type that thinks he is all that and a bag of chips and his couch priviledge was fueling this. I was present at the time of the growl and Luke left the couch abruptly; he was kicked off for 6 months. We worked on a new set of rules; asking permission. There has never been another incident.
Being that sleeping with dogs is suppose to be mutually enjoyable; having you avoid your dog in your sleep is not good. If your every move elicits a growl which inturn interferes with your sleep; then this is a clear sign that someone has to go. And that someone is not going to be you. It is your bed; you dished out your hard earned money to buy it, you are going to sleep in it. But now you are feeling guilty; poor Fido has to sleep on the floor? Put your guilt aside; buy a nice bed for your dog and put it right beside yours, this is the best thing you can do for your relationship.
My dogs all have a their own bed in our bedroom; and they use them. With the girls being 13 and 14; it is not safe to be up on the bed if I am not awake so they are safe and sound in their own beds. Most often Luke jumps up on the bed in the middle of the night and everyone joins us in the morning. I feel very strongly that dogs need comfort; and a floor isn't comfortable, not even for a dog. Make sure that if your dog is not sleeping in your bed that they have a very comfortable bed of their own.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the folks who don't want their dog even in their room with them to sleep. Well; the best place for your dog to sleep is in your room, bottom line. Where you lay; your dog should lay. A pack sleeps together; they don't need to sleep on top of each other but they should all be in the same room. It makes me sad to think of a dog that lays alone at night; banished to the kitchen, garage or worse (outside) at night. Bonding occurs during these special times; in the absence of night bonding you are missing half your life with your dog.