There is one question I get a lot from clients: Is it okay if my dog sleeps in my bed?
My reply is: I don’t know, is it?
Frustrating answer I know. But let’s be honest, we’re a little sassy here at Darwin Dogs. What I’m really asking the client is: Do you want your dog sleeping in your bed?
You can let your dog sleep wherever you would like. That’s a personal preference. There’s nothing wrong with your dog sleeping in your bed. The problem comes in when your dog doesn’t listen if you want him off the bed or if he starts claiming the bed from you.
Porter doesn’t always get to sleep in the bed with me. He has an extremely comfy bed of his own in the bedroom and the living room and he has a cozy crate. There’s no shortage of options for him. However, my bed is not always a given option.
Porter is not allowed on the bed unless he is invited. It’s a privilege, not a right, for him to be on the bed. This means, that if he jumps on the bed without being invited, he is immediately instructed to get off. The bed, clearly is mine. I’m the number one priority when it comes to my own sleep. As you should be as well. So, if your dog is hindering your sleep it may be time to reclaim your bed.
So, how do you reclaim your bed? Use your body language!
Imagine your bed as a giant treat. Put your body in between your dog and the bed. Make sure your body language is strong: stand up straight, take up lots of space, and have lots of confidence.
If your dog tries to get past you and towards the bed move towards them and into their personal space until they accept your answer by relaxing their body language and are no longer fixated on the bed. Then slowly remove yourself from being in between your dog and the bed. If they go towards the bed again, repeat the strong body language. You are telling your dog that he is not allowed on the bed. You may have to repeat this answer many times, so stay patient.
Try and work on this new term and condition with your dog before bed time. Work on it during the day so that you’re not saying “no” for the first time when you’re tired and about to go to bed.
And remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Porter can sleep in the bed, but only when I invite him. He knows this now, so each night he’ll ask politely if he an sleep in the bed by sitting down on the floor and looking up at the bed. I will always give him an answer. I will say no, and point to his bed if he is supposed to sleep on his own. If he is allowed that night, I will pat the bed and say “okay”. He is perfectly content either way, he just wants to know what that night will bring.
Don’t feel guilty about having your dog sleep in the bed or not sleep in the bed. Bedtime is your time. Do what will ensure you have the best night’s sleep.
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH