Where does your dog sleep each night? A dog bed, a dog crate, or in your bed? Choosing where your dog should sleep is ultimately your preference, but you’ll want to carefully consider the pros and cons of each option when making your decision.
The Basics of Personal Choice
The debate as to where your dog should sleep is, without a doubt, a heated one among pet owners and trainers. But the reality of it, is that it depends on these very basic factors:
When we talk about these basic factors, they are not just for the dog — but for you as well! So, before we discuss where the family furbaby gets to sleep tonight, let’s take a moment to delve into why these areas matter.
As much as we hate to admit it, we all get old and our body doesn’t work like it used to. Dogs are much the same in this aspect. Their bones become brittle and soft tissues like muscles, ligaments and tendons are no longer in the prime shape they used to be. Thus, a senior dog trying to jump on or off a bed may do more harm than good.
Likewise, as we become older, moving around in bed or getting up for frequent nighttime potty calls can be a task in itself without finangling around the family dog that has taken over 3⁄4’s of the bed and blanket. And if you have multiple dogs…. Forget it! Sleep and bed space just isn’t happening.
Then there are puppies. Puppies are notoriously energy powerhouses and require frequent potty outings. There’s nothing worse than a 3 month old puppy chewing your ear at midnight and romping under your covers when you have to be up for work at four AM. The best place for that bundle of energy is in his dog crate.
There’s a dog personality for pretty much every lifestyle out there. From family life with a house full of kids, the young fitness buff that loves the company of his/her dog during hikes and runs, to a single college student with frat parties every weekend exposing them to many people. The lifestyles vary greatly.
For the on-the-go dog owner, the dog may spend a lot of his time alone — hence cuddling at bedtime may be the perfect fit. While the family dog has it’s human pack around him constantly may relish some quiet alone time on a cool floor or in dad’s favorite recliner.
Beware of those heartbreaking, mind bending puppy dog eyes! Maintaining a pattern of consistent discipline is a basic building block for dog owners. It can also be the most challenging part of pet ownership for some. Regardless of where your dog sleeps at night, be consistent! Nothing is more confusing to a dog than inconsistent rules.
There also lies the question of establishing alpha within your family pack. Many trainers contend that in order to maintain an alpha position with your dog; he must sleep in his bed, crate or on the floor. The fact is, studies have shown there is no link to losing your dominant position. But while sleeping in your bed forms a closer bond, there has been concern as to whether or not sleeping with the owner can reinforce behaviors of separation anxiety in dogs when the owner is absent.
When it comes to sleeping quarters, we all have our own personality. Many of us like our bed space and blankets to sprawl out, while others sleep through the night without moving much. Sleeping habits matter a great deal when it comes to quality of sleep and whether or not your dog is a compatible bed partner. Is your dog a bed and blanket hog? Is your pooch up and down all night? Is your dog jealous of anyone sleeping with you? The answer to these questions will make a difference in your decision.
The physical ability of both the owner and the dog is a major factor in considering where your dog lays his head at night. Dogs (and pets in general) have proven to be beneficial with the aging, mentally handicapped and disabled. But not always should that extend to sleeping arrangements.
Many dogs serve well as an emotional support for an individual, whether they are an official support service canine or just a family dog. It’s very common for these dogs to sleep in bed with them — or close by on the floor, crate or in their dog bed. While others do not have the physical ability to keep a dog safe or, the dog is not agile enough to negotiate a bed.
Whatever the case may be; never place a dog in a situation where it, or the owner, can be inadvertently injured. Both parties must be able to move when necessary without risk of harm to themselves or another.
There is no right or wrong choice as to where in your house the family dog should sleep. But the most popular choices are your bed, the floor, his crate or in his dog bed. Now that we’ve explored some basic considerations, let’s have a closer look at the options.
Some dog owners love having their dogs sleep in their beds with them. If you have a large bed and your dog is well behaved and already house-trained, then sleeping in your bed may be a practical choice. This will also depend on your ability to get a good night’s sleep with your dog present – if you are a light sleeper and your dog frequently moves around, letting your dog in your bed might not work out so well.
If you choose to let your dog sleep in your bed with you, then your dog should be well house trained before he’s allowed in the bed. If your dog is still being house-trained, then it’s possible for him to relieve himself in your bed or in your room while you’re asleep. Keeping your dog in a crate while house training can encourage him to let you know when he needs to go out.
Many dogs can successfully sleep in their owners’ beds, but it’s important to keep an eye out for territorial behavior in your dog. Some dogs become possessive of the bed, displaying a stiff posture, growling, and even biting when asked to move or get off the bed. Some dogs may also become possessive over a certain person, acting aggressively when a spouse gets into bed. In situations like this, it is best to have the dog sleep in a crate or a bed of his own.
Dog crates can be great options for many dogs. Having your dog sleep in a crate provides him with a secure place which is all his own. A crate also keeps your dog contained and safe during the night. This may be particularly important if your dog tends to get into things and explore. Crates are also highly useful for younger dogs and puppies still being house-trained. Even if you plan to let your dog sleep in your bed with you, establishing a positive association with the crate is sure to come in handy during times where you need to confine your dog.
If you want something in between a crate and allowing your dog to sleep on your bed, then think about getting your dog a dog bed. You can put the dog bed on the floor in your room if you wish, so your dog is still close by but isn’t actually sharing your bed.
Whatever option you decide is right for you and your dog, stay consistent. Allowing your dog to sleep in your bed one night but not the next will only confuse him.
If you need help with establishing a sleeping protocol and training your dog on proper nighttime behavior, please give us a call; we’d be happy to help.