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Karen B. London
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Where Does Your Dog Sleep?
In your room? In your bed? In your arms?

Dogs are social animals. Most of them feel comfortable being near the rest of the family and that includes at nighttime. Humans, too, often enjoy having their canine companions with them while they sleep.

Many people have their dogs in their room on a dog bed, in a crate or on the floor by the bed. Others allow them the foot of the bed. Still others snuggle with their pup right next to them, even under the covers.

The advantages to having your dog near you while you sleep are many. They are less likely to become stressed either by being alone or in response to something startling, whether it’s lights from cars going by or a thunderstorm. In the morning, you’ll know when they have to go out right away or if they are sleeping in that day without having to leave your bed to check.

If your dog is in or on your bed, any cold weather will seem a lot less harsh with a living furnace right next to you. Sharing sleep is one way to feel really close to each other, and that’s always a plus.

On the down side, some people find a dog keeps them awake, either because the dog snores, or because there is not enough room in the bed or enough covers to go around. It can cause considerable friction in a relationship if one member of a couple loves having a dog in the room or on the bed and the other person doesn’t.

I like having dogs sleep in my room, and I think it’s usually best for the dogs, too. Large dogs, those who hog the bed and dogs who crawl all over us at night have a standing invitation to enjoy a cozy dog bed on the floor next to me. Little dogs, calm dogs and dogs who won’t impersonate a cat by trying to play with us in the middle of the night have usually been permitted on the bed.

Where does your dog sleep and why?

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Carolyn | December 23 2011 |

On the end of our bed. It started when Bruce said, "oh, I just put her there to warm it up for you." That's all it took -- she expects to be there and we wouldn't feel right without her. Very cozy and snug.

Submitted by LisaH | December 23 2011 |

My 1st dog, now age 5, slept in a crate in our bedroom till he was 18 months old. Then he slept on a dog bed in the same spot the crate had been, & at 2 1/2 yrs. he was invited onto our kingbed. He slept there for about a year, until we got a puppy, & after a month of her also being in the bedroom (in a crate) he started to head to the basement rec room after "last call" outside at 11 pm. On rare occasion, such as if I've been gone, he'll follow me onto the bed, & he will always sleep w/me when we travel to family or friends. Right now we are having the discussion about the younger one, now 20 months old & whether to continue crating her in our bedromm at bedtime. Lola definitely wants to sleep downstairs w/Java or with us, but, I don't want Java pushed out of his area & she will try to curl up w/him which he does not care for, & in our bed she sleeps on me or pushed up against me - usually very sweet, but not always comfortable, & she is a face licker. He is 40 lb. & she is 31 lb., both BCs.

Submitted by Frances | December 24 2011 |

On my bed, along with a cat or two. My toy poodle likes to snuggle under the duvet when we first go to bed - she usually gets too hot after a while, but will stay there if she is feeling a bit chilled or off-colour. My papillon loves to curl up in the cave made by the thrown back duvet, but gets uncovered once I am in bed!

Submitted by Anonymous | December 24 2011 |

My two rescue dogs sleep anywhere they want ...sometimes its at the foot of my bed ...sometimes its in their beds on the floor around my bed ...and sometimes its out in the yard sunbathing in the Fl sunshine!

Submitted by Allison Nastoff | December 24 2011 |

Unfortunately, my guide dog Gilbert has to sleep in a crate in another room because he snores, and dreams noisily. I am thinking about giving him another chance in my room for the new year though, especially after he recently threw up in his crate sometime during the night and I didn't realize it until morning.

Submitted by BCBabs | December 24 2011 |

Sleeping arrangements in my house has evolved as my herd has evolved. I really can't in good conscience call them my pack, because of the implications of intelligence and whatnot; my crew are definitely a herd! The good old days of "a" cat and "a" dog are gone, but the two original pets we had some 20 years ago were welcome to sleep where they wanted. They changed spots, such as the few months my cat spent sleeping on my lower back in a chilly basement suite, or the times when she got older and loved to nap with me spoon-style so long as I held her back feet cupped in a hand.

The shepherd-lab cross who thought he was a toy poodle always tried to cram himself into the smallest possible space eventually gained a big old cocker spaniel who would sleep cross-wise between the two humans with her feet pushing against us both. Makes a queen-sized bed feel pretty small.

Now we have three dogs and two cats. The first puppy (another cocker) always slept with me but could not be trusted not to sneak off and do her business, I assumed because she couldn't wake me up to take her out. After a year of tethering her to the bed, and waking up tangled to the still original cat, we just kept the door closed at night. Shortly after the original cat passed on, the second dog came. She's a very active pomeranian x who looks like a teeny tiny husky. She's as hairy and warm as one, too! She found the bedroom a very warm place to be and wanted the freedom to find cooler spots in the house. So open door again and poop in the basement again. Once the geriatric rescue kitty joined our household, he took over the prized between the pillows spot. The afraid of her own shadow hoarding kitty took me three months of sleeping alone in another room with her to win her over. Now she sleeps on the edge of the bed beside me while geriatric kitty is in the middle or on the man, whichever he can get.

Then, tired of getting little to no sleep, the dogs were given separate kennels to sleep in. Some times the kennels are in our room, but mostly they are in the living room where I can't hear them bark in the night at each other for looking at each other's treat. So at this point, the two kitties were finally able to share space.

Just as we hit equilibrium, a puppy mill bitch was abandoned at a local mall and taken in to the SPCA. Her health was so poor I brought her home for hospice. That was well over 7 months ago! So now afraid of her own shadow kitty and geriatric kitty share the bed with geriatric dog. She snores like a chainsaw, howls like a banshee and sleeps like the dead. Normally at the end of the bed, she thinks she's a cat and so the cats treat her like one. But geriatric kitty thinks he's a dog, so it all balances out in the end.

And amazingly enough, I do actually get some sleep!

Submitted by Wryter | December 27 2011 |

Has a " jack russel " who for what ever reason in his life is not compelled to like other " jacks " as his entire life revolves around eating sleeping and snuggling. He never cottoned on to chasing the old frisbee, or running amok all over, never got the idea of what other " jacks " but chose the path in his life of the least resistance. He dearly loves to sit on the couch and watch tv, is insistent about his nap times as I work odd shifts and I go down for a nap about mid day for about 4 hrs before work. His post is is faithfully under my desk on his blanket. He enjoys his " road trips " & guards the car well when ever I get out by sitting in the drivers seat, then scoots over to his when I get in. Hes great on long trips, good company he is. he never strays far from home and is always nearby and is very content to sit on the back porch and watch life float by, barking at the odd squirrel who sits atop the fence. His name is " Angus " but he goes by, Buddy, Tubby, Schnoby, knows the words, " road trip, outside, TV, nap & blanket." He is content in world & mine. What can I say he is what he is and who he is, my buddy.

Submitted by Gina | January 9 2012 |

How nice to have another professionals' 'permission' to do this.

Submitted by Karen London | January 10 2012 |

Gina, I love your comment! I think a lot of people have been made to feel guilty about having their dogs in bed with them, or don't do so because they've heard that it's wrong, and that has deprived a lot of people and dogs of this simple joy.

Sometimes, having a dog in the bed is not a good idea. For example, if there's an issue of the dog growling or snapping if a person returns to bed after getting up in the middle of the night, then other sleeping arrangements may be part of the solution. And when I was in the late stages of pregnancy during the heat of summer in Wisconsin, I sometimes asked my dog to hop back to his dog bed part way through the night because I was way too warm with an extra body in the bed. Most of the time, however there's no harm and a lot to be gained by this extra togetherness.

Submitted by Nicole | January 11 2012 |

My 2 pet papillons and foster papillon (don't tell the rescue!) all sleep im my bed. I have a 4th Papillon whom I show and he stays in his crate in my room. The Bernese and Aussie x both have giant beds they sleep on but I have found suspicious black hair (that can only belong to the Big's) on my bed when I get home from trips. Naughty naughty!! I love that my 3 Littles sleep with me and its their favorite as well.

Submitted by Carol Menke-Clark | January 12 2012 |

I tried having my dogs sleep with me and the bed WAS too small. Since then, they all have comfy beds surrounding mine and I hear their breathing and know they are with me. My yellow lab kept me alive after my husband died 18 years ago with her light snoring and her sisters and brothers that I've brought to live here have been a blessing. I find elder dogs that have been surrendered and bring them to live with my two cats and me and we all sleep in one small room at night. Been working out well.

Submitted by Ashley | January 25 2014 |

In the bedroom, but on the floor. She was welcome to sleep in the bed with me but got irritated when I tossed and turned at night, and seems to prefer her own pile of blankets and pillows

Submitted by skye | April 17 2014 |

I have a three 70lb dogs: a rottie, a black lab, and a Doberman/AmStaff/Lab mix. They all sleep with me and have since the day each was adopted. When they were small, we shared a twin bed. I've since upgraded to a queen to accommodate me too!

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