I was at a Home Dog Training session in Roswell last Tuesday with a new client and his one-year-old Miniature Schnauzer named Bruno. I always like to think of Miniature Schnauzers as the “Germans with attitude”. That means that they are often head-strong and won’t even consider the possibility of taking “no” for an answer. Well, Bruno definitely “fit the bill”. The first thing that we worked on was to make sure Bruno knew that he was going to hear “no” more than once and that he needed to pay attention and respect my clients’ direction.
Bruno quickly came around and was providing my clients with respectful focus as well as following their directions. My clients were very happy with the results and were sure they could follow the additional exercises I had provided to improve Bruno’s behavior and to make him an “A Student”.
As we were finishing up, I asked if there was anything else they could think of that we needed to discuss or work on with Bruno. They thought about it and had a question. They were wondering if it is a good idea to have Bruno sleep with them at the end of their bed at night. They had “done some internet homework” and discovered that there were a lot of “pros and cons” on the subject. Since I was “a professional”, they wondered what I thought.
I told my clients that some people have no problem with their dog sleeping on the bed. Other people think that a dog’s place is on the floor at the foot of the bed or in a dog crate at night. From a canine behavioral point of view, both situations are perfectly fine. The most important fact that Robin and I stress with our clients is that they must keep a healthy leadership role and a respectful bond with their dog.
To try and explain my point, I used Jeff Foxworthy’s “You may be a redneck if…” comedy skit to give some examples:
- If you don’t want dog hair and puppy drool all over your pillows, you don’t want to have your dog on the bed.
- If your dog is still young and is not completely potty trained, you absolutely don’t want him on your bed.
- If you don’t have a lot of extra space on your bed and you have a large dog, you may not want your dog on the bed.
- If you have a dog with chewing issues (eats pillows), you probably don’t want your dog on the bed.
- If your dog can’t get on and off the bed by themselves and you don’t want to always be their “picker upper and putter downer”, you may not want to have your dog on the bed.
- If you have a very high energy dog that likes to nip and nudge to get your attention, you may not want him on the bed with you.
- If you have multiple dogs and they like to get into “play fights” at all hours of the day and night, you probably don’t want them on the bed with you.
- If it is your goal to keep your dog off all the furniture in the house, then you don’t want your dog on the bed.
Most of the reasons to keep your dog off the bed arise from specific, personal issues. They are often directed towards unique, interactive situations that normally focus around “Don’t bug me!”. I usually suggest keeping your dog off the bed because, just as he needs his den and safe place; you need one too.
Also, if you socialize your dog with sleeping on the bed, he may also decide to visit your house guest in their room late one night to have a little sleep-over with them. They may not have the same “mi casa es su casa” feeling about the bed as you.
If you made it through all my “Jeff Foxworthy Questions” and still feel comfortable about having your dog on the bed, my recommendation is to just give it a shot. If it doesn’t feel right after a few nights, then your dog gets to enjoy bedtime on the ground. If that is the case, you may think about getting him a “little den” and putting it at the foot of the bed. This could be a dog bed, a crate, a towel, etc.
The most important thing to remember is to maintain your loving bond and respectful leadership with your dog. Spend time with him, play with him, maintain clear and simple house rules, and always provide him a home where he will feel safe and secure.
One last thing, and I wanted to save this for last. Robin and I allow our two small dogs to sleep with us on our bed. One of our German Shepherds sleeps in a doggie bed on the ground at the foot of our bed. Our other German Shepherd is a little crazy at night, so she sleeps in her doggie crate in the other room.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over seventeen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.