Getting a new dog can be a wonderful, life-changing experience, but it can also be highly daunting. Even the smallest decisions can contribute in big ways towards their behavior going forward. Even something as simple as where your dog should sleep can determine much about your future relationship with your dog. Thankfully, there are plenty of great options out there for just about any kind of pup sleeping situation.
Where should my dog sleep?
First and foremost, don't force your dogs to sleep outside. Leaving a dog outside exposes them to the elements, pet thieves, and attacks from wild animals. Besides that, dogs love us unconditionally and they deserve the same respect, love, and creature comforts that we do. There are plenty of other, far less cruel options for canine sleeping arrangements. These include, but are not limited to, the couch, a crate, a dog bed, or possibly your bed.
Should my dog sleep on the couch?
Many pet parents, myself included, allow their dog to sleep on the couch if they feel like it. Dogs prefer areas that are soft and comfortable and they especially like to be somewhere close to us whenever they can.
For my dog, the couch is another place where she can absorb the comforting scent of her humans and feel safe and secure. She’s not a particularly smelly dog, so it doesn’t do anything to the upholstery, either. Some people disagree, however, and that’s OK. Many won’t let their dog on the furniture at all or only allow them to hop onto the sofa if they invite them to do so.
According to Broadview University, some people avoid this because they believe it could cause aggressive behavior in their pooch, and that more territorial dogs might see the area as “their couch” and theirs alone. These dogs might get snappy or growl if anyone attempts to share the sofa or remove them from it. That behavior must be answered and curbed immediately. In any of these cases, consistent training and reinforcement is important.
Does my dog need a dog bed?
For those pet parents that don’t like their dogs to sleep on the furniture, there is always the good ol’ fashioned dog bed. Consider dog beds that are thick enough to provide some support and soft enough to provide comfort. If you are crate training your dog, you could also consider putting a bed inside their crate. This will work on training them to sleep in the crate and sleep in their bed once they eventually leave the crate behind.
The only disadvantage to having a dog sleep in a dog bed is that they might get cold in the middle of the night. Consider placing the dog’s crate or bed away from a window to avoid drafts. Comfort is everything when it comes to a dog bed. After all, the more comfortable they are, the more soundly they will sleep, and the less trouble they are likely to get into while you’re asleep.
Should my dog sleep in the bedroom?
Just because your dog has their own doggie bed or crate doesn’t mean you don’t want them close to you. Many pet parents choose to let their dog sleep in their bedrooms, either at the foot of the bed or somewhere nearby. This will help strengthen the bond between you both. It will also help the dog to see the bedroom as a shared space in the “den,” and one they will not want to soil in any way.
Should my dog sleep in the bed?
Finally, there are those pet parents like myself, who allow their dog to not only sleep in the bedroom but in their bed. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), there are a number of benefits and drawbacks to this behavior. Speaking from personal experience, the only thing I have noticed was a lack of space in the bed at night. Leia isn’t very big, but she sleeps big if you catch my meaning.
Besides concerns over the quality of sleep, there are a few additional downsides to sharing a bed with your dog. Those with allergies to pet fur or dander could see those allergies aggravated by cohabitation. Though, we surmise most people with dog allergies know better than to sleep with their dogs. According to the AKC, there are also concerns about separation anxiety or spoiling when it comes to dogs.
According to a study entitled “A Multispecies Approach to Co-Sleeping: Integrating Human-Animal Co-Sleeping Practices into Our Understanding of Human Sleep,” there are many benefits to sleeping with your dog. Feelings of companionship can help both your mental health and your pet’s. Co-sleeping can ease anxiety, provide a feeling of security, and keep you both warm on those cold winter nights.
Wherever you choose to let your dog sleep, be mindful of their comfort. Dogs that feel comfortable and safe will be more well-adjusted overall. And that’s good for everyone.