No matter how much time and effort you spend on picking out the most comfortable and cozy doggy bed for your four-legged best friend, chances are he will still prefer to cuddle up against you in your bed. Though it is not surprising that dogs don’t have any regard for how much money you spend on things you buy for them, why do so many of them insist on getting in your bed instead of their own? In addition, though there seem to be both advantages and disadvantages to sharing your bed with your pooch, should you allow the furry cuddles?
The Root of the Behavior
As it turns out, there are a variety of different reasons dogs want to get in your bed. Regardless of breed, usually our pooch’s desire to join us for cuddles stems from their natural instinct originating from their pack mentality. Puppies are born into litters and get used to sleeping in piles on top of one another. Wild dogs and wolves hunt and live in packs and sleep in close proximity to each other for protection and warmth. Over decades, the instinctual urges and behavior for self-preservation were passed on to the domesticated dog. Since most dogs consider their pet parents as pack members or part of their family it is natural for them to want to sleep next to you. Another common reason dogs enjoy getting into bed with their owners is for the cuddles and petting. It is something that they truly enjoy and thus petting your dog after he gets into the bed with you is rewarding to him and conditions him to want to repeat the behavior. Short-haired dogs might have ulterior motives for hopping onto the bed at night - not just for the cuddles but also for some warmth, especially during the colder seasons.
Lastly, most dogs truly love their owners unconditionally and sleeping next to them throughout the night is a way to show their affection and how much they mean to them. They find it calming to lay next to the person they love and care for, this is especially the case for four-legged furballs that cling to their owners throughout their day and want to follow them everywhere, including the bedroom! Allowing your dog to be close to you strengthens your bond and can also have a bunch of positive effects on your and your pooch’s stress levels. As it turns out, letting your dog sleep in the bed with you is a completely normal occurrence in many parts of the world. Since most dog owners treat their four-legged friends as family members, as many as 60% of them allow their pooches onto the bed.
Encouraging the Behavior
Nonetheless, it seems that dog owners are divided on whether or not dogs should actually be allowed to get on their owner’s bed if they want to. Though animal experts have varying opinions on the topic as well, most agree that it is a highly individual thing and should be judged case by case. You can allow your dog get in bed with you if you have clear boundaries, mutual trust, respect, and have established a good relationship. There are many benefits to having your pawed protector by your side throughout the night. Most people find their dog’s breathing next to them relaxing and calming. Some pet owners even swear by petting their pooch before bed as a way to combat insomnia. Dogs are also warm, provide comfort, and give you a sense of security which helps to get a better night’s sleep.
On the other hand, dogs spend a lot of time outside and can carry dirt as well as a variety of different parasites, fleas, and other critters. Needless to say, you should also not be allowing your furry friend on the bed if you suffer from allergies or have a weak immune system. It is also best to avoid sharing a bed with your four-legged family member if you are a light sleeper. Many dogs move around in their sleep a lot or snore, both of which can hinder the quality of the sleep you might get.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Some experts advise to not let dogs sleep between you and your partner, as cuddles and closeness are an integral part of any relationship. If you want your pooch to be close to you, allow him to sleep by your bed or by your feet. This way your significant other and your four-legged partner will be happy about the arrangement. In addition, if you do decide to let your dog to get in bed with you, single or not, make sure it happens on your terms. Don’t let the dog jump onto the bed whenever he wants to as this might give him a false sense of ownership of the bed and even lead to dominant behavior. It is your bed and you have to dictate the rules as the pack leader in the house. This is incredibly important, even more so when more than one dog is involved which can cause aggression over the cushioned territory.
Letting your dog get into bed with you is an entirely personal choice. Allowing it has many benefits but might not work for everyone. Different people have different levels of comfort and boundaries and some pet owners draw that line at the corner of their bed. Whether you allow your pooch to cuddle with you or not, remember to remain clear about your preferences and consistent as otherwise you may confuse your dog.
By a Shikokus lover Maria Pawluczuk
Published: 03/21/2018, edited: 01/30/2020