Where Should Your Dog Sleep?

Is it okay for your dog to sleep in bed with you? What if your dog growls or snaps at you in bed?

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
5-minute read
Episode #142
Dog in bed

3. If Your Dog Doesn’t Want to Sleep in the Bed

Maybe he has a heavy coat and it’s just too warm in the bed with you. Maybe you’re a restless sleeper and keep waking him up. Maybe he likes to change sleeping places a couple of times over the course of the night. Either way, it does no one any good to force the dog into an uncomfortable sleeping spot.

4. If Your Dog Snores Loudly or Is Flatulent or Incontinent

I can hear all your spouse jokes from miles away, people, so just quit it. By the way, if your dog snores constantly and loudly, he may have a narrowed airway or some other physical problem your vet should look into. You may be able to do something about Zippy’s gas with a change in diet or other treatment, but many old dogs make exceptionally stinky farts. If your dear old dog has been sharing your bed forever, consider just getting used to it.

In our elderly dog Izzy’s last year or so, she sometimes leaked a bit of this or that in her sleep. We didn’t have the heart to kick her out of bed, so we laid a hospital bed pad over her spot and accepted that there would be extra laundry for the duration.

5. Because You Don’t Feel Like It

Of course it’s perfectly okay to keep your bed human-only. Just give Dogalini an equally comfortable alternative. Many dogs like thick foam or gel, with a bolster for their heads. Good-quality commercial beds get pricey, but you can improvise high comfort at low cost: buy foam padding and cover it with layers of thrift-store quilts.

6. If Your Dog Behaves Aggressively

You should keep your dog off your bed if it’s a site of aggression. Your dog may guard the bed itself, guard one of the people who use the bed, or snap or bite when touched. The dog who’s “location guarding” gets on the bed and then stiffens, growls, lunges, snaps, or bites when you attempt to join him. The dog who’s guarding one member of a couple will get in bed with that person and then aggress toward the approaching spouse. No, your dog is not “protecting” you because he misapprehends your spouse’s sexual overtures.


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).

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