Can My Dog Sleep In My Bed With Me?
The short answer is yes, if you want your dog to sleep in the bed with you.
New dog owners first ask me how to stop their dog from peeing in the house. Their next question is usually whether or not it is okay to have their new dog sleep in the bed with them.
The answer is that yes, it is okay, however, there are some things to consider before inviting your pup to share the bed and there is a correct way to train your dog to be a desirable sleep partner.
It is best that you make the decision to have or not have your dog sleep in your bed BEFORE the first night with your dog. If you have already committed one way, no worries. This article will help you as well. 🙂
Let’s review what to consider when making the decision to have your dog sleep with you in your bed and then the best way to train this behavior.
If you have a puppy and hope that your puppy will soon be sleeping with you – then this article is a must-read!
What To Consider Before Your Dog Sleeps In Your Bed:
Is Your Dog Potty Trained?
If your dog is not potty trained, then I would not suggest you have your dog sleep on your bed. The first goal should be to potty train your dog. This can be done a variety of ways and a common way is to utilize your dog’s crate.
If you are crate training your dog, then I strongly urge you to have your dog sleep in his crate. This will decrease the chance of your dog having an accident overnight, and it will also reinforce the crate as being a safe, comfortable space.
If your dog sleeps with you in the bed during the potty training stages, you are at high risk for your dog to either get off the bed in pee or poop on the floor, or perhaps worse, turn your bed into his own bathroom.
Once your dog has one accident on your bed, it will be even harder to teach him that this is not the place for urination and defecation. Your dog now has a history of using your bed to go to the bathroom and will continue to do so. This is even harder to train out because you’re likely to be dead asleep while your dog is peeing on your comforter.
Is Your Dog Always Going To Sleep On Your Bed?
If you plan to always have your dog sleep with you, then by all means, invite him into bed.
For example, you and your dog may be living the good life now. However, what happens when you get a new boyfriend who doesn’t want your dog to share this sacred space? (Well, obviously, you would break up with him.) But, if for some reason you are blinded by love, then your dog is going to have a difficult time adjusting to a new sleeping quarter. This does not mean it’s impossible to train your dog to sleep somewhere else, it just means it will likely be harder.
Do You Have Allergies?
Most people don’t have allergies to their dog – duh, that’s why they got one. However, you can develop allergies to your dog WHEN they sleep on your bed. This is especially true if your dog is laying on sheets or placing his paws on your pillows.
Your dog walks barefoot all of the time. Imagine all the disgusting germs your dog’s paws have. And then your dog licks his body all over. Now, that same dog is going to be rubbing all over your pillows – right where you put your face. This direct exposure to bacteria, dust, and germs can often cause dog owners to develop allergies. This is why it is incredibly important to groom your dog regularly, to help keep things as clean as possible.
If this does happen, the solution is simple – just have your dog sleep somewhere else. That usually will get rid of any allergy symptoms.
Is Your Dog Prone to Separation Anxiety?
If you believe your dog has separation anxiety or is developing signs of separation anxiety, I would strongly urge you read this article on how to prevent and cure separation anxiety and not share a bed with your dog.
It is important for your dog to learn his independence and understand that not being with you is okay. Having this separate time away from your dog means you love your dog enough to do the right thing and have him sleep in a crate or separate dog bed.
Many people think that because their dog has separation anxiety they SHOULD sleep with them because it will calm them down. However, that is only addressing the symptoms, not the entire issue at play.
Are You a Light Sleeper?
If you are a light sleeper, keep the bed to yourself. Everyone thinks their dog won’t bother them while they sleep. However, snoring, scratching, constant readjusting from your dog, is going to drive you crazy if you are a light sleeper.
Additionally, in the morning, any slight movement from you could become a sign to your dog that it is time to get up, go outside, and eat! That means, when you roll over at 5am to enjoy another two hours of slumber, your dog could be jumping up on your face and start licking away!
How to Train Your Dog To Sleep In Your Bed
Start by spending the first few months with your new dog sleeping in his crate, bed, or designated area. This will teach him that at night, you go to your bed and he goes to his bed. This routine will cut down on the anxiety of being away from you and will also show him that sleeping solo is totally fine.
Don’t make going to bed a big ordeal. If you make your departure to your bed a big deal, your dog will think it is a big deal.
During the day, don’t allow your dog to be on your bed, let alone sleep there. The bed should be a human only zone – no dogs allowed. Just like his crate or dog bed is a dog only zone – no people allowed.
If you allow your dog to be on your couch, consider allocating a certain portion of the couch for your dog. You can do this by placing a blanket on a certain section of the couch, inviting your dog to that section, and rewarding him for being on his blanket. When they move off of that section, you can either redirect them back to the blanket or you can move them off the couch.
[For more dog training tips, click here!]
Once you feel like your dog is fully potty trained and does not suffer from separation anxiety, place the blanket on the portion of your bed you wish to allocate for your dog. Get ready for bed and invite your dog up on his blanket. Reward him for being on the blanket. Just like on the couch, if he moves to other parts of the bed, either redirect him back to his blanket or remove him from the bed entirely. Over time, he will learn that he now gets to sleep on the human bed if he stays on the blanket.
Why the blanket?
- The will cut down on the amount of fur, dander, and allergies your dog brings to your bed.
- It shows your dog exactly where he can go on your bed.
- When your dog does scratch, shake, and adjust during the night – it will be far away from you and be less likely to wake you up.
- The blanket allows for easy cleaning.
When Your Dog Is Sleeping In Your Bed
There are some important rules to remember when your dog is sleeping in your bed with you.
- Continue to give your dog access to a comfortable bed or crate.
- Allow your dog to choose where he sleeps – in his designated human bed area or his designated dog bed area, for example. This choice prevents him becoming too attached to sleeping in the bed with you.
- Every now and then have your dog sleep in his crate or his own dog bed. While there is no exact number, perhaps, once a week have your dog sleeps in the crate or dog bed. Again, this encourages independence and also give you a night to yourself.
There is no hard-fast rule when it comes to whether or not your dog should sleep with you in your bed. If it’s not causing any issues and you’re comfortable with it, go for it.
However, I urge you to put your dog’s well-being before your own selfish desire to share a bed with your pup. Although you may want to snuggle up with your brand new puppy on the first night, teaching independence and potty training are going to give you, and your dog, a much happier life in the long-run. Plus, remember, you can also invite your dog to sleep in your bed later.
[Kyle Kittleson is a professional animal trainer and behaviorist who resides in Los Angeles, California. You can learn more about Kyle Kittleson here, contact him here, and follow him on all social media platforms at @KyleKittleson.]