This is gonna cause some controversy! Should your dog sleep with you? According to many dog behavior experts, the answer is a definite NO! According to many others, the answer is a definite “NO PROBLEM”!
While many dog owners, especially ones with small dogs, allow their pets to sleep beside them in bed, for many experts, this is not right, and it can lead to problems for the owner and the dog itself. According to this one set of “experts”, this behavior should be broken as early as possible before it becomes an unbreakable habit. And if you are not doing this yet, you should not do it at all.
But first, let us know some of the very real reasons why sleeping with your dog can be bad, and what are its effects, so you can make your own informed decision about the question:
Should Your Dog Sleep With You?
First and foremost, it causes dog dominance in the sense that when you share your bed with him, it means that he feels like he has equal rights with you and has the power to boss you around and not listen to or obey commands. If you have many other pets in the house, it will feel like there is a disruption in the balance of authority, because your dog will feel like he is superior to all of the pets in the house. Aside from being more drawn to dominance and power, your dog might also develop dog separation anxiety, in which he will always do weird things while you are away like ruin the house, chew on your clothes and stuff, follow you around all the time, and many others. It can also cause stress like excessive chewing of things and too much barking.
Second, it affects the owner greatly, and in the hygienic aspect. Because dogs like to dig in on many places (most of which are dirty places), they will most likely be transferred to your bed and you might get sick because of bacteria and harmful particles there, since you and your dog share the same atmosphere. Aside from that, your dog’s sleeping cycle can also get disrupted, or you may have trouble sleeping when you hear your dog snoring.
According to a study by the CDC published last year:
Although uncommon with healthy pets, the risk for transmission of zoonotic agents by close contact between pets and their owners through bed sharing, kissing or licking is real and has even been documented for life-threatening infections such as plague….
Further, in their discussion the following points are made:
Our review suggests that persons, especially young children or immunocompromised persons, should be discouraged from sharing their bed with their pets or regularly kissing their pets. Any area licked by a pet, especially for children or immunocompromised persons or an open wound, should be immediately washed with soap and water. Pets should be kept free of ectoparasites (especially fleas), routinely dewormed, and regularly examined by a veterinarian.
Don’t worry though; it only takes a bit of behavioral training and stimulation to get your dog away from the bed. Here are a couple of tips to put to practice if you want to keep your dog away from your bed and maintain your leadership in the house.
- Buy a dog bed for your pet. This will ensure that he has his own space and privacy. At first, position the bed near your own bed, then gradually move it away until he gets used to it. Never place it away from your bed so suddenly to prevent your dog from getting emotionally shocked.
- Use the leash and practice your dog to obeying commands such as “Off!” to get out the bed. Train him by going near the bed, and when he jumps on it, gently pull him away and say “Off!”; this will let him know that he is not allowed on the bed anymore. Then tell him to sit, and reward him with something like a nice doggy treat so that he knows what he did was good. Always praise him when he goes off the bed to stimulate him.
- When he lies down on his own bed, praise him also and reward him, so that he knows that it’s right. But do not always do the reward thing as it can lead to him abusing you for treats and even obesity.
After a few weeks or so and patience on your part, your dog will learn to sleep in his own bed. However, if things don’t work out well, you may want to consider hiring a professional dog trainer.
Well, that’s one side of the story — the side of the nit-picking bureaucrats and “experts”. If they have their way, their answer to the question “Should Your Dog Sleep With You?” will be attempts to get some laws passed outlawing the practice of allowing pets to sleep with humans!
We here at The DogingtonPost.com have published many instances where mentally and physically ill people have been successfully treated and had their recoveries hastened through the use of dogs and frequent physical contact with them.
I personally don’t do it because I’m a light sleeper, and their little doggie movements wake me up (I know! I’ve tried it – LOL!) But my wife can take a nap with them with no problems. (Maybe she’s trying to tell me something??)
So: should your dog sleep with you? It’s your choice, not the government’s, or experts’. They admit in the study that these instances are rare, and seem to mostly happen to children or immune-compromised people. So if your pet and you are healthy, you probably won’t have must risk.
Just be aware that you can pick up parasites and infections from your dog. And if you do, the government ninnies and experts are going to say “I told you so!”.
Feel free to share your thoughts below.