Where does your dog sleep?

Does your dog sleep in your bed? A bed of her own? In a crate? Outside?

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

There are a lot of varying opinions on this topic. Traditional dominance-based trainers are strongly against allowing dogs in human beds, saying that it makes the dog think she can be the “alpha.” This theory is now considered bogus (dogs don’t want to be tyrants; they just want to be comfortable and close to their humans!), but it’s still a belief that persists among many. Other people think dogs ought to always sleep in their own crates. Still others keep dogs locked up in garages or laundry rooms, or worse, outside and chained to a tree.

Growing up, Emma had a bed of her own in the living room, but she quickly decided that was not her thing, and slept the rest of her days in my sisters’ beds. My sisters shared a room and Emma seemed to prefer that room to sleeping with me, to my long-lasting dismay. I tell myself she slept with them because there were more bodies to watch over in that room (my baby brother often joined them on the floor, so she had three kids to watch instead of one moody teenager, me), but I don’t really know why. I’m sure she had her reasons.

I’ve shared a few beds with dogs and the experience has been that dogs are bed hogs. Yep. One of my best friends and I shared a double bed with her adult lab/GSD mix, Ava. Ava wanted to sleep right between us and pound her legs into my back and/or face throughout the night. (I think she was trying to push me, the interloper, out of the bed…) The best animal bedfellow I’ve had was a cat, truth be told: Beloved Kitteh, my Denver roommate. A cat is a good size for a bedfellow, especially a cat with a temperament like this one: Endlessly snuggly and gentle; not the type to bat at one’s eyeballs.

Anyway. My husband has made it clear that he’s not really fond of the idea of sharing our bed with a full-grown German shepherd. And, as dog-crazy as you all know me to be, I find myself agreeing with him on this point. I think it may be a hard thing to prevent–as we both love cuddling with dogs–but I want to make that a house rule from the beginning.

So, how do you make a dog bed appealing? I’m thinking of putting it at the end of our bed, or on either side of our bed. And getting a really comfortable one. While they tend to be a bit pricier, Drs. Foster & Smith has a great selection of high-quality dog beds.

What are your sleeping arrangements with your pooches?

16 thoughts on “Where does your dog sleep?

  1. I agree with your experiences completely: my 5 year old semi-dachshund is a total bed hog. He doesn’t often sleep in my bed, although he would if he had his way, but I let him in once in a while when I see something is really upsetting him and it’s heartbreaking to leave him alone, like when neighboors play with firecrackers all night long. Other than that he sleeps in an ordinary doggy bed made with foam that’s placed right outside my room in a little hall. Well, that was before his new baby brother ate it.

  2. Pearl sleeps in a crate in our bedroom. We like having her close, but we (including Pearl) prefer to have our own space at night and the bed is too cramped. She has spent maybe three nights in the bed and they have been rough for all of us… she ends up choosing to go in her crate anyway and she likes the door shut and will sit in there and look at us until we shut her in and then she will lie down. She does come snuggle with us in bed after we take her out in the morning on the weekends though.

  3. When Pepper, our first dog, moved in with us as a young pup, 7 years ago, my husband and I agreed we would never let her on our bed. Three years later we adopted a young rescue dog who we named Radar. Radar had been used to sleeping with humans, but we were strict with her and wouldn’t let her up on the bed. I don’t really know what happened, how it happened, or when it began happening, but now both dogs regularly sleep on our bed with us. When I hve insomnia, and go sleep on another bed, usually one or both dogs follow me – or they go back and forth between the beds in the night. They are indeed bed hogs but you can shove them over, even though they resent it.

  4. our dogs (4 of them) sleep wherever they want. That means we get about 3 of them on our bed, and one sleeps on a folded quilt on top of a hope chest at the foot of the bed.

    we have dog beds all over the house, and a guest bedroom with a queen sized bed AND baby mattress on the floor for dogs. They still choose our bed.

  5. Heehee. Such a cute post. I love sleeping with dogs, though I completely understand those who don’t. Sleeping with Giant Schnauzer is so much different than sleeping with Elli-bell. Size absolutely matters. I couldn’t budge that Giant dog around at all!

    In order to make a dog bed appealing — you must make it the only option. Ever. If he’s allowed on your bed even once, you’ll have some re-training to do and you might struggle more than you’d think to be positive about it. Give him a treat every time he goes on his bed (just before you go to sleep) and chances are he’ll end up loving that bed every day of his life. Once he’s got the idea you can stop giving free treats every night and probably just give him one every week or so to keep the behavior intact. 🙂

  6. We have two Dobermans, and sharing a bed is just not an option. They are terrible bedfellows. The two of them claim our couch at night. But they also have beds they like. I think the first step is determining what type of bed your dog will like – do they like to curl up, or stretch out? That can really impact the type of bed they like. One of mine is a “curler” and really likes the Perla-style bed we have because she feels secure. The other dog is a “stretcher” and prefers a large, soft bed with no sides (or just a back to it) so he can really stretch out. For starters, I like the big beds you can get at Costco for about $20. You can add extra padding if necessary, but it’s an inexpensive way to figure out what kind of bed your dog prefers.

  7. Because we had a cat before we adopted Shiva and their relationship did not begin well, we had to give preference to him when it came to sleeping arrangements. The cat has always had free reign of our bedroom and we wanted him to have a space he could still feel comfortable while adjusting to life with a dog in the house. Thus, Shiva slept in her crate for the first several years with us. Luckily she also seemed to appreciate having her own space and we settled right in on the first night with nary a whine or a peep. These days we still give her the option of the crate but she usually sleeps on the couch in the living room, though she also has a bed on the floor. She still seems to prefer her own personal time at night.

    In fact, she prefers sleeping on her own so much that we even bought a small tent for her for when we go camping. Yes, my dog sleeps in her own tent. We all have a much more restful night now as a result!

    In my opinion sleeping habits don’t really matter. It’s all about lifestyle choices. As long as everyone (including the dog) is comfortable and happy, who cares where your dog sleeps?

  8. The Queen Aussie sleeps on our bed, at my feet, and the Prince Aussie sleeps in a crate in my son’s room; I’d like to have him sleeping on a dog bed but he’s still a chewer and I fear that he would chew the room down during the night. I absolutely love having Ivy sleep with us; she’s very high-strung, and the peaceful stretch of night when she’s so calm and comfortable is sweet and renewing for both of us.

  9. You are so right that many dogs are terrible bed hogs. Honey sleeps in a crate beside our bed but early in the morning she’s invited up to join us for a little while.

    If sharing your bed with a dog leaves you so tired you can’t enjoy your waking time together, I’m all for separate sleeping quarters.

    Of course, when my husband is away, Honey gets his side. So maybe it’s the husband who is the bed hog and not the dog?

  10. Elka sleeps in bed with us, and has since she was reliably potty trained. Much of the time it’s just me, or just my fiance, etc. When it’s the three of us it can be a squeeze! Elka is typically very good about things; she settles behind my knees and/or under one of our covers, and that’s that. Sometimes she spreads out or stomps on us like a horse, and these times are rather difficult.

  11. I strongly feel dogs should sleep in the bedroom, but not in one’s bed. My sister-in-law had a very slobbery Dogue de Bordeaux which slept in her bed and once it thinks that is its space it will be in with its muddy paws etc… I think it is important, however, for them to be in the bedroom so that if they are ill you know about it. Large dogs, for example, can get bloat in the night and if you don’t hear them it might be too late by the morning!

    We trained Tala always to go to bed after her last time outside. Initially we would always say ‘bed’ firmly and give her a treat when she was in it. We never deviated from this and now, since living in Hanoi from the age of one, she will go to to her bed automatically when asked and no longer gets a treat. She also will go to her bed immediately without being asked if she senses we are getting ready to go out but she won’t be coming (e.g. for a dinner in the evening). She then happily stays in just the bedroom when we are out. Funnily enough, she gets in our bed secretly when we are out, but she has never been caught in it nor does she try when we are in it or at home! The only evidence are footprints and a curled up body print pressed into the duvet!

    She loves her bed – it is a British brand, but the design is a great one with lovely print covers (vintage william morris designs) which are strong and washable with a waterproof doughnut shaped inner.


  12. My dog sleeps wherever he wants– which is not in my bed. He mostly sleeps on the floor in the space between the couch and the wall (anytime I’ve given him a bed of his own, or even put a blanket down between the couch and the wall he shuns it). He will on occasion climb into bed with me, but that’s rare.

    Our cat is the bed hog. She’s in my bed almost constantly– whether I want her there or not.

    My very favorite memory is a “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you” few occasions. I used to have two dogs and two cats. (one each of the dogs and cats have since died) I awoke in the middle of the night on a few occasions unable to move. I had a cat on either side of me and both of my dogs at my feet. My queen-sized isn’t really big enough to have held all five of us, but I LOVED it. Our whole family was in bed together. I may not have had room to move but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

  13. Our dogs sleep with us, or at least always have that option. Our Aussie rarely took advantage. He slept across the threshold of our bedroom, or out in the hallway when we had guests, so that no one could get to his “herd” without going past him.
    Still, even when it was all 4 of us (2 200+lb people and 120lbs of dogs) we managed to fit. The main rule we had (and still have) is that the dogs are not allowed to sleep between us. June sleeps next to C and Larry sleeps next to me. Foster dog Howie occassionally sleeps on the bed next to me, but he came with his own bed, and if he’s not getting petted (or if Larry is in a grumpy mood) he’s just happier being in it. It’s on the floor at the foot of our bed next to my desk.

  14. I crate train my dogs and that’s where they sleep usually prefer to sleep. We have crates in the bedroom and a dog bed on the floor next to the bed. I don’t close the door so they can sleep where ever they want. Once they come back from their last potty break for the night, they will run to their crates. My Belgian Shepherd won’t come out of her crate until she gets a treat. She just waits for it.

    If there is a thunderstorm, she paces and whines so we will make an exception and let her sleep in the bed with us if there’s a storm. On occasion, we can tell that she has been sleeping on the bed, but it’s rare. My Border Collie/Australian Shepherd won’t get on the bed for any reason. He will occasionally sleep in Ina’s kennel if she is sleeping on her dog bed.

  15. My, GR, Dixie LOVES to sleep in my bed (she also likes hogging it and pushing me out) but due to all of the hair she sheds my parents have deemed it ‘off-limits’. Poor baby. so now she sleeps under my bed unless it’s her birthday. 😉

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