Bedtime routines: Where does your dog sleep?

Sleepy wolf. #dogdaysofsummer
Nap time on our dirty kitchen floor.

Where does your dog sleep?

For the past year, Pyrrha slept in her crate. She likes her crate; it’s her safe place. When she feels overwhelmed by a situation, she’ll retreat there, and we’ve always left that as an option for her.

As of last week, though, we’ve been experimenting with a new routine: Pyrrha getting to sleep wherever she wants in the house.

For a while now, I’ve wanted to give her this freedom in the house, and I think this is a good way to ease her into it. She has proven herself to be very reliable in the house, and she has not shown any inclination to get into things she’s not supposed to. Pyrrha is kind of the perfect house dog in that way; I can count on one hand the number of things she has chewed up that she wasn’t supposed to.

So, this is Pyrrha’s new sleep routine: We leave her crate door open, and say “Goodnight!” I think this confused her the first few nights; she would run into her crate, and then when I didn’t close the door, she’d peek her head out and look at me, like, “Um, mom? You forgot something…” But she’s adapting quickly. I think she sleeps in crate still, but she also has a dog bed in the living room (and she also considers our couch fair game for naps).

The weird thing she does now, though, which is not my favorite, is that she comes into our room at 5:30 a.m., sticks her nose in my face, and wags her tail against my nightstand. I mumble, “Chill out,” and then she lies down on the floor next to me, until I wake up (around 6:15–6:30). I’m not sure why it’s been exactly 5:30 a.m. every day. It’s not light out yet, so I’m curious why that time has a trigger for her.

All in all, though, it’s been going well!

Where do your dogs sleep? Did you ever transition them from one routine to another?

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19 thoughts on “Bedtime routines: Where does your dog sleep?

  1. Mr B is on one of the two large dog beds in our room, Nandy takes the other. Cricket sleeps in middle daughter’s room, Teddy in my youngest daughter’s room. Doodle is in our bed.

    Once in a while we switch things around and have ‘sleep overs’. And of course the routine changes when the spouse and I go on overnight rides.

  2. Luna, our rescue dog, with us for one year, has a bed on the floor next to me in our bedroom. A thrift shop comforter trimmed in white eyelet is doubled over on top of her bed. (The comforter bleaches back to white quite nicely.) Luna paws and circles her comforter until it suits her. That’s her usual night time bed.

    She naps on one of our two leather sofas in the living room. We have allowed her to do that since we got her.

    When Luna wants to hang out near me in my home office, she stretches out on the bed in guest bedroom which has a dog friendly comforter cover on it.

    When she’s hot she sleeps on our tile floor. We live in Tucson AZ.

  3. Honey is perfectly trustworthy in the house. And I’d love to have her sleep outside her crate. But her sleeping choice is always in our bed. And frankly, I don’t sleep very well when she’s in bed with us. She’s a terrible bed hog.

    She’s quite happy in her crate. When she wakes up at 5 a.m. or so, my husband opens the crate, lets her up on the bed, and we sleep for another half hour or so.

    I’ve tried transitioning her to her bed outside the crate but, even if she starts out there, she’s up on the bed within 20 minutes.

    Unfortunately, we have a tiny bedroom and it takes quite a bit of acrobatics for me to pass by her crate if I need to get up in the middle of the night.

    If you have a suggestion, I’m happy to hear it.

    1. Hi, Pamela! I don’t blame Honey for wanting to sleep with you; it is probably the best of all possible worlds for her. 🙂 Pyrrha has never expressed a desire to sleep in our bed, and it was always a nonnegotiable for us; as much as I love her, I didn’t want her in my bed. I’m really not sure how you’d solve that problem, since she comes up there some times… I think you’d have to make it an all-or-nothing deal (no human bed time ever, or free access to human bed whenever she wants)? Experienced trainers want to chip in?

      1. We teach the dogs that furniture is by permission only. We decide when they get on the bed, and if they decide to get on without permission they are told to get off of it. Normally if they beg to get up, they are not allowed until they give up on it and lay back down on the floor. That part is harder to enforce when there is a hound whining in your face incessantly at 4 am.

  4. Awww. That’s a neat story. What a sweetheart! Our pup sleeps in the bed with us. In fact, she goes to bed sooner than we do and sleeps in beyond. Lucky girl! We tried to crate train in the beginning, but my hubby said it was breaking his heart against my better judgement.

  5. Rufus slept in his crate for exactly one night. We quickly realized the crate made him anxious, so we took our chances right away. We could tell immediately that he was super mellow and not interested in doing much other than sleeping and going for walks. He has free reign over the house, but he always choose our bed….most times, right inbetween us. Unless it’s really hot out, then the floor wins.

  6. Riley has a dog bed in our bedroom that she uses at night. We originally crated her, but I didn’t want to have to have a water bowl in her crate (she likes to spill it…) so we transitioned pretty quickly to leaving her loose. She got pretty anxious if we closed her out of the bedroom but let her roam the house — she actually licked the fur off one of her front legs. But once we opened the bedroom door and put a dog bed in there she was fine (and the hair grew right back). So that’s where she sleeps now.

    During the day she naps all over the place. She’s not allowed on furniture, but she frequently naps in my office while i work (just on the floor behind my chair or under my feet), on her dog bed in the dining room or in her crate (both of which allow her to watch me while I work), in the entry hall by the door (where she can wait for my boyfriend to come home) or on the kitchen floor when it’s really hot (only tile in the house).

  7. I love love love how you embrace the crate! One of the best inventions ever. That being said, sounds like your new routine will be a good one. Pyrrha is very lucky to have you as a mama. 🙂

    My Jayde sleeps at the foot of my bed, my Secret sleeps anywhere in my room except the bed (usually the kennel), and my Mandy sleeps in the dog bed beside my bed. Once all my dogs were house trained (and kennel trained of course) I let them choose where to sleep in my room with the door closed. It was never a difficult transition.

  8. Ha ha ha! Someone once told me that German Shepherds have the delicate timing of a finely tuned Swiss watch. Kuster has trained my husband that he HAS to get up every morning at 4:00 on the dot. I am fairly certain that this is more about his gut than anything else, because if you take him out, he sniffs all over and fiddle farts around for ten minutes. It’s not an emergency if it takes his furry butt that long to go!

    Since we brought Flattery home, he’s been throwing some tantrums in his crate not related to when he thinks the whole house should be up, and has found himself sleeping in a crate in the basement. I hate not having him with the rest of us, BUT I do like being able to sleep until the alarm goes off. Getting him sleeping on a normal schedule has proven to be harder than anything else we’ve done with dog training, and sadly, the hardest part of it is training my husband.

  9. BJ has the run of the house. He always sleeps in the bedroom, usually on the bed. He’ll snuggle on top of the pillow. Then there are times he digs at the pillows and musses them until he deems it comfortable. Recently he’s been sleeping in his bedroom bed as opposed to his living room bed, or on the floor near the a/c. Part of this is at 13 1/2 he doesn’t jump up and down too much.

  10. Daisy is allowed to move around in the house. Her preferences seem to be seasonal. She will stay happily tucked up in bed with me for the entire night on cold winter evenings. As the weather warms, she moves from her bed in the lounge to our bed and back again. In the summer, she likes to stay on her bed.

    I think it is essential that dogs be given a choice about sleeping locations. It helps them to be in control of their own comfort and let’s face it – it’s their house too!

  11. Well, five years ago I adopted my first Cairn Terrier, Mr. Gatsby. He was an 8-week-old bundle of adorable love. He was also NOT into his crate. He was born and raised on a farm, and spent his nights bundled in hay. So, our first night was spent in his baby crate crying and me losing my patience. Finally, I scooped him out of the crate and onto my bed, and there he has slept from then on. Spoiled.

  12. Cabana slept in a crate for the first year of her life. Now, at 4 1/2, she can sleep wherever she wants, which is downstairs on her ottoman when it’s hot, upstairs on our bed when it’s chilly, or wherever else she chooses. A good tip for Pyrrha or for Pamela’s dog is to keep a dog bed on the floor in your bedroom and use a tie down that’s fairly short, so the dog can lay down comfortably but can’t reach your bed. After a couple weeks, the dog will get the idea that that’s where he/she should sleep, and you won’t need the tie down anymore. This will keep the dog from bugging you at 5:30. Sure, he might make some noise to get up in the morning, but it’s easier to give a verbal correction and ignore any sounds he makes when he’s over there than when he’s thumping you with his nose by your bed. After a few 5:30 attempts that lead to nothing, the dog will hopefully give that up!

    It took me a long time to get used to Cabana sleeping at the foot of our bed (she’s not a snuggler). I’m a very light sleeper, but now, I actually sleep much better when she’s with us!

  13. Avery has a bed in our bedroom where he sleeps at night. I don’t let him roam only because I’m probably a little too controlling. If on the off chance he gets up in the middle of the night because he has to go out or if he gets sick, I want to know about right then and not find it in the morning. So we have taught him the “bedtimes” command and he knows he has to go get in his bed. This applies to all the beds around the house as well.

  14. When we first got Tala we couldn’t get a crate as we were in Sudan (well unless we had commissioned something) so we just used half a huge Rhodesian ridgeback’s crate with a towel over the top to make a den like place. From two months old she slept in there at the foot of the bed and always slept till morning. Now she has a doughnut shaped bed also at the foot of the bed and she still will never get up until we are up whether that is 6am or even 10am on a weekend! I think we are incredibly lucky. Especially if it is early she usually just positions herself on a sofa near my computer for a continued snooze. Strangely she will always sleep in our bed when we are out (as she is kept in the bedroom when we are out) but will never go in the bed when we are in it or when we are in the house! I agree with a previous post that it is quite a good thing to have a dog in the bedroom if they are ill. Whether it be vomiting or something serious needing immediate attention like gastric torsion – bloat. Dogs are too stoic to come get you if they have a problem like that.

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