There was an interesting post on Dog Cast Radio about where dogs should sleep at night and it got me thinking as its often something I talk to about with dog owners.
There are a million and one opinions on where dogs should and should not sleep. My personal point of view is that it is entirely up to the owners. So I thought it may be helpful to go through some of the pros and cons to letting dogs on the bed to sleep with owners.
When a dog sleeps on your bed it can be so lovely and comforting and to be honest, I don't have an issue with a dog being on the bed. As long as there are a few rules in place, such as you being in control of when the dog goes and gets on and off the bed. I would make it by invitation only otherwise when Fred runs in from a muddy walk and thinks he would like a roll around, your bed might be the first choice! I would also suggest that if your dog suffers from separation anxiety or if it is a puppy and you are trying to get it used to spending time alone, then sleeping on the bed or even in the room with you isn't a great idea.
With puppies, I would always recommend that you try to either crate train them or at least start them by sleeping in another room from you and the family. It teaches them independence early on and means that you shouldn't get a dog suffering from separation anxiety - if your dog can sleep in a different room from you at night, your dog doesn't haven't separation anxiety.
Crates are a fantastic sleeping environment for a dog, they offer security, a safe haven and instead of looking at it like a cage you should think of it as a 'doggy bedroom'. It offers your dog or puppy a place to go when tired or when it feels like getting away from a busy household.
One of the things that I would try to avoid is giving your dog millions of beds around the home. Last week I met two interesting cases - one was a couple whose dog has an entire bedroom all to himself. As in, he has a single bed with duvet and pillows, a toy chest and a set of drawers with all his stuff in! The other was a dog that lived in a 3 storey house and had 7 beds in total.
You only have one bed to sleep in so why would your dog need so many?! Dogs can and will sleep on the floor, so if they like to hang out with you when you are working on the computer or having a bath, it doesn't mean that your dog needs a bed in every room! If the floor isn't comfortable, they can head back to their luxury bed in the kitchen or living room.
With all of these debates, its worth keeping a little bit of common sense in mind. I personally don't have an issue with a dog on a bed or on a sofa as long as it can be told to get off and it isn't guarding the furniture. I would also suggest that if you take on a puppy you are better to start some independent sleeping to set the boundaries at the beginning of their stay, get them used to sleeping alone. And if you take on a rescue dog, you need to be extremely careful with choosing a sleeping space as you don't want to encourage separation anxiety which many rescue dogs suffer from.
If you would like more advice, drop me an email. Do make sure, especially in the summer that you wash blankets, bedding or duvets reguarly and that you add a few eucalpyaptus oil drops to the wash. It helps to get rid of any nasty bugs that dogs carry around with them!
My last bit of advice - I feel its worth teaching your dog to sleep in lots of places, so that when you go away you make it easy for those looking after your darling dog. Not everyone wants a dog on their sofa, bed or bedroom. Think about the future and set the boundaries now.