Dear Daisy Dog
Where do you sleep? The dog I just adopted, Cody, wants to sleep on my bed. The books I read discourage this practice, but most of my friends let their dogs sleep with them. What’s your advice?
I sleep on Mom’s bed -– as does Christopher Cat -– but I didn’t for many months after my adoption at age five.
That’s because Mom wanted to do two things before she gave me bed privileges: evaluate my temperament to ensure I’d be a good sleeping companion, and teach me my place in the family.
Good canine sleeping companions have these characteristics: they are housetrained and don’t leak urine while they doze; they sleep quietly, without hogging the bed; and they don’t get aggressive when they’re startled by a noise or awakened by a child rushing up to the bed -– or when they’re asked to hop off.
Not only do you need to be sure Cody has these characteristics before you offer bed privileges, but you should keep him off the bed initially so he doesn’t form an exalted impression of his place in the family. We dogs know instinctively that the leader of the pack sleeps in the best bed, and Cody needs to understand that you are the leader before he shares your bed.
If you decide after several months that Cody would make a good sleeping companion, start gradually.
If Cody is small or has orthopedic problems, install pet steps or a ramp next to the bed so he won’t injure himself jumping on and off.
If you’re like my people –- and the 47 percent of Americans who share their beds with their dogs –- you’ll find many benefits to sleeping with Cody. For example, one study showed that when a person and a dog sleep together, their brain waves synchronize, which means you may sleep more soundly with Cody on your bed.