Is it bad that my dog sleeps on my bed?

155
1
0
7 February
18:09
15 February
18:48

Of course not – if you don’t mind being pushed over to the edge of the bed, being kept up all night by slurpy washing noises, getting covered in dog hair or muddy paw prints and being woken up at the first light of dawn.

There is a lot of talk about not allowing your dog to sleep on your bed. The thinking goes that this would allow them to think they were the "boss" or the "leader of the pack", and that they would thus ‘dominate’ you and become badly behaved.

Our understanding of canine social behaviour has improved dramatically over the last twenty years

We now know that is very unlikely to happen. Our understanding of canine social behaviour has improved dramatically over the last twenty years or so. The old belief that we should take on the role of the ‘dominant leader’ and banish dogs from our beds or chairs, ignore them for a set amount of time and make sure they submit to us has been shown to be “fake news”.

The belief was initially based on how we thought wolves behaved. But it turned out we were looking at the wrong wolves: we should have been looking at how the animals behaved naturally in the wild, not at the unnatural groupings of wolves being held in captive environments. In nature, wolves live in family groups and get along relatively well. Like in human families, there are parenting roles – it’s not a dictatorship.

What’s more, the relationship between wolves and dogs is similar as the one between chimps and humans – they’re distant cousins, so aren’t going to behave in exactly the same way. Domestic dogs have evolved from a shared wolf ancestor many thousands of year ago, so the lessons about dominance and control that we took from how wolves behave in captivity aren’t necessarily accurate either.

But before you dive into bed with your dog remember: just because your pets don’t want to take over your world it doesn’t mean they won’t get a bit possessive over stuff they really like. When you are in bed or getting into bed and your toes accidentally bump into your dog, watch to see if they start to growl in a deep grumbling way, tighten their mouth, or show you the whites of their eyes or their pearly white teeth. If they do, you may want to reconsider. This is not a dog you would want to share your bed with. So in fun way, call them off the bed and give them a nice dog bed on the floor to sleep peacefully in with a few treats.

To be honest, even if you have the most tolerant dog after a few sleepless nights and constant muddy duvet changes you may wish you had never asked this question. 

13
0
If you know an answer to this question and can provide supporting arguments, express yourself!
Answer
Choose an expert