Is it okay to let my dog sleep in bed with me?
Experts have long disagreed about this question. Some think it’s acceptable since dogs are part of the family. Others protest that being literally on the same level as the owner gives a dog the idea that he’s on the same level in a figurative sense as well, and makes him more likely to challenge the owner’s authority.
I think it’s fine in most cases. If your relationship with your dog is healthy–that is, he’s treated with love and kindness, and respects the house rules and boundaries you’ve set–sleeping in your bed shouldn’t cause a problem.
There are three circumstances, however, in which you shouldn’t let your dog sleep in your bed:
1. Your dog has separation anxiety. Your dog needs to learn to feel comfortable being on his own. If he’s sleeping in your bed, you’re missing the opportunity to get him used to being physically separated from you while you’re still present, an important first step in solving the separation anxiety problem.
2. Your dog has shown aggression toward you, or has his own ideas about who’s really in charge. These are the dogs who, when asked to get off the bed, curl a lip, growl, air-snap, or bite. They may also do those things when someone rolls over or shifts in their sleep. If that describes your dog, he’s not a good choice for a bedmate!
3. Your dog is a Great Dane or other large dog who steals the blankets. Who wants a huge, fur-covered blanket thief?
Unless any of the above apply to you, go on and invite Rover over. Dogs aren’t only cuddly, they make fantastic bed-warmers on cold nights!