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  • Writer's pictureLisa Buchanan

Puppy Insights: To share the bed or not?

Dog sleeping on bed.

This is not something I really thought about when we got our oldest dog, Lucy. It didn’t occur to me, and crate training was a big priority at the time. Steve and I were both shift workers for parts of the year and our bedtime routine was already unpredictable. By the time we felt she was okay to choose where she slept at night, she was pretty happy on her bed by the fireplace. We also had a cat who ruled the house and was not overly welcoming to the new puppy!


small dog sleeping in a big bed

When I got Mr. Darcy, I chose a Havanese for many specific reasons that I thought would make it easy to have him with me as often as possible. He is only about 13 lbs, non-shedding and highly unlikely to engage with a skunk! However, I didn’t originally intend for him to share the bed. After three cats who always felt that sleeping in the bed with me wasn’t comfortable unless they were on top of my head…I just assumed that a small cat-like dog would to the same. I started Mr. D out in a crate on top of my bed for the first week or so and then gradually moved him further away. My plan was to move him to a different room for overnight. He never made it further than the floor beside my dresser. At a year old he moved to the bed without the crate. I’ve never looked back.



dog sleeping on person with head laying on her arm.

Churro came to us as a temporary foster for a few days at Christmas in December 2022 at the age of 9 months. We were trying to clear the dogs out of the shelter in case no one could get to them with a blizzard that was called for. I walked in the door with her; Daniel said “I’m keeping this dog”; she has slept with him for most nights since. We did integrate a crate into her daily routine. She does sleep there on the nights Daniel is away. I tried to have both dogs with me but that definitely wasn’t great for my sleep. Churro is a MORNING dog and I am not a “morning” human! Best that the early risers can get to her!! Since shedding was a theme for me I will just add that Churro definitely sheds. Some may say I gave in, but others would see this as personal growth!!


Personally, I’m glad all three dogs were crate trained in the house. I feel its given us familiar options that won’t make me feel like I could traumatize them if they need to stay with someone else or routines change. It was also extremely practical during the housetraining period. In addition, if the unthinkable happens and your puppy needs to be rehomed or temporarily fostered somewhere, having crate trained them was a HUGE kindness by you. In terms of co-sleeping, I wouldn’t change a thing there either. Some studies say that more than 50% of people share the bed with their dog. A 2017 Mayo Clinic study showed that people actually sleep very well with their dogs.


However, my favourite statistic is from a 2020 study that showed about 87% of puppies chose to sleep near humans.



Some final thoughts:


  • Think carefully about how you feel about dog hair, dirt and potentially fleas and tick making their way into your bed as well.

  • Crate/personal space training is critical and can be done along with co-sleeping arrangements. Consider when your dog needs to stay with the vet and go into a crate or kennel.

  • 13% of couples apparently disagree on this decision, so have the conversation before you get the puppy.

  • It’s a lot easier to invite your puppy or dog into your bed later on in life than it is to ask them to leave it. Consider the greater kindness here.

 


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