Canine Bedfellows

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in Our Blog | 2 comments

Canine Bedfellows

Does your dog/s sleep on your bed or maybe even in your bed?

I am a dog trainer and I freely and happily admit to having my dog sleep on my bed.  I am happy about it, my fellow human bed partner is happy about it and my dog is absolutely happy about it.  We sleep well, most of the time anyway.  OK…. so occasionally there is a dispute over who has the most bed space or who is taking over the doona, but generally there is no sleep disruption.

So why is there so much concern about this nocturnal activity?

When dog owners are asked this question, they usually respond with a guilty look on their face– like they just committed a criminal offence.  “Well, I know I shouldn’t – but yes I do”, this is normally said in a very apologetic voice with downcast eyes, followed by justifications of why they allow this to occur.  If the information is freely offered it tends to be whispered behind a hand over the mouth, in case someone else within range might hear of this dreadful thing we do with our dog. There is always of course the option to blatantly lie or just avoid the truth altogether.

So what is it about this activity, that creates so much angst and guilt, yet privately a lot of dog owners (and dogs) enjoy.

It all goes back to the now debunked theories of Pack/Alpha/Dominance all tied up with a distorted view of what leadership is.  It was, believe it or not, thought that we should always eat before the dog, never let the dog walk ahead of us, never allow the dog to be at an equal or higher level than you – the dog should know his place.  This means in essence, that the dog should not sit on my lap, rest beside me on the couch or heaven forbid – sleep on my bed. Research and science has since debunked these theories but unfortunately they still abound.  It is OK to allow your dog on your bed, or on the couch if that’s what you are happy with.  Your dog is not trying to dominate you, or take over your household or the world.

This article is not addressing those issues you may have if your dog is resource guarding. If this is the case you need to see a good trainer/behaviourist to help you.  This is a symptom of a deeper problem and not just the fact that the dog is sleeping on the bed.

So you can sleep easy, with or without your dog.  It’s your choice.


  1. B is very glad to hear he’s still allowed to sleep on the bed ;)

  2. Haha, great article! So true, we all respond to that question with guilty downcast eyes. Amazing how pervasive the ‘dominance world view’ is in almost everything we’re told in the mainstream about interacting with our dogs. Good to flip it on its head and see it for what it is :-) I was just reading through your website and absolutely burst out laughing when i read about Byron peeing on the trainer’s leg. What a cool dog and what a symbolic moment. Keep the blog posts coming! :-)